21 June 2016
There’s no better place for adventure than the great outdoors. Rolling hills, craggy cliffs, roaring rivers, hidden caves, vast oceans, verdant valleys – these landscapes all offer countless opportunities for escapades in the fresh air.
You can experience all of these and more while volunteering with the Army Cadet Force, leading groups of young cadets in outdoor adventure activities. Weekend expeditions include overnight camping and walks through the beautiful British countryside, while the summer annual camp provides one or two weeks of fantastic adventure.
If you appreciate the health benefits and the sheer fun of being adventurous outside, try one of these 5 great outdoor adventure activities for adults that you can do with the ACF.
1. Abseiling, also called rappelling, is using a rope to descend a steep surface, such as a rock face. It can be quite scary for first-timers; nothing really prepares you to step backwards off a high cliff and trust that you’ll be okay. Once you get the hang of it though, you’ll start to enjoy that feeling of freedom. Abseiling helps climbers tackle terrain that is risky or timeconsuming to do on foot. An essential skill for any mountaineer or rock climber, it can be a very fun activity on its own. It also teaches great communication skills as you’re relying on the person down below to hold your rope steady.
2. Rock climbing is a thrilling and challenging outdoor adventure. Though also done at indoor rock climbing walls, rock climbing takes on a new dimension of excitement and difficulty when done outdoors. With no obvious path up, climbers have to rely on their own problem-solving skills, creativity and stamina to get them to the top. Ideal for goal-oriented adventurers, rock climbing provides a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment matched by few other sports. There’s nothing like reaching the top, taking in a stunning view and then looking back down at where you used to be. Rock climbing is also an excellent full body workout, utilising muscles that are rarely used in other workouts. Wales, the Lake District and the Peak District all offer great UK climbs.
3. Mountaineering involves hiking, scrambling and climbing, all to make it to the top of a mountain. At a beginner’s level, it might be a simple hike to a gorgeous peak. For more experienced mountaineers, it might involve navigating falling rocks or ice, overcoming exhaustion and dealing with mountain sickness. Whatever level you’re at, mountaineering is fun and rewarding. It’s a great family activity and it gives you a solid workout coupled with breath-taking views. Mountaineering is also one of the easiest outdoor adventure activities to get into, as beginner’s mountain adventures require minimal equipment.
4. Caving is not as common as other outdoor adventure activities, which only adds to the sense of adventure. Exploring caves is a varied experience as each cave is unique. One cave may have cavernous chambers that can be walked through, while another may have narrow passages that require crawling. Caves with lakes or other bodies of water may require swimming and really deep ones may require climbing and abseiling. One of the wonders of caves are the calcite formations – stalactites and stalagmites – that hang from the roof or rise up from the floor. The Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District are two popular UK caving areas.
5. White water rafting is perfect for adrenaline seekers. Different levels of rapids require different levels of strength and skill, but there’s always an element of danger as you fight to stay upright in turbulent waters. That danger translates into exhilaration once you manage to stay afloat and complete a run. Start at Class 1 and work your way up to the highest level, Class 6. Even if you don’t fall in, sprays of water will soak your clothes, but the sun and breeze will dry you off in no time. Your arms and abs might be sore the day after, but you’ll have incredible memories and a sense of achievement to remind you why it was worth it.