The Ordnance Survey Outdoors Show 2008
Posted by xxrosannaxx on Mon, 24 Mar 2008.
3 days. Thousands of people. Hundreds of stalls. Speeches from everyone who’s anyone in the outdoor world. A chance to see the best international climbers in action. Gear showcases from top brands. Mountain biking. Climbing. Canoeing. Rafting. Orienteering. Caving. Hill walking. Diving. Adventure travel. High ropes. Mountain boarding. Slack lining. Bushcraft. Photography. And the chance to plan your next adventure.
An outdoor lover’s paradise. Indoors.
Having been an outdoor enthusiast for as long as I can remember, I of course had a great time. But would other young people enjoy it?
Well, surprisingly, compared to the last two shows I’ve been to, I saw an increased amount of young people at the NEC this year, the majority being University students. Gone are the days when outdoors pursuits were only for the older generations. Extreme sports have captured the imagination of young people, perhaps due to their dangerous, risky nature.
The show definitely had enough to fulfil this need for adrenaline, with mountain board displays from the MBS Pro Team Riders, mountain bike displays from the MB7 and 7 Stanes riders, Royal Marine displays and, of course, the Ford Skymasters Challenge, in which 60 professional rock-climbers from around the globe tried to make their way, Spiderman-style, around a huge climbing course hanging from the ceiling (the pictures say it all). Only two were successful in reaching the end of the course, and touching their prize of Ford 4x4 (also hanging from the rafters). There were also opportunities to have a go on high ropes courses, with spectacular views across the entire show.
And if watching the pros isn’t enough for you, there were numerous opportunities to have a go yourself. There were opportunities to try mountain biking, bush craft, climbing, bouldering, ice climbing, rafting, high ropes and slacklining. Trained instructors were on hand to help, and you could even pick up tips from the professionals!
Not only this, but there were countless chances to hear speeches from outdoor heroes such as Leo Houlding and Alan Hinkes, and to see showcases of outdoor films and photography. There were even outdoor-clothing fashion shows, in which free gear was given away.
Ok, so of course a true outdoor lover’s paradise is outside. But the OS Outdoors Show is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to find new ideas and inspiration. An opportunity to try your hand at something new. And, last but not least- to pick up freebies! Although I should warn you, don’t get too greedy when it comes to free pens. At last year’s show I had an oh-so-lovely experience involving a bag of pens, in which one decided to leak. Not a pretty picture.
This year’s fiasco revolved, ironically, around taking photographs for this article. After discovering that my camera batteries had died (and I, being careless, hadn’t brought any spares), what followed was a desperate dash around hundreds of stalls, trying to find somewhere that would sell me batteries. And believe me, it’s more difficult than you think- I got all sorts of funny looks when I asked whether stands were selling them. But I found some eventually, and soon took plenty of pictures, as you can see.
If you think that the Outdoors Show sounds like your kind of thing, it’s on again next year: 27th -29th March 2009. I guarantee that you’ll have a great day and will come away with plenty of ideas for your next outdoor adventure.