The Air Adrenaline Guide
When you think of human endeavour and some of the most adventurous people on the planet, it's very difficult for any of it to take place away from the four classical elements: earth, water, air and fire.
Whether scuba-diving and exploring the depth of the oceans in the water element, or involving yourself in hang-gliding acrobatics in the air, humans have always strived to push the limits of their surroundings to prove their mettle. In ancient times, this was viewed as expressing power over the 'elements' but nowadays we just know it as a form of thrill-seeking.
In whatever form, the tradition of pushing our physical thresholds continues and Air Charter Service managed to compile some of the most exciting activities in the UK. We have forgone the element of fire, as there are very few controllable ways to involve it while flying through the air.
If you enjoy a generous dose of adrenaline then these activities are definitely for you.
The ATBShop team are champions at wakeboarding and were kind enough to tell us a bit more about their favourite extreme sport.
"Wakeboarding consists of being towed behind a boat whilst attached to a board and using the wake as a kicker or jump to perform freestyle air tricks. In addition to this, wakeboarding can also be done at a Cable Park using a large cable tow circulating the inner circumference of a lake and suspended above the water.
This cable allows you to be towed around the lake on a wakeboard with the option to hit jumps and various other obstacles dotted throughout the course. For those of you who enjoy relaxing on a boat or by the water as well as the thought of strapping onto a board to be towed over some jumps in some adrenaline filled aerial manoeuvres, then wakeboarding may just be for you!"
Extreme Academy is one of the foremost venues in terms of beach sports and events. The academy is a specialist in surfing, body-boarding, kite-surfing, wave-ski, hand-planning and stand-up paddle-surf, and they had the following to say:
“Kite-surfing is one of the most complex water sports. An individual is given a kite-boarding harness which is tied to a power kite that can be manoeuvred in time with the kite-board, a small surfboard-like structure similar to a wakeboard. Kite-surfing itself is done by the sea, where the individual can ride the waves and show his or her thrill-seeking prowess.
Most people begin with a normal surfboard or wakeboard experience before they move on to kite-surfing, as even a small mistake in method or style when using a board can be magnified by the added stress of having to control the power kite.”
#3 Rock-Climbing / Scrambling
Adventure Peaks says that scrambling is all about moving quickly and confidently over uneven, rocky ground. This is the essence of scrambling – rocky faces and ridges without the aid of any equipment.
“It's easily distinguished from hill-walking or hiking by the fact that anyone who is undertaking a scrambling route has to actually use his or her hands during the scramble. Sometimes, in rock climbing circles, so-called easy climbs are referred to as scrambles. Once in a while, ropes may also be necessary for some of the harder scrambles; however this is far closer to rock climbing than anything.”
A zip line is also called an aerial wire or a flying fox and consists of a pulley suspended on a cable, usually made of stainless steel, mounted on an incline. People are supposed to use gravity to propel themselves down the incline, from top to bottom. Zip lines are usually erected in areas with a large amount of foliage such as rainforests, parks or animal sanctuaries – meaning they are quite a noticeable feature in adventure tourism.
Based in the heart of Snowdonia, Zip World offers the fastest zip line in the world with access to the largest zip zone in Europe and the Velocity, the first four-person zip line in Europe. The 'zip line capital of the world' as it has fondly come to be known. The zip lines traverse the locations in Snowdonia, North Wales such as the historic Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog and the picturesque Penrhyn Quarry in Bethesda.
#5 Bungee Jumping
At the heart of Scotland in Highland Perthshire is the 40-metre high Highland Fling Bungee. In a stunning setting above the River Garry in the Pass of Killiecrankie, this is one of the best air adventures you can experience anywhere in the world. As well as regular forward bungee, the company offers backwards jumps, running man and tandem bungee. A few select nights a year they even offer blackout bungee – jumping in complete darkness. This exclusive experience is the only night jump currently available in Europe.
Bungee jumping has existed for a while now, with the first modern bungee jumps happening since April 1979. It involves jumping from a considerably tall structure while connected to a large elastic cord. The structure has to be a fixed object such as a bridge, building or crane. It's also possible to jump from objects which are stationary enough to generally count as 'fixed' such as hot air balloons and helicopters.
#6 Blob Jump / Blobbing
According to Ollie Acton of Alpine Elements:
“Imagine a huge 10 meter long inflatable airbag that floats on top of the lake in Tignes, close to the shore with a jumping platform on the water’s edge. To get airborne and fly in the air one person (let’s call them the jumper) is standing on the raised platform and the other (call them the blobber) is sat on the Blob facing out into the lake. The jumper then jumps from the raised platform onto one end of the blob, and the blobber (who is at the other end) is launched into the air - surprisingly a lot higher than you might think!”
The idea for the blob came from floating fuel tanks that military ships would tow. The sailors would jump from the ship and get catapulted on this inflatable fuel tank. Now the Blob Jump is a recognised lakeside activity where you can fly up to 17 meters in the air, and try to perform a whole manner of flips and tricks.
#7 Hot Air Ballooning
Virgin Balloon Flights is the largest ballooning company in the UK and has been taking passengers up, up and away for 21 years. The incredible Henley-on-Thames is one of their most popular locations where you can fly high over the picturesque town and river – famous for the Henley Royal Regatta.
As the one of the oldest methods of air travel, hot air balloon rides offer a nostalgic experience. The first hot air balloon flight took place in France in 1783. 200 years on, these magical aircrafts still have their place in the sky. Most hot air balloons are made from nylon and the inlet of the balloon (closest to the flame) is made from fire-resistant material.
The excitement of this experience doesn't come from anything too extreme, rather it comes from the fact that the balloonist is at a height far above the ground and is able to experience a particularly rare vantage.
#8 Wing Walking
Into the Blue offers a range of exciting traditional aircraft experiences such as flying lessons or skydiving, however, their most adrenaline pumping one may be the Wing Walking Experience.
As the team at Into the Blue puts it:
"The warmth of the sun on your face shadows the rushing elevation of the aircraft. You're excited. Your adrenaline has reached new levels."
Wing walking involves individuals getting themselves harnessed onto the wings of a light aircraft while it's flying. Most of the time, the plane will fly low, to ensure that if something does happen, the wing-walker is in as minimal danger as possible. Also, in the process of being strapped onto the aircraft, there are other safety mechanisms to protect the person. Nothing stands between the person on the aircraft's wings and the air except the metal beneath his or her feet. This is why wing walking is considered one of the most exciting, air-based activities in the world.
"I feel the need to endanger myself every so often." – Tim Daly
If you're an adventurer with a similar mindset or motto, then these are stories waiting to be told. With so many thrills and highlights at every turn, it's no wonder that we’ve always enjoyed the challenge of taming the classic elements. If the sky, sea and the earth call you to your next adventure allow our team at Air Charter Service to deliver you safe and sound, after that, it’s up to you to get into trouble.