Mary Isokariari takes the plunge at a Pembrokeshire activity centre.
I don’t get many opportunities to indulge my adventurous side, so when I was offered the chance to try out a ‘fitness and adventure’ break in Pembrokeshire, I jumped at the chance.
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My new home was the eco lodge at Preseli Venture, the only five-star activity centre in Wales, and the weekend was filled with activities run by a team of professionals with a love of the outdoors. Early starts included a 7.30am Zumba session on the Saturday and circuit training the following day.
There was also coasteering – certainly not for the faint-hearted but ideal for adrenalin junkies and anyone wanting a challenge – and the awe-inspiring Pembrokeshire coastline provides the ideal venue for this exhilarating event.
Kitted out in wetsuits, helmets and buoyancy jackets, we swum out to explore sea caves. While the sea was a little rough and chilly – my hands were cold as I had forgotten to pick up some gloves – coasteering is a thrilling experience.
The qualified instructors tailor your session to suit the fitness levels of individuals and groups, and I plucked up the courage to try cliff jumping.
Reassured that I would not remain under water for longer than ten seconds due to the weight of my wetsuit, I jumped off a ten-foot cliff and flew through the air before landing in the clear blue sea. Admittedly, I inhaled what felt like a gallon of water, but I was absolutely buzzing and smiling from ear to ear.
After we dried off, we headed back to the lodge for lunch. All meals are home-cooked by a resident chef and, happily, include desserts. Delicious and wholesome ingredients are sourced locally wherever possible and cater for special diets.
And the dishes are filling! While we were there, we enjoyed chunky vegetable and lentil soup, wholemeal pasta with zoodles (spiralised courgette) and pesto, and Moroccan chicken tagine with couscous. Desserts were divine, from the skinny apple crumble to fruity flapjacks and chocolate brownies.
Preseli Venture, right on the coast, is the perfect venue for corporate retreats and ideal for businesses looking for team-building away days. The newly launched ‘Resilience in the Workplace’ programme aims to boost resilience in mind, body and spirit. It combines coasteering, sea kayaking and surfing, with team challenges and focused mindfulness, communication and stress management workshops.
The facilities both indoors and out are spacious enough for large corporate groups, offering participants the space to refocus their attitudes towards each other. By facing different challenges to their traditional workplace issues, team members have the chance to build new relationships based on the people they are, not the function they perform.
The eco lodge accommodates up to 40 people in comfortable bedrooms, which include singles, doubles, twins and larger ‘family’ rooms. The venue also has a fully stocked bar and dining area with pool table and sound system.
But before we could put the stereo through its paces, there was a seven-mile hike to tackle. The Pembrokeshire coast is renowned for its magnificent cliff scenery, and our hike was planned to end at Abermawr beach.
Wild, sheltered and secluded, it’s a place where seals sometimes sleep and the perfect spot for a dip or a paddle. From here, it’s just a ten-minute walk back through beautiful woodland to the Preseli Venture lodge.
Along the hiking trail, we were treated to sights such as the ruined Trefin Mill, and Abercastle, a picturesque fishing harbour.
The sea was calmer when we ventured back to the beach on Sunday for our kayaking session, which took in everything from floating in a tranquil bay surrounded by sea birds and seals, through to the exhilaration of fun races.
With the perfect blend of adventure, fun and hospitality, Preseli Venture hits the spot. Whether you’re an individual craving an invigorating retreat away from city life, or an event-planner seeking a programme to re-energise and reboot your team, it’s truly inspiring.