If there's one outdoor sport that’s
going to make you feel like a
fully-fledged action hero,
A mixture of swimming, climbing, scrambling and traversing the coastline,
coasteering gets you up close and personal with some of our most rugged outdoor landscapes, meaning you can explore areas of the beautiful coast that you wouldn’t normally have access to. When it’s safe to do so, you could even find yourself holding your breath and jumping into the sea from pretty lofty heights!
Coasteering is also an activity that comes with a rich heritage. Before it became a commercial pursuit, traversing the coastline was a way for people to access secluded coves and hard to reach headlands. The term ‘coasteering’ itself, however, is thought to have first been used in 1973, in a book called Sea Cliff Climbing in Britain.
In the book, authors John Cleare and Robin Collomb said
“A few enthusiasts believe that coasteering will become popular and has a big future.”
How right they were – after gaining popularity in Pembrokeshire in the 1990s, and first featuring in newspaper write-ups in 1997, tenacious outdoor adventurers now practise coasteering right across the UK.Coasteering get you up close and personal with some of most rugged outdoor landscapes
Long gone are the days
when city marathons topped the list
of gruelling physical challenges
Long gone are the days when city marathons topped the list of gruelling physical challenges.
These runs have moved into the great outdoors, with the added obstacle of, well, obstacles!
Mud runs like Tough Mudder, Total Warrior and The Wolf Run take place along a course complete with barbed wire, rows of tyres, electrified wires, freezing water and, you guessed it, lots of mud. You don’t have to be a seasoned fell-runner to enter though – novices and fitness fanatics compete side by side, helping each other along.
But how did competitive running become so extreme? According to the creator of Tough Mudder, Will Dean, “Exercise can become very solitary and boring.” This seems to be the crux of the trend – people are looking for more of a challenge than a run of the mill, straight-line city marathon.
Mud running has taken off so massively, in fact, that variations are cropping up faster than you can say “barbed wire.” Extreme challenges like Tough Guy incorporate serious obstacles like broken glass and water filled tunnels, and take place in the depths of winter!
Mud running has even gained the beginnings of a celebrity following – Ronan Keating, Katherine Jenkins & Joshua Jackson.
Your skills will be
tested to their limit
Many of us might think of quad biking as a convenient way for farmers to round up herds of sheep, but it is actually a fantastic outdoor pursuit that is sure to give you an exhilarating rush!
Quad bikes were first developed in 1893 by Royal Enfield, and were intended for use on the road as an alternative to horse and carriages. However, it wasn’t long before their potential for racing was discovered and, after plenty of trial and error, the first three-wheeled models were dubbed too unstable for recreational purposes. Enter the four-wheeled quad bike – a much sturdier alternative that is just as at home on country roads as punishing terrain.
If you have never tried quad biking, then it’s an absolute must. You’ll navigate through rough, bumpy, dusty surroundings at impressive speed, taking on looming hills and even racing around tracks. Your skills will be tested to their limit, but there is nothing like the high you will be left with once you step off your quad. It’s no wonder celebrities like Peter Andre, Rihanna and Prince Harry & Prince William have all tried their hand at quad biking.
“Racing your own or hiring a Quad will provide that rush of adrenaline and the time away from reality we all crave, as these rider active machines take on the challenge of the terrain and test your reactions, perception of the land and the thrill of the control. But don't be complacent, the Quad bike might look well balanced, they still need your undivided attention and control at all times.”
Exhilarating and adrenaline-charged,
it’s a great way to get closer to the great outdoors
Off-roading is a pursuit of true outdoor adventurers. Exhilarating and adrenaline-charged, it’s a great way to get closer to the great outdoors.
Incredibly close, in fact, as off-roading could involve everything from ploughing through rivers and traversing ravines, to slipping and sliding through patches of mud and negotiating very tight bends.
Off-roading is no longer limited to traditional country pastures though. Variations on the theme include dune bashing (off-roading through sand dunes), cross-country (off-roading for several days over a whole range of routes), raid (driving primarily along tracks, with bits of off-roading in-between) and green laning (off-roading through forests and on disused tracks). It’s such a versatile pursuit, which isn’t surprising when you consider its origins.
It all started after World War II, when a huge surplus of tough off-road vehicles became available on the market. Vehicles like the Jeep were particularly popular, and were soon adopted as utility vehicles which, in no time, gave rise to off-roading as a hobby. Car manufacturers saw the rising demand for sturdier, hardier vehicles which soon evolved into vehicles such as the Subaru Forester that we see today.
“My advice is, only drive on routes that have vehicle rights or at events, don't over use routes in adverse weather, respect other users and attend a professional off-road driving course to get the most fun out of your 4x4.”
Even celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Jens Voigt and Mia Farrow
now swear by this exciting outdoor pursuit.
From beautiful forests to stark deserts, there are now 6 million geocachers hunting down treasure across the world. You aren’t just armed with a map and a compass though; geocaching is all about the power of GPS.
It all started when ‘selective availability’ for GPS was lifted in 2000. Naturally, GPS enthusiasts erupted with suggestions for how this upgraded technology could be used, with one devotee – Dave Ulmer – proposing a navigational hunt to test its accuracy. He called it the ‘Great American GPS Stash Hunt’, and it wasn’t long before other internet users came across his coordinates and decided to join in.
The term ‘geocaching’ was coined within a month, as more and more people started concealing their own caches before posting the coordinates online. Even celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Jens Voigt and Mia Farrow now swear by this exciting outdoor pursuit.
All you need to do to get started is register at www.geocaching.com, enter your postcode to find coordinates for your nearest geocache, and set off with them tapped into your GPS device. You could even try terracaching, a variation on geocaching that requires you to fulfil goals.
You never know what treasures a geocache may contain, but just remember – if you take something, be sure to leave something else of equal value.
“Geocaching is a superb way of exploring the Welsh Countryside. It turns a drive into a treasure hunt and takes you to places that you wouldn’t otherwise see. The caches have been skilfully hidden by followers of the sport, and often tell the story of some of the fascinating, out of the way places which are abundant in Wales.”
You’ll navigate the dizzying heights near the lush forest canopy using high ropes, crossings, tunnels, bridges
and even zip wires!
What better way is there to experience the majesty of the great outdoors than from up in the treetops? You don’t have to don your climbing gear and practice shimmying up and down though – just go tree walking instead!
Tree walking has cropped up all over the country in recent years, providing fun for everyone from families, to couples, to corporate groups. You don’t have to be a skilled climber either, as you’ll navigate the dizzying heights near the lush forest canopy using high ropes, crossings, tunnels, bridges and even zip wires. It’s an experience as unique as its amusing origin, which started with the fruition of perhaps the most famous tree walking experience – Go Ape.
It all started when creators Tris and Becs were holidaying in France, and witnessed a French family swinging through the trees! It looked like they were having the time of their lives, so Tris and Becs decided to help as many people as possible unlock their own sense of adventure.
And so Go Ape was born, and it wasn’t long before other tree walking experiences starting appearing country-wide. There are even more white-knuckle variations of tree walking available, such as zip trekking, where you travel through the forest on zip-wires.
"Tree-top walkways are a beautiful and breath-taking way to experience the tree canopy and enjoy a birds-eye-view of the woodland, a whole family experience. If you have two or three trees that zig-zag through a garden or woodland setting, we can create a 100m woodland walkway 12m up in the tree canopy with an entrance each end through our suspended big, chunky 4-sided Rope Ladder, with 'floating' woodland decks or platforms it is a great alternative or addition to a treehouse."
From negotiating low angle and broken rock to chilly streams and snow-covered slopes,
it’s no surprise!
The term ‘scrambling’ has become more associated with motocross over the years, but is actually the name of a particularly daring outdoor pursuit.
Scrambling is often referred to as a cross between hiking and rock climbing, and involves ascending cliff faces and ridges without help from traditional climbing equipment. This means that harnesses and ropes are out, and your hands and feet are your sole tools of the trade.
Scrambling developed into a popular pastime in response to the constraints many climbers felt during traditional climbing. Free from restrictive equipment, they relished the additional challenge and felt a greater sense of achievement at the end of a scramble. When scrambling can involve everything from negotiating low angle and broken rock to chilly streams and snow-covered slopes, it’s no surprise!
There are limits to where scrambling allows you to climb, however, so those daring to negotiate more challenging ascensions might want to stick to traditional rock climbing, where safety equipment can help you reach much loftier, less accessible heights.
At the other end of the scale there is bouldering, an outdoor pursuit very similar to scrambling which is usually performed on climbs of less than twenty feet tall. It’s far from easy though, and really increases finger strength.
“Scrambling is a fun and challenging way for those with a head for heights to bridge the gap between hill walking and rock climbing. Open to a wide range of ages, it involves movement over exposed terrain using hands and feet and some basic climbing techniques, allowing opportunities for more interesting routes to the summits.”
This adrenaline pumping activity involves whizzing around an off-road track
in hot pursuit of your opponent
Segway racing is a relatively new outdoor pursuit, but one that has positively exploded in popularity.
The first generation Segway was conceived as recently as 1999, when renowned inventor Dean Kamen decided to bring his vision for a highly manoeuvrable, zero emission transportation solution to life.
Since then, this funny looking but surprisingly nippy machine has cropped up at airports and in cities all over the world, offering a convenient form of transportation and a fun way to while away the hours. It was pretty inevitable then, that when the Segway’s versatile potential was discovered, it wouldn’t be long before it moved off paved surfaces...
In 2005 the first all-terrain Segway was developed, and off-road Segway racing soon followed. Not to be underestimated, this adrenaline pumping activity involves whizzing around an off-road track in hot pursuit of your opponent, steering your Segway around unpredictable terrain with just a shift in your body position. In fact, Segways are so easy to drive that variations on Segway racing – like Segway obstacle courses, Segway safaris and even Segway polo – have been developed, and the likes of Piers Morgan, George Bush and Gordon Ramsey have even hopped on a Segway!
“If you’re looking for a great, fun outdoor activity that is accessible to all ages and abilities, a Segway experience is perfect. Easy to master, using your weight to control the speed and direction, it doesn’t take long to become a Segway pro!”