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What Is Stand Up Paddle Boarding And Why Should I Try It?

Stand up paddle boarding is an increasingly popular watersport in the UK, and around the world. Go back ten years and hardly anyone had heard of it, but now you can barely go to any stretch of water without seeing someone paddling serenely past.

If you’re looking for a new challenge this summer, you should definitely consider getting out on a board. It’s one of many outdoor activities to try in Cheshire, with Astbury Water Sports Centre just one of the places offering this fun and accessible sport.

Stand up paddle boarding – or SUP – is a lot of fun and not as hard as you might imagine. For a start, the boards are large – typically between 10 and 12 feet long – which makes them more stable than you might think on the water.

Although the ultimate aim is to paddle standing up, there’s nothing wrong with starting on your knees, and even staying there, if you really don’t feel comfortable on your feet.

If you get your paddle technique correct, SUP is a great full-body workout, targeting everything from your shoulders and back to your core and legs.

It’s also a very versatile sport. Although you can easily spend your time on leisurely paddles, there’s the option of getting involved in SUP racing, SUP surfing or going on longer SUP tours if you want to.

Another reason to get out on the water is because of the mental, as well as physical, health benefits activities like SUP can bring. Earlier this year, Shape highlighted the benefits of spending time by ‘blue space’, including the fact that being by water can lower your levels of the stress hormone cortisol and can help your mind switch off from everyday life.

Just What Is The Duke Of Edinburgh Award?

There’s nothing like a challenge and if you’re currently at school, wondering what to do next, you might want to consider getting a group of friends together and organising your DofE expeditions.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme has been running for the last 60 years or so, inspiring and transforming the lives of countless young people from all four corners of the country.

There are three levels of the programme you can complete, resulting in either a bronze, silver or gold award. Naturally, the higher up the programme you get the more challenging the tasks – but each one is worthwhile and you’re sure to learn an awful lot about yourself in the process!

Each award has several sections you need to complete – volunteering, physical, skills, expedition and (for the gold award only) residential. The expeditions are perhaps the most exciting part about doing your DofE, since you and a small team head out into the open countryside to complete a practice that will stretch your horizons, push you to the limit, improve your leadership and communication skills… and make sure you have an awful lot of fun!

There are so many different options for your expeditions that it’ll take you some time to choose. You could, for example, explore the Norfolk Broads in a sailing dinghy, head out on horseback in the Brecon Beacons, get to know the Thames cycle path by bike… or even head overseas and go hiking in Canada. What’s important to remember is that it’s your expedition – so the world really is your oyster!

Top Ideas For School Holiday Activities

With just a matter of weeks until the schools break up for the summer, parents all over the country may be wondering what they’re going to do to occupy their youngsters for the duration of the break.

One thing is for sure, more of us could benefit from spending time in the great outdoors and being active, with the Sun highlighting research from Groupon that shows the average person will spend 35 days of their summer staring at a screen.

If you want to ditch your TV, laptop and smartphone, take a look at our top picks for some of the activities you could try this summer.

Raft building: This is a great option for an unusual and entertaining family day out. See if you can figure out the best way to build a raft and then put it to the test on the water. It’s a great way to get kids to engage in problem solving and you could even take the opportunity to teach them a bit about knots. Of course, it always ends with everyone getting wet.

Orienteering: If you love going for country walks, but your kids get distracted, try orienteering. This is a brilliant way to introduce a bit of structure to your rambles, giving you a purpose as you hike, not to mention presenting an excellent opportunity to teach your youngsters useful skills like map reading and navigation.

Archery: For a precision activity and a bit of friendly family competition, you can’t beat archery. Kids love having the chance to test their aim on the targets and grownups can get caught up in the fun too.

If you want some guidance about what outdoor activities might be suitable for your family, as well as information on adventure activities in the Peak District, give us a call.

Where To Go For A Peak District Picnic

We’ve been hit with a bit of a heatwave over the last few days and long may it continue! Of course, there’s bound to be a bit of rain over the coming weeks (this is the UK, after all) but hopefully the good weather will carry on and we’ll be able to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors. If you’re looking for outdoor pursuits in the Peak District, here are just a couple of amazing places to go for a picnic this summer!

Curbar Gap

If it’s fabulous views of the Peaks you’re after, Curbar Gap is the place to go. In summer you’ll be treated by an ice cream van, as well as a French-style coffee vendor, so if you forget the thermos there’s no need to panic. It’s also wheelchair accessible, which is great news for all.

Monsal Head

This is a really famous beauty spot with some incredible views down Monsal Dale and the Wye Valley. You’ll also find the Monsal Trail here, which is really popular among walkers – so bear this in mind if you’re out at the weekend. You’re sure to recognise the railway viaduct as well.

Hollin Bank

Hop in the car and make your way here for a wonderful day out. The scenery on the way to this renowned picnic spot is incredibly dramatic so cameras at the ready – and you’ll be able to sit at one of the picnic tables watching the climbers take on Stanage Edge. What about giving it a go yourself one day?

Summer at Audley Climbing Centre – Audley


Why not try our Summer climbing at Audley (ages 4-14)

Why do kids love climbing so much and why is climbing so good for children?

Climbing is an all round sport, activity and form of exercise which uses every muscle in the body, and many, many parts of the brain! Climbing is awesome for children and kids love climbing, so you won’t have to drag them away from their computer game to get them to the Audley Climbing Centre. Our climbing walls have all the thrills they need! If your child has not yet managed to engage with sport or exercise in general then it is likely that climbing will be the key, so keep reading!

If you have been worried that your child spends a little too much time with eyes glued to a screen, be it a smart phone, computer, tablet or the TV, then you’re going to want to try climbing.

When you face a climbing wall, all outside influences wash away and leave your head clear and ready for the task at hand. Climbing a wall requires focus and concentration.  Children learn very fast that if they must pay attention if they want to progress. They also see very early on that belaying (managing the rope for the climber) is of paramount importance and they are responsible for someone else’s life (fret not, all ropes in instructed sessions are also held by an instructor). While the goals we set ourselves in climbing are very personal, we must work together as a team to ensure we are 100% safe. The bond created between climbers introduces great teamwork and trust from a very young age.

Climbing a wall teaches children great hand, feet and eye coordination. They must look, plan and then move their hands and feet to the chosen spot. This awareness can then be transferred to all other aspects of life and to other sports. It is also a great way to reinforce the understanding of left and right!

Every route on the climbing wall is a puzzle that needs working out. Problem solving requires patience, planning and analysis in order to successfully crack the code. Many new, beginner climbers, tend to approach each problem as they climb the route but as they progress, climbers learn to visualise the route they will take, what hand and foot will be placed where and work out the roughest part of the climb (the crux) before they set out.

When children can set their own goals and then continually keep pushing themselves out of their comfort zone to achieve them – it creates great self esteem. The height can be a limiting factor for some children, but working together, building trust and confidence step by step, will help overcome fears. Once your children have overcome some of these fears they will be mentally strong and able to handle what comes their way in other aspects of their lives. It can take children a long time to find their ‘thing’/ something which they can really shine at. Climbing, with its endless challenges and possibilities, allows kids to set and achieve goals every time they come to the climbing wall.

Climbing is so much fun that children and adults do not even realise that it is exercise! With so much focus and concentration on achieving the goals they set themselves will allow them to forget any concerns they have about their body. With time, the sport builds body confidence, self awareness in addition to physical strength.

These incredible outcomes and benefits of climbing speak for themselves, but if you need a little more convincing, read on to find out what other people have to say…

The amount of goals you can set yourself is limitless. Setting individual goals and meeting them gives you a great sense of achievement, which in turn can help build everyday self-confidence.’ NHS 

Climbing requires a lot of problem solving, mental concentration and focus, so it helps sharpen your brain. A lot of people like it as it allows you to escape everyday worries and just focus on the climb.  It also can give a great sense of achievement.’ The British Mountaineering Council

Kids acquire all kinds of positive skills. Because climbing requires a combination of creative thinking and physical output, less athletic kids often shine, surprising even themselves. Kids also learn problem solving. Climbing is a puzzle to unlock, sometimes requiring the ability to back off, look at the route anew, and start again.’‘ Portland Family 

Our Summer of fun runs July-September

3 Team Building Ideas To Try This Year

Running a company can be tricky business and it’s essential that you do all you can to foster a sense of teamwork among your employees so you can be as productive as you possibly can be… which is where team building days can really come into their own.

You can be as adventurous and creative as you like when it comes to deciding on what to do over the course of a day, but if you’re looking into Derbyshire team building ideas here are a few to help get you started. Which one will you pick first?


This is a brilliant activity for getting people to work together and as a team, while having lots of fun at the same time. You can do this both indoors and outdoors, but if you’re all novices it’d be worth finding a local indoor climbing wall centre. And once you all know what you’re doing, a follow-up day outside would be a great idea.

Raft building

Another option that combines team building, problem solving and lots of stunning locations is raft building. Signing up for this will require you to all build a seaworthy vessel together with scraps provided by the Peak Pursuits organisers.

Survival skills

There are many benefits to going on a survival skills training course, including stronger bonds and friendships since you learn to both trust and help others. It also teaches self-reliance and social skills, which could all transfer over to the office once the training day is done.