Walking Holidays

If you’ve got a tricky someone to buy for for a birthday present or a Christmas gift –  like your granddad, stepdad, brother or an outdoorsy couple or active teenager- have you considered the gift of a walking holiday or a guided walk?

Buy them a trip up one of the UK’s most impressive mountains, hills and Munros, or even a day of skill learning that could save their life and feel safe that they are getting taught and guided along by experts. Fresh air, exercise, camping and fun all await the recipient of a guided walk or walking holiday.

A great way to get them out and about with fellow walkers or as a gift to get them out of city life or prepared for a Duke of Edinburgh award you can get the details of their weekend, week or day of walking with GO Activities printed off as soon as you book – and then you can hide the details and give them’ navigation tips’ to find their gift!

For The Expert: The Big Walking Weekend- 2 Day Fort William Guided Walking Weekend

Discover Fort William

Starting from the Glen Nevis Visitor Centre you climb above the valley of Glen Nevis on a good path to Lochan Meal an t-Suidhe to the CIC Hut below the North Face of Ben Nevis, built-in 1929 in memory of Charles Inglis Clark the keen climber who was killed in action during the 1914-1918 War.
From the CIC Hut you climb north climbing to the summit ridge of Carn Mor Dearg, for probably the best viewpoint of Ben Nevis before a descent onto the ridge below, the CMD Arete and then up the final slope to the summit of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK, and one of the greatest viewpoints in Scotland.

Day two is from Glen Nevis, where you follow the valley by the Waters of Nevis and climb to the impressive Steall Falls, a 400ft cascade. You cross the cable bridge here and climb the steep northern slopes to the summit of An Gearanach, the first Munro of the day before climbing again to the summit of Stob Coire a’ Chairn with it’s great views across the Grey Corries.
A gentle descent from Stob Coire a’ Chairn brings you to the rocky ascent to Am Bodach (The Old Man).
The easy western descent from Am Bodach lleads to a short climb over Sgor an Iubhair (now no longer considered a Munro in it’s own right). The ridge now leads north, a narrow arete known as The Devils Ridge which leads to the final summit of the day, Sgurr a’Mhaim, and probably the best viewpoint.
The north-western slopes of Sgurr a’Mhaim provide an easy path down to the valley and a walk back either along the roadside or riverside path back to the start point.

For the Outdoor Couple: The 2 day trip around Wales – Welsh Guided Walking Weekend

Enjoy a Welsh Walking Weekend

“The summit of Snowdon: you are here, nearer to Heaven.”  Said the Welsh National Poet, Gwyn Thomas- so what’s more romantic than a 2 day trip in Wales?

Day 1 is a trip of The Snowdon Horseshoe. From the Pen-y-pass you climb the start of the PYG track, turning off the over used path at Bwlch y Moch and climbing onto the Crib Goch ridge.

Then traverse the Crib Goch ridge from east to west and climb to the summit of Garnedd Ugain from where an easy path will take you around the crest of the ridge above Glasslyn to the summit of Snowdon and the modern summit cafe.

From the summit of Snowdon you will descend to the south east, descending above Llyn Llydaw to the twin summits of Y Lliwedd, following this fine ridge as it curves to the north and descends to the shores of Llyn Llydaw and the Miners Track back to the Pen-y-pass.

Day 2 is a climb of Tryfan and the Glyderau from Idwal Cottage to the lower slopes of Tryfan.
After a short descent to the south of the summit of Tryfan a short but steep climb will bring you to the summit of Glyder Fach and the main Glyderau ridge. The ridge continues west to the summit of Glyder Fawr, the highest summit of the day.

From Glyder Fawr the ridge turns to the north-west, descending past Llyn y Cwn before the long gentle climb to the summit of Y Garn, the final summit of the day.
The route of descent is to the east, down to Lyn Idwal and following the good path back to Idwal Cottage. The Carneddau Range route climbs from the shores of Lyn Ogwen by Cwm Lloer to the summit of Pen Yr Ole Wen. The ridge north from Pen Yr Ole Wen climbs north over Carnedd Fach and then climbs to Carnedd Dafydd. The fine ridge to the north-east now leads to the summit of Carnedd Llywelyn, the highest point of the day. The south-east ridge of Carnedd Llywelyn descends over Pen Yr Helgi Du ridge descending back to the Ogwen Valley and your start point.

For the Summer Hillwalker keen to try Winter Walking: A 2 day Winter Skills Weekend

Learn more on a Winter Skills Weekend

Get the experience of using all of the skills required for Winter. From Ice Axe and Crampon use, Winter Navigation and Avalanche Awareness and Avoidance this course really suits the summer hill-walker who has spent little or no time in the mountains in winter practicing the above skills.

This course covers all of the essentials. You will look at your equipment and see the most efficient ways of using it. Learn how to walk again, using your boot as a tool and learn different ways of moving over snow. Look at the uses of an ice axe and how to safeguard yourself when crossing snow slopes.
Use the axe to arrest ourselves in a fall,
at crampons, how they fit and how to fit them in the Scottish weather and the many ways of using them to move across snow and ice with style!
The day will finish with an avalanche avoidance chat (drinks welcome) in the comfort of the hut in time for tomorrow’s avalanche awareness day.

Day 2 is a course on how not to get lost in the Scottish Mountains
Look at snow slopes, slope aspect, the temperature gradient, avalanche avoidance, route finding, navigation in winter, route planning, terrain traps.
By the end of the day expect to have more knowledge about snow, the snowpack and how we can get an understanding of its stability. You will be able to carry out several tests on the snow to judge this.

For the Group or family of mixed ability – The Scafell Pike Guided Walk

Try Scafell Pike for size!

Standing at 978m Scafell Pike is England’s highest mountain. It sits in the heart of the Lake District surrounded by some of the finest mountains in the country. Scafell Pike has several ascent routes and no matter which one you choose you will be impressed with its rugged nature. On a clear day the views across the entire Lake District are simply breathtaking. This is an ideal route for all levels of mountain expertise.

You start at Wasdale Head where you will start the ascent of Scafell Pike. The ascent usually takes between 2 – 4 hours and can be done at your pace.
This route can also be completed very early morning, late in the day or during the night. It’s up to you!

So there you go. Options for presents for couples, presents for teenagers and presents for dad, step dad, half-brother and granddad!

We have modern family life all covered off with some very traditional, timeless gifts of activity.

What walking holidays have you enjoyed?

Comment below!

GO Activities

Feeling Festive – And Refreshed with GO Activities

Christmas hasn’t even passed but we bet some of you are feeling stodgier than your grandma’s unique Christmas pudding. Boozing, polishing off layers of chocs and all the trimmings can mean you reach January needing a bit of refreshment – or maybe you want to make to make this Christmas a bit healthier!

GO Activities are happy to help. Because we offer outdoor activities all year around we know precisely what would be a great idea for throwing off the cobwebs.

Places Free From January 21st – 2 day beginner caving weekend

This 2 day beginner caving day  will help you take your first steps underground!  This 2 day course is, fun, carefully organised, informative and conducted by highly experienced nationally qualified instructors.

Learn about the cave, its geology and the 300 million years it took to create it. Pick up tips on how to move underground efficiently, maybe try your hand at wet sections, muddy bits or squeezes – and they promise you wont get stuck!!

You can see underground rivers and waterfalls, fascinating pieces of geology, cave decorations or historical sites of past of times and ancient techniques. A wonderful environment that can be made as challenging as you wish. A full day of exploration, adventure and understanding. May include minor climbs/Scrambles.

Places Free From December 19th onwards Archery in The Lakes.

This day will introduce you to this competitive sport, where you can find out who has a steady hand and keen eye and the ability to hit gold!  The session will start with how to safely use the equipment and when to retrieve arrows, then it will be over to you to have a go, with  instructors on hand to help you get the most out of the session.

The courses are run outdoors in a Lake District Farmer’s field.

Are you the next Robin Hood? Or are you going to be the next Olympic Champion?

http://www.goactivities.co.uk/products/1544/archery-target-shooting
Places Free From December 19th onwards Canoeing in The Lakes

http://www.goactivities.co.uk/products/1144/1-2-day-fun-leisurely-open-canoe-session

With this half day canoe tour you will learn basic paddling skills and techniques.  Journey into the quiet bays around the lake shores, visit the islands, stop for a warm drink and munch on a snack whilst enjoying an unobstructed panoramic view of breathtaking scenery from the water.  Then play some water games before we head back!

This session is great for families, groups and complete beginners and suits every one of all ages. You will discover for yourself the places of interest, wildlife, history and geology that have helped shape these undeniably special locations.

Places Free From January 8th – Bushcraft in Somerset

We’re sure many of you have watched in fascination as Ray Mears or Bear Grylls build shelters and light fires with a ease that to many is infuriating!  This course offers you the chance of learning those skills for yourself. The chance to connect with our inner cave man (or woman), to harness those skills we think are long forgotten like lighting a fire without a gallon of petrol, building a shelter and more!

http://www.goactivities.co.uk/products/1657/bush-craft–get-in-touch-with-your-inner-caveman
Places From The 26th December- Kids climbing course in Sheffield

This climbing session is designed for complete beginners or children who wish to attend on regular basis.  It includes all the necessary safety equipment and qualified instructors. Instructors will normally instruct on a 1:6 ratio so that means lots of climbing! It also includes a cold drink and biscuit yum.

Children can also use this session to work through The National Indoor Climbing Achievement Scheme NICAS.

http://www.goactivities.co.uk/products/1157/childrens-indoor-climbing-ages-7-to-12-rockstars

So there are just a few ideas for you and the rest of the family this festive season!

How do you usually stretch your legs around this time of year?

Do you fancy caving, archery, bushcraft skills, canoeing or climbing?

Tell us below!

The Importance Of Navigation

Carry a compass and don’t know how to use it? Carry a map and don’t really know how to read it? Could you find your way off the hill in poor weather in unfamiliar terrain in the dark if you’d wandered off the beaten track?

The importance of navigation skills have been highlighted today with Mountain Rescue in the news today for the work they do. Mountain Rescue work has increased in volume, and they fear that people aren’t prepared to handle the Winter conditions – and not just on mountains either- but hills.

Mountain Rescue is a volunteer led charity who do invaluable work saving lives – but to minimise the risk to them, as well as yourself, navigation skills have never been as important.
We interviewed Mike Park, OBE on his work with Mountain Rescue, who said that there was no such thing as a ‘typical rescue’.

“People fall off cliffs, jump from planes- and the floods were a problem too. The last floods in Cockermouth I was called at 9am one day and wasn’t back home for 5 and a half days! It’s that sort of environment. Mountain rescue is completely voluntary. Sometimes we can do a rescue and people say thing like ‘Why didn’t you come faster’ or they expect you to just pop out of a helicopter immediately, but you have to explain to them that you’ve been at home with your kids. Mountain Rescue is made up of volunteers with normal jobs and lives to lead around rescues.

It’s a big commitment. In the time I have worked for the Mountain rescue I have seen a dramatic increase in the amount if call outs per year. The workload increase had been dramatic! Last year we had about 80 call outs, whereas it was typically 70 or less in the last 5 years. We are busier in general. I would say that isn’t just because of diversity, although we are doing more rescues in urban environments, I genuinely think that the increase has instead come from having more people on the hills in general.

The key issue for Mike was that it’s not mountaineers who are experienced that need to be rescued.

“There’s no certain type of people that are out there needing to be rescued either, it’s just the sheer volume that’s increased what we do. I think there’s a chance of mishaps, especially when you haven’t been out in bad conditions before, but anyone is at risk. Mountain Rescue can be your first port of call if you are on the hills and injured.”

The important thing is to be prepared and to have a good sense of navigation.

A typical GO Activities Navigation Training Day will helps you understand:
• Maps, scales, grid system, grid references
• Concept of the three D’s – Direction, Distance and Detail
• The compass, different types, advantages and disadvantages, measuring and taking bearings, allowing for magnetic variation
• Pacing distances and timing distances, all measuring and calculations,
• Contours – the shape of the land – and interpreting map features

Don’t forget to do the basics before you leave too:

1) Carry a compass and know how to use it correctly
2) Carry a whistle which can be invaluable
3) Keep spare batteries on you whenever possible
4) Always pack more food and water than you think you will need
5) Keep an itinerary with someone of your planned movements if you head out alone
6) Wear warm clothing and carry appropriate gear (first aid kit, emergency blanket.)

To book a navigation training day with GO activities click here 

Do you have any other tips for mountaineers and hill walkers? Leave them in the comment box below!

GO Activities

The Highlands- For Two -£200

The Highlands and Islands may seem a long way off for people below Liverpool. What strange people they must be, living in minus temperatures and surviving merely on drams, hot toddies and Scots Porridge Oats.  But look closer and you’ll see that if you haven’t stepped foot past the Angel of The North – you’ve been missing out.

A trip to Scotland makes a great Christmas gift –so – if it’s getting close to Christmas and you haven’t bought your parents, grandparents or girlfriend a gift – this automatically, online booked, e-delivered and confirmed booking will make your heart sing like a bagpipe. And if you were considering cheap socks and bath salts – then stop! If they looked after you when you were drawing on walls, married you, or didn’t tell your parents about ‘that’ incident back in 1999- then don’t you think they deserve a weekend away?

On the menu:

A stay in a beautiful hotel facing Ben Lomond for 1 night for two – £139

  • AA pub of the Year 2009/2010
  • Winner of a gold medal for bar food at the Scottish Hotel Award 2010
  • Mr.Co’s Fish and Whisky restaurant offers  West Coast fish teas and Buccleuch steaks and burgers
  • 250 whiskies, 30 wines, by the glass, and a quality choice of real ales
  • Traditional live folk music at weekends

A trip wakeboarding for two in Loch Lomond for two – £57.98

Optionals:

  • Trip to a distillery
  • Trip around the Cashel Millenium 800 acre forest
  • A cycle around Ben Lomond
  • Trip to choose your tartan!
  • A trip on the Paddle steam boat around Loch Lomond

Saturday Am – Early doors – Check in at The Inn at Inverbeg – £139 per night

Just have a look at these pictures. I’ve even booked myself in for a weekend. Slick bathtubs, 4 posters, fish and chips, whiskey and a big roaring fire- if this isn’t a good present, then I’m not sure what is!

For £139 a night you have views over Loch or hillside. Warm and cosy, the rooms are fitted with hand crafted walnut furniture and rich fabrics- scrumptious. Or if your boss agrees that holiday bonus, as they say in America, then shell out for £149 per night – all these rooms face towards Ben Lomond. Ben Lomond is on the east side of Loch Lomond, which is 3000ft high!

Click here to book the Inn at Inverbeg!
Saturday plans- Inform your guest they will be walking Ben Lomond. (With the aforementioned part about it being 300ft high this should cause some interesting squawks of disapproval, or, if they are very cool indeed, will see them strapping on their crampons.)

In reality, you can walk around in, cycle around the Lomon ( if you start at Rowardennan, although this isn’t for the easily swayed by heights or steep drops!) or the day could be spent exploring. Saturday could see you enjoying the Cashel Millenium Forest with 800 acres of woodland this is a great walk and very romantic! If the female of the species has anything to do with the weekend then shopping will be crucial. We really recommend a trip to get kitted out at Totally Tartan kilt makers.

After this, kitted in tartan, swathed in the pine tree scent from your walk and laden down with bags, we suggest a trip to the restaurant to collapse in front of fish and chips before staggering cross to the fire for a boozy nightcap.
Then to bed!

Sunday

Yesterday was all about shopping and walking. Today; it’s time for a dram or two. Head to the Glengoyne distillery tour to enjoy, ahem, learning about whiskey. One of you will be the designated driver- unless you have planned ahead and got a train up!
With one of you comically unsteady on your feet you can head to the side of Loch Lomond shore in Balloch for a trip on the Maid Loch, a paddle steamer.

If you prefer to be in water that bobbing on it in a paddle steamer, then a day of wakeboarding for two will be perfect. Glide along the water, be taught all the skills before your arms give out!

So there you have it. A luxury holiday break in the UK for your nearest and dearest- all bookable from goactivities.

To book this package- simply head to www.goactivities.co.uk OR click for wakeboarding and click the dates you would like to book the Inn for – and checkout!

It’s as simple as that. You will receive immediate, printable or forward-able confirmation in your email.

Let us know if you book it!

UK Castles with Accommodation

My castle for my kingdom, king of the castle, an Englishman’s home is his castle, castles in the sky… There’s plenty to be said for staying in a castle.

Stately and high on the horizon, Britain has a variety of castles that have been converted or adapted to make them warm and comfortable enough for today’s standards. (Some even have wi-fi and Blu Ray DVD’s for the easily restless!)

So pack your bags and take The GO Activities virtual tour of the castles Britain has to offer for a short break. From under £30 to some with heli pads- there’s bound to be a regal getaway for you to pick.

Leasowe Castle  From £49.00

Leasowe Castle

With 6 acres of land, and a history dating to 1592 when the 2nd Heir to the English throne built Leasowe Castle to watch horseracing from, this is now an ideal weekend break.

Have a round in the Leasowe Golf Course, enjoy the luxury leisure centre, or just enjoy the views of the sea! In the evening you might even be able to take part in a murder mystery set in the castle!

After your sleep enjoy a big breakfast in the dining rooms, or head to nearby Liverpool for a day of shopping.

You can enjoy a few rounds of golf nearby, or just take a walk for views of the nearby Irish Sea.

Camelot Castle From £98.00 pppn

Camelot Castle Hotel

If you want a castle with a difference then try the Camelot Castle near Newquay.

The birthplace of King Arthur, this is a 64 bedroom hotel with views of the Atlantic Ocean and Cornish coastline with a great restaurant and big comfy beds.

See Ted Stourton’s butterfly paintings in the great hall, or just head up to your room for the beautiful views and then relax in your  iron framed 4 poster bed.

The magical location and warm reception will ensure that even if the coastal weather isn’t spot on then you can still have a magnificent time of it.

Enjoy a hot chocolate with brandy and marshmallows at the bar, or have a coffee before a walk to one of the pubs nearby or a walk around the area.

Then for dinner, enjoy a meal at the Round Table ala King Arthur in the main dining hall, watching the sunset through the windows as you do.

Bath Lodge Castle From £115 pppn

Bath Lodge Castle

For luxury and beauty, look no further than the Bath Lodge Castle. Surrounded by Somerset countryside with a pavilion spa and boutique bedrooms, prepare the explore the deer forest and relax by the flowing stream in the grounds once used as a hunting ground for medieval kings!

Sumptuous bedrooms with luxury toiletries and fluffy robes, Egyptian linen and locally sourced cooked breakfasts in the dining room, an outdoor jacuzzi, relaxing sauna and a decked terrace.

10 miles from Longleat Safari Park. and 40 minutes from Stonehenge this is the perfect weekend break.

Withchery By The Castle ( Edinburgh) From £195 pppn

Witchery By The Castle

Located at the gates of Edinburgh Castle, the 16th century James Thomson’s Witchery is actually a restaurant with rooms, with fantastic food, wine and service.

Visited by Ewan MacGregor, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones, Jack Nicholson and Clarissa Dickson Wright and Andrew Lloyd Webber called it the prettiest restaurant ever!

Explore the building made in 1595 from the Witchery dining room, the Secret Garden and stay in one of the indulgent suites.

Bathe in a claw footed roll top bath, admire the thick velvet curtains in rich colours and wonderful designs and comfy beds, before collapsing into sleep!

With everything taken care of, from your hairdryer to platters full of sweet treats, this is a stay you won’t forget.

Thornberry Castle £120 pppn

Thornbury Castle

The floors of the Thornbury castle where once walked by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. This 500 year-old castle has beautiful, indulgent rooms with real fires but with the modern luxury of colour TVs. Find your welcome decanter of sherry.

The Thornberry is 90 minutes from London by car, although if you are a real mover and shaker there is even a heli-pad on site!

Narrow staircases and big Tudor gardens give a magical feel to the castle, whilst the food is known to be spectacular. Visit the Wye forest or take a drive to Bristol, whatever you feel like.

With an onsite valet and helpful staff at every turn, this is the perfect antidote to budget hotels.

Barcaldine Castle, West Coast of Scotland – From £135

Barcaldine Castle

In the West Coast of Scotland on the shores of Loch Creren lies the 16th century Barcaldine Castle. See the snow-capped mountains of Glencoe or just stay in, relaxing on your king size bed with luxury bed linen and pure new wool throws.

You don’t have to live like a medieval serf either with WiFi, a flat screen HDTV with Blu-ray DVD player, with films available on request, along with a good selection of games and magazines, hairdryer and luxury toiletries you can keep the best bits of the past and the present in harmony for the ultimate scenic, yet comfortable holiday.

The Barcaldine is run like and B& B, so expect guided tours, home cooked food, biscuits and snacks, as well as time alone to explore the spooky dungeons, the library and to learn more about the castle’s history.

Ruthin Castle, Wales – From £65 

Originally built by Edward 1 in 1282 Ruthin Castle is set in 35 acres of gardens and grounds perfect for the romantic getaway (although the easily spooked should stay away from the ruins and dungeons!)

With two magnificent lounges, an oak panelled entrance hall and a bar in the library you can dine in the award winning restaurant or you can experience Wales’s original medieval banquet!

Ruthin Castle is just 42 miles from Manchester airport and 22 miles from Chester railway station.

Barony Castle, Scotland – From £65

Barony Castle

Barony Castle is actually a beautiful mansion house – but it looks so much like a castle we had to include it. First built in 1536 in 25 acres of land this is a quiet and peaceful castle near the Scottish Borders, yet only 40 minutes from the centre of Edinburgh or 5 minutes from the small town of Peebles.

Barony Castle has all you need for luxury – from the indoor heated swimming pool, multi gym, sauna and spa bath. You will be able to eat like a king as well, with a Scottish buffet style breakfast served daily and a 3 course table d’hote menu for dinner!

Around eating and sleeping try mountain biking at Glentress Forest, walking the River Tweed or fishing for salmon and trout. You can also try the Whisky Distillery, and explore the Crystal Factory, local Cashmere and Woollen Mills and Factory Shops and enjoy all the local towns and shops.

The Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel – North Wales- From £140

The Bodelwyddan Castle

The Bodelwyddan, once you get round to pronouncing it, is a beautiful place for a weekend away. With 200 acres of parkland, views of the Clwydian Hills and Snowdonia less than an hour away, the Grade II listed Bodelwyddan Castle is the perfect break.

With ivy clad turrets, this castle has a Jacobean-style staircase, medieval weaponry in the entrance hall, a sculpture gallery, vaulted ceiling, original marble chimneypiece from 1700.

The Bodelwyddan is attached to the National Portrait Gallery’s Victorian Collection so you can enjoy croquet or the pool and health suite and a four rink indoor Bowls complex or go see the unique First World War practice trenches.

Norbreck Castle –  From £29 – Blackpool

Norbreck Castle

If you want to experience Blackpool in all it’s hen do, cabaret and theme park glory, then stay in a castle whilst you do it!

Technically, this is a very cheap hotel, but the sight of the castle with 480 en suite rooms does make an impressive statement against the North Shore.

Norbreck Castle offers seafront views, as well as 480 en-suite bedrooms. Enjoy a tipple in the conservatory bar, or head to Copper Face Jack’s Bar for large screens showing most sporting events with a lively atmosphere.

Durham Castle– From £28.50

Durham Castle

If you are a looking for a budget room then look no further than Durham Castle. Student style accommodation without many frills, Durham Castle is an 11th century castle and a World Heritage Site adjacent to Durham Cathedral.

Although the rooms are a little bare, the price is not one to sneer at, and your stay includes a full English breakfast in a huge medieval dining room, plus you can also soak up dome free culture and join one of the hotel’s public guided tours around Durham!

Renowned as being a very cheap and cheerful place to stay near Newcastle and Durham, you might need to take ear plugs for the squeaky floors but you will have more in your pocket for shopping in the beautiful city of Durham the next day.

Tulloch Castle – Dingwall, From £60

Tulloch Castle

The 12th century Tulloch Castle is a magnificent fortress, complete with history in the form of the 250-year old panelled Great Hall. Restored original fireplaces and ceilings, the Tulloch Castle has just 20 en-suite bedrooms making this a cosy stay you won’t forget.

Admire the views of Inverness and feel free to drive the short route to the nearby town for a paper or a look around. Walk up Rogie Halls in good weather for a stretch of the legs after a hot dinner.

If it’s a Scottish experience you are after, then why not try the haggis with a whiskey from the bar?

If you’re feeling brave with Dutch courage, then take the on site ghost tour for the creeps before bed time, and see if you can spot the undead that lurks in Tulloch Castle…