15 Acres of Adventure in the Heart of Leicester

Friday, 23 November 2018

Kayak Launch Appeal

We need to Reconstruct the kayak launch area, which will enable safer and easier access for both able-bodied and disabled users to enjoy paddle sports on the River Soar in Leicester.
We need your Help.
Following years of flooding and riverbank erosion, the kayak launch is at risk of collapsing into the river. Used by up to 10,000 people per year, the kayak launch provides the access point for individuals, families, schools and a variety of community clubs to get onto and off the River Soar in Leicester, supporting the development of paddle sports. 

Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre is a Registered charity number 1074671

The proposed project would involve placing pilings into the river, back-filling the space behind, adding a new concrete launch area and access from high ground down onto the launch area. This would future-proof this important facility, which is used every day that we are open. 

We need your help with Ideas and Actions to Fund Raise to make this project happen.

The Centre now attracts visitors and users from across the UK and we anticipate demand on this facility to grow in the months and years ahead. This makes it really important to carry out this reconstruction sooner rather than later.

Our goal is to raise £34,000 Please will you help us make this happen?

For more information or offers of help please email manager@lopc.co.uk

Your text will cost your donation plus your Network Charge. Please make sure you have the permission of the bill payer before making a donation.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Proving that neither age nor disability is a barrier

Proving that neither age nor disability is a barrier to new experiences, with her 2 daughters & grandson, 85 year old June Jones from Wigston, Leicester was one of the participants on the Zip-line at the LOPC (Leicester Outdoor Pursuit Centre) in March. 

June, who will be 86 in June this year is totally blind in one eye and has only partial peripheral vision in the other eye.  Speaking to a family friend who had been on a zip-wire whilst on holiday, June told her family that she would love to have a go, to have that feeling of flying through the air.  Her family contacted the LOPC who arranged the experience as a private booking for a Christmas present.

After her 1st go, June said ‘Oh I loved it and it was so quick.  I was twirling in the air & could feel the wind rushing past me, do we get to have another go’?  

The family were led back up to the top of the tower with greater confidence to have another go.  June said ‘I’m going to tell all my friends at the Deaf & Blind Society & see if they want to come & have a go’

The LOPC provide Outdoor Adventure Activities for almost All ages & groups of people, with a range of experiences designed help stimulate, educate and motivate people at affordable prices.

The LOPC is an Independent Charity based in 15 Acres of land at the Heart of Leicester.  
For more information about the Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre.
e-mail: enquiries@lopc.co.uk                           
Tel: 0116 268 1426  

It was as if we had stumbled through the wardrobe and landed in Narnia.

Sometimes the stars align, freak weather conditions sweep the nation and events build up from a normal Saturday bimble in the peaks to an epic winter experience that ballads shall be sung about for generations to come.

It’s a rare event working in the outdoors to have a free weekend, even rarer for my partner in crime Steve also to be free, so queue a fortnight of planning what to do with the 10 hours of release from work and family. We were adamant that “It didn’t matter what we did, just being out is good enough”, this of course was purely lip service as we both had our own agenda “to fit in as much to these precious hours as possible”.

Watching the forecast build we were treated with a solid days snow in the Peaks on the Friday, so as Saturday morning hit we bundled axes and crampons into the tiny Fiesta and tore off towards the Edale Valley.

The drive was dreary with little or no snow. “It will be fine once we clear Chesterfield.” I said with mock confidence, the building feeling of pre emptive disappointment. The prospect of trudging through slush or being knee deep in chilled bog was far from appealing. Rolling past Birchen’s Edge the streams were pouring out along the road and Stoney Middleton did nothing to appease the building frustration at the thought of a wasted trip. As we pulled into Hope there was a margin of white on the skyline, but we both struggled to differentiate between cliff and cloud. Along the Edale valley the jury was out, as tops were covered in clag and without a window.

We were the second car in the Barber Booth lay bye. As we kitted up a few others arrived, but there was a hushed feel of muted excitement as we exchanged nods and hellos. From this point we could see that winter had touched the hill, but had no idea what conditions would be like one we got up there.

We headed up a swollen Crowden Clough, the route is a winding one, with small patches of woodland at the lower end, when we emerged from the last patch as the snow began to fall we got the first glimpse of the Kinder Plateau, and it didn’t disappoint. 
It was as if we had stumbled through the wardrobe and landed in Narnia. The stream has carved a steep path off of the plateau and other than the most perseverant rocks; everything was covered in ankle, knee to waist deep drifts.

Without a defined path, care had to be taken not to end up in the stream, hopping from rock to rock, clutching at heather tufts to gain headway. Then it gets steep!

We catch up with a man we had been seen in the car park. “There was too much water coming down the other day, it was impassable.” We opt for the steeper left hand bank and carve a trail, hugging the rock and making the most of natural gullies. That amount of snow can be extremely deceptive, nothing can be assumed, especially that the next foot hold is going to take your weight. After working around the main falls the ground flattens out into a frosted icicle garden.

We lunch at the edge of the Pennine Trail, enjoying the muffled silence aided by the blanket of snow. Barely a soul about. That is until a walking group of around 40 members march through, swiftly followed by a group of trail runners. We finish up and move on; just before the local dog walkers come tearing through.

The day takes a turn from this point on, as we work our way along the edges towards Jacobs Ladder. It’s apparent that everyone this side of Sheffield (Actually there were quite a few Liverpudlian accents about) had decided to hit the hills. We follow the massive furrow carved out by the walking group, and can’t go 2 minutes without greeting someone coming the other way. The conditions were perfect for a good days walk. And it was great to see so many people enjoying the hills, and not being put off. Everyone was having their own adventure. Us included.

What is normally a long knee jarring trudge down the steps of Jacobs’s ladder was actually quite fun, partly watching a pair of dog walkers slide down on their bums whilst chasing a giant snowball they were rolling down the hill.

Once back at the car we see a few of the faces we met earlier. All smiling and satisfied. Well worth getting out of bed for.

Post by Chris Murnin.
For More details about the Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Advanced White Water Leader Course

Advanced Leadership

by David Robinson of Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre

As part of my own CPD I recently enrolled on to an Advanced White Water Leader Course. It was great to get some paddle sport training again, as a coach I’m often the one giving out coaching advice but rarely receiving it. The course was fantastic with a real emphasis on professional guiding and professional leadership.

One thing we looked at was being able to adapt our leading in order to ensure the group were all part of the adventure. What do I mean by that? Quite often, and especially when we are in challenging environments, if we take the lead we can easily become the autocratic captain assuming responsibility of the group. Whilst there is a responsibility for the leader to look after the group, there is still a responsibility for the other teammates too - to look after each other.

They need to be an active part of the team. Otherwise, in a white water environment you can easily create a dynamic whereby the leader is carrying the group down the river.

A good analogy that was given to us referred to being in a car. When you’re a passenger you switch off and let the driver do all the work, you don’t start reading the signs and judge the stopping distances (well usually we don’t anyway). You switch off and let the driver concern themselves with all that.

The same can happen on the river, whereby the group just rely completely on the leader and then simply follow them like ducklings behind their mother. If this is happening you have to question how much they are part of the adventure and how much they are simply following a kayaker.

When we’re on advanced white water we need everyone to be drivers. So you need to make sure your clients are active in the adventure, and not just your passengers as you paddle down the river. This means adapting your leadership and moving yourself around the group, if the river eases off for a bit - put someone else at the front. If there are rapids where participants can practice specific skills encourage them to challenge themselves. We’re aiming for our participants to be more involved in the adventure making their own decisions and thinking about where they are going.

I’ll be looking to adapt my leadership as I spend more time on the river, and hopefully the result will be paddling with active engaged paddlers receiving real paddling adventure, rather than passengers simply following me from A to B.

The coach who delivered the course was Ross Montandon who runs New Wave Kayaking, who mainly delivers white water training. I thoroughly recommend Ross, very professional and great to learn from. 

Photos were taken by Ross during the course, thanks very much for letting us use them.

For more information about Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre

For more information about Ross Montandon

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Mixing business with teamwork

Mixing business with teamwork. By David Robinson.

This month I had the chance to work with Discovery Performance on one of their team development programmes. Coming from an outdoor background it was interesting to see another way groups can be tested and challenged. As outdoor practitioners we often get a bit of tunnel vision forgetting that there are plenty of other ways people can be tested and develop without necessarily taking them to the great outdoors.

Instead this time the groups were set up as a business with one simple objective, make money. They needed to allocate roles, Managing Director, Financial Director, Head of Operations and Sales Director all of which had to be rotated in the team. They were then given their brief and fictional bank account along with a list of expenses they had to pay and a list of ways they could earn their money. I was to be their chaperone for the day allocating them their credits as and when they earned them.

I felt a lot like one of Lord Alan Sugars right hand people as I watched the whole thing play out throughout the day. The group were all graduates on an 18 month progressive programme and they didnt do anything I expected them to. No planning, no costing up, just on the hoof lets get out there and earn some money. It was very much felt like an episode of The Apprentice as I watched the group slowly realise they were haemorrhaging money and desperately needed to raise cash before their new start-up went into administration.

All the difficulties the team went through and all the failures were important parts of the whole learning process. It created plenty of discussion at the end where we were able to look at not just what went wrong but also why it went wrong too. When the team split up what was and wasnt being communicated? How much planning took place and how would that have changed things? How did they work with customers and what effect did that have on their income?

All in all I felt that the groups went through a fantastic and well organised comprehensive team building experience. And just goes to show with a bit of creativity you can mix business principles with some outdoor and indoor challenges to come up with an alternative team building experience to really build a stronger more cohesive team.

For more information about Team Building activities for Businesses www.lopc.co.uk/corporate
To contact David    corporate@lopc.co.uk