By: Blonde Two
At the tender age of 52, you would be absolutely right to argue that I am not of any great age. Time, however, does take its toll on one’s mental approach to adventure. For example, I find it hard to believe these days that I used to be quite happy to squeeze into my kayak and throw myself down (and into) fast flowing rivers, slide down weirs and surf the waves (usually upside down). I also find it hard to recall how expert I once became in the art of righting a capsized sailing dingy. I was never particularly brilliant at adventure but I really enjoyed it. All of which was why I was so pleased to be able to accept an invitation from the fabulous team at Land and Wave in Dorset to what they tantalisingly called ’24 Hours of Adventure’.
And what a 24-hours it turned out to be. We arrived at lunchtime on Thursday and, before bedtime, had been treated to self-butchered (more about that later) and campfire cooked venison, honed our axe throwing skills, had a bit of archery practice, learned how to light fires with a pair of old jeans (there’s a bit more to it than that, I will explain sometime), explored our individual bell tents (with actual beds and presents) and dined like kings and queens on the beach overlooking Brownsea Island.
People who love the outdoors are usually great company and my new camp mates were no exception, particularly when fellow Get Outside Champion Dwayne Fields turned up to keep us all laughing.
My inner ‘Give-It-A-Go’ must really have taken purchase on the Thursday because on Friday I was up early to join in with some outdoor yoga and find out that this elegant form of exercise is not just for slim young women and actually both enjoyable and beneficial. After breakfast I had my determination tested as I wrestled myself into a damp wetsuit. I did so much wriggling that the wetsuit soon became a sweatsuit and I only got halfway into it before we were taken, by minibus, down to Swanage Beach for my first ever SUP session.
In my case SUP turned out to be a misnomer because I couldn’t make my legs stand up. I indulged instead in a mixture of LDP (lying down paddleboarding) and KUP (kneeling up paddleboarding). I spent far more time in the water than on my board but it was great fun, especially when the ‘Ultimate Paddleboards’ were brought out. On these we played a variety of team games, most of which involved knocking someone else into the water. I did get eventually get my SUP moment when I managed to run (well walk fast) along both boards and launch myself into the water. The paddleboard-people-pyramid building was a bit beyond my bravery levels but someone had to support the board and end up underneath everyone else when the pyramid collapsed.
I left Land and Wave with a renewed sense, not just of adventure, but of what I might be able to achieve if I stopped telling myself that things weren’t for me. I would like to say a massive thank you to all of the instructors who worked with us. Leading people, especially adults, in the outdoors is no easy matter and they all did a marvelous job. If you fancy giving your adventurous side a bit of an outing, I can thoroughly recommend Land and Wave. As well as great things with youngsters (including DofE expeditions and DofE Gold residential experiences), they run family activities, stag and hen weekends and outdoor fitness sessions, all on the beautiful Dorset coast.
I will be going back very soon, this time with Mr B2 to get wet and adventurous again with a bit of coasteering… I can’t wait!