Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer

If you follow me on social media {instagram, twitter and facebook}, you will have seen that over the weekend Paul and I were lucky enough to get asked to head down to Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer for a couple of days to see what they have to offer as outdoor activities. {Times like this, I really love my blog!}. 

And if you couldn’t guess from the photos I shared from our time there, it didn’t disappoint!

Dolygaer Activity Centre

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Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer is an activity centre based in the south of the Brecon Beacons, just a 15 minute drive from Merthyr Tydfil. The centre offers a fantastic range of activities such as sailing, hiking and gorge adventures with options available for all ages and abilities.

Would you look at that backdrop to the accommodation?!  Nestled in the most beautiful surroundings, Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer does really have it all.  Paul and I thought we were going to be sleeping in separate rooms, one for females and another for males.  It was a lovely surprise to find we had a room in the Chalet to ourselves as well as our own private bathroom.   As well as a decent sized wardrobe to hang all of our spare warm and snuggly clothes in.  I did well to only pack 3 thick jumpers…for one night’s stay. ;)

 

Parkwood Dolygaer offers a variety of accommodation; The Chalet {with a communal room upstairs and a kitchen}, The Lodge, Camping down by the river or your very own Cottage for your stay, which we all agreed looked fab and was at a very reasonable price too.  Most of the accommodation is self catering but Dolygaer are able to offer catering for some breaks, thanks to the Chef, Damian who served us a great curry and so much Naan bread, I think I’m all Naan’d up for another month or so!

The Lodge and the canteen and one of the many gorgeous views as you make your way to the Outdoor centre.

Now on to the Activities!

Rock Climbing and Abseiling

Shortly after our arrival and due to the weather being in our favour, our afternoon activity was rock climbing and abseiling.  Something, if I’m honest, I was slightly worried about…

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As with all activities that weekend, we started off with a health and safety briefing on what we were about to do.  All kitted up, we paired up and Owen, one of our fully qualified instructors for the afternoon, took us bouldering; a warm up to get you thinking and using your hands and feet whilst traversing along the quarried wall no higher than your spotter’s {in my case, Paul’s} waist.  Although I don’t think I even got that high as I seem to remember Paul saying “Cer, go a little bit higher, you’re only 2 feet high!”

It was then on to the real thing…Paul was up first…

I watched him go up there like my life depended on it, following his every move so that I had some sort of idea what I needed to do…

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That’s Mike at the top.  Also fully qualified in all the acivities as well as Centre Manager…as well as holder of the rope which I can’t thank him enough for!!!  In all seriousness, both instructors throughout the climb were very reassuring and helped me to relax.  I may have had a quick word with Owen before I went up about what would happen if I just froze half way up and couldn’t move.  Having reassured me all would be fine, it was my turn.  This is where my nervous energy kicked in and I climbed that rock without stopping for a single.second.  But bloodyhell was it all worth it.  I was so pleased with myself and the rest of the gang when we all got to the top!  The views were just stunning at the top too.

And then it was time to come down…

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Jenni {the thrifty mapgies nest} and Chelsea {loving life in wellies} showing us how it’s done.

Again, a full briefing was done before any of us took our turn.

Paul was the first to abseil down and made it look so easy!  He was down in no time which meant it was soon my turn…

I had a bit of a wobble at the top, I turned to Mike at one point and thinking it was the abseiling gear that was making a sound and asked what was that noise?!  He replied “Relax.  It’s just a raven up above!”…PHEW!  When I say the Team were very reassuring and relaxing, I’m not messing.

Paul did get some photos of me abseiling down…but you know that scene in Bridget Jones’ Diary where she’s sliding down a pole and her bum is heading straight for the camera?  Yeah, that’s what Paul got so err no to them pics going on here! ha.

It was then back to the centre for a chilled evening full of curry, a mountain of Naan bread and a well deserved glass of red wine.

Gorge Adventure

After a fry up and extras to set us up for the day {cheers Damien}, it was time to get kitted out for our Gorge Adventure {you need to check out the video on the link – I did that jump!}.  And what an adventure it was!  I think I’m just going to let the photos do the talking here …

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That young lady {9!} on the far right, what a trooper and also with the biggest smile, bless her!  There was no way I could say no to the jump after seeing her do it.

 

One of the other instructors for our stay, Tony on the left.  Another team member who is fully qualified and full of stories and experience from travelling and adventures around the world.

We crossed fast flowing rivers, climbed, jumped across and scrambled along rocks, {I failed miserably at the swimming}, we saw some amazing waterfalls and cheered each other on all with huge grins on our faces.  There was mention of a chicken route for those of us who didn’t fancy doing a certain part of it…but I’m happy to report that nobody in our group had to do it.

I want to say that this was my favourite activity of them all…but then I remember just how much I enjoyed the others and for different reasons and then I’m all undecided again.  But I do know that when we realised it was all over, Paul and I both looked at each other and did a “Oh, gutted!  Loved that” kind of comment.

But it was helped knowing that there was lunch waiting for us at back at Dolygaer.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Revived and ready to go after a much needed coffee and food stop, we walked down to the Pontsticill Reservoir which is on the centre’s doorstep.

I had a feeling we were in for a great laugh.

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Look at that view?!

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After getting all the gear to the edge of the lake, it was time for our briefing and demonstration before we set foot on a paddle board.

And then it was time for some fun which was the main aim of the instructors throughout our stay here – getting out and about, seeing places and trying new activities all whilst having fun.

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There was a large SUP which fitted us all on and some smaller ones for us to try out ourselves.  We were set some fun challenges while we were on the board.  In this pic, Mike {on the left} challenged Paul and I to swap places on the board all while they rocked it trying to get us to lose our balance…we managed to stay on this time…

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That’s Owen on the front…being very helpful…

This was such good fun, again wherever I looked there was someone on a SUP or had just come off but with the biggest smile on their face!  I faceplanted the board a couple of times but I think my best move was when I managed to somehow dive off the front of the board.  I can still hear Paul laughing at me now…

But then this happened…

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Human Pyramid – Yeah we did!!

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And that, my friends, was the perfect end to a brilliant couple of days!

Paul and I can’t thank Mike, Owen, Tony and Damien enough for the warm welcome we received, the good food, the adventures and the laughs.  This is all new to me and has definitely made me want to do it more often and try some other stuff too.  And our Bois Bach!  They would love it here – looking forward to taking them here to try it all out for themselves instead of me showing them 100’s of photos!

More info on Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer – facebook / website / twitter / instagram 

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The rest of the gang’s blogs; Jenni, Chelsea, Abi, Laura and Harriett.  A big shout to Tony for snapping these pics whilst we were gorge walking and paddle boarding too. 

{serious face: we were invited along to Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and words are my own…including that proper cheesy grin throughout our time there!}

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