October 01 2019
The Outdoor Partnership, a charity based in North Wales, held their 10th annual Outdoor Activity Festival on the 14th September 2019 at Plas y Brenin, Capel Curig. They launched the event back in 2009 as a way of thanking its volunteers for their commitment to local outdoor activity provision and to give local people the opportunity to try out a wealth of activities on their doorstep.
Over 100 people of all ages and abilities came together to take part in an array of taster sessions led entirely by volunteers from local clubs and organisations. Activities included an introduction to kayaking, open boat canoeing, orienteering, climbing and bouldering, mountain biking, stand up paddleboarding and more.
One of the more popular activities was the low ropes course, led by Anna Yorke, a climbing instructor at Harlech Ardudwy Leisure. The session was made up from a selection of team building activities including a ‘blind trail’ where participants had to work together using their communication skills to make their way around a course blindfolded. Cian, 14, a member of Llanberis Canoe Club, commented ‘It took a while to get around the course and was harder than it looked, but it was a lot a fun’.
This year saw the introduction of three new activities; open water swimming (led by volunteers from Lligwy Beach Swim Club), pack rafting (led by local company Tirio) and trail running (led by Eva from Welsh Athletics).
Helena Burrows, a member of Lligwy Beach Swim Club and one of the lead volunteers for the open water swim sessions commented, ‘There was great fun to be had with the group, and lovely to see a mix of ages taking part in the session, and showing that different age groups can have fun together and help each other in a common interest’
Amlwch Canoe Club, set up and supported by The Outdoor Partnership, have been ever present during the festival offering their skills in leading the kayak and canoeing sessions. Phil Edwards, chair of the club, said he ‘enjoys returning year on year, there was a good bunch of people in the session and it’s a nice break from the normal routine’.
Claire Branston, a member of both Amlwch Canoe Club and Clwb Antur Dyffryn Peris, is another volunteer who has supported the festival for many years, this time leading the intro to kayaking session in the morning. She took the opportunity to try out the open water swim session in the afternoon and found it ‘exhilarating and absolutely fabulous’.
The festival prides itself on being a fun, family orientated day with parent Lois, who attended with her daughter Cadi confirming ‘We’ve really enjoyed it; it was our first time attending the festival and it’s great to have the opportunity to try new things and to enjoy it as a family’. There was a bustling atmosphere on what was a glorious day in Capel Curig with plenty of fun and laughter.
Jonathan Davies, Development Officer for Canoe Wales, gave a brief introduction about the North Wales Canoe Slalom Performance Programme which is open to anyone with an interest in the sport to develop from grass routes through to podium. The programme covers 4 sites in North Wales, where they currently have 56 paddlers on the programme, several of whom have gone on to compete nationally. He believes the success and growth of the programme has a lot to do with its partnership with The Outdoor Partnership and Plas y Brenin.
Following the afternoon activities, The Outdoor Partnership’s Annual General Meeting was held, led by the chair Paul Airey in which he reported on the busy and successful year of The Outdoor Partnership. Full report is available online. The day concluded with a tasty barbeque and social.