In a year where festivals have been plagued by inclement weather October has once again proved to be more reliable than the Great British summer. In our humble opinion, and having been to all Shakeouts, this years was the best ever!
Prefer your stories in pictures? Have a look through the Facebook Shakeout gallery.. otherwise read on.
On Friday night more than 200 people were guided by illuminated Alpkit letters to an intimate weekend of adventure and entertainment. Some were here to take part in School of Adventure activities, others were planning to head out into the Peak District exploring, climbing, walking or riding, others where here to simply relax, meet friends and enjoy the festival.
The weekend started with adventure films, hot food and live music. Smiling Ivy made sure those who had long journeys were rejuvenated and all thoughts of the working week vanquished.
Saturday started early, with a packed programme ahead breakfast was served from 7.30 to make sure people were underway by 9. Groups headed out caving, canoeing, kayaking, bouldering, climbing.. on-site bushcraft groups disappeared in to the woods, families got tangled up in rope courses, crawled through mole hills, teetered across high wires and enjoyed one of the many craft workshops.
Some highlights from the day included Vin Cox's Wild Foraging ride. Vin has ridden around the world, in fact he used to hold the record for the fastest circumnavigation. Recent adventures have seen him riding and surviving off the fat of the land and on Saturday afternoon he led a group on a foraging ride in the local area. 3 hours later they were back boiling up nettles, cooking mushrooms, gutting and roasting a pheasant in front of an intrigued audience.
The Adventurists were late to arrive, but once they were here they were packing out the yurt with their unique blend of films and talks. Even the chill of the evening did nothing to damp their quest for adventure. While this was going on Vin Cox was hosting chats with team Alpkit members in the River Legacy cafe where they were trading stories of mountaineering on Denali, completing Arrowhead, caving in the Dachstein, almost completing the Patagonia Expedition Race and using Google maps to locate new rivers to kayak in the Himalaya.
In the evening the site was transformed, fires were lit, paths illuminated with tea lights and the teepee set against a backdrop of moody lighting. A willow lantern parade weaved it's way towards marshmallows on the bonfire and bed time stories, but how many kids were actually ready for bed with all this going on we are not sure!
Those who had discovered Rik Warren hidden around the bonfire last year were hotly anticipating his return, and although he didn't have his drummer they were not disappointed. We think Rik is becoming as essential to the Shakeout as our teepee! The evening chill did nothing to deter a large audience from forming around a dramatic fire-poi performance under a clear star studded sky. Fighting the weariness of all the days activities the fires burnt late into the night. As the DJ spun his discs fans of the Alpkit stone pinching game were stunned when the mythical 5th stone was finally lifted. Now the search is on for a 6th stone or there will be a double lift challenge next year!
There was an icy surprise for some on Sunday morning. The night was clear, Jack Frost had paid a visit. Tents were encrusted under a heavy frost, those with wood burning stoves were stoking up and their smoke drifted across the campsite as people willed themselves up to face the day. Fortunately hot porridge and cooked breakfasts provided all the encouragement that was needed until the warmth of the sun hit the site and groups set out on another morning of activities.
First off we must offer out a huge thanks to everybody who came along, enjoyed the outdoors before joining in the entertainment and friendly banter. You really do help to make it such a great weekend. Of course there are plenty of other people who have been invaluable in bringing Big Shakeout to life.
Our hosts Thornbridge Outdoors once again provided us with a fantastic venue, facilities and a great bunch of instructors. There was more than one mini adventurer who was not happy to be leaving on Sunday afternoon! If you liked what you did and want more you don't need to leave it another year before you return, Thornbridge run courses throughout the year.
River Legacyand their small army of volunteers kept everyone fed and watered throughout the weekend, catering for every food requirements and dishing out breakfasts and free tea and coffee refills in quick succession. Pieminister pies got a lot of loving, providing people with an essential refuel before the evening festivities.
Thanks to Smiling Ivy, Matthew Moore, Rik Warren and Klitch for the weekend grooves, visit them online if you want to hear more from them, we reckon we will see them back at the Shakeout before too long.
Genesis bikes provided bike demos through the weekend, I wonder how many people now have a 29er on their Christmas shopping list?
Rude Health were a welcome sight for many, warming people up in the morning with smiles and spoonfuls of delicious hot organic porridge.
Sugru provided their insanely useful silicon putty which once you have used it you will wonder how you ever survived without it. We are looking forward to seeing your best hacks.
With more kids than ever to keep us on our toes we are indebted to Luke Tilley and Al Greer for running the circus skills workshop, Steve 'Smite-master' Birnie for keeping the score, the 16th Ilkeston Scouts for the bouncy castle and IEAT for the woodland craft workshops.
A lot of talented people let us show some of their adventure films in the cafe. Nick Brown from Outcrop Films, Dom Bush from Land & Sky Media, Klara Harden, Pete Astles from Peak UK, Dan Wedgwood from The Adventurists and Matt Heason from the Buxton Film Festival.
Dave Mycroft of My Outdoors provided a 3G network for all the campers as well as running around the site making interviews.
And finally all the Alpkit team; Lee, Scott, Vin, Johnny, Luke, Shauna, Dan, Chris, Chris and Dave who made it along to share their daring deed adventures and inspire others on to new adventures of their own.
Stay tuned for news about Big Shakeout in 2013!