Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Playground or Training Ground: How Do You Use Dartmoor?

Dartmoor National Park has long been known as a haven for nature lovers, from walkers to climbers and horse riders. But did you ever think of it as an Olympic training ground?

Olympic pistol shooter Georgina (Gorgs) Geikie, who won a place on Team GB at London 2012 as the first ever British women’s pistol shooter, stars in a new promotional video extolling the virtues of this vast and varied terrain as a natural training ground. She says in the film: “It’s the greatest playground for so many activities and days of adventure.”

We have sponsored Gorgs – a local talent who has grown up with Dartmoor National Park – for several years and we think nothing shows the attraction of this much-loved space better than the variety of ways to enjoy it. Her fitness can, in part, be attributed to the park she has always run, jumped, climbed and walked in. As Gorgs puts it, staring out at the sunset from atop a granite tor at the end of the short promotional video: “Beats running on a treadmill”.

A little of an understatement perhaps, after seeing Gorgs running, climbing, horse riding and geocaching her way through the landscape. Geocaching is the least known of these activities. Based on an old past time of leaving notes in boxes as you reached certain locations, for the next walker to find, the new version involves downloading coordinates and taking your technology with you to map your progress. Gorgs likens it to a treasure hunt.

The Royal Marines train here, it’s the site of many a school trip and adventure holiday and it is home to some of the most important Bronze Age landscape in Western Europe. Dartmoor has also been chosen numerous times to be part of the Tour of Britain, offering challenging rides for experienced riders alongside traffic-free space for more casual cycling. It is perfect for picnicking and kite flying, for those more enticed by the chance to simply enjoy the surroundings.

We recently announced we have signed a new four-year sponsorship deal with Gorgs as she begins the long road to Rio 2016. As the sport can offer no funding to the competitors, Gorgs must self-fund, and she is therefore campaigning rigorously to find sponsorship for the next four years. We have taken on the role of principle platinum sponsor.

Read more about our involvement with Gorgs on our website.

If you head out on Dartmoor, keep an eye out for Gorgs in training mode. You can also follow Gorgs' progress on her website and on Twitter.

To plan you stay in Dartmoor or elsewhere in the West Country, go to http://www.helpfulholidays.com.