Thursday, 31 March 2011

I'm Craving Caving!

So it was Adventure CafĂ©’s office day out last Thursday – and our adventure destination was Goatchurch Cavern…and we were going caving! I had been looking forward to this day for a while, and as we arrived at the entrance to the cave, the adrenaline started pumping (I love that adrenaline rush!). We started by squeezing our way through a small crack and our first challenge was upon us – a vertical descent into the cave. We tied the ropes and made our way in. That was it then for the next 1.5 hours – no daylight whatsoever, our Headtorches were our only source of light. Armed with maps, and a rope we headed further into the cave, and were met with the option of several small holes and tight squeezes to choose from, which would decide in which direction we would head. We had already decided it would probably be best to steer clear of ‘Hellish Tight’ and ‘Drainpipe’ – especially for our first time in the caves! The prospect of getting ourselves into a compromising position and being stuck there for…well, who knows how long, did not appeal to us somehow! What a completely different world though! From the bright skies and fresh air outside, to now be in pitch black, damp caves was surreal – but I was loving every minute! The tighter and smaller the gap was, the better! And not knowing what would be the other side…if I made it through. The highlight for me I think, was the ‘Boulder Chamber’ – a large opening full of…yes…boulders! Which then, through another rather tight squeeze, led to ‘The Grotto’ (sounds lovely doesn’t it?) And it was! I think for other members of staff, the highlight might just well have been the glimpse of daylight we saw as we were coming to the end of the adventure! Personally, that was the worst part for me – and all I wanted to do was turn around and explore some more! I could not recommend caving highly enough – so if you can’t get hold of me at the office, well, you know where I might be :)

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Spring is in the air.... Time for adventure!

So the weather has finally taken a turn for the better, and I'm pleased to report that we have made a positive start! Jason has taken to the hills on his new Saracen mountain bike, Kirsty is looking forward to our team meeting in the caves beneath the Mendip Hills! And I am busily getting excited about where the summer will take me on adventures new.

But if ever there was a time for seizing the moment and feeling energised by the world, it is the spring! A time surely of new possibilities, for imagining the possibilities that lie ahead for the summer, and a time to embrace a world which, contrary to popular media is actually full of wonder and endless awesome experiences.

Although we tend to spend most of our time thinking about and doing physical challenges, in fact our view of the world does roam slightly wider, and our deep down philosophy at Adventure Cafe is more tuned towards simply 'getting stuck in'. We are passionate about getting passionate. In whatever area you may be interested, get amongst it. Knighted, gardeners, diy-ers, motor bikers, gymnasts, painters, bird spotters, and even outdoors adventure freaks! all of us, lets look forward to the summer, let's plan our conquests for the forthcoming season, don't miss the boat, just get in there, and let's get it started! Richard.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Back-to-back weekends in the bag - is it really only February?

Well done to the guys from Waitrose for persevering through arctic conditions on Kinder Scout in February. It's not often you see Nordic skiers in The Peak, and after an hour in white-out traversing Brown Knoll, huskies and sled weren't too far-fetched. Low cloud unfortunately limited the views, but the wind-sculpted gritstones of The Woolpacks look their best when the sky's forbidding.

The following weekend brought better weather, a trip to Avebury (and a sprained ankle, more on that later) and the Adventure Cafe Century Bike Challenge from Oxford. Now, I always swore I'd never become a MAMIL (Middle-Aged Man in Lycra), but the urge to get stuck in trumps my sartorial alarm bells every time. So in padded lycra and silly (albeit necessary) helmet I heroically took one for the team by giving up my bike after 45km to endure the discomfort of the support vehicle to Banbury. Hats off to all who took part, the rain seemed to keep finding an extra gear. Regardless, cycling is the best way to enjoy the Cotswolds and I can think of no better way to take in the site of the opening battle of the civil war and the birth places of such luminaries as William Shakespeare, Plastikman and, er, Gary Glitter.

The legacy of these events has been a hamstring strain and the aforementioned sprained ankle. Rest is paramount to any fitness regime, but I've always struggled to do nothing. A day without taking some form of exercise is anathema to me and always leaves me restless and tetchy. Why? IT JUST DOES, OK!! So, with one leg extended and the other on ice, I commend to you a new book by Ian Vince called The Lie of The Land, a brilliantly readable 'under the field' guide to the geology of Britain. We may not have the highest peaks, the longest rivers or the most boring salt flats, but if you want to see rocks from virtually every period in Earth's history in one place, then Britain's that place.

I may have made a screeching, Nick Clegg-esque U-turn on lycra, but I swear:

I'll never buy a caravan.

Shoot me if I do.