One of the great things about writing this blog has been the random opportunities that arise; from a pair of new hiking shoes, to a crate of beef jerky and now an invitation to spend a day at Parkwood Outdoor Dolygaer. Parkwood is an outdoor education centre, catering for school groups and corporate events as well as stag/hen/any other kind of party! They have a range of accommodation options and are nestled in to the heart of the Brecon Beacons, South Wales.
We were greeted by Mike the centre manager and guides Owen and Tony who were our activity leaders for the day. You could tell they all had a great passion for the outdoors and a huge amount of energy when it came to leading our adventure.
Now, I’m not going to lie – this would not have been our first pick of activity for a rainy October day. Walking up a freezing cold, gushing Welsh river when we didn’t even need to cross it- surely not?! But we diligently put our trust in our guides; Mike had after all been leading this activity for the past 18 years! And it was great fun!
We waded across powerful torrents, clung fearfully on to rocks to stop us being swept away, traversed round cliff faces, scaled waterfalls and jumped in to pools. It sounds scary but Mike, Owen and Tony were always on hand to offer support and it was good to know that they were keeping an eye on conditions and making sure the river wasn’t too flooded after all that rain.
Stand Up Paddle-boarding
After a well-earnt lunch break back at the lodge we set off for our afternoon activity; paddle-boarding. This activity took place in the reservoir next to Parkwood Outdoor Centre, which to our delight meant we didn’t need to get back on the minibus. The session started with an oversized, giant paddle-board being floated out in to the lake… “On you all get” instructed Mike. So on we all scrambled, dragging ourselves up on to the board: ten adults and one nine-year-old.
The following hour or so was filled with laughter and screams as we all tried to get our balance and master the act of paddling, whilst remaining above water. All the while Mike rocked the boat, causing mischief and setting games which mainly resulted in us falling in to the lake. Shrieks of joy came from the youngest member of our group (or was that Alex?!) As well as the giant paddle-board we all had our turn on individual boards where I impressed myself with my ability to go in a vaguely straight line, “pivot” and do a roly-poly on my board!
We returned to the car exhausted but very happy, a thoroughly enjoyable day out in the Brecon Beacons with positive, friendly and professional instructors. Thank you Parkwood Outdoor Centre – we will be back again! For more photos of all the activities available at Parkwood check out their Facebook page.
Here’s a list of the other outdoor bloggers we shared the day with: