Yesterday was such great fun! I am tired but happy. It was the annual Forest Activities Festival which is based at Speech House Hotel near Coleford in the Forest of Dean. The area is fast becoming known as a centre for the Outdoors with a huge variety of outdoor activities on offer and I was there with Forest of Dean Adventure….
We were working alongside the YHA Welsh Bicknor (which is a truly gorgeous Youth Hostel nestled along the River Wye) providing free Archery Taster sessions. We had well over 500 people come and have a go at shooting three arrows aged between 4 and 91. The 91 year old guy was a legend, he had already been on the Segway’s, had a go at zorbing with his Great Grandkids but had decided to forego the Archery Tag and have a coffee with freshly made Churros instead. Yum.
The festival also featured live music, children’s entertainment, a Street Food Market & local food & drink producers – these were a particular highlight for me. The joy of being an outdoor instructor is that we make any excuse to eat!
It was a poignant day though as it was the last day of the Manager of Forest of Dean Adventure, Joe Lewis. Joe was pivotal not only in my transition from University Course Leader in to working in the Outdoor Industry, but he also played a huge part in my rehabilitation.
He took a chance on me when I needed it the most. He gave me a job despite having no qualifications or experience. He was supportive, non-judgmental, my age was totally irrelevant to him and he gave me the confidence to become an outdoor instructor. I have a huge amount of respect for him, for his professionalism and friendship and I can honestly say I would not be where I am were it not for him. He will be sorely missed. I shall however keep badgering him and his wife (who is Superwoman to his Superman) Hev Lewis to get me on the road to completing my SPA (Single Pitch Award)!! Be warned Joe ;-)
What a great day. We are so lucky to live where we live, it is such a fantastic part of the world and I just love being a part of this amazing outdoor community.
Here’s to the 2017 season and hopefully lots more time working with Forest of Dean Adventure.
For more information visit www.forestofdeanadventure.co.uk. We offer archery, high ropes (zip wire, crate stack, leap of faith, high balls) and the biggest and best climbing wall in the Forest of Dean!