White Water Rafting – Strange Beginnings

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 No Comments

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White water rafting is one of the most popular adrenalin activities in the world, and millions of people put their paddling prowess to the test by taking on some of the wildest, white water stretches they can find. The main reason people choose to take on the challenge of white water rafting is to experience the rush of racing down fast flowing water, negotiating rocks and rapids as they go. However in its formative years rafting served a much more practical purpose, a million miles away from the adrenalin fuelled white water sport many people recognise it as today.

In the 1840′s United States Army officer Lt. John Fremont and inventor Horace H. Day created the first rubber river raft. Their primitive but revolutionary raft was made from four rubber cloth tubes and a wraparound floor. They made their first successful voyage in 1842 when they used their raft to survey parts of the Rocky mountains which were only accessible by boat.

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As rafting slowly gained in popularity it became more viable as a business opportunity and in an attempt to capitalise on its growth John D. Rockefeller Jr. constructed a hotel in the Gran Tenton national park Wyoming. In the late 1950′s the lodge started offering trips down the river in surplus war rafts which were 8ft wide and over 20ft long. The trips were so popular that rival rafting companies started to spring up across the United States, offering rides down some of the fastest and most thrilling stretches of water in the country.

White water rafting grew in popularity throughout the 60′s and 70′s and in 1972 it was included to the Olympic Games held in Munich. In 1997 the international federation of rafting was established and the first international white water rafting championships were held in 1999. The introduction of an international governing body meant rafting became much more strongly regulated and as a result safety improved. The information available to rafters also improved and rivers were graded 1-6 using the International Scale of River Difficulty designed to reflect the technical difficulty and skill level required to navigate a section of river. Rafters use this system to find out what kind of conditions they can expect to face on stretches of river they’ve never been down before.

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Modern day white water rafting has changed dramatically and almost anybody can take to the water for the challenge of negotiating boulder strewn rapids and fast flowing water. There are rafting sites across the globe and its popularity continues to grow, especially in the UK. Scotland is home to some of the best and most difficult white water rafting routes in the world which may explain why it’s so popular. There are even artificial rafting sites with man made rapids that are tailor made to put a rafters paddling skills to the test. So whether you’re trying rafting for the first time or just want to hone your skills the perfect location could be closer than you think. It may have started out as a way of crossing treacherous stretches of water but the fun that can be had in a modern day rafting experience is second to none!

White water rafting – Six handy tips

Monday, August 18th, 2014 No Comments

1. Be prepared to get wet! – You’re in for a soaking so wear swimwear, take a towel and pack a spare set of clothes to change into.

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2. Make sure your boat is well balanced. – Balancing the boat is essential, people of similar weight and paddling power should be positioned opposite each other.

3. Communicate with your team. – When you’re racing down fast flowing stretches of white water simple communication is key. Establishing a basic set of commands will mean you can quickly relay instructions as you meet obstacles head on.

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4. Make sure you’re holding your paddle properly. – Holding your paddle correctly is key for safety. One hand should be at the base of the paddle and the other should be over the T shaped grip at the top. Keeping your hand over the T grip will not only help you control the paddle, it will also cushion the blow should you accidentally catch yourself with the paddle.

5. Fully submerge the blade of the paddle – Improving your paddling technique will give you more purchase as you fight the fast flowing water. Submerging the blade of the paddle is a much more efficient way of paddling.

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6. Try and stay in the raft – It sounds obvious doesn’t it but it’s easier said than done. Hold on tight and try to keep your balance by leaning towards the centre of the boat.

Are you ready to take on an adrenaline fuelled assault course?

Monday, August 11th, 2014 No Comments

Are you ready to take on an adrenaline fuelled assault course?

If you’re ultra competitive or just like getting muddy, taking on an assault course is a great experience for friends or workmates. So here is a quick look at what you can expect from your day tackling some of the trickiest obstacle courses Britain has to offer. A typical course will contain all the old favourites as well as a few newer obstacles. Wherever you chose to take part you can certainly expect to face rope swings, tunnels and the much feared monkey bars.

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Some obstacles will require you to work on your own such as the tyre run, where you will work your way over a series of tyres placed along the course. Other obstacles will require you to depend on the help of your team mates. The most difficult of all being the dreaded high wall, for which you will have to muster all of your strength to pull yourself over an impossibly steep wall.

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It is worth pointing out that the course can be made as fun or as challenging as desired. For groups who are just out for a bit of fun, this is an ideal day out too. Most courses offer a free run system where you’re given a set amount of time, usually an hour, to tackle the obstacles at your own pace. This means you’re free to get as wet and muddy as you like by repeating any of the obstacles or dodging some of the more daunting ones.

Once the adrenaline is pumping you then have the chance to take on some of the obstacles against the clock in a time trail. You can also compete against other teams taking on the assault course, teams will normally have a minimum of five members and a maximum of ten. Once in your teams it’s a race to the finish, to post the fastest time, with prizes for the winners as well as a booby prize for those with the slowest time.

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Assault courses are traditionally used in military training to increase fitness and to practice techniques that can be used for crossing rough terrain. The military also understand the benefits assault courses have for improving team work and increasing self confidence. While you may not be ready to trek through the Amazon rainforest by the end of the course, you will hopefully have a new found respect for your friends or work colleagues.

Your day will normally last anything between 1-2 hours depending on how many of the different challenges you take on, with a break halfway through to get some much needed rest. Marshall’s will be situated around the course to ensure your safety and help out with any of the more difficult obstacles. Getting a bit wet and muddy comes with the territory so you will need a towel and a clean set of clothes.

So are you ready to swing, crawl and climb your way around some of Britain’s maddest and muddiest assault courses in the ultimate test of teamwork and determination?

How to ride a Segway – Six handy tips

Monday, June 30th, 2014 No Comments

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If you’re preparing for a fun filled Segway experience these handy pointers will help you master the art of riding the Segway and keep you safe at the same time.

1. The Segway reacts to your movement and weight distribution. Making slow and deliberate body movements will help you stay in control of your Segway.

2. Keep your arms and legs loose, and bend your knees and elbows. This helps you absorb vibration and keeps the Segway stable and under control.

3. Always lean into the turn. Hold the Steering Grip loosely and be careful not to unintentionally turn it.

4. It may sound obvious but keep both hands on your Segway. Don’t try and show off!

5. Be alert and look ahead—your eyes are your best tool for safely avoiding obstacles and slippery
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6. Make sure to bring your Segway to a complete stand still before you step off it.

Five ways to experience the fun of a Segway

Friday, June 27th, 2014 No Comments

When the Segway was first conceived, the hype surrounding the space age transporter was massive. The man behind the Segway Dean Kamen, even went as far as to predict the downfall of the car, he claimed: “It will be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy”.

Unless you’re reading this whilst gliding past miserable commuters on your Segway, you have to admit ‘the future of transport’ has not made the impact it promised. Thankfully for us thrill seekers there is one thing the Segway delivers in abundance, and that is fun!

Sites across the country are now unleashing the Segway’s full potential by offering a selection of wacky Segway games and adventures designed to squeeze every last ounce of fun out of the electronic transporter.

So here’s a look at some of the best things you can get up to on board a Segway:

1. Off-road adventure

This is a great way to see some of the most picturesque parts of the country, but more importantly, it’s the best way to experience the fun of an off-road Segway. Once on board the specially adapted Segway you’ll head off the beaten track weaving through woodland and racing round bumpy cross country circuits.

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2. Segway Olympics

This is the ultimate test of everything you’ve learnt on your Segway. The Segway Olympics are a tricky combination of a number of disciplines including a race, an obstacle course and games such as the Segg and spoon race.

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3. Segway Racing

Let’s face it nothing beats the fun of a good old fashioned race. There are a range of different circuits across the country packed with tight bends and full throttle straights. The Segway has a top speed of 12.5 mph (nearly twice walking speed) so regardless of whether you come first or last you’re guaranteed to be grinning ear to ear when you cross the finish line.

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4. Obstacle Course

Once you’ve mastered the basic controls of a Segway it’s time to see how good you really are by taking on a fiendish obstacle course. The courses are packed with tight turns and sharp changes in direction which will really test your manoeuvring skills. You’ll also be tested on your ability to handle different surfaces and negotiate obstructions. Anybody can master the basics, but have you got what it takes to conquer the assault course?

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5. Segway Polo

Here’s a chance to really unleash your competitive side! Instead of playing on horseback, you and a team of four other players can grab a mallet and take to your Segways. The aim of the game is simple; glide across the pitch on your Segway and using your polo mallet do your best to whack the ball into your opponents net.
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Book your Segway experience with The Activity People today!