Photo credit: LifeSupercharger
Continuing last week’s line up of things to do outdoors in the UK this Summer, welcome to this week’s additions to the list!
Obstacle Endurance Racing
Image Credit: Spartan Race
Finding running isn’t providing enough of a challenge? Getting bored of pacing out the miles? Then let us suggest you sign up for an obstacle race. These events have become something of a phenomenon in the past 3 years, with millions around the globe now signing up to get muddied, wet, and generally pay to endure challenges which can at best be called ‘character-building’. Still, it’s almost unheard of for people to come out the other end without a smile on their face, and it’s often a very popular group test – many of the entrants run for charity. Others don the fancy dress and just do it for the fun of getting fit with a smile on their face! Often followed by big parties at the end; these events are very demanding, and whilst you can enter in most states of fitness, if you really want to enjoy it we’d advise feeling confident in your strengths before signing up!
|Accessibility?||4/10 – You’ll want to be fit for this|
|What Do I Need?||A good pair of trail running shoes is essential. Beyond that you can take it as seriously as you like – fancy dress is very common!|
|Costs?||Event entry starts at £55 for earlybird discounts|
|Where?||Events are held nationwide – you’re probably within an hour of one, but people often travel around the country to get to those on specific dates.|
|How Do I Get Started?||Spartan Race
Survival of the Fittest
Photo credit: Elliot Brown
Horses love open spaces and water, so taking one to the beach can be one of the most exhilarating – yet accessible – adventures most of us can enjoy on horseback! Most of the clubs will only take you to the beaches if you are able to canter confidently, so a beginner lesson or two may have to come first; but stick it through and you’ll have access to this magical experience. In the summer many beaches limit the times you can ride – often hacks (rides) go out in the early morning and evening (9am/6pm), so depending on the time of year you might even get to see the sunset as you splash through the surf.
|What Do I Need?||An ability to ride a horse at canter is essential; apart from that good quality outdoor trousers and boots are the major requirements.|
|Costs?||Stable-run hacks start at around £30-40|
|Where?||Any coastal regions|
|How Do I Get Started?||Studland Stables
Kimmerston Riding Centre
Poltesco Valley Stables
Photo credit: Delta Force Paintball
Paintballing is probably the most fun you can have with a facemask on and – provided you don’t mind ending your weekend with a bruise or two – is a great weekend activity that is open to people of almost all ages and abilities. Definitely one to do with a group of friends or family; everyone is split into teams of up to 30 people, who are sent into different ‘scenarios’ pitching two teams against each other. The objectives vary, but the most common games are ‘capture the flag’, ‘protect the president’ and ‘team deathmatch’. The usual rule is once you’ve been shot (which can sting a bit!) you are ‘out’ of that round, and walk to the side of the game-field where you can observe the rest of the game. Great for bonding, saving a colleague or uncle’s ‘life’ can be something you’ll joke about again once it’s all over. Not to everyone’s taste, but a great adrenaline rush and immensely satisfying!
|What Do I Need?||Some shoes/boots you don’t mind getting muddy, and perhaps some base/midlayers to soften the impact of the paintballs! All other kit will be provided by the centre|
|Costs?||It’s pay-as-you-play; so depending on how much you fancy yourself as the modern-day Rambo, a day’s paintballing can cost anywhere between £20 and £100+|
|How Do I Get Started?||Campaign
For a country that doesn’t give much airtime to ‘action’ sports, the UK has a surprisingly successful track record in wakeboarding. The large number of cable-operating centres – where a cable track (similar to a ski-lift) runs around the lake – across the country is to thank for this; which not only ups the accessibility to the sport, but also reduces the costs of learning and taking part. Wakeboarding involves riding on a board – not too dissimilar to a snowboard – whilst wakeskiing is the updated form of waterskiing. Both feature a variety of jumps and obstacles, depending on your ability level, so there’s always a challenge…the first of which is learning to balance on the water! Getting the knack can be frustrating (not to mention hilarious for any spectators), but it’s very rewarding when you start being able to lap the circuit without incident!
|What Do I Need?||Boardshorts, rashguards, swimming costumes. Wetsuits if the weather is bad, but often the centres will provide this|
|Costs?||Cable sessions start at £25, a beginners course behind a boat from £75|
|Where?||Nationwide, but most centres are in the South and Midlands|
|How Do I Get Started?||JB Ski
Glasfryn Cable Wakepark
Sheffield Cable Waterski
Image credit: The Ancient Brit
A SportPursuit favourite, climbing is a massive past-time in the UK, and getting into it has never been easier. Offering a great all-body workout, a boost of exhilaration, and a large level of accessibility; the first step is usually to get onto an indoors or man-made climbing wall at one of the many centres across the country. From here you can progress to natural walls, or a number of other challenges; so there will always be something to aspire to. A head for heights isn’t as crucial as you might think, as climbing up to a height allows you to work to your limit – and once you trust the equipment you’ll find that this can be gradually stretched with your comfort zone.
Abseiling is the most common way of working back down a climbing wall, but it can also be an exciting pastime in it’s own right – and in a lot of very usual places. The distances can run up to hundreds of feet, and the first time you step out over the drop and let the harness take your weight is a pretty intense moment! Many abseiling events are held in a number of different locations, from natural walls and old buildings, to modern city blocks – so there’s likely one not too far from you! Stopping halfway down a vertical face to take in the scene and your surroundings can be a great moment though, and certainly one that pushes your boundaries. Both climbing and abseiling are open to people of all-ages, and can be done to suit any fitness level; so contact your nearest centre and give it a go!
|What Do I Need?||A pair of trainers/boots, and clothes to match the conditions. All other kit is provided by the centre, but buying your own harness and climbing shoes can be more comfortable than hire kit. A head for heights isn’t essential; just an ability to trust your equipment!|
|Costs?||Taster courses start from £20. Once you know how to use the kit you can climb from as little as £4 a session.|
|How Do I Get Started?||Craggy Island
Mountaineering Council of Scotland
The Best Things To Do Outdoors In The UK This Summer:
|Part 1||Trail Running
Adventure Racing & Urban Adventure Racing
|Part 2||Obstacle Endurance Racing
Wakeboarding & Wakeskiing
Climbing & Abseiling
|Part 3||Quad Biking & ATVs