Red7 , February 8, 2017
Be honest – how long did that New Year’s Resolution actually last?
January is not only the longest month to a) starve yourself b) go teetotal (who ever came up with Dry Jan in the first place!?) or c) drag yourself through the wind and rain and cold to the gym for a gruelling four-hour session of Combat Ninja, but it’s also dark. New Year’s Resolutions are like wrapping up all the season’s worst qualities together along with your strictest diet regime and present them in a tidy little box of torture.
Even if you’ve fallen off the resolution band wagon, there’s still time to jump back on and tackle that fitness goal this year. Just change it up a bit with something a little left field and don’t go it alone. We trekked to Mendip Outdoor Pursuits near Bristol with a gang of health and fitness junkies to test out our Ultimate Fitness Challenge. Nestled into Sandford Quarry in Somerset, Mendip has the most beautiful natural fitness facilities imaginable. Even in the bleak mid-winter.
Rather than hitting the gym, we decided a much better (and ‘funner’) option was to challenge a group of health and fitness junkies to some alternative, adrenaline pumping activities. First up: snowboarding. Not exactly the first sport you think of when faced with the challenge of getting fitter in the New Year, but as soon we were suited and booted with the most – ahem – fashionable safety gear on the slopes, we realised just how much effort this was going to take.
For those of us who had never boarded before, we all took great pride in looking super cool on the bristly white dry slope. Matt, our instructor for the morning, got us strapped onto snowboards and testing out our best balancing skills. Who knew snowboarding required so much concentration and balance!
Before we knew it we were scooting around on the surface with our arms flailing, then struggling uphill, each attached to a great big awkward snowboard. There were a few face-plants, a couple of sweet jumps and a precarious wiggle down the hill before an epic belly flop, but we managed to capture a few great shots of the gang looking pretty suave on the slopes.
Following a super healthy lunch in the Alpine Lodge (roaring fire and candles included), Mendip Outdoor Pursuits drove us over to Sandford Quarry to give rock climbing and abseiling a go. Now, I did the odd bit of rock climbing at school, the type where you follow the blue stones for the ‘easy’ run or test out your upper body strength with the ‘red’ run of rock climbing stones. This wasn’t like that. Think 90 degree flat limestone wall that you’ve got to climb with your bare hands in the cold and damp. Sounds pretty challenging, right? Right. Not only was it cold, but there were no nice large man-made colourful rocks to grab a hold of. This was just us and nature working together. With some of the team belaying, we each tackled the wall before reaching the top and heading over to the 40 metre abseil. Exhilarating doesn’t even come close to describing the experience.
The view from up there was amazing. Despite the blustery winter day, we could see for miles over the beautiful Somerset countryside.
Roped on, I stepped out over the edge of the incredible quarry. I peeked down towards the ground realising just how high up I was, a feeling that made me take a sharp inhale. This sport is about the power of the mind as much as it is about the strength of your body and each step felt like an awesome achievement.
‘Give us a wave!’ I heard from the bottom of the quarry. I turned around to look below and waved to the group 30 metres beneath me. The extreme ‘high’ you get when pausing a quarter of the way down that rock face and look out into the vast countryside is unparalleled.
‘You’re about to approach the Peregrine’s resting place, step to your right!’ Luke, our instructor, shouted from the top. And there it was, a ledge in the rock filled with twigs and loose feathers fluttering in the breeze. Having reached a feeling of confidence as I dangled in the air, I decided to try to bounce down the quarry just slightly and let more of the rope slide through my fingers as I kicked off the rock face. My heart in my throat, I couldn’t bring myself to jump again and more cautiously walked the remaining ten metres down the side of the quarry.
We all completed the abseil, feeling completely empowered and compelled to do it again. The strength, energy, adrenaline and determination needed to complete the experience makes this the ultimate fitness challenge and a brilliant way to test the fitness and confidence of your friends.
Driving back at the end of the day, we shared pictures of the challenges we had faced and the brilliant moments we had experienced together, each of us buzzing from the incredible adrenaline the activities of the day had left us with.
Now that February is here, pick your resolutions back up and ditch the gym for an incredible experience in the great outdoors. This alternative method of spending time with friends is a great way to get yourself into a motivative mindset for a fit and healthy year ahead. Race you to the top!
11am – Snowboarding at Mendip Outdoor Pursuits: 1.5 hours on the slopes.
1.30pm – Rockclimbing and Abseiling at Sandford Quarry: 3 hours on the ropes.
Whether you’re planning a hen party, stag do or just fancy an amazing day out with your best mates, book this ultimate fitness challenge with Red7 – contact us now!
A 2.5 hour rock climbing and abseiling experience at Mendip Outdoor Pursuits for a group of 8 friends.
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