So, why am I writing this blog?

I’ve just read this article on a Facebook post (ooh, the power of the internet!!) and, after a couple of WhatsApp messages to my kids (mum of 4, definitely no more!)… here I am, after hours, tapping away at my laptop.

What’s the article?

It’s a Forbes post on ‘Why You Should Spend Your Money On Experiences, not Things’. 

Well done Forbes – it’s really taken me back to when my children were younger (they’re now 21 to 28 years in ages…. How scary is that?) and time shared at Christmas and on birthdays, and a 3 hour drive to go zorbing for all of 3 minutes before driving 3 hrs home again!

The focus of the article is that experience is not only important to us as humans but also essential at a ‘soul’ level. Experiences become part of our identity.

Why does that matter?

I actually asked my kids this one, because they had to put up with camping in force 7 storms at Three Cliffs Bay, indoor sky-diving when they could have been given the latest Transformer like their friends or running dance classes at the homeless hostel where I used to work.

Did it change them?

Honestly, I don’t know.

But they are now amazing young adults doing awesome, good things and have the courage to take up every opportunity that life offers… or that they create through their own hard work.

>  A daughter who is an adventure lifestyle blogger living in Canada, and who learnt to ride a motorbike to raise money to build a classroom and enable girls in South African to have an education.

>  A son who has travelled through India and New Zealand, now a qualified doctor, who’s completed Wolf Runs, climbed mountains with a broken collarbone, organised beach cleans and will try any new challenge at the drop of a hat.

>  A next son who spent 3 months exploring Australia, New Zealand and Thailand (and got lost for a couple of weeks – another story!) and will say that his phone camera breaking 2 weeks into a 3 month trip was the best thing to happen because he experienced everything rather than taking photos of everything!

>  A next daughter with an awesome values-system who gave her  birthday cake to the homeless centre and is now planning a one year international degree placement and will only work with an ethical business that aligns with her personal beliefs.

Sibling quote, ‘It’s taught us that life is more valuable when you share experiences.’

And what about me?

One of my favourite experiences was Mothering Sunday a couple of years ago when my kids took me paddle boarding on my favourite SUP lake because they knew it would make new, happy memories for me.

How lucky am I?

I’m grateful, on a daily basis, that somehow, someway, somewhere, I seemed to have got a few things right as a parent (heaven only knows how because I’m still waiting for the handbook to arrive from a well-known online shopping site!!).

I’m proud of the people they are growing into and how they contribute compassion, humanity and inspiration to their friends, their communities, and to me… we never stop learning do we?

I’m genuinely lucky to work in an environment that creates memories for people every day they turn up to take part in an adventure activity. Sometimes a little nervous, sometimes a little excited, sometimes a little reluctantly… but they leave with a big smile, heads held a little higher and a new ‘memory in the making’ (my kids will remember me saying this to them over and over!).

Never stop exploring because ‘We are the sum total of our experiences’. (Dr Thomas Gilovich)

Sallie Ryan

(Excited to be a Creator of Opportunities, Possibilities and Memories at Adventure Activities UK)… and yes, of course Gift Vouchers are available!

#livelifewithmoreadventure 

#makemorememories

As many of you are probably aware, the Roy Dennis Foundation has started a consultation on the re-introduction the White Tailed Sea Eagle to the Island.
Picture courtesy of https://visitcoastalnorway.com/2015/01/13/watch-sea-eagles-coast-trondelag-norway/
Sea Eagle in flight

These majestic birds were once commonplace along the whole of the south coast, but as with many of these apex predators, persecution ended their reign in the late 1700’s.

As a closet birdwatcher myself, and having spent a lot of time on the west coast of Scotland, you can imagine my excitement when the idea was first publicised. The re-introduction would be a dream come true. Of course, there is a lot of hard work to be done to ensure the welfare of the birds, but also to ensure land owners, farmers and locals are given the chance to express their concerns.
On a personal level, I feel the project has great potential. I sit at my desk and look out over Tennyson Down, imagining that at some point in the near future I might be watching eagles.
But what is the flip side to this? Is there a negative impact?
I have read the facebook posts and coverage in the local paper and there seems to be real concerns from various parts of the community. Whether you agree with them or not, these concerns must be addressed. It is important to highlight these issues, so that we can all base our decision on fair and relevant information.

As mentioned earlier, I have spent a lot of time in Scotland where there are healthy numbers of both Golden and White Tailed Eagles. I regularly visit the Isle of Mull specifically to see these birds and other species.

Picture courtesy of mull-eagle-watch
Hoody and Sea Eagle sharing the skies
I have been visiting Mull at least twice a year for the past 5-6 years and have seen first hand what the Raptors bring to the Island. There is a thriving tourism industry based around the birds, from guided walks to boat trips out to photograph the eagles feeding. This has allowed local business and land owners to diversify and cater for the influx of tourists each year. I defy anyone seeing these birds in the wild not to be in awe. This is what brings me back time and time again.
So what will all this mean for us? Putting aside the obvious tourism benefits what else will this bring to the fore?
Well, the Island environment lends itself perfectly to the needs of these birds. With rich fishing grounds available through the spring and summer, and countless water birds on our estuaries during the winter. With the introduction of this species comes extensive protection of these environments, ensuring they are kept pristine for generations to come. I have heard concerns over our red squirrel population, but in reality a bird with a 2.5m wingspan would struggle to catch one. Red squirrels already live harmoniously with eagles in Scotland.
During the lambing season I have seen eagles feeding on lambs. Whether the lambs were dead or not prior to eagle feeding I can only guess, but with all the times I have visited Mull I have seen this only once. Mostly I have seen them feeding around the coast.
As an Islander, I support this project fully.
As a birder, I await the outcome of the public consultation with baited breath.
From an ecology point of view I feel we have an obligation to support a species that we were responsible for removing. I look forward to the possibility of seeing these birds alongside all the other wonderful species that call our Island home.
Jim ‘the Bird’ Robotham
Oracle of all things Outdoors

Staring out of the office window gazing at Afton and Tennyson Downs makes me think that it is not a bad life being an old outdoor instructor working on the Isle of Wight. Above the ground I can see a wide variety of birds ranging from buzzards to kestrels, and not forgetting the very pretty goldfinches.

I have spent most of my life living and working in the outdoors, and our island, the Isle of Wight, is up there with the best of them when it comes to stunning scenery, dramatic and varied landscape and  some of the best surf conditions in UK waters.

This time of year is a great time to get outside and enjoy our island and all the outdoor activities that are on offer. The crowds have gone and the 550 miles of footpaths, 70 miles of coastline are virtually devoid of people. The sea is at its warmest, and there is a lot of late autumnal sunshine around to entice everyone to get outdoors and enjoy the natural environment.

Everybody should access the outdoors – it’s free, on your doorstep and accessible 365 days a year. The Isle of Wight is highly accessible, regardless of age, interests or ability. Most of the beaches are now open for dog walkers and even a large number of the sea front parking meters are covered until February so parking couldn’t be easier!

The footpaths and bridleways are generally well maintained and brilliantly way marked allowing you to plan some excellent rambling routes as well as cycling, mountain biking and horse riding trips.    kayak-coaching  

If you prefer something more adventurous, then a wetsuit could be the way forwards to get out in some fantastic waves to surf, kayak, SUP surf or even some open swimming (sea conditions permitting of course!).

Across the island there are a number of clubs and groups that bring like-minded people together to enjoy outdoor activities if you prefer to live life beyond the living room. As with Adventure Activities, you can also book to explore new environments through guided tours or activities with an instructor-led session.

The benefits of being outdoors and taking part in any type of activity are huge and well documented, even scientifically proven. Being active and connected to natural environments improves your mental, physical and emotional well-being, gets you fit and blows away the cobwebs in a way that TV never does… and it’s a whole load of fun too!

So what are you waiting for?

Get on your walking boots and big bobble hat, or wetsuit and buoyancy aid, and just DO IT!

Oh, and there are also a large number of excellent warm and friendly pubs, hotels and cafes to retire to after your adventures in the outdoors!

 

Archie McGhie (Senior Instructor, Exponent of the Great Outdoors and 1st time blogger)   

Book your Adventure here >>>   

#livelifewithmoreadventure   #getoutdoors   #winteriswaiting

 

I love sea kayaking.

I love the Isle of Wight.

I love coaching people.

It’s always a pleasure therefore to be asked to deliver coaching and courses for groups. When the group is a multinational conglomerate from Greece, Portugal, Germany, Chile, the UK and Austria it becomes a challenge, and I like a challenge!

The aim of the week was to deliver a whole suite of British Canoeing courses which included some of the brand new coach awards. We succeeded in running the Core Coach, Sea Coach Discipline Specific Training, Coastal Navigation, Moderate Water Leader training and, only just, a Moderate Water Leader assessment – the weather nearly got the best of us on that last one, but a quick bit of jiggling the timetable around and some rescheduling of meetings and ferries and we managed it. 

The team spent the week in a stunning rented house in Totland, which I’m sure vexed a few locals, to have a continuous stream of soggy sea kayakers flowing through the quiet street. It was extremely comfortable, although the ongoing and relentless discussions (read: arguments) on the appropriate temperature that the heating should be set at provided much, and continued amusement for ‘those of me’ not staying at the house. 

We ran the week very much as a workshop type event. The more experienced and higher trained helped those of less experience, which added a really supportive feel to the 9 days. Those who were newly trained coaches achieved ‘logged experience’ and mentoring support in running coaching sessions for the others.

… And the conditions for the week were awesome! High wind, huge swell, flat calm, almost glassy surfaces, awesome surf and stonking tides.

     

Next year we will be running another course for the same group, and we’ve added a sheltered water week based in West Sussex next year as well which will include SUP for them as well.

If you’d like a similar week for your club or group then get in touch and we’ll put it together. 

Owen Burson (Chief Adventure Officer)

Get in touch | owen@adventureactivitiesuk.com  | 01983 755838

#livelifewithmoreadventure

WE’RE RECRUITING!

Join our awesome 2019 Seasonal Adventure Instructor team!!

Adventure Activities UK prides itself on having the most passionate, talented and qualified Adventure Instructors on our team, which is why we offer one of the most comprehensive training programmes available in the Outdoor Industry!

Here’s what you need to know…

We require a team of high quality and committed individuals to join our rapidly expanding Adventure Activities organisation ready for the 2019 season.

This programme will give individuals the opportunity to develop skills beyond the Instructor role and to get involved in all aspects of our outdoor business.

FIND OUT HOW TO APPLY HERE

#AwesomeComesAsStandard #livelifewithmoreadventure #IOW #LiveWhereYouPlay

Sport England has released its latest report on adult levels of activity for 2017/18 – and we completely agree that the Isle of Wight is one of the best places in the UK to get active!

What does ‘being active’ mean?

For many people, it may be taking the dog for a walk, using the stairs more or leaving the car at home whenever possible.

In this Active Lives Adult Survey (May 2017/18) report, it shows that people on the Isle of Wight are getting out for more than 150 minutes each week on average.

At Adventure Activities UK, we consider ourselves truly lucky to have our head office on the stunning Isle of Wight, which means being outdoors and active is part of the lifestyle of island living for most of us.

Just a job?

Our staff are not only highly qualified instructors, but they’re all really passionate about the activities we provide for all our customers – whether you’re a visitor to the island, coming along as a family or friends group, part of a school residential trip, or a young person coming along as part of our new Alternative Adventures for those who have individual needs.

We have team members who do loads of outdoor ‘stuff’ in their spare time, which just makes them even better at their jobs because it’s what we all love doing – being active and sharing our love of learning new skills and activities… outdoors!

Get active!

It’s well known that being active supports physical, mental and emotional wellbeing but it also strengthens social bonds, develops self confidence and gives people (you and us!) a greater sense of achievement.

#GetActive #GetOutdoors #DoWhatYouLove #LiveLifeWithMoreAdventure

 

 

Today is World Mental Health Day. With modern life impacting so many people through mental health issues, it is now more important than ever to embrace the outdoors.

I, like thousands of others suffer with depression and anxiety. Mental health doesn’t discriminate and reaches every corner of society.

Something that is integral in managing my faulty brain is going outdoors. Doing something as simple as walking down to Sainsubury’s for a half price pack of party rings can have a cathartic effect!

Using the outdoors to combat mental health is well documented and I try to get outdoors as much as possible. I know sometimes it can be super hard to get the motivation to go out and do stuff. Even prior to my diagnosis, I could be guilty of having just one more coffee or watching just one more of my favourite series on Netflix as the rain pummels on the window.

Once out and about though, I can feel my brain relax and focus on what is around me rather than always looking inwards.

Whether I don my wetsuit or grab my binoculars to miss-identify countless birds, it is rarely time wasted. The outdoors can offer so much, yes it’s important to talk about stuff, but you need to take every opportunity to ease that weary mind.

So mental health issues or not lets get outside…. now where did I leave that bird book?

Jim Robotham
Adventure Activities UKbased on the beautiful outdoor haven aka Isle of Wight

#WorldMentalHealthDay #GetOutdoors #DoMoreGoodStuff #BeKindToYourself

Emma is one of our Adventure Activities IOW Superstar Trainee Instructors. The following post was written by Emma based on some of the Bushcraft training she recently received in her instructor training.

‘Last week I took a trip down to the woods, which is not normally my hang out spot. A very different view point from my paddle board view or the Freshwater Coffee Shop where I spend most of my time!

The wood had something very different to offer, it was an education let me tell you! Without the protection of my 5mm wetsuit or my Almond Latte I was in for a bit of a forest awakening…

The forest I am referring to was Brighstone Forest, where we regularly bring groups of all types to explore some Bushcraft (Bushcraft is the term used to describe Wildness Survival skills!), normally being an assistant or a helpful hand to these groups I had never truly dived into the brushcaft world… till now!

I thought I would share the 5 things I learnt from Brushcraft training….

 

  1. A hashtag is more than just a way of getting likes on Instagram!

 A hashtag fire is what I found to be one of the many and easiest ways (In my opinion) to get a roaring fire, that is defiantly an Instagram worthy photo! It is literally a dose what is says on the tin, you start with a layer of larger sticks sitting next to each other all facing the same way. The next layer is the same but rotated 90degrees, just like a hashtag! Think of it like you are setting up a Jenga game. This continues with each layer being smaller size sticks until you are just putting small twigs on the top. You would then layer hay, shavings and cotton wool to finish it off. And there you have a hashtag that will keep you warm and cook your dinner!

  1. Where you lay your head is everything 

 One of the many things we covered was wild camping and how to build a shelter that you can survive the night in, and let me tell you a forest mattress is amazing! (Fun fact your body needs to maintain a core temperature of approximately 37oC (98.6oF) to stay warm). When I first started building the shelter I thought using wood on the ground of the shelter was a waste of wood and time, but when taking a break, I wriggled into my shelter and had a sit down, the damp and cold instantly started to creep up my legs. I couldn’t imagine how I would ever stay warm laying on the forest floor all night. However we then learnt that making a bed of leaves and sticks is a far more efficient and comfortable way of spending a night on the forest floor!

  1. A top tip!

There are some little things that can really help you fend for yourself if you were ever stuck out in the wild. This is one of my favourites…

Waterproof matches! These are so simple and so useful and you can make them very easily at home. All you have to do is take some normal matches and dip the top half in melted candle wax and let it set. If you were planning a little expedition into the wild this is a really easy little technique that keeps your matches dry when the skies decide open on your camp!

  1. I could have been a carpenter in another life 

An amazing thing we were taught was how to carve wood into useful objects, mine was a butter knife. Silly as it sounds it was amazing!! I have never got into an activity as much as I did making my little butter knife. My favorite part was carving detail into the handle to which I added an Aztec style. We also learnt all about the best wood to use, how and where to get it. When asked what I was doing that evening I had to stop myself from saying more carving!

  1. Know your Bear Grilles from your Ray Mears 

Knowledge is everything, there is so much to know and learn in Brushcraft. And each part of my training, whether it be knowing my Ash from a Sycamore tree or knowing how to make fresh drinking water. I feel I have just touch on the tip on the knowledge and I can and will go so much deeper. 

So, there you have it my top 5 Bushcraft Tips, it was a struggle to pick just 5. I learnt so much on my course and still have so much to learn and can’t wait to get started on furthering my journey in Bushcraft’

 

Adventure Activities IOW offer Bushcraft experiences for everyone. Whether you’re a family, party, stag or hen group, school group or just want to learn some nifty skills yourself. Our 2 hour introduction to Bushcraft based in Brighstone Forest teaches you a range of basic woodland survival skills from Fire making to basic tool making! 

Emma 

Special thanks to Adventure Activities and Ed the Tree

The whole Adventure Activities UK team were beyond excited this morning to discover that our very own Aiden, has been shortlisted for the ‘Inspiring Educator Award’ in the 2017 Outstanding Contribution to Learning Outside the Classroom Awards by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC). 

These awards “recognise individuals and teams of people who are committed to ensuring that young people have inspiring experiences outside the classroom” in the very shorttime that he has worked in Outdoor Education we know that there are countless examples of Aiden delivering just that to a wide range of Adventure Activities Isle of Wight’s clientelle. Whether he is working with school groups, NCS programmes, corporate groups, tourists, or on a one-to-one basis, Aiden is an outstanding Instructor and Outdoor Educator, and a pleasure to be around. He is passionate and dedicated to sharing unforgettable Adventures with everyone he is lucky enough to be working with, and his positive and happy demeanor is both infectious and inspiring to clients and colleagues.

Just to be shortlisted for this award is an honour, but we would LOVE IT if he won!

Here is where you lovely people come in… the winner will be decided by public vote. If you have had the pleasure of meeting Aiden you will know that how much he deserves this award. We would be so grateful if you would follow this link and please vote for Aiden Clark – voting closes on the 23rd October 2017.

If you want to know more about why we decided to nominate Aiden for this award, read on…

Aiden started working at Adventure Activities UK in April 2016 as an Apprentice Instructor. He was chosen from a large number of applicants for many reasons, but mainly for his enthusiasm, positive attitude and ebullient personality. Over the past year these traits have allowed him to grow into a very confident and competent outdoor educationalist.

Aiden is a skilled practitioner in many land and water based activities. He is the lead instructor in our Opportunities programme, which works with disaffected young people. Aiden’s versatility allows him to adapt his teaching style with ease between working with our NCS Residential programmes, ‘Young Adventurers’ Holiday club, school groups, additional needs groups, and also family and adult tourism bookings. Aiden has shown that he has the skills and abilities to inspire and encourage people of all ages to achieve the very best they can during their time in his sessions.

A stand out case on Aiden’s influence and positive affect is his continued work with  a child with Pathological Demand Avoidance and Sensory Processing Disorder. This child was very keen to have a go at archery and climbing, but his mother was very concerned about his ability to listen to others and follow instructions. After just one session with Aiden they were so impressed that they have been coming on a weekly basis for the past few months. The child’s mother wrote to AAUK to express her thanks to Aiden and mention how much the sessions have developed her sons cognitive abilities, confidence and social skills

A further example comes from one of the disaffected young people attending our Opportunities Programme, who felt like Aiden was more like a ‘big brother’ due to his positive and inspirational approach. This impact has been huge for the young person’s social, emotional and personal development.

At the other end of the scale, Aiden has developed and leads both the ‘welcome’ speech and final sessions with our NCS residential groups (135 teenagers). These ‘final note’ sessions may by a Mr Motivator style morning dance-workout, a wide game, or a final brief of how the week’s activities have fulfilled the NCS criteria. Aiden is always one of the staff mentioned on the feedback forms from both the staff and young people. He is said to be inspirational, caring and fun.

At the end of this summer season Aiden will be taking up his place at Brighton University to undertake a Sports Coaching Degree with the view to becoming a teacher. This will be a great loss to AAUK, but a great gain for the teaching profession and all the young people he will come in to contact with.

Throughout his short time at AAUK Aiden has had a very positive affect on the lives of a great many young people. His hard work and positive attitude combined with his outgoing personality have impacted on the social, emotional and personal development of many. We feel that he is very worthy to be nominated for the LOtC Educator Award.

We all have our fingers firmly crossed!!

Awards for Outstanding Contribution to LOtC

 

Bushcraft is something everyone can gain skills in and have fun learning. Our Isle of Wight Bushcraft introductions are run by a Bushcraft specialist who has years of experience in outdoor living and teaching bushcraft. We utalise the best locations on the Isle of Wight for our Bushcraft courses. We provide all the equipment you need, and even the food and drink for you to experiment with on the fires that you will make using traditional methods – no matches here!
This is an ideal family activity whatever the weather. You’ll build a shelter together and then learn to make fires. You can relax together enjoying some food and drink that you have made. All the time you’ll have an experienced bushcraft instructor there to show you what to do and to give you loads of advice on tips and techniques. Great fun for everyone no matter what age!