24 March, 2022
Zeph offers their highlights from the National Outdoor Expo including meeting Anna McNuff, Ed Stafford and having a go at, well, everything!
We asked some of our amazing ambassadors for their take on the National Outdoor Expo. Our good pal Zeph was in her element – meeting lots of inspiring people, lots of amazing products and all there was to offer on the water outside as well.
What an incredible, enjoyable, and diverse launch to the very first National Outdoor Expo this past weekend!
It seems ironic to have a show about the outdoors, indoors; however outdoor activities were certainly not lacking at the event. Open water swimming, canoeing, kayaking and SUP (stand up paddle boarding) were just some of the outdoor features available for enthusiasts or those simply wanting to try it for the first time.
Inside, there was a pretty spectacular climbing wall which was super busy the whole weekend, a massively popular zip line as well as lots of smaller stall activities such as indoor surfing, an ice axe hanging challenge (which was quite the family favourite), speed/agility tests and a spin the wheel with Ordnance Survey to win prizes.
One of the highlights for me was seeing Ben Fogle on the Inspiration Stage, being a runner for him during the Q&A section and then meeting him after. He was an absolute delight to be around, so generous with his time and provided everyone with fab memories to take home with them, including me. He definitely lived up to his super positive, engaging, smiley nature. Thank you Ben!
And speaking of positive and engaging, prior to Ben's appearance on the main stage, another highlight that stands out for me is speaker Darren Edwards who talked about his near fatal climbing accident which left him paralysed from the chest down and how he has found positive ways around his disability. He had the whole crowd absolutely captivated with his new-found life as a disabled adventurer and motivational speaker. If I found myself in a similar situation, I can only hope I'd end up with the same outlook and strength of spirit he did. It really highlights the importance of being inclusive of sharing everyone’s stories at events like this – you never know who they may be inspiring. Thank you Darren.
More highlights were abundant on day 2 where I chatted to the adorable and super lovely Julia Bradbury about her son and I having the same name and I was lucky to be a Q&A runner for the amazing, funny and incredibly charismatic Anna McNuff. I also accidentally stood on her foot with my trail shoes (she had flip flops on) and her response was 'Oh, I didn't even feel it!' - how hard core is that? I was also able to enjoy a chat and some photos with Anna over at the VIP Meet and Greet area after and to top off the day, I was given the mic to run around for big crowd favourite and another super nice human Ed Stafford and the ever engaging and inspirational Sir Randolph Fiennes.
Although, sadly, I didn't get to meet Sir Ranulph, I did get to have a chat with Ed who was so kind and gracious, he pulled me in for a hug to say thank you for being his runner for the Q&A's.
During Ben's Q&A, I needed to pass the mic to a member of the audience and the lady in front of her was gracious enough to help me with the mic. I then ran into her later in the day where we had a little chat and I thanked her for helping me and she mentioned having (and I'm paraphrasing here) 'eyes in the back of my head when I was in Antarctica', then she dashed off. I was stunned and thought 'oh dear, did I just meet someone pretty epic and I ashamedly don't know who it is'?' You can't know of everybody... right?
When the Expo came to a close on day 2, Mike Seaman, the creator extraordinaire of the Raccoon Events announced two of the speakers who would be at the Expo next year… Ray Mears and Preet Chandi who became the first woman of colour to complete a solo expedition across Antarctica to the South Pole. Turns out, Preet was my mic handler!!
Attending a weekend long Expo such as the National Outdoor Expo fills you with nothing but motivation, excitement and a sense of belonging. It's a safe space for all us likeminded people to come together to share a common interest; to hear about ordinary people doing extraordinary things and the best part is, it's run by a spectacular team of ordinary people bringing us extraordinary weekends.
Thank you Zeph for your honest account of the National Outdoor Expo. If you want to follow Zeph’s adventures, follow on Instagram here. @nuttyrunr
I have an outdoor adventures blog. Having three children, I am particularly interested in getting outside with my family. I aim to make every day an adventure, especially with my children, husband, dogs and friends. From exploring new cities to being in our campervan with the dogs, we like an adventure. We live near the sea and forest and explore every day.