By: Blonde Two
So far this year the Two Blondes have taught navigation skills at two different South West walking festivals. Which is interesting because before this year, I hadn’t been to any sort of festival at all!
Our first festival experience was the Dartmoor Walking Festival (to be repeated August 26th to September 3rd 2017) for which we ran our wettest Navigation for Beginners workshop (other, dryer activities were available).
Our second was last weekend, for the East Devon Walking Festival, also known as the Sidmouth Walking Festival (to be repeated mid September 2017). If you have never walked the East Devon coastline, you really should, it is stunning.
Both festivals offered a such a wide variety of walks and events, that I am convinced there would be something on the menu for everybody. From wild food foraging and Jurassic geology to informative town strolls and Nordic walking, the walkers of Devon have been spoilt for choice.
But not just local walkers; on both of our navigation walks we have met people who have come from all over, specifically to attend the walking festivals. Which just goes to show what a great idea they are for promoting an area and boosting visitor numbers. It was interesting talking to people about why they had come; some said that they had walked a lot in the past and weren’t sure why they had stopped, some said that they enjoyed walking but didn’t usually have someone to do it with and others wanted to gain a bit more confidence in their local area.
Our map reading and navigation sessions this year have been a massive success. We ended up with nearly double the expected number of people on the East Devon one and still managed to teach everybody something new. We have had so much positive feedback we can’t stop smiling! Lots of people want to come back to hone their new-found skills and we are in the process of talking to Dartmoor National Park about organising some consolidation days.
There are walking festivals all over the UK; we Blondes particularly like the sound of the Walk Scilly Festivals (October 13th – 17th 2016 and April 1st – 7th 2017). Blonde One has told me so much about the islands that I know I have to go sometime. When better than when walking is top of the things-to-do list? (It would be amusing, I think, to be there on April 1st, when surely there will be some actual silly walking?) You can find out more about these great walking opportunities here.