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Charity Fund Raising Mud Run Challenge

August 22nd, 2013

Runners and outdoor pursuits’ enthusiasts are being encouraged to take part in a fun, yet gruelling, challenge this autumn to help raise vital funds for the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity. The Shropshire Mud Run Series, organised by outdoor activities company Ultimate Fitness Experience, is a 10K challenge which takes participants through ditches, caves and trails and, of course, plenty of mud!

The team at Ultimate Fitness Experience is planning two events to help raise money for the charity. The Follies Mud Run at Hawkstone Park in Shrewsbury takes place on Saturday 28th September 2013, while the Marshbrook Mud Run at Church Stretton is being held on Saturday 30th November 2013.

Fitness coach Tom Meehan said, “We’re aiming to attract over 250 entrants to each of the mud runs, and we’re encouraging people taking part to raise sponsorship money for the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity. In addition, proceeds from the car parking at each event will be donated to the charity.”

Maria Jones, Shropshire fundraising manager, for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, adds: “The Shropshire Mud Run Series sounds like great fun and will be an excellent way help boost funds for our service. At Midlands Air Ambulance we don’t just attend missions where patients require urgent medical treatment, we also airlift people who have had accidents in remote areas where land ambulances just can’t get to the scene, so support of the mud runs from keen runners and outdoor enthusiasts will really assist our fundraising total.”

You can kit yourself out from head toe with Sub Zero – hats, gloves, socks, baselayers and a great warm jacket to cheer you up at the finish.

Entrance for each run will cost £26 and if you would like to find out more about the Shropshire Mud Run Series, visit www.shropshiremudrun.com. For more information about Midlands Air Ambulance Charity, contact the team on 0800 8 40 20 40, alternatively visit www.midlandsairambulance.com .

 

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View The Northern Lights At UK Campsites

August 16th, 2013

According to experts at NASA, November 2013 is supposed to be the best year ever for the Northern Lights, a natural phenomenon which causes unearthly-like colours to dart around the night sky. What better way to view them than from a great British campsite where light pollution is at a minimum and you can lie back and enjoy the view? The north east of England and Scotland are said to be amongst the best potential viewing points in the UK so Pitchup.com has compiled a guide to Northern Lights spotting from some of its best-positioned sites.

  • Bluebell at Birdsong Garden is a cosy glampervan located in a secluded English garden in Alnwick, Northumberland. This is a perfect location for enjoying views of the night sky as there is no light pollution and a double outdoor hammock in which guests can lie back and look towards the glowing night sky. A two night stay in November costs £90 for the van.
  • Ayres Rock Hostel and Camp Site on the Isle of Sanday in the Orkney Islands is about as remote a location as anyone could wish to find for spotting the Northern Lights. With a clifftop location, visitors enjoy panoramic and unspoiled views for miles around. During the day there are beautiful sandy beaches to walk along, wildlife to spot and a lighthouse to explore. Accommodation options include tent pitches, camping pods and a two bedroom holiday home. Prices start from as little as £12 per pitch, per night.
  • Tan Hill in North Yorkshire is another location that is expected to offer a stunning light show and Usha Gap Campsite is just five miles away. Set on a working farm, campers on this site can pitch a tent or bring along their own touring vehicle. With beautiful views of the surrounding valleys and hills it’s an ideal choice for enjoying the night sky. Pitches cost from £24 per night.
  • For a more rustic experience, Cowclose Woodland at Consett, County Durham is a wild style campsite where visitors walk 1km to their rural peaceful site. The idea is for visitors to truly get back to nature. There are cooking facilities on site including wood fired pizza ovens, barbecue grills and fires for warmth. Once on site, visitors can truly get in touch with nature and enjoy their natural surroundings – another great spot with no light pollution. There is room for just 20 tents and pitches cost from £20 per night.

Multi-award winning Pitchup.com is a free guide to all types of camping and caravanning in the UK, Ireland and France. The site provides users with a simple platform in which they can search and book a camping or caravanning holiday. The site goes beyond traditional searches by allowing users to search for a site based on more than 80 criteria, such as adults only and campfires allowed, and view nearby events, Good Pub Guide pubs and VisitBritain attractions.

For more information, visit www.pitchup.com

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Top Tips For Planning Your Own Outdoor Microadventures

August 5th, 2013

Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’. Modern adventurer Alasdair Humphreys believes, “You do not need to fly to the other side of the planet to find wilderness and beauty.” Put the two observations together and outdoor adventures can start on your doorstep.

Alastair loves microadventures – www.alistairhumphreys.com/microadventures – where you can have fun for an evening, a night, a day or weekend with challenging or relaxing time spent outdoors. We call them ‘micrads’ and with our help at Sub Zero Store, you can most the most of the time. How much more fun at work would it be to share the experience of an overnight bivvy rather than talk about last night’s TV?

 

Here are some tips to start you on your way:

  1. If time is tight, you might want to consider doing a little research or, at least, thinking before setting out. On the other hand, you can just pack a few essential and head off. Sometimes, planning an off-beat micrad can be half the fun off actually carrying it out. Freedom to set your own challenges, timescale and style is what it’s all about
  2. If you’re planning to stay out overnight, consider where you might sleep – and how. Or walk through the night for a completely different experience.
  3. Aim to travel as light as possible, bearing in mind your safety and comfort. Into your rucksack, pack a sleeping bag, sleeping mat, waterproofs, map, head torch, something to eat, a full water bottle and a small first aid kit. Spare warm clothing, such as a base layer set or down jacket, is sensible and you might want carry a small stove and tent or tarp if your micrad would benefit from carrying the extra weight.
  4. If you’re not bothered about carrying the weight, then a few luxuries, like an iPod, phone and favourite snacks will take up little room. If you’re heading for the hills or remote areas, then it’s sensible to carry a map, compass, whistle and bivvy bag.
  5. Check the weather before you leave but, unless the forecast is dire, don’t let bad weather put you off – make dealing with it part of the adventure.
  6. It’s always sensible to let family or friends know what you’re planning to do and how long you’ll be away.

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Free Outdoor Training For Mock Students At Plas y Brenin

July 22nd, 2013

Throughout the year Plas y Brenin (PyB) runs training and assessment courses in various activities and, in order to make the courses as authentic as possible, ‘mock’ students are used so that the candidates can accurately display their tuition and/or assessing skills. Being assessed for a high level qualification is a very stressful experience for the candidates and in order to provide them with as fair an assessment as possible PyB looks for mock students who have enough but not too much, relevant experience and a high level of commitment to the day. This is a great way to gain experience, confidence and free coaching! An experienced instructor will of course be closely supervising the candidates throughout the day. Courses currently using mock students are outlined below, along with a brief note of the level of mock student PyB is looking for.

 

Mountain Assessor Training Workshops – this is an opportunity for Mountain Leader Trainees to have a ‘mock assessment’ by candidates training as assessors.

 

Mountain Instructor Award Assessments and Re-assessments – this is an opportunity for novice climbers to learn/develop their skills on multi-pitch crags, on occasions there are also opportunities for days scrambling. No previous experience required.

 

 

BCU-UKCC Level 2 Coaching Paddlesport Assessments and Enhancement Courses – this is an opportunity for novice paddlers to learn/develop their kayak and open boat skills; no previous experience required.

 

BCU-UKCC Level 2 Moderate Water Assessments – this is an opportunity for flat water paddlers keen to be introduced to white water kayak, canoe or sea kayaking.

 

 

BCU-UKCC Level 3 Coaching Paddlesport Discipline Specific Assessments – this is an opportunity for intermediate paddlers keen to be introduced to or develop their skills in white water kayak, white water canoe or sea kayaking.

 

BCU-UKCC 4 Star Leaders Award Assessments – this is an opportunity for experienced paddlers (kayak, open boat or sea kayak) to have a guided day out; you should be already happy paddling at 4 star level (you do not need to hold the award). If you are looking to complete your four star, then this a great opportunity to experience an assessment without being assessed and see what it is all about and the level expected.

 

BCU-UKCC 5 Star Leaders Award Assessments – this is an opportunity for experienced paddlers (kayak, open boat or sea kayak) to have a guided day out; you should be already happy paddling at 5 star level (you not need to hold the award). If you are looking to complete your five star then this a great opportunity to experience an assessment without being assessed and see what it is all about and the level expected.

 

 

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MountainSafe Partnership Advice For Sponsored Events

July 2nd, 2013

With an increase in the number of organised events taking place on Snowdonia’s mountains, organisers and participants are encouraged to take extra precautions before embarking on such challenges. Recently, there has been an increase in sponsored walks and charity events being held in Snowdonia, which in turn has resulted in an increase in the number of emergency calls as groups get into difficulty on the mountains. As a result, the MountainSafe Partnership is appealing to organisers and participants to prepare themselves thoroughly before venturing on their challenge, and to be responsible and safe whilst enjoying the experience of walking the mountains of Snowdonia, and fundraising at the same time.

 

On behalf of MountainSafe, its Chairman Phil Benbow said, “We are eager for people to enjoy themselves as they come to Snowdonia and therefore are asking people to remember five things before they start out:

1. Prepare in advance by ensuring that all participants are aware of the challenge ahead of them and that they are fit and are properly equipped.

2. Weather – check the Met Office website for the latest weather forecast for Snowdonia and don’t be afraid to cancel your event if conditions are unfavourable.

3. Stay together – you are only as strong as your weakest member. Consider the whole group – don’t leave anyone behind.

4. Remember to have a backup emergency plan. There is no guarantee of a phone signal in the mountains and the mountain rescue service is an emergency service for emergency cases only.

5. Respect the mountain, local communities and other people and follow all local codes of conduct, including the Countryside Code, and take your litter home with you.

 

In remembering these five important points, participants are more likely to enjoy their experience and to succeed in their effort to raise money for their favourite charities. “

 

John Grisdale, Chairman of the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team, added, “My concern about these groups is based on their lack of understanding of the mountains and the environment. For example, last week, we were called out to rescue three young men who decided not to follow the normal path. They weren’t wearing appropriate clothing or shoes, they didn’t have any directions, no leader and the gully they got stuck on was precarious for the rescue helicopter. Although most achieve their goal with a sense of satisfaction, if weather conditions are unfavourable, and there is a lack of knowledge by walkers, there’s an increased risk of accidents.”

 

Further advice on organising events in the mountains of Snowdonia can be found on Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team’s website – www.llanberismountainrescue.co.uk/news/sponsored-events-on-Snowdon –  or contact the National Park Authority – parc@eryri-npa.gov.uk.

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Long Distance Challenge Walks In Northumberland

June 18th, 2013

Up for a challenge?

Challenge walks are, more or less, exactly how they are named. Completing a long walk in the company of others, often with checkpoints along the way, and usually to be completed within a set time. They can be very demanding and not to be undertaken lightly but they are also loads of fun and a structured event offers loads of support. Shepherd’s Walks has a number of these events set in the stunning scenery of Northumberland. Each walk has checkpoints with water stations and there’s first aid cover and support vehicles available for walkers who have to drop out on the route.

 

  • Cragside Challenge Walk, 29 June – starting from Cragside, near Rothbury, the 13 mile route takes in the Simonside Hills.
  • St. Cuthbert’s Challenge Walk, 10 August – after checking in at Wooler, walkers will be transferred to Melrose to walk along the lovely 19.5 mile cross-border section of this long distance route.
  • Kielder Challenge Walk, 7 September – walkers make a 25.3 mile circuit of Europe’s largest man-made lake.

 

Items of kit that should be a necessity in your backpack for a long distance challenge walk is a map and compass (and know how to use them!), a whistle to signal search and rescue if an emergency arises, windproof and waterproof clothing, extra warm clothes including a base layer set, food and drink, a torch for path finding at night and for signalling, hat and gloves, and a first aid kit that includes sunscreen.

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For more information visit www.shepherdswalks.co.uk

 

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New Stone Pillars On Snowdon

June 9th, 2013

To encourage walkers to follow the correct footpaths on Snowdon and in order to reduce the number of call-outs to the local mountain rescue team, a number of distinctive stone pillars, recycled from local disused buildings, will be strategically placed on the mountain this summer.

In recent years, it has become evident from Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team’s reports that walkers tend to get into difficulties in the same places on Snowdon. As a result, and following detailed discussions with Snowdonia’s MountainSafe Partnership and with the full support of the Northern Snowdonia Local Access Forum, the Authority has decided that setting stone pillars will be more sustainable and less obtrusive than ordinary signage.

The initial phase of the project entails setting one stone pillar at the foot of each of the six main paths up Snowdon with the name of the path etched on its surface. This will then be followed by setting other stone pillars in places which have proven to be problematic for walkers in the past. Therefore, for safety reasons only, stone pillars will be placed to mark Bwlch y Moch and Crib Goch to encourage people not to go along these routes by mistake, another stone pillar will be placed to identify the intersection of Llanberis Path and Snowdon Ranger Path as walkers often mix up the two paths. Also, a stone pillar will be placed on the summit to identify accurately where the Watkin Path begins and another stone pillar to identify Bwlch y Saethau as walkers often make the mistake of descending the mountain this dangerous way.

Mair Huws, Head of Wardens and Access at the National Park Authority explained the scheme further, “Obviously, we can’t ignore all the incidents that occur on Snowdon. Erecting signs all over Snowdon is not acceptable, therefore placing these stone pillars on the mountain is sustainable, it is a convenient way to keep people informed without being intrusive, and will not affect people’s enjoyment of the mountain. By placing them in this way, our hope is to create as little impact on the landscape and the atmosphere of the mountain as possible, encouraging walkers to be safe and responsible at the same time.”

The Snowdon Paths are the Llanberis Path, Rhyd-Ddu Path, Snowdon Ranger Path, Watkin Path, Miners Track and the PYG Track. More information about the footpaths can be found on the Authority’s website, www.eryri-npa.gov.uk.

 

Of course, don’t rely on signs to navigate around the mountain. Keep your map and compass handy and to make sure your rucksack is packed with:

 

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Join The Walking Revolution

April 26th, 2013

Ramblers ‘Get Walking Week’ is supporting Britain on Foot, a campaign to encourage more people in Britain to get active in the great outdoors. If you know somebody who would like to ‘Get Walking’, then point them to our home page to make sure they stay warm and comfortable with Sub Zero performance clothing and accessories.

From 4-11 May, the Ramblers will be hosting Get Walking Week – Britain’s biggest ever short walks festival – with thousands of walks across GB, aiming to get 100,000 people to their feet. The Ramblers knows that getting more people out walking will lead to healthier and happier lifestyles, so this May they’re making it easier than ever to take those first steps. During Get Walking Week there’ll be thousands of free short walks of 5 miles or less led by experienced walk leaders all throughout Scotland, Wales and England, taking place in countryside, cities, and along the coast.

Walking has endless benefits, especially brisk walking: It’s good for your health; it lifts your mood; it is a fun, social activity that almost anyone can do without any specialist gear or equipment; it’s easy to fit into busy lifestyles; and you can start slowly and build up gradually – just to name a few.

Benedict Southworth, Ramblers chief executive, said, “We want people all over Britain to join the walking revolution and take their first steps towards a healthier and happier lifestyle. We’ve seen so many different people benefit from regular walking and we know it can make a positive impact on people’s lives.”

In England, Ramblers groups will be leading plenty of walks for all to enjoy. Walking for Health, England’s largest network of health walk schemes, run by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support, will also be inviting people across the country to walk with their local schemes, to help them get walking and keep walking.

In Wales during the weekend of 4-6th May Ramblers Cymru will be hosting the Big Welsh Walk – inspiring families to take to their feet for some quality family fun outdoors. A flagship event in Cardiff’s Bute Park with family friendly activities will kick of the festival on 4th May.

In Scotland there’ll also be a variety of short walks to choose from, and with it being the Year of Natural Scotland, there is no better time to get outdoors and get active in beautiful surroundings.

For more information, visit www.ramblers.org.uk/getwalkingweek; Facebook – www.facebook.com/ramblers; Twitter – twitter.com/RamblersGB

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Good Clothing Advice For Spring Walks

April 18th, 2013

Despite the benign appearance of many British landscapes, it pays to be well-prepared for fast-changing weather conditions when out for a day’s walk.

Baselayers are the foundation of comfortable outdoor clothing. With a variety of styles, weights and materials available, there’s bound to be an option that appeals – and at prices that mean there’s no need to stick at just one! Underwear for women who love the outdoors has been a rather neglected area but we have top options for active women. Plus, we haven’t forgotten about the kids who get their own sizes in thermals to share the fun and stay outdoors longer.

Midlayers add extra insulation that turns a chilly day out into a cosy adventure. For general use, down the pub or at work, they are versatile, smart and hard wearing.

Softshell has really come of age and is no longer seen as an ‘odd’ category. Technical fabrics combined with shrewd design and sound manufacturing result in garments that are versatile and flexible in use in a wide variety of conditions. Windproof, warm and almost waterproof, softshell is a great choice for most days outdoors in Britain.

Headgear rounds off dressing sensibly outdoors – you can’t have too many hats! It’s not just hats, of course, and our neck tubes offer a range of ways to make the most of the benefits of the simple but effective design.

Cold hands and fingers can ruin an active day out so our thermal, windproof and waterproof gloves are ideal for staying comfortable whatever the weather. With head and hands sorted, don’t forget to treat your feet and toes with thermal and waterproof socks.

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Quick Guide To Britains National Parks

April 16th, 2013

Make the most of the late Spring with a good walk in one of our outstanding national parks. Here’s a handy guide with links to help you make up your mind where to go. Why not work your way through them all this year?

Exmoor National Park: 267 square miles make it one of England’s smaller National Parks. For further information go to: www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk

Lake District National Park: Tackle some of England’s highest peaks in the Lake District National Park. For further information go to: www.lake-district.gov.uk

New Forest National Park: The New Forest is situated in the deep south of England, between the urban areas of Southampton and Bournemouth and bounded by the Solent. For further information go to:

www.newforestnpa.gov.uk

North York Moors National Park: Is a true northern treasure. Enjoy tremendous variety within a relatively compact area.

Northumberland National Park: If you wish to discover a landscape of limitless beauty and a welcome that is warm and genuine then Northumberland National Park, the land of the far horizons, will provide

an experience you will not want to forget. For further information go to: www.nnpa.org.uk

The Peak District National Park: The first National Park to be established, the Peak District National Park covers parts of six counties between Sheffield and Manchester. For further information go to: www.visitpeakdistrict.com

The Yorkshire Dales National Park: Sitting astride the central Pennine watershed. The Yorkshire Dales National Park has been described variously as wild, expansive, tranquil and, at times, awesome and bleak. For further information go to: www.yorkshiredales.org.uk

The Cairngorms National Park: Is the UK’s largest national park with a large mountain range at its heart. The habitat offers a secure haven for many of Britain’s rarest bird, animal and plant species. Of particular interest to hill walkers is that four of Scotland’s five highest peaks can be found in this National Park where the arctic wilderness is the largest example of arctic mountain landscape in the British Isles. For further information go to: www.cairngorms.co.uk

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park: Whatever the weather, offers stunning surroundings for your visit. For further information go to: www.lochlomond-trossachs.org

Snowdonia National Park: Covers 823 square miles of the most beautiful and unspoilt countryside in North Wales. For further information go to: www.snowdonia-npa.gov.uk

Pembrokeshire National Park: This is Britain’s only truly coastal National Park. It’s a spectacular landscape of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, wooded estuaries and wild inland hills, and a place of sanctuary for wildlife. For further information go to: www.pcnpa.org.uk

Brecon Beacons National Park: stunning scenery with its own history and heritage, cuisine, traditions, myths and culture. For further information go to: www.breconbeacons.org

Dartmoor National Park: Is a stunningly beautiful area of moorland accented with wooded valleys and windswept Tors (towers). A wide open expanse covering 369 square miles (953 sq. km.), the area features some of the wildest and bleakest country in England. For further information go to:  www.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk

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