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Wild swimming, sea kayaking, great walks and new friends...
When you think about trying a new sport or activity it’s fair to say there’ll be a few nerves mixed in with the excitement that will try and dampen down your daring side.
It’s at this point that some might dismiss the idea altogether. However for those that push on and square up to those nerves, there’s the potential of opening up a whole raft of delightful new outdoor experiences, whether it’s rock climbing, wild camping, wild swimming or learning hill navigation.
We know as we’ve done it ourselves when, many years ago, we ventured out on a beginner’s sea kayaking trip.
Initially we were uncharacteristically quiet as we grappled with the techniques we’d been shown and were completely focused on staying upright! Gradually though, once we’d got used to steering the kayak and knew that a bit of a wobble wasn’t necessarily going to lurch us into the water, we relaxed.
It was at that moment that we suddenly saw Anglesey, which we knew well from walking, in a whole new light. We found beaches you could only reach by kayak, we went all smiley as we gained enough confidence to venture into craggy inlets and caves, and we watched in admiration as seals swam around us.
What really helps though is if you have instructors who provide exactly the right balance for newbies – the ones who instinctively know how to make the experience fun while keeping you safe and ensuring you learn the basics but without any shoutey nonsense that does nothing but instil panic.
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Even better is being in environment where you know you’re with other complete beginners who will undoubtedly make the same mistakes, harbour the same apprehensions and most importantly, want to celebrate in a similar vein at the end of a day’s learning!
So with that said here are a few ideas that might have you pushing those boundaries:
Sea kayaking, Anglesey
Well we’ve pretty much summed it up already as this was our initial sea kayaking stomping ground.
However Anglesey’s coastline is simply stunning and at sea level you really get a new perspective, whether it’s looking up at the cliffs teeming with birdlife, having lunch in an idyllic sandy cove or rounding a corner to find seals eyeballing you.
Rock climbing, the Peak District
The rocky crags of the Dark Peak area of Derbyshire’s Peak District are a climber’s playground.
With instructors patiently explaining the techniques and tips to keep you safe there’s every chance that rock climbing beginners will be scaling new heights after a weekend’s introduction to the sport.
Add into the mix a selection of great pubs, tearooms and our own home cooked meals and there’ll be plenty of opportunity for celebrating that feeling of being a bit chuffed with yourself!
Book your Beginners Rock Climbing weekend here…
Wild swimming, Snowdonia
Swimming in mountain lakes and rivers is very on-trend at the moment and rightly so; after all how often have you seen crystal clear water on walks in Snowdonia and thought about plunging in.
Well now’s your chance. With the help of an instructor who will track down the best spots for a dip and arm you with the techniques, you can experience the invigorating delight that comes with outdoor swimming in beautiful surroundings.
An experience where you will most definitely be ‘in the moment’, switching off from everything else in normal life.
Hill navigation, beautiful upland surroundings
You might have gone on many a hill walk but go on a navigation day and you suddenly appreciate the upland scenery in a completely different way.
There is so much glee to be had when the map you’re looking at suddenly makes sense and you can match up the contours, features and the route with the view in front of you.
Wild camping, Lake District or Snowdonia
If you want to test yourself in a slightly different way then how about spending a night on a hillside where you get to wake up with a view that far surpasses anything a five-star hotel can provide.
Leave behind many of life’s norms – a comfy bed, a pub round the corner, a well-stocked kitchen – and you’ll soon see that luxury can be as simple as having a bacon sarnie cooked on a small gas stove in fantastically quiet natural surroundings.
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