Blog No# 4 | The Summer of Adventure | A reflection on a bumper season
What a summer! WHAT A SUMMER!
Not since 1977-78 can we say we have had a summer period like it. Although one could argue in the mid eighties there were periods of sustained dry weather, conversely, when can we say we had MONTHS of dry, warm and cloudless days which felt like each day rolled into one. It became habit to stick on a pair of shorts and apply suncream. When we did experience drops of rain – and as typical scots, we eventually longed for it – it was a complete surprise. Not only were crops starting to fail due to lack of rain but also tourists were starting to avoid Scotland because it was TOO warm!
Our jet stream got kinky…
Meteorologists explained that our sustained summer was due to a kink or displacement in our jet stream – that vast flowing band of moving air high in the stratosphere that starts in the gulf of mexico and dictates our climate here in the west of Scotland. Rather than behave like a normal river of air flowing directly to the north of the Uk which brings us weather systems from the west, the jet stream kinked or looped over the Atlantic ocean, this in turn created a flow of air travelling north towards Iceland which created a blocking high pressure over northern Europe and the Uk. And it didn’t budge. High pressure is akin to pressing your hand on a large balloon, it squeezes air downwards which in meteorological terms creates an anti-cyclone. Air basically moves anti clockwise. The harder you press the balloon, the harder it is for low pressure systems called ‘depressions’ to cut across your path. As low pressure systems (depressions) form in the Atlantic they spin clockwise towards the Uk where this summer they simply bounced off and spiralled northwards. Hence the term ‘blocking high’. The break in weather in late July early, August was welcomed by farmers all over Scotland. Our rivers here in Ayrshire were also in trouble. No rain creates reduced flow rate as run off from springs and tributaries in the hills is reduced. No flow mixed with high temperatures, mean water temperatures rise. Algae blooms with sunshine and stagnant water pools which in turn suffocates the oxygen levels in rivers. Fish, crustaceans and other river based micro organisms start to show signs of stress and eventually were starting to die, as reported by Ayrshire Rivers Trust. Jelly fish were also on a feeding frenzy on the west coast of Scotland due to high temperatures. Basking sharks, rare Sun fish and Orcas were regularly spotted off Ailsa Craig. Is this a sign of things to come?
But whos complaining!
Certainly not us here at Adventure Carrick. We could plan and prepare activities better and with more reliability. People naturally wanted to get out more and take part in watersports which replicated in increased footfall across our activities. By far the most popular activities were Stand Up Paddle boarding and Coasteering. Contrastingly, one activity is Thrill based and the other Chill/Skill based. We also experienced a busy season with paddlesports.
Work on our new promo video commenced and Adventure Carrick/ACE were also nominated for an award by Scottish Outdoor Leisure Awards under the best outdoor activity experience category. ACE were awarded the Certification mark by the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere based on our approach to offering activities within the UNESCO biosphere in a sustainable way which helps protect the areas of natural beauty in which we live and work.
Starting on 4th July, we set up a new programme of activities based at Doonfoot, Ayr. Our advert in Going Out publication, What’s On Ayrshire and our social media posts attracted interest from parents from all over Ayrshire where bookings steadily came into the office. In total we engaged with over 50 families during the 4 scheduled activity dates. Young people from 7yrs up to 16yrs participated in SUP, Canoeing and Kayaking on the mouth of the river. It proved a brilliant venue which allowed the instructors to use the river features and tidal flow resulting in fun filled sessions. What was astounding was how well the groups got on with each other despite not knowing each other at first. Friendships were formed through sharing adventures and good times.
We also laid on Teenagers only days and Extreme Rock pooling for 5-7yr olds for the first time which was a hoot! Parents were invited to join young people on this activity and this is something we will definitely look at offering more of.
For us, the biggest highlight of the summer was in designing and delivering 2 overnight residential camps based at Balloch O Dee, near Newton Stewart. Thanks to funding received from the William Grants Foundation, ACE were able to offer a substantial bursary towards the cost of the camps. Over 30 young people attended the 2 night, 3 day multi activity camp (see blog 5 for full report). The young people enjoyed camping, canoeing, gorgewalking, hillwalking, cooking outdoors, socialising, camp games, night activities and of course, spending time making new friends. A huge thanks goes to Justine and Miles for running a fantastic camp and to all the parents for your support.
Blessed with good weather, our instructors engaged with over 300 clients between July and August. Some clients tackled new challenges, head on. Some clients enjoyed incredible moments to share with their siblings and some just simply wanted a digital detox and a new taste of adventure.
On behalf of the Adventure Carrick team, thank you to everyone who joined us this summer, both young and old. We had great fun delivering the activities and we hope you can continue to join us on future activities this autumn.
For more information on our scheduled activities check our www.adventurecarrick.com