As many of you will know, we love a good festival. It’s probably not going to come as too much of a shock when I tell you that we also absolutely love the outdoors. So, when those two things are combined, it’s time for grins to flourish and hearts to sing. Picture it: long, sunny summer days; a dash of live music; a plethora of cool, adventurous activities to try: all taking place in some truly stunning natural surroundings. It doesn’t get much better for us. Well, until this year that is. You see, this year we’re on the bill at the Top of the Gorge Festival!
Yes, you heard that right. We’ve been added to the line-up of speakers for this year’s Top of the Gorge Festival. Organised by the National Trust and the team behind the successful South West Outdoor Festival, the Top of the Gorge Festival will take place from 22nd-24th June 2018. As the name suggests, it is also situated on top of England’s largest and most iconic gorge: the Cheddar Gorge.
Firstly, the range of adventurous activities on offer over the course of the weekend causes me to rub my hands with glee and anticipation. There are trail running events being held that cater for all abilities. So, whether you just fancy a quick highlights reel tour on foot of the surrounding area with a short 3km or 6km race, or you prefer to test yourself against the half marathon or even marathon distance trail events, there is something for everyone.
If you prefer your action on two wheels, there’s a range of mountain bike events that you can sign up for. Again, a variety of distances are available but, in an area renowned for its single track around Black Down and Rowberrow Warren, you’re sure to have some muddy good fun. If that isn’t enough, there are a range of other adventurous activities on offer for you to chuck yourself into at the Top of the Gorge Festival. From climbing and caving to watersports, there really is something for all outdoor tastes.
Elsewhere on the Festival site there will be a wide variety of inspirational speakers talking about their expeditions, accomplishments and plans for the future. Endurance athlete and UK Ambassador for Girl Guides, Anna McNuff, is on the bill, as is one of the UK’s leading climbers Madeline Cope, while Dave Cornthwaite will be talking about his Expedition 1000 project that has already seen him skateboard across Australia and swim the length of the Missouri River.
As I alluded to earlier, I’ve been added to the list of speakers and I’ll be discussing the importance of getting outside as a family and sharing some top tips, funny stories and epic fails from our own family adventures. It’s highly likely that my talk will be interrupted several times by calls of ‘Daddy’ or ‘I need a wee’. You never know, they may even go rogue and decide to steal the microphone. All I can say is that I’m really looking forward to sharing our experiences and, hopefully, having a chat with other outdoor families.
Also, at Top of the Gorge Festival, there will be guided walks, wild food forages, campfire cooking sessions and stargazing with local astronomers. In addition to my speaking slot, I’ll be organising some post-breakfast family walks from the festival site, and some kids’ navigation classes where they’ll use their new-found map and compass skills to complete a treasure hunt around the Festival.
Once we’ve finished adventuring in the day, we’ll kick back and take in some of the great live music that the festival has to offer. Of course, after a day burning calories, I’ll be very much in need of a cool beer. Luckily, Nat and I will have plenty of locally brewed beers and ciders to keep us company as we mum and dad dance to the bands. Fortunately for them, our two are too young to be embarrassed by are moves just yet.
All in all, the Top of the Gorge Festival sounds like an awesome weekend for like-minded people and families to connect and spend time together in the great outdoors. I can’t wait to try out a range of the amazing activities on offer, and I’m so pleased to be speaking and organising some family-friendly stuff. So, if you and your family fancy an adventurous weekend away, why not join us?