Outdoor Adventures

It's ironic that as I find myself with some free time (the Christmas holidays) the weather is cold and wet so it's the very worst time to have a lot of outdoor adventures. Nevertheless, cup of tea in one hand, Christmas stollen in the other there's no reason I can't reflect on the ones I have had over the last 30 years.

499. Try paintballing.

500. Have a go at archery.

I actually had a go at archery when I was younger on a school camp and remember it being something I enjoyed. I then realised I was a bit terrible at it when we had another go for my Uncle's 60th and hadn't picked up a bow since. Earlier this year though my wonderful family treated me to an adventure weekend away for my 30th birthday where I had a really fun time and managed to actually hit the bull's-eye! Ben has a passion for archery too so this is me keeping up my skills in our back garden, borrowing one of Ben's bows and sets of arrows.

501. Hit the archery bull’s-eye.

I'm quite frankly a bit useless when it comes to anything that involves hand-eye coordination. However, when I am relaxing and having fun and it's a low stakes competition I can occasionally pull it out of the bag. I was so pleased when I managed to hit a bull's-eye on my birthday trip away!

502. Try axe throwing.

503. Play tennis.

504. Play badminton.

Racket sports are, again, not my forte however I used to enjoy them when we played them at school during my PE lessons. They were non-contact and we got to pair up with friends, so tennis and badminton are sports I at least enjoyed, even if I was terrible. Dad nearly went to Wimbledon when he was younger but he couldn't afford to pay the entry fee and gradually let his tennis slip. Both my Dad and my Auntie used to play squash too, so quite how I share the same DNA but am completely terrible I'll never know... no amount of Genetics lectures or teaching the subject has ever revealed the source of my lack of talent when it comes to trying to hit/catch/kick a ball.

505. Golf 18 holes.

506. Have a go at abseiling. 507. Try rock climbing.

The school camp I mentioned previously with archery involved a day of outdoor activities including abseiling (which I really loved) and rock climbing an outdoor climbing wall (which I didn't love - I have shocking upper body strength which is pivotal in being successful at rock climbing).

508. Fly a kite.

Although the picture doesn't reveal it, it was me flying this kite at Kilve Beach in Somerset, however I'd like the excuse to go again as I really love flying kites (it's so therapeutic) and this time I'll get Ben to take some pictures.

509. Hold a sparkler.

Sparklers are something I used to be afraid of as a child (I think Mum and Dad hammed up the "it might burn you" a bit too much) and I'm still a bit wary of as an adult even though I do love them. I'm enjoying some sparklers here during my second year at university celebrating a friend's 21st birthday.

510. Try body boarding.

I truly love body boarding (and indeed anything water related) and get down to Woolacombe beach in Devon when I can as they have a great stretch of sea for catching waves. Here I am on two separate trips, one a day trip with Mum and Dad and Emma just getting some sunshine and having a laugh and the second two pictures on a holiday we took as a group of friends where we stayed at the beach for the week.

511. Try surfing.

512. Go snorkeling.

I was snorkling both times I went swimming with Manta Rays at Discovery Cove in Florida, however sadly I didn't have anyone photograph me on either occassion.

513. Try either crabbing or fishing.

514. Try jet skiing or paragliding

515. Have a go at canoeing or kayaking.

516. Go bamboo rafting.

517. Feed ducks

We used to go and feed ducks with Grandad when he looked after us during school holidays and sometimes Ben and I feed the little ducks that float past our house if we happen to be outside at the time. Again, no photos of me in action though...

518. Try out a personal underwater submarine.

519. Go on a rope swing.

520. Have a hot air balloon ride.

521. Try paragliding/hand gliding.

522. Go to an outdoor festival.

This was a wonderful day although I did get a bit of sun stroke - thankfully we thought to bring a shelter and I did have a little nap halfway through the day which eased my head. It was a piping hot June day at the 80's Music Festival, "Let's Rock Exeter" which we went to for a hen party (hence the sashes). We spent the day munching picnic and slurping slushies listening to a number of awesome artists from Chesney Hawkes to Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet. We danced and laughed and generally just had a really great time (I also escaped sun burn unlike everyone else!)

523. Go on a zip wire ride.

I'm aware this doesn't really count but I always enjoyed zip wire rides at playgrounds as a girl so I would like to do a much bigger one as an adult (hence the amber).

524. Ride in a helicopter.

525. Attend an outdoor concert.

I was there, I'm the one photographing my family members! This was a Bon Jovi concert we attended together in Cardiff back in 2011. They were absolutely amazing (indeed, we saw them back in Cardiff again in 2013) and although my legs were aching by the end of the night having stood for several hours, rocking out to a live version of "Livin' On A Prayer" was totally worth it!

526. Go camping at a campsite.

We went camping as a family back when I was only about 8 or 9 with my Auntie, Uncle and cousin Thomas (I'm not sure his little brother James was even born by this point!) we went to Wales and stayed overnight at a campsite. I remember going to a disco and trying to find our way back in the pitch black with only torches to guide us. I also remember a fried breakfast in the morning. Grandad used to have a picture of us in his guest bedroom all sat outside of our bright yellow canvas tent.

527. Go camping in the garden

I decided this would be a great thing to do this year as we'd largely not been able to spend any real time together and certainly hadn't been able to go away on holiday so we had Emma and Simon over for socially distanced camping in our back garden, having a really comfortable night's sleep after an evening toasting marshmallows and following up with a fried breakfast and some games the following day!

528. Play croquet

My friends Vicki and Jacob threw a surprise afternoon tea party for our friend Lisa's 29th birthday at their house. They worked really hard to decorate, serve themed food and we had lawn games outdoors, including croquet, which was my first time playing and I really enjoyed even if I wasn't very good. Simon completely was a croquet legend even though it was hist first time playing too!

529. Sleep in a yurt.

530. Start a fire without matches.

531. Try skiing.

532. Have a water balloon fight

533. Have a picnic

I love a picnic, they remind me of days out with family and friends and there's just something really appealing to me about sitting in the fresh air and sunshine munching sandwiches and crisps. This was a particularly special picnic which we had after an afternoon exploring Hestercombe House and Gardens to celebrate Mum and Dad's wedding anniversary. Nanna and Grandad were visiting too so we popped some bubbles, Mum and Dad bought some delicious picnic food and I baked celebratory cupcakes.

534. Explore a cave.

One of the things that you don't truly appreciate as a child but I have completely realised as a teacher is how many experiences outside of the classroom a school provides and how much impact that has on a child's development. We are lucky to have Cheddar Gorge and caves just around the corner (only 30 minutes away from us) which we spent a day exploring as a class on a primary school trip. We munched our picnic lunch in the caves then explored learning about stalactites and stalagmites and cavemen (there is a famous skeleton there which actually was recently genetically profiled!)

535. Ride on a motorcycle as a passenger.

536. Ride a bicycle.

I've never really got into riding a bike (I was always scared of falling off and injuring myself) however Mum and Dad did teach me (in this very park in fact) and here I am having a go on my little brothers bike, well, just because it had been so long since I'd been on one - I enjoyed it more than I remember.

537. Ride on a Segway

538. Go geocaching.

539. Do a Clued-Upp Mystery Day

Clued-upp is a company that does crimes you solve in groups by walking around different locations in a town answering questions and looking for clues. It's a great way to spend time as a group as well as getting some fresh air and exercise. The first one we did was visiting my friend Emma in Derby for her birthday, the second one back in January this year with Emma, Simon, Lisa and Billy in our home town.

540. Walk across a suspension bridge.

541. Complete a high ropes course.

542. Go swimming at night

543. Go berry picking with Hayley and the girls.

544. Play lawn games.

545. Try go-karting.

I've tried go-karting indoors on a small track but nothing larger scale. Definitely something \i need to make the time to try properly.

546. Pan for gold.

We had a go at panning for "fools gold" at a small theme park when I was small. While I remember the experience I'm not sure whether Mum took any pictures or not.

547. Ride in a limousine.

On one of the hen parties I went on back in 2014 I took my very first ride in a limousine sipping Prosecco and dancing to some of the party mix songs we had on. It was actually a really comfortable, social and fun journey and something I was lucky enough to do a second time on my friend Vicki's hen party too.

548. Ride in a cable car.

I've done this a few times - this one was taken at the theme park "Alton Towers", one of the first cable car rides I went on as a small child and here years later as a young adult.

549. Ride on a train.

The train is something I've spent a lot of time on through the years although not quite so frequently now I can drive (train journeys in the UK are ridiculously expensive). I used to get the train home from University and into London from Reading or Croydon where my friends lived. The last two photos are taken on the Great Western Railway, the steam train service we have here in Somerset, which is a unique experience in itself.

550. Ride on a ski lift.

I really like ski lifts - I don't mind heights at all - the sights are always worth it. Picture one is 12 year old me with my cousin Katy on holiday in Germany taking in some sights. The second and third picture more recently on our 2019 trip to Blizzard Beach in Florida.

551. Take a public bus into town.

Done so many times. I used to get the bus to and from college every day, I used to get the bus into town to go shopping with friends when we were only teens and I used to get the bus into Nottingham when I went to University there. This one is taken in Dundee - we got the train from Glasgow then travelled into the town centre of Dundee on the bus.

552. Fly a drone.

553. Have a go on a pottery wheel.

I can visualise the picture my Mum has of me having a go at pottery as a small child but she needs to dig it out for me. For now, you'll have to take my word for it (or I encourage Ben to re-enact the scene from "Ghost" with me).

554. Ride a rollercoaster I don’t want to go on.

This was one of the turning points of my becoming a bold young adult rather than a very wary girl. My friend Becca and Emma (my sister) encouraged me to have a go at some of the rollercoasters in Alton Towers. I was terrified as I have a phobia of vomiting but they reassured me I'd be okay. As it turned out I screamed so loudly on Nemesis (the first I'd ever gone on) that both Emma and Becca stopped their own screaming to check on me as they thought my harness must have come off. It hadn't, I'm just a loud screamer! Now I really love rollercoasters.

555. Ride on one of the world’s highest-ranking rollercoasters (for height, speed or inversions).

I'm really proud to say I've been on one of the runners up for the most inversions (10 of them) - I've been on Colossus in Thorpe Park. Sadly they built The Smiler in Alton Towers after I moved away from university (which was nearby) so I haven't had the opportunity to go back and give it a go!

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