Ten ideas to entertain the family in the summer holidays

Friday, July 16th, 20102 Comments

With the long-term rise in the value of the Euro against the pound, ash clouds, the BA strike, the credit crunch and the increasing awareness of the environmental impact of air travel, there’s no shortage of reasons for holidaymakers to stay closer to home. Not surprising then that the National Office for Statistics reports that in the year ending in April 2010, visits to Europe by UK residents fell by 14 per cent from 51. 7 million to 44.3 million, while trips to North America and other parts of the world were also down.

The British seaside holiday, it seems, is back in business. But it’s no longer about sitting on a deckchair with a knotted hanky on the head and a stick of rock in the hand. Instead of donkey rides on the beach, it’s more likely to be hanging off a cliff in Wales or hot air ballooning across London. Adrenamag headed off around the country to track down some day-out ideas that will keep the family’s pulse racing this summer.

1. Horse riding – Liskeard, Cornwall. Holidays can be life-defining moments. If you’ve never tried horse riding, you could discover you’re a cross between the Princess Royal and Frankie Dettori. Of course, you may also be a regular rider and want to keep up in the saddle on holiday. Either way, Cornwall and Devon offer a lot for both riding beginners and experienced horse people. It’s a terrific way to get exercise and see the countryside from a new perspective. Click here to hop into the saddle.

2. Hydro-zorbing – Liverpool. Instead of the ferry across the Mersey, how about zorbing across it? And, no this isn’t one of those cheeky Scouser jokes. Hydro-zorbing is the closest to walking on water you can get without falling in.  Unlike dry zorbing you’re not strapped; you stand up and make your way across the river using foot power.  Everyone who does it says it’s hilarious. Also, it’s suitable for children from age seven, right up to have-a-go grannies. From £19.99. Get the ball rolling here.

3. Rally driving – Saltburn, Teeside. Rally driving is perhaps the ultimate driving skill. The loose gravel track in Teeside is designed to replicate a real stage in a rally, testing steering and braking touch. So, if you’ve ever fancied yourself as a Hannu Mikkola or a Colin McRae here’s your chance big boy or girl.  Obviously not for kids, but more for steadying the nerves of hard-pressed parents and those who would never dream of having children. And if it is raining, all the better – splash the mud. Prices from £71.50. Click here for more details of rally driving in the UK.

4. Off-road karting – Craigavon, County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Bored teenagers who didn’t want to come on holiday with the family in the first place may be won over with off-road karting. Many of the circuits like this one in Northern Ireland are on shale, which allows plenty of sliding for the teenagers who need their hormones tipping back in place. You can also race against each other. Min age 17, prices from £48.99. Click here for more info.

5. Kitesurfing – Torquay. Also known as kiteboarding, kitesurfing involves using a power kite to pull a rider through the water on a small surfboard or a kiteboard. A kitesurfer uses a board with foot-straps or bindings, combined with the power of a large controllable kite to propel themselves and the board across the water. The sport is still in its infancy, but it is rapidly growing in popularity. It is very safe due to innovations in kite design, safety release systems, and instruction. Many riding styles have evolved to suit different types of riders and conditions, such as wake style, wave riding, freestyle, jumping, and cruising. Click for more details.

6. Scuba diving – Hampshire. Scuba divers say the best scenery in the world is under the oceans. But if you’re novice you can’t just plunge into the sea. Learn to take a dive at a scuba diving centre.  Long-term it can be an expensive activity, but it doesn’t have to be. Taster dives can be just £27.00. Kids who like swimming will no doubt go for it too. Clearly, not for those suffering from hydro-phobia. Min age 10. Dive-in here for more info.

7. Hot air ballooning – London. Balloons are often associated with open country, but if you really want a view down on the ground, where better to head for than the capital? A hot air balloon beats the Tube any day. Towering over the Tower of London or peering down on the Millennium Dome, is a side of London rarely glimpsed. It’s one or two steps up from the open top bus tour.  Prices from £125.00, it may not be cheap, but we’re talking a capital experience. Click here for details

8. White Water rafting – Scotland. Not surprisingly with all those mountains and water, Scotland is the top place in the UK for white water rafting. There’s a number of centres offering some world class white-knuckle rides on the Rivers Findhorn, Tay, Ochy and Tummel as well as at Aviemore and Newtonmore. Check out the difficulty levels before you book. It’s something your family will talk about forever. Click here, if you’re brave enough.

9. Coasteering – Abersoch, Wales. Coasteering is a new extreme sport that is becoming increasingly popular, particularly in Wales. It involves making your way along the coast with a combination of scrambling, swimming, diving, climbing and jumping. But be warned: it can be pretty extreme. The Lleyn Peninsula and around Snowdonia will test the nerves and the body to the limit. But there are fully qualified instructors on hand who are registered with the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA). Good for older teenagers and young adults. Apologies for the ageism, but over 40s need to be fit and may prefer to walk around a castle or slope off to the pub. Click here if you’re up for it.

10. Laser combat – Kidderminster, Worcestershire. Unlike paintball where you have to be at least 12, with laser combat you only have to be six. Therefore – to quote the old cliché – it’s fun for the whole family. And, because you’re using laser guns, it means you don’t have to buy paintballs, which keeps the cost down and is ideal for trigger happy six-year-olds.  Good for tiring out kids and adults.  From £19.99. Click here for details.

How extreme team building could help the public sector

Thursday, July 15th, 2010No Comments

The public sector is facing the biggest change in its history. George Osborne, Chancellor in the UK’s Coalition Government, is asking Whitehall departments to reduce spending by up to 25 per cent. How will notoriously conservative (with a small c) civil servants cope with change on this unprecedented scale? As hurricane winds of change sweep through government departments, how will leaders and employees cope? How can organisations help their people learn to survive and thrive in the brave new world of changes. In the words of Bob Dylan

Jack Broadley is a former Royal Naval officer who trained officers at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. He now runs a consultancy specialising in developing future leaders, working with clients to maximise performance and enhance levels of effectiveness, especially during periods of rapid cultural change such as mergers or acquisitions.

His solution is extreme. ‘We see extreme sports activities and team building as a metaphor for change in organisations,’ says Broadley. He believes that putting people in team building activities such as high ropes or on the water can replicate many of the challenges faced in organisations. ‘It requires reacting quickly to rapid change, and above all the environment is unfamiliar,’ he says. Sound familiar to anyone in the public sector?

high ropes

Challenge leaders to be authentic

‘Putting people in an environment where they learn quickly from their mistakes can be hugely beneficial for managers and teams,’ explains Broadley. But he adds there is a difference between challenging and frightening people. And surely many in the public sector are frightened enough. ‘We don’t believe in scaring people, they learn better when they are in a supportive environment,’ he says.

As a practitioner in this field, Broadley is keen to stress that one of the keys to business to getting more out of team building exercises is putting the skills learned into context. ‘What is critical is that people take the skills and apply them. It’s not  just a fun day out of the office,’ he says.

Broadley notices that when managers and teams are undertaking a sport such as sailing, relationships that, on the surface, seem okay in the office environment can break down. ‘When you put people on a level playing field, they can’t just rely on rank or hide behind their desks. It is about developing authentic leaders,’ he says.

‘It keeps things real. Managers learn about their own strengths and where they have to rely on other people. The do-it-yourself approach is definitely old thinking,’ believes Broadley.

Quite how the press and the public sector unions would react to managers hanging from ropes or yachting on the taxpayer is uncertain. But one way or another, Broadley argues that people within organisations, public or private, need to be better equipped to handle change.  If you want to consider some team building activities for your organisation, click here.

And, you can contact Jack Broadley via his company website.

Test your extreme sports knowledge

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010No Comments

Adrenamag has got activity vouchers to the value of hundreds of pounds to be win.  All you have to do is answer this simple question:  The US singer Pink likes to exit her concerts using which extreme sport Is it A) A Segway? B) High Ropes? C) Zorbing?

Send your correct answer – either A, B or C to: info@adrenamag.co.uk Closing date for entries is July 31 midnight GMT. And you could be in the pink.

Paintball fires Euro lottery imagination

Monday, July 12th, 20103 Comments

Euro Lottery Paintball Advert
Helicopters, ropes and paintball are all featured in the new TV advertisement for the Euro Millions lottery. The ad, filmed in Mount Tamborine, north Queensland close to the famous surfer’s paradise, features a winner apparently living the dream lifestyle. Surrounded by friends, the all-action Euro Millionaire spins in by helicopter and speedboats descends ropes and blasts mates with paintballs.

Maybe just the treat a lottery winner would consider, but for the rest of the population, who haven’t yet clocked up the winning numbers, helicopter rides, high ropes and paintball can be done on a more modest budget. Click on the links.

Top extreme sports events for the diary

Saturday, July 10th, 20103 Comments

It’s not just music that has a big summer festival line-up. Increasingly, music is combined with extreme sports, to create a day and a night-time scene. Adrenamag picks out some dates for the diary of the extreme sports enthusiast.

Relentless NASS Bath and West Showground
Billed as the UK’s biggest action sports and music festival, the event features the UK’s first ever World Cup Skateboard Competition. BMX riders will also be competing against each other in the Relentless NASS BMX Street Competition.

Dates: 9th – 11th July. Admission: Tickets are priced at £30 for a day pass, £70 for a weekend pass, with a child’s day ticket at £17.50 and a child’s weekend ticket at £35.

Hunstanton, Norfolk
The Lifestyle festival host national ranked competitions in Kitesurfing and Windsurfing and have demonstrations and competitions involving some top pro skaters and BMXers. There will be workshops available in Kite Surfing, Windsurfing, Skateboarding, Street Dance and Parkour to name a few.
Dates: July 9th – 11th

Eastbourne Extreme is one of the biggest free extreme sports festivals in the UK. Featuring a huge line up of air, land and water based outdoor pursuits, it takes place over two days on Eastbourne’s Eastern seafront from 11.00 – 19.00 on Saturday and 11.00 to 17.00 Sunday.It features: formula future powerboat racing, an ION man event, street surfing, kite buggies, knockhatch ski ramps and and yachting
Dates: July 18th and 19th. Admission: Free

Yaverland Beach, Isle of Wight
The Big Blue Extreme Sports Festival at Yaverland Beach, Isle of Wight Friday is a new event. Being the Isle of Wight, the sea will be packed with action sports including: Windsurfing Freestyle and Racing Championships, National Paddleboard Championships, Surfing, Kitesurfing on the bespoke slider park, Wakeboards, Sailing, Kayaking and the Thundercats. Festival goers can also take part in the ‘X-Mile’ raising funds for the Ellen MacArthur Trust.
Dates: 17th – Sunday 19th September. Admission: 10
adult weekend £20, youth (15 and under) £10Y

Sandbanks Beach Poole
Animal Windfest – Wild Wind and Watersports
Hip watersports and kitesurfing.
Date: 10th – 12th September
Admission: Various entries, lots of free demos and try-outs

British National Surfing Championships
The British National Surfing Championships take place at the glorious Fistral Beach in Newquay. Around 150 of the best British surfers are expected to battle it out in the women’s, men’s and seniors’ competitions. Having the contest late in the season should ensure the best possible waves for the surfers, as well as testing their endurance in the chilly water.
This being the UK and not Hawaii, poor weather conditions or the absence of surf could lead to the event date being moved. If in doubt, please check with the British Surfing Association.
Date: September 2010

The Triple Crown of Surfing, Oahu, Hawaii,
Looking for a special holiday and into your surfing. Try the Super Bowl of surfing. This mixed event is a real test of the world’s top surfers, who will try and tackle the North Shore, a coastline famous for its mighty swells. Enjoy the island paradise of Oahu at its best – hike Diamond Head Crater, grab a board and surf, go swimming, snorkelling, or sailing, or kick back in the beach or with a round of golf.
Date: November 17th – December 20th