Big Shakeout Shake Down 2013

By Jay Oram

With another year of the Big Shakeout behind us we have found some time to sit back, look at some photos and recount stories of a brilliant weekend with friends. Ever since the first year we have seen some familiar faces bringing smiles and telling us stories of adventures throughout their year and we enjoy meeting new and interesting people. By the end of the weekend we feel like they are just like old friends. We are already excited about Big Shakeout 2014 and we have made some Big Shakeout 2014 tickets available for early birds at this year's prices! Want to know what the fuss is all about? Read on!

We are proud to have pulled together a broad event that due to our relationship with Pyranha, SteepEdge, River Legacy and countless others can cover everything from weaseling in the Peak District to an introduction to whitewater kayaking, talks from Vin Cox and even some rock legends - such as Ron Fawcett.

This last weekend around 500 people descended on Thornbridge Outdoorsin glorious sunshine to enjoy a pleasant evening getting their campsite ready, chilling out in the cafe with a burger and checking out the Blue Monkey bar manned by Alpkit staff.

Hopefully this can sum up most of what went on this year at the Shakeout, but we know everyone has their own story - told particularly well by photos, so check out the Alpkit Facebook page - search for #alpkit and #bigshakeout on Flickr / Twitter / Facebook as well as checking the Big Shakeout Event page on Facebook.

Friday evening saw live music, cool beer and hot food waiting for the Shakers. A chance to sit down and enjoy a roll of SteepEdge films in the cafe or a talk from Al Humphreyson taking advantage of every opportunity for a micro-adventure.

That night a group of people arrived that we could not have run the weekend without - our volunteer Shaker Makers. As a company we have limited staff, especially to organise a whole festival, so this select group helped out with everything from pulling pints, helping Shakers pitch their tents, car parking, cleaning portable toilets (so not all glorious jobs!) and everything in between. Thanks again guys and gals!

Bleary eyed from a late night behind the bar, I awoke to our Shaker Makers starting to make porridge, kindly donated by Rude Health, a bustling cafe all ready with a morning coffee and a whole bunch of smiley staff raring to get on with the day. It kicked off with getting people on their School of Adventure Courses, easier said than done! But everything went off without too much trouble.

On site the I.E.A.T Scoutactivities group ran sessions in Axe Throwing, Kelly Kettles, Paracord Bracelets among other things to keep everyone, young and old, entertained. Polly from Mountain Yoga Breaks had a full Yogurt (Yoga filled Yurt :-)) and the campsite was bustling with families and groups getting ready to go and explore the Peak District in some amazing weather. Arts and Crafts, Skyropes and the bike track were the highlights during the day at Thornbridge, but in the bar I heard stories of canoeing, climbing, carving paddles, using a pole lathe, caving and some extreme mountain bike jumps and drops.

Due to the size of the festival, we opened a second bar in the Yurt, filled with bean bags, a couple of Alpkit bar staff and all manner of drinks to create an intimate evening venue to recount tales of daring deeds. As the temperature dropped only the hardcore remained but they were surrounded by a choice of entertainment;Vin Cox and Friends (Emily Penn, Ron Fawcett and Joe from In the Frame) in the SteepEdge Cafe, live bands in the marquee and a smaller fireside stage with music and story telling (marshmallows included of course!) The party went on a little later into the night with the John Brewer Collective getting everyone up dancing.

Sunday morning was just as bright and full of enthusiasm - a few people commented on my skipping.With the weekend winding down, tents disappearing and Shakers leaving site for their final activities, we planned a leaving BBQ and some drinks in the sun. We said our thanks to everyone as they packed up and left, we had a group of happy people chilling in the sun with a drink and some food before the, for some long, drive home. As a bunch of staff, it was time for us to stand back and see what we had created: a whole new group of friends, now with an even bigger appetite for the outdoors. We said farewell and started to pack the last of the vans before reporting back Monday morning for business as usual.

Without these and the following people I can’t imagine the Shakeout being the same;Alex Ekins, Extreme Care, Ron Fawcett, Emily Penn, Joe Beaumont,Dave Garry, Paul Swail, Dave Cornthwaite, Helen Appleton, Netty @ The Design and Make Bus, Dan Bradley,John Clohsey, Pete Wood,Tatty Pumpkin, One Planet Adventure, Las Paellerasand of course all you Shakers!

The bands and acts that performed at the weekend -

Friday Night;Paul Bell,The NatterJacks,Ryan Thomas

Saturday Night;Sat Nav Sam,Carl North - find him in your local pub,Hot Fiction,Walk,Jamie Beau,John Brewer Collective

Check out a full photographic overview of the weekend in our Flickr set courtesy of Dan Bradley (or see them on his uptosummit blog too).

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