You don't need to travel too far to enjoy a GREAT adventure. I spent a day exploring Outdoor Valley, close to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
I think it is fair to suggest that in life, it is really good for us all to seek some sort of adventure or escape. Especially, when the majority of us work incredibly hard, during the week. It is a chance for us to do something new, push ourselves to the limits, stepping out of our comfort zone, in order to achieve and even conquer something we have set our hearts and minds on for sometime.
Whatever the adventure might be, it is always great to get outside, get active and indeed explore something exciting, something new.
Not far from my home (in the Netherlands) is one such place, whereby any would be adventurer can escape or revel in the fact that there is a place, where you can lose yourself and just come out to play. Outdoor Valley is a really cool, commercially run outdoor adventure centre, that offers a wide variety of great activities for all types of Outdoor Enthusiasts and adventurers. It is located close to the city of Rotterdam, in the provincial region of Zuid Holland.
It is an impressive site with many exciting outdoor themed pursuits on offer. There is the main centre, from where all of the activities begin and then by utilising the surrounding areas. Any adventure seeker has the opportunity to enjoy themselves.
What's on offer?
This unique site is located close to a popular (natural) recreational area called the Rottemeren. It is a fantastic nature area and is already geared up to be the perfect location to get out and explore the wonderful natural surroundings. Besides simply taking in its natural beauty, it is also a great place to enjoy cycling and walking around.
Overall, this impressively style site is pretty extensive and covers a fairly large area. It offers a wide range of well equipped outdoor activities, that cater for both the individual and groups. Some of those activities are based upon the water, which weaves surrounds the site. Those water based activities include canoeing, climbing, camping, rafting. It also hosts regular organised adventure races, survival skills courses and has an extensive and a surprisingly challenging mountain bike course. Which extends around the perimeter of the park, weaving among the trees, open spaces and up and down hills. Yes, the Netherlands does have hills.
The are other routes for cyclists that extend around the area. All further cycle routes around the Rottemeren can be viewed here and are certainly a pleasant option and alternative way to spend your time here.
The climbing wall is really impressive and it dominates the area close to the main centre and is really very eye-catching in its overall appearance. It is called Mont Cervino and has been modelled on a replica of the beautiful Matterhorn in Switzerland.
Not only does it look first class, the Matterhorn also just happens to be my favourite mountains and having been there twice, this climbing wall is probably the next best thing for me to view and maybe climb on a regular basis.
The wall itself is made from concrete and reaches a staggering 34.6 metres high. It is certainly an imposing sight and makes for the ideal challenge for all abilities. Well... as long as you are not afraid of heights. It has a variety of routes to the summit, that are carefully graded by ability and difficulty.
Like most places in the Netherlands this site is no exception and the adventure site itself is surrounded by water, so naturally, it becomes the main reason why water sports is at the very heart of all activities undertaken here. Again, there is a well-equipped sports shop selling a variety of specialised equipment and also it offers a wide range of activities that again cater for all needs and abilities.
From the centre, you can rent a variety of canoe types and then paddle away and then around the extensive grounds. There is a variety of circular routes for the visitor to enjoy. The routes vary in size and all take in the natural surroundings, that are made up of narrow creeks and the wider river Rotte, which is located close by.
During the summer months, there is an option to join a late night canoe group. If interested, the group meets during the early evening and begins to explore the area by canoe. Taking in the network of narrow creeks by torchlight.
It is a great thing to do. It is sociable and an extremely enjoyable activity for all involved.
Time to dust off the Mountain Bike
During this particular visit, I decided to look deep into the back of our shed, dust off my Mountain Bike, ride the short distance up to Outdoor Valley and then utilise this extensive and varied course.
Back home in the UK, I loved to ride my Mountain Bike nearly all the time, frequently visiting many local trails in the Peak District and also venturing over to Wales every now and then. Since living in the Netherlands, I have a tendency to not use my mountain bike as much and seem to continually sway towards using my road or cross bike. This is probably, due to the flat terrain and also the fast surfaces that are simply so good to bike on round here.
With that said, there is still a really active Mountain Biking scene here in the Netherlands, with many great trails dotted all around the country. Especially, in the South and East of the country, where the land starts to undulate a little more. Beside these attractions, close to home, you are also very close to some great trails in Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg too. So, surprisingly in relatively small area there is certainly a lot on offer.
What to expect from the mountain bike trail?
As Mountain Biking goes I like nothing more than battling against the landscape, getting dirty and establishing a good balance between speed, climbs, technical bits and of course hard work.
The routes are really great and I felt there is a perfectly well-balanced mix of hills, fast sections, technical descents, slippy woodland trails and open sections with good views of the surrounding area. I enjoyed it and after spending a few hours spent here, I really felt I'd had a very worthwhile workout and had a great deal of fun in the process.
Would I recommend it?
If you are from the local area or simply passing by. If you like the outdoors and are looking to challenge yourself with something new, then this is the perfect place to start. As previously highlighted, earlier in this post I enjoyed my time here and found that there was plenty to do during my visit and even more, if I planned to visit again in the future.
Simply, there is so much to do here and the staff are experienced, committed and keen to organise a wide range of extensive activities that cater for everyone. I really like the sound of Kayaking tours, which run with a guide throughout the summer months. It is a great way to spend a summer evening, seeing and doing something new.
I will be testing out and reviewing a local indoor bouldering gym called Monk. From what I have seen and read about it, it looks really good and I'm very much looking forward to testing it out.