A gap year for the grounded: 15 ideas for young British adventurers

A gap year for the grounded: 15 ideas for young British adventurers

With Machu Picchu and Koh Samui off limits for now, we pick fun and exciting UK trips for eager backpackers

Crew a boat

Britain’s extensive network inland waterways – rivers, streams and canals – covers a whopping 4,700 miles, of which 2,700 are navigable. The organisation that looks after this network, the Canal & Rivers Trust, has a number of opportunities for volunteers to maintain its historic boats and also pilot some of them around a selection of national shows to help educate visitors about the traditional way of life of narrowboat families.

To learn the ropes at sea, have a look at Maybe Sailing, which takes on volunteers to help crew as it teaches guests to sail its tall ships (this year sees trips in the Scottish islands and off the south coast, including the Scillies). Crewseekers also lists crewing opportunities and is worth monitoring for last-minute places on vessels small and large.

Do a proper expedition

Any trip that’s challenging and pushes you out of your comfort zone for several days can be called an expedition. Before heading out on your own though, it’s best to learn the basics. Mountain Leaders can be found across the country to help you realise your expedition goals – and some leaders who are still in training will even take you for free to build up their experience.

Polaris Outdoor in Cornwall has two five-day options, including a paddleboarding Survival Adventure (from £550pp) which includes shelter building, coasteering, foraging, fossil hunting and fire building. Its five-day Sea Kayak Expedition (from 27 September, £575) features survival tuition and camping in secluded wild spots.

Andy Halliday

Andy is a camping expert with over 20 years of outdoor experience. He shares his expertise through his blog that features on his very own e-commerce camping gear store. He aspires to use his knowledge and experience to help disabled families get the most out of every trip they take.

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