Hats off to Andrew Richardson, managing director of The Scotsman Publications Limited who pulled off this weekends Scotland’s Outdoor pursuits 2011. Scotland’s landscape is a playground for adventurers and for the first time ever The Scotsman in association with Rat Race adventure sports decided to prove it by hosting Scotland’s Outdoor Pursuits 2011, a two day event in the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, which showcased the best adventure organisations that Scotland has to offer.
Tickets were reasonably priced at £10 per adult, £5 student and £1 children. It brought together 60 plus exhibitions, 6 speakers, 4 activities and of course free stuff all in one hall, mapping out the sporting calendar for the coming year and psyching up the audience to try their hand at something new.
The exhibition consisted of five themed zones: Bike, cycling and off-road; water; camping and walking; xtra zone and finally snow, rock and adrenalin sports. Experts manned each stand offering advice and information to anyone who would listen. A thrilling set of activities provided entertainment for the weekend with Sno!zone’s snowboard stimulator and Keswick adventure’s climbing wall present to give a lash at, while Ben Savage and his Savage Skills display team launched themselves through the air on mountain bikes much to the audiences delight.
The presentations were inspirational, delivered mostly by ordinary folk that have achieved amazing feats. They provided a learning element to the day. 6 speakers, 6 topics which included Tim Ralf and the seven summits, Mark Cooper from smoker to runner, Allan Mitchell on BadaUK, Edinburgh Mountain Film Festival, Full Beam Bike Lights and Why we Run. The variety of stories in the line up ensured that they steered clear of becoming monotonous.
The adventure crowd arrived donning their waterproof Northface jackets, bike shades propped on top of their heads and sporting laceless runners. They left, laden down with plastic bags bursting with free Mick Ickes, pasta and dozens of sturdy booklets revealing easy ways to plan and strategise their next adventure.
The Outdoor Pursuits take home booklet is a must keep providing contact details for all the organisations present as well as ideal locations to explore on your chosen sport. It was the perfect place to drop in for a few hours, do it fast, as adventurers do most things. A tip for next years Outdoor Pursuits 2012 (which there most certainly will be) do not go alone, you’ll be bored, make it a family day out and get the most out of it by asking questions, it is an opportunity to not just be embraced, but to sprint head first into and wrestle to the ground.