Each month I’ll be seeking out affordable, achievable mini adventures in and around Bristol.

I don’t often set New Year’s resolutions, doomed to fail as most of them are. But this year I came up with an idea that I knew I could keep…and that I’d enjoy!

My New Year’s resolution is to do at least one ‘mini adventure in or around Bristol every single month’. The rules? Each activity has to be less than £50 and within approximately one hour of my current hometown of Bristol, in southwest England.

While I am the first person when I’m travelling to sign up for adventurous activities, when I’m at home I often get caught up with work, or the lure of the local pub takes over. But this New Year’s resolution has proved the perfect way to kick my adventurous spirit back into action.

I hope that my resolution will introduce me to new sports and activities that can potentially become hobbies in their own right. And if not, it’s always good to try something new!

I’ll be blogging about each adventure separately, but here’s what I’ve done so far, and what I have lined up for the rest of the year:

  • January, abseil the Avon Gorge
  • February, caving in Somerset
  • March, a night hike around the Malvern Hills
  • April, whitewater rafting in Cardiff
  • May, canoeing under Bristol and a bit more caving (it’s slightly addictive)
  • June, wild camping and paddle boarding in Bristol harbour
  • July, outdoor climbing in Cheddar Gorge
  • August, weekend trip kayaking the river Wye
  • September, dry slope skiing or snowboarding in the Mendips

 January, abseiling the Avon Gorge:

Always one for a bargain, in January, Mendip Outdoor Pursuits had a January sale with half day activities for just £15. With activities as varied as dry slope skiing, archery and climbing to choose from, I snapped up four vouchers.

They came in handy sooner rather than later when one miserable January weekend my adventure-loving friend Mel came to stay. The only activity Mendip had available that weekend was abseiling, so without further ado we signed up!

We arrived at 9am Sunday morning in a layby in the Avon Gorge, the traffic whizzing past us. It was absolutely Baltic and pouring down with rain. (For anyone looking to abseil in this weather, I advise you from first-hand experience to wear hiking boots not trainers. I think we were lucky we left with all of our toes, it was so cold!)


Abseiling the Avon Gorge

Preparing to go over the edge…

We had a great time abseiling down 25m of sheer, slippery rock face, and even the rain did nothing to dampen our spirits. The scariest part is definitely that first step over the edge, but after that you don’t even realise how high you are. There were six people in our group to start with, although one man did bail out when he saw how high up it was.

Avon Gorge Abseiling

A fair distance for a beginner…

The verdict:

Although we had fun, I don’t think I would abseil again. I’ve recently passed my beginners climbing course and abseiling is a little bit of a let down when all you want to do is climb back up again! I also think that I prefer activities that require a little bit more physical exertion. Luckily, I still have two vouchers left so maybe climbing will be what I use them for next.

However, if you have never done it before and want a decent adrenaline rush, then this is a great way to while away a few hours and try something new. And I’d highly recommend Mendip Outdoor Pursuits too – their instructors were very friendly and knowledgeable and we felt safe at all times, even with the weather!

The vital statistics:

Location: Avon Gorge, Bristol

Company: Mendip Outdoor Pursuits

Price: Bargain cost of £15

Book it: http://mendip.me