You can still escape: 5 last-minute Easter adventure ideas

Posted by Sarah Stirling on 24/03/2016
Thinking of a last-minute Easter eggscape? Photo: Shutterstock / EllenSmile.

Not planned anything for Easter? It's set to rain everywhere in the UK. Don't worry, Sarah Stirling's here with five last-minute Easter escape ideas. Eggsellent.

1. Treat your inner kid to some mud-riding in North Wales

Rainy riding. Tom Hutton shows how it's done. Photo: Tom Hutton collection

Mountain-biking in the rain and mud is an acquired but delicious taste. Here are some reasons to try it from those who love it:

Mountain-biking photographer Tom Humpage: "The same trails transform in different conditions - dusty summer, leafy autumn, icy winter – it's always an adventure. Riding slippy trails in the mud makes you feel like a kid again: you're allowed to get covered in mud and splash through puddles. It makes climbing the hills tougher and descending trickier so offers new challenges. Guess it's not for everyone but mountain-biking is one sport you can do all year round in the UK. Now I want to get on my bike!"  

"Head for one of North Wales' trail centres like Nant yr Arian or Coed y Brenin where surfaces are designed to drain easily, you have shelter from the trees, and there may even be a cafe," advises local mountain-biking guide Tom Hutton. "My top tip is pack an extra layer for safety, but don't overdress."

How to do it:

Info on Nant yr Arian trail centre 
Info on Coed y Brenin trail centre
Contact mountain-bike guide Tom Hutton: 
www.mtbguiding.co.uk

2. Multi-adventure in Wild West Wales

Pembroke: wild climbng and wonderful walks. Photo: Alex Messenger.

North Pembrokeshire is a stunning place to escape Easter crowds and enjoy a multi-activity break. If you can, leave NOW and get there in time to enjoy the only sunny day: Friday. Porth Clais is a good place to start with climbs from Diff to E1, while Carreg y Barcud has excellent technical slab climbing from easy to E7; both in beautiful seaside settings.

There's still plenty to do in the rain over the weekend. Outdoor company TYF in St David's pioneered 'coasteering': you don a wetsuit and mix up scrambling, climbing, swimming and cliff jumping. Exciting swells are expected this weekend. TYF are planning to run sessions in safe spots if at all possible. Give them a call.

Other options: the surf is set to be big and messy so not ideal for surfing or kayaking. TYF rent bikes for £15 including helmet and repair kit. Every bit of the coastline here is stunning for walking. Park and go! If all else fails, St Davids has some lovely cafes.

How to do it:

Get there: head west and keep driving to reach St Davids
Nearest train station is Haverfordwest
Contact TYF here

Climbing guidebook: Pembroke Vol 1 - North Pembroke (Climbers' Club)
More info on routes on the UKC website

3. Letterbox with the kids on Dartmoor

The wilderness of Dartmoor. Photo: Shutterstock.

The largest wilderness in Southern England is a good place to lose the Easter hordes. You could distract kids (or big kids) from the rain by introducing them to the ancient Dartmoor tradition of letterboxing; essentially an old-fashioned precursor to geocaching.

All over the moor, ink-stamps and visitor books are hidden in containers. If you find one, you stamp your Letterboxing notepad and stamp the visitor book in the box. It's just like treasure hunting! (But without the treasure).

Good places to begin hunting are Cox Tor, Staple Tor and Brai Tor. You can buy a Charity Walk clue sheet for around £3 (the money goes to charity). These guide you on a walk with clues to find letterboxes en-route.

How to do it:

You will need: walking equipment, Dartmoor Explorer Map 1:25,000, inkpad, notebook, pen and patience
More info about Letterboxing

Info on Charity Walk clue sheets

4. Escape the crowds in the Peak on a long walk-in

Escape the crowds with a long Peak walk in. Photo: Alex Messenger.

The Peak's not a bad option: Friday is set to be dry and sunny, and Sunday doesn't look too bad. Dovestone Tor has the longest walk-in of any crags in Eastern Grit, and its bleak, high moorland setting makes it feel very remote. It's a great place to get away from it all and sample Peak climbing as it was in ye olden days.

Getting there involves a pleasant walk, 40-minutes by the shortest route, across heather-clad moors with panoramic views over the Derwent Valley reservoirs, Bleaklow, Kinder and Mam Tor. Great Buttress is a moorland classic (though high in the grade) at HVS 5a.

This may go against everything some climbers believe in, but you could actually EXTEND your walk-in to a 10-mile circuit, taking in Ladybower Reservoir, Lost Lad, Back Tor, Dovestone Tor and returning via White Tor and Wheelstones.

How to do it:

40 min walk-in: park just north of the Strines Inn at a bend in the road and follow a well-used path across the moor
50 min walk-in: park in layby east of Cutthroat Bridge on the A55 Sheffield - Glossop road. Follow the footpath from the bridge, initially north then west
Try this 10-mile walk circuit
Guidebook: BMC Burbage, Millstone and Beyond
More info on routes on the UKC website

5. Escape to Chamonix


It's set to rain so escape to Chamonix! Photo: Damien McCutcheon

None of those take your fancy? It's not too late to skip the country. Flights to Geneva are getting sold out so BOOK NOW, or get some mates and tunes together for the 10-hour car journey. It's set to be sunny in Chamonix on Saturday and snowing down to 1100m on Sunday.

There's plenty to do around Chamonix at this time of year, so pack everything from your biggest downie to flip flops. The lifts are all still open and there's snow high up, but down in the valley there's not much white stuff and it feels like summer in sheltered spots. 

If you've not been before, Grands Montets is the biggest of the five ski areas. You could mix it up with trail running – there's a nice rolling valley circuit around the Petit Balcons Sud and Nord – or a bit of early-season cragging.

How to do it:

Search for flights here: kayak.co.uk/flights
Search for ferry and Eurotunnel prices here: directferries.co.uk

Buy your ski pass here: compagniedumontblanc.co.uk


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