Heeding the call of the country

Alf Alderson

ADVENTURES THAT LAST A LIFETIME. Original Outward Bound video. Free to schools. Age range: 11 upwards

Some of us were born to go wild in the country, others have to be cajoled into it. This video might be of help to teachers who feel their students belong in the second category.

The benefits for young people of a few days of "outdoor activities" have long been recognised, and Adventures that Last a Lifetime shows real teenagers enjoying real adventures in the Lake District.

It's filmed professionally, with exciting camera angles and pretty cool music (heavy rhythms accompany the stunning landscape shots, rather than something classical, which might not appeal to teenagers), while the action looks exciting without being too daunting.

The video goes straight into the action. There is no long, boring spiel from a gnarly old man of the mountains telling you just why Outward Bound is good for you; the action and the comments from students and instructors get this across effectively.

Having said that, the young people who are filmed in action seem to be a pretty clean-cut bunch, and we don't see anyone refusing to abseil down a rock face, or clamber up an aerial ropeway - which must surely happen.

The emphasis of Outward Bound courses is team-building and co-operation, and this comes across strongly. Individuals describe how, by working with their team-mates, they have been able to achieve "things you never even dreamed you could do". Most importantly of all, however, is that they are seen to be having fun at the same time - whether canoeing across a lake or camping on the high fells.

Although safety is not discussed, you are left in no doubt that it's a prime consideration for the instructors; there are plenty of safety ropes and harnesses in evidence. The instructors, in fact, are another plus factor - young and hip, they are able to relate to those in their charge.

"Outward bound" has now become a generic term for outdoor activities (hence the Outward Bound Trust adding the word "Original" to its name), and can include everything from a gentle stroll across suburban heathland to a full-on survival course in the Brecon Beacons. The action featured in this video is what most would consider to be the real thing - real mountains, real lakes, real adventure, especially for anyone who has grown up in an urban environment.

Outward Bound courses are aimed at 11 to 24-year-olds, and a course such as the one featured in the video would probably appeal to the younger end of the market. For anyone who's half interested in experiencing the great outdoors first-hand this could well be the catalyst that gets them going. For the committed computer games or footy fanatic, it might not quite do the trick, but it will at least show that you can have fun, make new friends and even learn something up in them thar hills.

Outward Bound Trust, Watermillock, Nr Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0JL. Tel: 017684 86347

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