Archive for the ‘Outdoor Guernsey’ Category
3 hours (5pm till 8pm)
Starts in the north of the island and takes in the historic sights and the breathtaking scenery of the West coast. Ends at a fabulous pub venue soaking up the last rays of the majestic Guernsey sunset.
Terrain: Cycle paths, Ruettes Tranquiles, Coastal Paths, Some walking
Options: Post tour meal, Minibus transfers for groups
Guernsey’s network of Ruette Tranquils’ Green lanes, Water lanes, tracks and bridleways are perfect for exploring the hidden gems of our unique Norman French culture, Turbulent history of Piracy and invasion and of course the beauty of our very sleepy country parishes.
We have put together varied routes that will suit the casual flat ground cyclist right through to those of you that love the hills. Each tour has a different focus and will visit a selection of our finest off the beaten track attractions and a few of our really famous ones too!
So be prepared to discover bunkers, Norman churches, witches, ancient chambers, splendid views, quirky houses, Guernsey life and loves, customs and peculiarities in the best way possible, by bike!
Our tours are led by local accredited guides and cyclists. Transfers are available for groups. We will supply hire cycles and helmets but you are welcome to use your own if you wish. Tours last from 2 to 3 and a half hours.
Guernsey Northern Beaches Tour (ideal for visiting cruise liners)
Starting from the White Rock Pier or Ferry terminal, this tour is over flat ground and examines the history of the often invaded Northern Parishes and the Braye de Valle which once cut Guernsey in two. Find out more on this gentle exploration of our fertile lowlands.
Minibus transfers available for groups.
Outdoor Guernsey Gift Vouchers bought direct are great value.
They never expire.
Are valid for any activity, Including puffin patrols, kayak hire, school holiday activities as well as all our usual coastal adventures.
Can be used with other promotions.
Can be used for Adventure Sark activities.
We will post free of charge to any address AND…..
….We will hand deliver up until 6pm on Christmas Eve – the ultimate last minute gift!
One of our most popular options for groups is our team challenge event that works well both inside and outside. Herm is a fabulous outdoor venue, Le Guet at Cobo and Grandes Rocques, Portelet or the Farmhouse hotel are great venues in Guernsey, while Les Maingys activity centre is a great option for when the weather is un-reliable. Team challenges are also available in Sark
Your group will be split into a number of smaller teams of 8 to 12 and compete against each other in a number of fun group tasks and puzzles.
The activities selected will be appropriate to your group but will be suitable for all abilities as each activity is designed to encourage participation on many different levels.
All events are scored and we will declare a winning team at the end of the event.
This events generally lasts 2 or 3 hours and costs £28 to £38 per person.
We have other options available and can custom design your event for you, if you would like to more information on the available options please email: email@example.com or call Ant on 07781 130403
Mark, Andy A and Craig supported by Ant and Phil from Outdoor Guernsey successfully completed the “round island” challenge” Sunday 2 October in an excellent time of 6 hours 58 mins stopping just once at Bordeaux. [but they missed out on the fog !]
Trip stats: Start 7:45 from Portelet harbour wind SE F 2-3 and slight swell. Good conditions all the way, The South coast was completed in 2hrs 39 minutes, East coast St Martins point to Bordeaux in 60 minutes. After a short lunch stop the final 11.3 miles of the North and West coast were completed in just under 3 hours. Our top speed was 5.6 mph with tide and wind assistance in the little Russel just before passing St Sampsons harbour. We managed to cross Lihou causeway with 10 minutes to spare which enabled us to break the 7 hour time. 24.2 miles in total.
That means that 24 of us (excl the Outdoor Guernsey team) conquered this challenge in total with commitment, determination and……………patience !
Whilst we have raised the profile of Crimestoppers and its confidential telephone No 0800 555 111, the primary motive of this challenge was to raise money for charity.
I am delighted to confirm that the total sum raised will be £20,000
This from the Uk Department of Education: A breath of fresh air. Outdoor Guernsey hope that Guernsey Education will follow this lead.
- Ministers dispel health and safety school trip myths
Teachers must no longer be discouraged from taking children on school trips because of misplaced health and safety concerns, Education Secretary Michael Gove and Employment Minister Chris Grayling have said.
A myth-busting statement, prepared by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), has been published for schools and local authorities – explaining what teachers should consider when organising trips. The statement dispels myths about legal action and encourages all schools to ditch unnecessary paperwork, ensuring that precautions are proportionate to the risks involved.
Newly revised health and safety guidance for schools has also been published by the Department for Education, summarising how the existing health and safety law affects schools, local authorities, governing bodies, and staff – particularly in relation to school trips. This advice has been slashed from 150 pages of unduly complex information to just eight pages.
At the moment, many wrongly schools believe that:
- written risk assessments - some totalling up to 100 pages – must be completed for every activity that takes place outside of school, such as visits to museums
- teachers must ask parents to complete written consent forms for every school trip or visit.
The new guidance clarifies these myths and urges a common sense approach, making it easier for schools to give pupils more opportunities to learn outside of the classroom.
Education Secretary Michael Gove said:
Children should be able to go on exciting school trips that broaden their horizons. That is why we are cutting unnecessary red tape in schools and putting teachers back in charge.
This new, slimmer advice means a more common sense approach to health and safety. It will make it easier for schools to make lessons more inspiring and fun.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling said:
Memories of our school trips stay with us. Learning outside the classroom brings the curriculum to life and is essential to our children’s development. We cannot let confusion over health and safety requirements deprive them of the opportunities we had.
I want to dispel the myths and remind schools, teachers and local authorities that a disproportionate fear of prosecution should not get in the way of common sense.
The revised guidance:
- summarises the legal duties of head teachers, governing bodies and local authorities on health and safety, and covers activities that take place on and off school premises
- makes clear that a written risk assessment does not need to be carried out every time a school takes pupils on a regular, routine local visit, for example to a swimming pool or museum.
- tackles myths and teachers’ fears about being prosecuted by making the law clearer
- clarifies that parental consent is not necessary for pupils to take part in the majority of off-site activities organised by a school, as most of these activities take place during school hours and are a normal part of a child’s education.
The fear of prosecution is often cited as an obstacle to arranging school trips, but action is rare. In the past five years, only two cases have been brought by the HSE for breaches of health and safety law in relation to school visits and this was where there was evidence of recklessness or a clear failure to follow sensible precautions.
To help schools further, the Department for Education has also developed a ‘one-off’ parental consent form, which covers activities outside the normal school day. These include residential visits in school holidays and at weekends, adventure activities, off-site sporting fixtures outside the school day, and all off-site activities for nursery schools which take place at any time. The consent form will cover all activities and will only need to be signed once, when a child enrols at the school.
Schools will then only need to inform parents in advance of each activity and give them the opportunity to withdraw their child from the activity if they wish, rather than conducting bureaucratic form-filling exercises for every school trip.
Trips to catch glimpses of Herms iconic visitors have always been popular and travel trident for many years provided a service to watch the puffins from the trident ferries. Since the service was stopped it has been difficult to get to see the puffins unless you own your own boat and have good knowledge of the difficult waters around Herm.
Outdoor Guernsey now offer puffin watching trips by kayak, we have called them puffin patrols in memory of the old trident trips, but these trips give a totally new perspective to bird watching!
Led by Ant Ford Parker, Outdoor Guernsey’s expert on kayaking in Herm and utilising his experience and knowledge of the puffins habits and and the local waters, these trips will take you quietly and unobtrusively to the nesting areas and feeding grounds to see the puffins behaving totally naturally.
In the two years since starting these trips we have seen puffins on every single visit during April to July, the most we have seen is 16 together on the water, we have even been lucky enough on one trip to watch a young puffin take it’s first flight from the burrow! Other birds that we regularly see are fulmars, razorbills, shags, oyster catchers and the occasional guilimot. Seals are also regular visitors and sometimes will follow kayaks to find out what is going on.
The trips run from Shell beach and last approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours. No experience of kayaking is necessary as we will give you instruction and time to get settled with the easy to use and very stable sit on top kayaks. We have double kayaks available so if you are unsure you can go along with someone else and let them do most of the work! Trips will only go ahead in suitable weather. These trips are a great one off experience and a memorable day is guaranteed.
To book, call Outdoor Guernsey 01481 267627 or our check our online calendar to find out when trips are available.
Outdoor Guernsey were pleased to be chosen once again by the Guernsey Police to provide a three day team building event for the new intake of student officers in 2010 following a very successful event in 2009. This is a synopsis of a challenging and fulfilling three days work by the new officers.
After an initial meet and greet and introductions to the team, The residential experience started with ice-breakers and indoor team tasks designed by Outdoor Guernsey facilitator Antony Ford Parker. The team was introduced to Belbin team roles and explored their own individual characteristics. They were able to refer back to this throughout the event and review it at the end. An improvement in the weather helped to move the team tasks outside at Les Maingy’s where the student officers took on a number of thought provoking mental and physical challenges such as the ‘tower of Hanoi’ ‘white water’ and ‘the bridge of life’ that tested all their skills in planning, cooperation, communication and team work.
The afternoon weather was suitable for the kayak task so kayaks and the team were deployed to Havelet bay for instruction and briefing. The officers were soon confident enough to adventure by kayak to Soldiers bay and on towards Fermain Bay. After a brief landing to explore caves and rock formations the team took on their next challenge of an ‘all in’ kayak rescue of themselves and a planted unconscious casualty, the task was videoed for review later. A very hearty dinner and relatively early night rewarded their efforts.
After an early start and full English to fuel the team for the day, the minibus delivered the team to their first challenge on the coast exploring caves and testing their reaction to tight and dark spaces. Crate stacking and then abseiling at The Guet, which boasts an amazing panoramic view of the Islands west coast, From Lihou through Cobo and to the North and Alderney, followed a quick tea break. Many students faced their fears at this point but after gentle encouragement from Outdoor Guernsey instructors all were delighted to complete the task.
After lunch came what was for most the highlight of the event, coasteering from Telegraph bay to the Peastacks at Icart. Bright sun encouraged the team through some of the most dramatic and thrilling coastal features in the Channel Islands. Coasteering involves swimming, scrambling and occasionally jumping into the sea and the coasteering routes in Guernsey rival any in Wales, Cornwall and Scotland. The student officers took full advantage of the opportunity to be guided by the instructors through such a unique environment.
The day was rounded off with an archery competition at Les Maingy’s while supper was cooking.
A leisurely start compared with the morning before and a briefing over cooked breakfast. The team was reminded of differing roles and responsibilities within groups and after a few warm up tasks (tree hugging!) they were given the climatic scenario to complete. Breakout from alien imprisonment, liberate the secret information and save the world! No small task. The student officers threw themselves into the task and roles and responsibilities were completely explored. Leadership and negotiation as well as forward planning and teamwork were all necessary and the student police officers proved to have plenty off all the necessary skills. The tasks were again videoed for review in the summary phase.
The debrief and review session was lively, enjoyable and allowed the team to understand, review and learn more from their shared experience of the three day experience. The videos reviewed and discussed and the event was expertly summarized and the learning pulled together by the Outdoor Guernsey staff team. The Police team was given the opportunity to feedback and to express their thoughts and learning experiences before warm and friendly goodbyes.
All participants were asked for their feedback comments as well as being asked to score the various events. The following quotes are genuine quotes from the people taking part.
“ Jumping into the sea was the most uncomfortable and the most enjoyable”
“I got to know my team very well and enjoyed every task”
“Linking the theory of teambuilding and showing us the video and photographs was excellent. Thanks for a great weekend, I learnt a lot about myself and teams”
“Thank You! Seriously the last three days have possibly been some of the best day’s of my life”
“I loved the whole experience and the staff where great and very encouraging”
“Really good, lasagne and beef casserole no top chef could beat it!”
“The Outdoor Guernsey staff did a great job for the last few days and I enjoyed it a lot”
“I was pleased with my qualities, I feel I took everybody’s feelings into consideration and I feel I played an important part in all tasks”
Fine way round
Article by Mark Windsor.
Guernsey Press 9 November 2010
Leaping off rocks into the sea is not something I’ve done much of anywhere except in Guernsey, and that was a long time ago, so I was intrigued when I got the invite from Ant Ford Parker of Outdoor Guernsey to go coasteering in Sark.
At around 7.30am on the day we went, a high spring tide lapped over the edges of the St Peter Port seafront before receding to one of the season’s lowest. The sun was shining and all was well with the world by the time a motley group of ten cheerful would-be coasteers met up outside the White Rock café. We were men mostly, aged between 30 and forties, me in my fifties, and then Lauren, who was not in the least perturbed about being the only female, there with her partner, ex GP man Mark Duncan.
The plan was to fuel up first with a famous White Rock caf all-English breakfast, but before this we were asked about any medical history/cautions, and then, for those that didn’t have their own gear, sized up for what was needed: climbing helmets, wet suits, buoyancy aids – and specialist boots made from a mix of neoprene uppers and hard rubber soles – ideal for jumping in and climbing out of the water. Outdoor Guernsey is fairly unusual among British companies in currently supplying all this gear – in particular the specialist boots.
On the boat over, Ant explained where exactly we’d be going. Although it was a lovely day, the tail end of a strong Southeasterly wind had whipped up a swell. We would be going to Sark’s West coast, close to the Gouliot caves where sea conditions though interesting were in theory a bit more settled. Ant and his son Alfie had reconnoitered the area earlier in the week.
‘Sark is special, it’s got such an interesting and beautiful coastline – it has to be up there amongst the best in the British Isles to go exploring, said Ant – and it’s not as if we don’t have a fantastic choice of places also to explore in Guernsey.’ He’s a fun, down to earth bloke with no pretentious airs and graces
‘Coasteering he explained after breakfast, is a low carbon foot print activity. Climbing, swimming and jumping in, is only ever going to burn up your own bacon and little else (apart from the boat fuel on the way across). But as a coasteerer said Ant, you have a responsibility of care for the marine environment in which you are operating, and for yourself and your team-mates.’
For this reason he emphasized common sense on safety issues and respect for the marine flora and fauna – looking at but not touching what we saw around us – bearing in mind that the ecology of the Goulliot caves that we were later going to explore, was particularly precious.
Upon our arrival, the Sarkese made us welcome, Budge Burgess of Sark Estate Manegement kindly provided us an area in which to change into our wet suits. Gear on, we made our way across the island towards the Pilcher Monument and then down the cliff to the moorings at Harvre Gosselin. There, Ant paired us up in a ‘buddy’ system, so that at least one person would always be aware where the other one was, and gave us the low down on signals and safety procedure and on what we were about to do.
From a low rock the new ones in the group were given instructions on the art of jumping in – basically feet together, jumping out then holding yourself in the vertical position as you enter the water. When jumping from any height higher than three feet above the water, Ant instructed people to cross their arms and hold them to their chest. Off the higher leaps, holding your arms out is definitely not recommended because the risk of a severe shoulder wrench is a distinct possibility.
The next practice leap was from 10 or 12 feet. Ant and Matt made sure that we were all happy and jumping competently. Over the next few hours the rest of us decided fairly intuitively what our limits were, the experienced coasteers generally the more eager to jump off the higher positions. I suspect I didn’t jump off anything higher than 15 feet above the water. But, much fun was had by all and quite a bit of plummeting took place that day.
From Havre Gosselin our explorations first of all took us southward, up and over a couple of granite outcrops to jump into a couple of gulleys – the most memorable one led to the entrance to Victor Hugo cave. In the main gulley the swell was periodically quite big and as we progressed through its narrowest part towards the cave, care was needed in the sometimes, churning white water. With protective helmet, wet suit and buoyancy aid it all felt quite manageable, but without them, swimming in such conditions would have been a much riskier thing to do and not one that I’d recommend.
Spat out by the sea at the entrance to the cave we scrambled our way over boulders and with a few torches between us explored its darkest recesses. With less light, and being exposed more directly to the full force of the sea, the cave had less in the way of flora than the ones we were to explore later. A fisherman’s bobber was wedged into a recess at its deepest point showing the strong hydraulic forces at work at a different state of the tide – not a place to be trapped on an incoming one. We returned to daylight at the cave entrance. Scrambling over boulders and getting back into the incoming swell required care and the instructors were vigilant here, over-seeing the group’s safety as we ducked under the worst of the surf to swim out through the bottle necked gulley into the open sea. One more gulley and then we clambered up to the highest rock of the day to stop for a drink of water and an energy bar, and take in the views, which were quite spectacular. Ant took the opportunity to recce a high jump, and a safe exit point, and within the next few minutes, five of the group at least, were jumping from a rock platform about 24 feet high, into deep blue green water.
Rest break over for the rest of us and we were back on our feet, clambering over rocks that one had to take care with – some of them deceptively slippery. Up and over more granite outcrops, jumping in to and swimming across gulleys, we now headed northward, eventually swimming past the moorings at Harvre Gosselin. We made our way to the Gouliot Caves, la piece de la resistance and the final place to explore on the day’s itinerary. This cave system, which is only fully accessible on a low spring tide, is spectacular and I wished I’d had my own camera.
It’s hard to describe the caves and do them justice. On a bright day like this one, they were cathedral-like, with shafts of sunlight piercing the shadows, and the subdued ambient light reflecting off the walls from various other openings, some at sea-level, some above. Lining the walls of some of the caves was some short tufted weed – almost like a carpet of grass, which was still wet after the recently receded tide. Glistening diamonds of light dripped off the weed covered walls into the sea.
The caves are famous for the variety of sea anemones, a profusion of the classic deep red ones which, as kids, we called blood suckers, but then a variety of other ones that I don’t recall seeing in Guernsey, green ones with a ring of bright blue at their base, small pink ones in their hundreds and possibly the least spectacular, but absolutely the most rare, white ones, apparently seen nowhere else in the world but here. Then there were bright yellow and orange sponges, and gelatinous grey looking ooze congealing to walls in slimy clumps – massed colonies of creatures we didn’t have a name for – all very precious despite not being quite so attractive.
We explored several of the caves, sometimes re-entering the sea to do so. Eventually we all convened in the main cavern from where we made our final exit, climbing up out the entrance, over scree from previous rock-falls and back up to the cliff path. With a boat to catch, it was time to go. We tramped over to the Bel Air, where we changed back into our clothes, feeling tired and satisified after three or four hours of continuous physical activity in one of the most beautiful parts of the Channel Islands.
By some strange quirk of fate, there was time for a couple of quick pints and then the bonus of some hot food. Ant had arranged some nosh for us with Kristina the cheerful lady who runs La Petite Poule Bistro. Crusty bread, beer and a fine mess of potage, what more could we ask for? Ten very satisfied customers made their way back to Guernsey. There were no problems sleeping that night.