Local businesses and young urban volunteers help people discover their adventurous side in Northumberland

Hundreds of people discovered their adventurous side at the National Park’s Walltown picnic site near Greenhead  on Hadrian’s Wall last weekend as National Parks Week celebrations got under way. Over three sunny days, National Park staff, young urban volunteers and local businesses transformed this popular picnic site into a giant playground.

The most daring visitors , including ITV’s weatherman, Ross Hutchinson, flew over the lake on a 150 metre zip wire, supplied by Adventure Northumberland from Alnwick.

Otterburn-based Albion Outdoors led workshops on traditional crafts such as whittling and felt making, and Lunatricks circus skills managed to get dads hula hooping alongside their children. One of the more unusual things on offer was Frisbee golf. Chris from Catch the Spirit introduced competitors to the nuances of different sized frisbees and techniques then sent groups off to try their hand on the fairways. This proved so popular that many visitors were keen to return to Walltown in the autumn for a special frisbee golf tournament.

Six young people from Newcastle, part of the Campaign for National Parks’ Mosaic youth project, came along to Walltown to experience the great outdoors and help the organisers and activity businesses to serve the public.

Their participation marked the official launch of the Campaign for National Parks’ Mosaic youth project in the North East which is being coordinated by Paddy Villiers-Stuart at Northumberland National Park. The scheme is about motivating young people to get in to their local national park, learn new skills and gain confidence. It is for 16 to 25 year olds who want to have a good time in the outdoors, introduce others to what is on offer, improve employment prospects and advise National Park Authorities.

Paddy and the Mosaic team had a splendid three days at the event, he said: “National Parks were created 60 years ago for the benefit of everyone – especially as places where city people can take time out for leisure and exercise. Today it is just as important that everyone feels they have an equal opportunity to choose to access and be inspired by our most spectacular landscapes.

“We have lots of other active and creative outdoor dates coming up and I’ll be happy to hear from anyone who’d like to get involved with the Mosaic youth project on paddy@cnp.org.uk, or call me on 07972 630153”.

The Mosaic volunteers supported Frisbee sessions, archery, circus skills and woodcraft skills. They also got to have a go zorbing, canoeing, and flying over the lake at Waltown on a massive zip-wire!

Kayleah, who helped run a wood craft skills session around the campfire said; “My favourite thing so far with the Mosaic project has been helping kids make arrows, clay animals, and honey bread on the fire.” She said that she was inspired to get involved with the project, “… at the thought of giving something back and helping people in her community.”

Amier Gany, 21 said he would definitely recommend Mosaic to other young people: “It’s a great opportunity to get involved with the outdoors and to enjoy different activities.”

Shofi Islam added: “I had fun the whole time, whether it was taking part or helping others.”

The National Park’s Engagement Officer, Mandy Roberts said: “People usually visit Walltown for the spectacular views of Hadrian’s Wall and to feed the ducks, but National Parks Week really brought the site to life and gave tasters of the sort of active outdoor excitement on offer in the UK’s 15 National Parks. It was really nice to see the Mosaic champions lending a hand and everyone in the family trying out new things together with sufficient variety to stay all day.”

National Parks Week runs in the 15 UK National Parks on the last week in July every year to remind people that our most beautiful landscapes are open, accessible and exhilarating places to spend free time.