Things to see in Yorkshire

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Yorkshire is the home to GO Activities and is a beautiful place to try a variety of activities. You can try a variety of sports, from climbing and kayaking on the beautiful lakes, or you can take a walk in the Peaks if you want to see some of the lovely sights from the peak of a hill.

The steel city, once renowned for its steel making factories is now famed for its beautiful parks, cafes and shops- of course, Sheffield. Another urban city is Leeds, or Bradford, where you can shop and peruse museums like Bradford’s Media museum or the Hepworth Art Gallery. Sheffield is close to green areas like Rother Valley, the Peak district which includes small, quaint villages like Bakewell, Hope and Castleton.

If you are in the Peaks why not go caving in caves like White Scar or Ingleborough. A trained guide can take you on a special tour if you have never been before, working on progressively difficult routes from the simplest descents. Another option is to walk over the Peaks, take a bike ride- or even see the skies from a microlight, helicopter or a hot air balloon.

For climbers, Yorkshire has some of the best stones to climb. You can head north to Almscliff in North Yorkshire, or try the ‘dark’ rocks of the Peaks.
You can’t write about Yorkshire without mentioning The North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales. The moors has 1,400 accessible walking routes and is also a stone’s throw from the seaside coastal town of Whitby, famous for its links to Dracula.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park has a variety of cliffs, ideal for climbing, as well as coves and caves that you can discover the underneath of. This is definitely an ideal place for walkers though, with the three peaks of Penyghent, Whernside and Ingleborough being the ideal place to put your walking boots through their paces, all followed by a trip to the Northern towns like Skipton and Harrogate.

These are just a few ideas for your next trip to Yorkshire. What are your favourite places in the area?

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10 Easter Ideas For Bored Kids

If Easter has come around sooner than expected, don’t worry. The weather is mostly nice, but more importantly, there are plenty of outdoor activities that kids can get involved in safely.

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1. Easter egg hunts – Via Geocache

Mark down a location’s co-ordinates using Google and hide an egg there. Allow your kids, under supervision to use your smart phone or GPS device to locate the easter eggs, teaching them about navigation- and resulting in them being a bit worn out (until they consume the chocolate.)

2. Archery

If you want your kids to learn a great skill and for them to have some fun as well, then an archery course is an ideal day out. Get kids trying their hand at Robin Hood skills with a bow and arrow, with expert guidance from a tutor who can help them perfect their aim.

3. Swimming

Swimming pools are brilliant for kids who need to get rid of their energy and to cool down in the hot sun. Why don’t you check your local council’s website to find your nearest pool, and even book in for lessons if your children haven’t learnt yet.

4. Zorbing

If your kids are old enough and deserve a treat, then they will be thrilled with zorbing or water walking. This fantastic sport can help them with balance on the water, but really, it’s just a bit of fun!

5. Multi Activity Days/ Activity Centres

For young and old kids in the same family, choosing activities can be hard. We love Activity centres at GO Activities because they can offer something for mum, Dad, and kids alike. With high ropes swings, zip lines and more, these multi activity courses can also offer quad biking, clay pigeon shooting or kayaking, dependent on location.

6. Indoor Climbing

If the sun stops shining, rain needn’t stop play with a day on an indoor climbing wall. Book in and an instructor can show your kids the ropes, literally, so they can tire themselves out and have a really good go at climbing or bouldering.

7. Ball Games

If you have a local park, there’s nothing better than a few ball games, a picnic and a walk around the local area. Go online to see local walks around you – you can even grab the kid’s bikes and take them that way. Don’t forget a pocket full of change for the ice cream van!

8. The cinema
If it’s a hot day, there’s always the advantage that the cinema is usually air conditioned, and emty! Check online for rates for kids in the holidays and see if you can get a bargain on the latest blockbuster.

9. Camping

Head to one of the national parks if you have spare time and settle down for an evening of camping. Kids love the novelty and you can enjoy some quality time together roasting marshmallows by the fire and reading stories!

10. Fishing

If the kids are still after something to do- why not consider fishing? This is a step up from crabbing that most young kids do, and if theyare old enough to listen, sit still and enjoy learning, this can be a really interesting day. As an added bonus, if they are very good, you get a free dinner!

Scary Sports Special

"It's okay mate...It's only ghyll scrambling. Don't lose your hair over it..."

Halloween is all about scaring yourself. Or if you’re under 12, getting sweets aka ‘candy’ from unsuspecting neighbours normally ignored or avoided.

But as an adult, why not take the opportunity of Halloween bravado to do a new, scary, outdoor activity.

Here are the top scary activities that get a ‘I couldn’t’ or an ‘I daren’t’ reaction- with reasons why you should do them!

Pot holing

'The Cheese Grater' hole turns legs to mozzarella...

Pot holing is simply the method of getting into the cave, but when you’re there, a beautiful world of tunnels, caverns, ancient stalagmites, rocks and fossils await you.

The nature and definition of potholing is the method of entering caves via ropes and ladders with full climbing equipment in order to explore the cavern.

Why it’s scary:

  • You may need to lie down and wriggle between walls of the cavern.
  • Falling rocks and rising water as well as incoming water from above can all create a trap in the cavern
  • You can be underground for hours at a time

Why it’s worth it

  • Beautiful peaceful serenity with fossils, stalactites and stalagmites and clear water
  • With a guide you can build into those big caves and you can go down and resurface depending on how confident you are
  • ‘ Surprise claustrophobia’ down in the caves is rare. “In 18 years? I’ve seen it once.” Says Ian Rennie of Go Caving.  “It really is very rare. And the idea is that we are getting people not to be scared, but to enjoy caving. Cavers themselves don’t spend a whole day on their bellies crawling through caves generally, and these sorts of routes again can be avoided. It’s the same with weight. Caving is fine whether you’re 6 foot 8, 16 stone, a rugby player or as slim as a model! We can get you in the appropriate cave as long as you’re relatively fit and healthy and above 8 years old.”

Bungee Jumping

Red bull- an ad slogan with a lot to answer for.

Why it’s scary:

  • You have to face to height of the bungee jump (Around 160-400ft in the UK) and get up there- via a cage.
  • You have to jump- will the cord hold your weight? Will your lunch leap out? What if you chicken out?
  • You’ve heard stories that your eyes can pop out- will yours?

Why it’s worth it:

  • “A bungee jump is just one of those ‘do before you die things.’ Says James Field of UK Bungee. You will be checked over and over and your ropes are one set length. We weigh you before, and fit you with a specifically measured thickness of the rope, so there’s no risk of you falling too far. All our instructors have practical exams and are trained to fully check you, so one will check the ankles, another the harness and the ankles, the next the waist, ankles and harness, and so on, so you are 100% checked.”
  • What about the popping eyes and ejecting lunch? “It’s not a complete myth. I’ve seen in 12 years about 2 people’s eyes bulge out in his manner, and that’s people with weak retinas. As for lunch, just east as you would for any other activity, like running.”
  • And chickening out? “You sadly won’t get your money back…But by that point hopefully you will be ready to jump!”
  • And what about the actual jump? “We take you up in a cage. Your instructor will be with you. Then they will open the gate, stand you on the ledge and count you down, 3, 2, 1 – Bungee. And then you jump. You just need to look at the scenery and then trust the instructor. After that we catch you, unclip you and it’s all over!” Catch our jump here

White Water Rafting

It's amazing what some comedy shark fins can do for a team's speed...

Why it’s scary:

  • The boat could capsize at any time!
  • Getting into a rapid on an inflatable? Are you mad?
  • What if I drift off into the rapids, never to be seen again?

Why it’s worth it:

  • Capsizing in the river on the rapids and rough waters of the UK is inevitable, which in some ways is less scary. A guide will be on hand to tell you how to get back into the boat, and fully trained, they can rescue you in a jiffy.
  • Because the rafts are so big, you can sit with 5 close friends on the raft, so you needn’t be too scared. (At least visibly…)
  • Each person is given a paddle to propel the raft over the water and you also get all the floatation gear you need to stay above the water, so you shouldn’t be in a shallow grave before the day is out so long as you can swim.
  • The UK locations will be fast and furious, but depending on your level of skills, interest and fear, you won’t be taken on the equivalent of Niagra falls for the first time and you are more likely to be on areas of the River Tay, Scotland’s largest river, or The Tryweryn Dam released River in North Wales.

Ghyll Scrambling

Dave's sneezes were always causing havoc near unsteady rocks..

Why it’s scary

  • Gorge scrambling, ghyll scrambling and canyoning e.g. jumping into rivers and becks at a high-adrenaline pace, traversing a river upstream, scrambling over waterfalls or jumping into pools of water as well as a bit of climbing and abseiling too. Doesn’t sound like something for a newbie!
  • Getting wet and grubby. Ghyll scrambling means that you are hitting the river uphill and going to stay relatively dry. It usually involves a steep incline and you will be doing a lot of climbing. Gorge scrambling means that you will be going uphill and you are going to get wet. Canyoning you will be going at a downhill angle and you are going to get wet.
  • Sometimes there are private hydro-flow systems that you could run the risk of interfering with – is it safe?


Why it’s worth it:

  • “When guided it’s not unsafe “says Dan Robinson, head of Real-Adventure in Cumbria “Go with somebody who knows what they are doing. If you go off jumping into pools on your own you will probably need rescuing.” Somebody who is aware of access points. Can avoid those private hydro-flow systems.
  • “Getting wet, the climbing and the scrambling and the jumps into pools is great fun.  Everybody is doing something all in there together. Going up or down – it is a lot of fun.”
  • This is a unique sport that integrates both rock and water in a variety of locations across the UK, including the Lake District, Wales, Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Devon. The biggest gorge is the Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, for those seeking a real challenge.

So there you go. Some of the real nail biters debunked. Laugh in the face of that Ghyll. Stare down that pothole and master the bungee.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

GO Activities’ Bungee!

A bungee jump, as you may know is a ‘bucket list activity’- something people really want to do but don’t have the money, time or resources to book.

The scenic lake side jump in Tamworth

Or so I thought.

Because as soon as we had one booked with UK bungee for a 160ft crane jump over a lake, to be precise, we couldn’t find many of the people who would do it.

“Don’t envy you mate” or “watch your eyeballs don’t bulge!” or “don’t wear light coloured trousers- haha!” came out a few times. (That last one was my Dad. Charmer.)

There were also plenty of people saying that they would wait until they were in NZ/Australia/Dubai to do a jump. Not now though. Oh no.  Undeterred we wanted to get a slice of the action and UK Bungee where happy to oblige us.

 

The 160ft crane!

Our budding volunteer was Tom Keep, 26, a software developer who has been known on occasion to say ‘I’d love to do that’ on sight of the towering bungee crane. So, presented with a voucher to noises of ‘Well… I actually meant in New Zealand…” – the countdown began.

On the day it was a case of small meals according to James Field, operational manager of UK Bungee.

“Just eat as if you are doing any other sporting event.” An all day brunch it was. Still, what with the weighing, the harness checks and others safety measures, there was plenty of digesting time, best spent watching other leapers!

 

Our brave volunteer is all smiles!

I exclaimed to the UK bungee staff that everyone seemed very keen to do it.

“Oh you just missed one girl who kept leaning out, but then back again. She did it 12 times and then tried to grab back onto the cage as she fell.” Did she catch it? “No!”

In our time waiting, with Tom’s weight in kg scrawled on his hand (weight conscious women beware!) and his legs shackled in the ankle harness we saw more jumpers, including another woman who decided to ‘grab on’. Oh dear. With a bashed head and a mild headache she needed a little attendance- and then it was Tom’s turn! ‘No clinging on!’ I shouted!

Hopping into the cage he was quickly propelled 160ft by the crane driver who has a very unusual job!

As I watched Tom disappear I could only wait for the gate to open. So- over to Tom on how the bungee itself was!

 

 

“You’re quite happy really. You hop in to the cage and that’s fine, and you head up – no problems. Then I was chatting to the guy about where we lived and then suddenly the crane had stopped. He said ‘right, we’re going to have a quick, easy jump, no messing about. I’m going to say 3, 2 , 1 bungee and then off you go, Right?’ And then they opened the gate and I was stood on the ledge. That’s when you look around. You can see how high it really is.”

Where you scared?

“Yeah, definitely. Pretty high on the fear scale!”

And then you jumped?

“Yeah. Think a little swear word popped out. And that was it! I just spread my arms and just did it. It takes some bullying of yourself to leap off!  It felt exhilarating. Really amazing. There isn’t any of the kick back either so that is great, just feels like a gentle bouncing even though it looks painful!”

The leap of faith!

Would you do it again?

“Definitely, 300ft next time!”

And what about as part of a couple?

“I don’t want someone screaming in my ear! No thanks!”

(A couple did strap in together- see below!)

 

 

 

 

A couple strap together for a tandem leap!

So there we have a it. A bungee jump – terrifying, exhilarating, and all over in about 3 seconds.

Are you game?

What would you choose?

A backwards leap?

A forwards fall?

Lovers leap?

Or a solo dive?

Let us know!

You can watch Tom’s jump here!

 

 

Interview With Matthew Dickinson

Matthew Dickinson, 26 is a former British orienteer and avid fell runner hailing from Sheffield, now living in the beautiful Christchurch, New Zealand –right next to the Southern Alps. A former member of the GO Outdoors web team, GO Activities were privileged enough to witness Matthew’s racing first hand- as well as his appetite for carbs and his constantly in motion feet and weekends of constant activity! A great advocate for GO Actvities and a previous runner for Great Britain, we grabbed him in his down time to talk about fell running and why being active is so great for the mind!

Hi Matt. Thanks for talking to us- can you describe what sort of things (in racing) that you’ve done?

Back in the UK I was member of Derwent Valley Orienteers and Dark Peak Fell Running Club.  While in Sheffield I ran for Great Britain in the Junior World Orienteering Championships and spent a lot of time in Sweden training and competing with an Orienteering and Ski Club in Västerås, just north of Stockholm.

I was ranked British number 1 Orienteer in 2005 and enjoyed success in many of the classic Fell Races in the Peak District from then until 2010 when I made the move to the other side of the world.

Now in New Zealand I’ve entered many trail, fell and orienteering races and am just gearing up to run the Kepler Challenge; a 60km mountain trail race deep in Fiordland in the South of New Zealand.

Why do you enjoy off road running so much?

I love racing in the fells and on the trails.  It’s so unattached to anything you do in the cities and towns, it’s basically like being free.  Nothing is better than racing through a deep peat bog, with the sun shining on your back, being chased down by a hungry pack of runners… where else can you get that kind of action?

With the Peak District merely minutes from Sheffield, it was the ideal place to go for an evening, a weekend, even a lunchtime run.  That and the whole host of climbs, walks and other outdoor activities – it pretty much is one of the best places to be in the UK, while having the city right next door for the other side of life (the working, shopping and eating part!)

When did you start?

I started orienteering when I was ‘knee high to a grasshopper’, probably about the age of 3 and got hooked instantly.  I only started fell running when I got into University in Sheffield, but already had 15 years of orienteering behind me with plenty of navigation skills under my belt.

What are your achievements?

My greatest achievements have been in orienteering, and my greatest achievement was back in 2005 as just a junior.  I was totally the underdog, actually probably the outsider to do anything in the selection races that season.  However, on the last selection race weekend I went for it.  Totally in the zone I managed to get 2 podium positions and bag a place to the Junior World Championships in 2005 where I represented Great Britain for the first time.  It was totally amazing, such a great feeling to have run for your country.

GO Activities offers a way to book days or weeks away learning things like orienteering, bushcraft skills, to ghyll scrambling, pot holing, trekking, or even bungee jumping- what other activities do you enjoy?

I really enjoy getting out on my mountain bike, and skiing is a lot of fun as well. Duathlons, kayaking, climbing- I really do anything that challenges me and gets me outside.

Where do you enjoy running?

Currently I’m living in Christchurch, New Zealand.  Here they’ve got volcanoes, mountains, rivers and trails that go on for miles and miles… it’s just to hard to resist.  Back in the Peak District, my usual jaunts were around the Burbage Valley, Stanage Edge, Win Hill and along the Mam Tor Ridge towards Kinder Peak.

What do you wear? Especially shoes?

Shoes are vital for any running, my favourites are Inov-8 X-Talon 212’s for racing as they are the only shoes that give amazing grip but have a minimal midsole which give you a heightened sense of what the ground is doing beneath you!  For training I like to run in Adidas Kanadias, they are well cushioned for trails and have some top notch grip too.

As for clothing, if it’s turning cold, I usually throw on a Helly Hansen Stripe Crew -really good at wicking sweat from the skin and warm enough for icy winds.  If it starts to rain, I usually throw on a lightweight waterproof like The North Face Diad Jacket or Haglofs Oz Pullover.  Shorts are simply the cheapest I can find, usually with an inner short (as its way more comfortable that way!)

Any advice for beginners?

The best way to get into it is to do it.  Find a local race and go for it – everyone in the fell running community is friendly and happy to help.  Get dirty and have a great time.

How do you start out without hurting yourself?

If you’re training for a race, don’t just jump into doing lots of distance on the fell or trails – even if you’re used to running on the roads, the fells are uneven and tough on ankles.  Slowly creep up the distance once you’ve got used to running off road, and buy some shoes with some good grip so you don’t slip too often!  Nothing worse than a face full of mud!

Is it harder than road running?

It’s totally different from road running, not necessarily harder.  It’ll use a lot of muscles you didn’t think you had to keep balanced on uneven surfaces.  But remember to stretch after the race to ensure you don’t stiffen up…  There’s also a lot more climbing involved in fell races and orienteering races than road races, be prepared to climb up mountains, hills and even cross rivers if you have to!

What are your favourite fell running routes in the UK?’ ‘

For Fell Running: Stanage Struggle is a classic Peak District Fell Race, usually held in September.
For Orienteering: The Jan Kjellstrom Festival, or Scottish 6 Days are the biggest and use the best areas that the UK can offer.

Do you recommend joining a running club?

To start with, I’d go along to a local event.  Try it and if you like it, join.  I can be cheaper for future events and there are some really friendly people around that you can join for runs near you!

Have you ever tried fell running? What were your thoughts? Comment below!

To find a local fell race in the peaks, try here

 You can read more about the Scottish 6 days here

Interview With Alan Hinkes OBE

I have to admit I was a bit nervous about speaking to Alan Hinkes. An expert mountaineer who writes for Trail, who films documentaries, and who is also a  photographer, speaker, guide, walker, OBE owner, Yorkshire Man of the year and honorary Doctor, Citizen and Fellow, I wasn’t sure there was anything I could ask Alan that people don’t ask him everyday.

The first Briton to climb the world’s highest mountains, the 14 8000m peaks, all of which are in the ‘death zone’. With only another 12 people alive who have achieved this feat, Alan is part of a lucky few.

A straight talking Yorkshire man, I wanted to speak to Alan about the outdoors and what other activities he likes, as for a lifetime mountaineer, being outside and active is obviously something he loves.

So what have you been doing today as a typical day for Alan Hinkes OBE?

I was out in the hills today. Nice and grey, windy and I spent it scrambling. Now I’m back to Hawkshead just in time for the rain; last week was lovely and warm.

You’re still Yorkshire based then? (Alan grew up in Northallerton)

Yes still Yorkshire. I actually got awarded Yorkshire man of the year by Dalesman magazine this year which was very nice.

Did you get a statue you can keep in the loo to impress friends with?

Oh yes I got my ornament! I don’t keep it in the loo though!

 Your achievements are vast. Can you tell us about some of your recent achievements that people might not be aware of?

Most recently was last year when I did the highest point in all the counties in England, sponsored by Casio Pro-Trek for the charity Mountain Rescue. This was a great way to get out and whilst some of these aren’t particularly high, you get a sense that you are looking at some real beauty spots.

What’s your own preference then?

Oh definitely gnarly stuff. There are plenty of nice walks in the UK though. I think because I’m a Yorkshire man people expect me to say that it’s all about Yorkshire but actually, I find the lakes beautiful. Really nice. There’s also Wales. The Dales, the Moors. Plenty of great places.

Do you still get abroad?

Oh yes. I’m off to Nepal and Tibet soon and Bavaria for rock climbing, so yes, I still get out.

How did you get into the outdoors? Obviously we have the problem with obesity and so on, what would you say to that?

I started off at school and then it was a progression really to the Alps, the North Face of the Eiger, the Himalayas.

I think it’s really important to get kids outdoors. I was working with some PE students today with absolutely no experience of hill walking and all you need is a guide to get you out there at first. I’m a really big fan of walking. You don’t need to get out on 15 miles walks to get the health benefits, just a small walk at first. I think just being outside is beneficial.

I’m also involved in charitable work for Water Aid, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Mountain Rescue and stuff with the British Mountaineering Council, and any of these charities can help young people get involved.

What do you like to wear? Any brands?

I wear so much gear that I’m not really about brands in particular. You need to have a good waterproof, the right boots for the conditions really. Outdoor gear is so much better now than it has been. Of course there are the pieces that are made for fashion but the kit I wear is some of the best around.

Make sure you have the best kit you can afford – but don’t get bogged down by brands – best to spend time in the hills rather than shopping !

GO Activities is a way for people to book activities that they might not usually do. So what are your activities asides mountaineering?

Most of my activities are hill based – climbing, scrambling, Winter climbing/ice climbing, skiing, cycling/mountain biking, anything gnarly – well almost anything ! Potholing/caving and ghyll scrambling. Away from all that I’m also really keen on photography, I need to carry a camera most of the time  – to try and capture that elusive mountain image ! 

So what’s in the future for you?

Enjoying the hills – if you cut me in half it says mountaineer.

I spend time taking people out in the hills both adults and children. I often work with difficult young people, you can see how a hill experience can affect/help change their attitudes to society.  I’ve got a book coming out next year which is all about climbing the highest mountains  – the 14 8000m peaks.

We’ll be coming to your book signing then!

You’re more than welcome to.