Yesterday I visited the Outdoors Show. The 2013 Outdoors show is being held at the Excel in London and is marketed as 1 ticket 4 shows, combining the Outdoors Show, Active Travel Show, London Boat Show and London Bike Show. This meant there was plenty to see and do, it would be easy to spend the whole day at the Outdoors show alone!
The Outdoors Show alone has over 100 exhibitors, this ranges from manufacturers showing off their latest outdoor equipment to outdoor associations and there are even bouldering walls to climb and Zip wires to fly down.
As well as getting to see the latest in outdoors products and companies there were a great selection of speakers in the various stages. Some of the speakers I enjoyed listening to included
Helen Skelton - Helen Skelton is not just a children’s TV presenter on Blue Peter, she also holds two Guinness World Records for her adventuring - these are for kayaking 2010 miles down the entire length of the Amazon river on a solo journey, achieving a Guinness World Record for the longest solo journey by kayak. Her other record is for a 500-mile trek to the South Pole, both of these experiences were for Sport relief.
Charley Boorman - Charley Boorman first appeared on my radar when I saw the epic TV program Long Way Round, in which he and Ewan McGregor motorcycle round the world. This trip Charley said made a spike in sales of the “adventure” motorcycle industry by 65%, he spoke of how the Long way round came about and went on to discuss his other adventures, including the Race to Dakar. Charley is currently appearing in a new series on Channel 5 - Charley Boorman’s South African Adventure seeing Charley travel over 6,000 miles across Africa on his BMW GS Adventure motorcycle.
The Wild Britain Stage - The Wild Britain Stage was hosted by Ordnance Survey. At this stage there were a range of inspiring speakers and also talks on essential outdoor skills including Map reading, GPS, Bushcraft and more.
Those are just a couple of the many talks and events. Some of the stands I enjoyed included meeting Cassandra the writer of The Glamorous Girls Guide to the Great Outdoors which she launched at the Outdoors show, the Beyond the Beaten Track outdoor provisions company where there were several tasty ration packs / camping foods to try. In fact at times I felt it could be called the Good Food show! I also loved the Grasshopper foods stall who make tasty porridge and soups in innovative vacuum packed “pop up” bowls.
Also I got plenty of ideas for adventures for 2013, the Great Glen Trail was a particular favourite a 79 mile trail across Scotland from Fort William to Inverness mainly following the towpath of the Caledonian Canal, there’s something for everyone here with opportunities to complete all or part of the route on foot, bicycle or canoe!
My only complaint about the The Outdoors show, which isn’t really a complaint as it was great, more of an observation was the lack of camping companies there. When I think “Outdoors” I think camping, but the only tent supplier there was Robens (who had a fantastic selection of tents up) and there were no stove companies and few outdoor clothing companies (no big names).
That said The Outdoor Show makes a great day out, whether you are interested in planning an adventure, just having a browse, or a day out there’s something for everyone… and that’s just the outdoor show, once you’re finished there you have 3 other shows (Bike, Boat and Active Travel) to go round which I haven’t even mentioned here!