Ross - Outdoors at the Calvert Trust
My name is Ross Lannon, I am 23 years old and I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2.
I am a keen writer and after recently visiting The Calvert Trust, I couldn’t wait to share my review. I had the most incredible adventure weekend - and I am more than happy to recommend this awesome place.
The Calvert Trust is a charity-driven centre based in Exmoor, near Barnstaple. Its aim is to “enable people with physical, learning, behavioral and sensory disabilities to experience exciting and challenging outdoor activities.”
The last time I visited the Calvert Trust was back in 2008 through a charity called Active8. Nearly 10 years on, our same group of friends decided to go back for another adventure weekend. I was curious to see how things may have changed; and most importantly looking forward to making some new memories.
There were 6 of us in total this time, including my support worker. We arrived on the Friday evening and had a welcome meeting in the communal lounge area. From here we were given our activity programme for the weekend and introduced to another group who would join our team.
The first thing we did that night was explore the grounds and check out our accommodation. I cannot fault the layout of the site or the facilities provided. As an electric wheelchair user, accessibility is key and this place is more than set up for someone with physical difficulties. The bedrooms/bathrooms were spacious and appropriate equipment was provided. Before my visit I had requested an electric profiling bed as well as a shower chair - all of which were already there and waiting in my room.
That night we decided to go swimming. I am a proper water-baby and got very excited over the fact they had a hydrotherapy pool and Jacuzzi fitted with a hoist. Some of my favourite memories are from this pool. We had a great laugh; blasting music and taking advantage of having the entire pool to ourselves.
Our first activity the next morning was canoeing! For me this was very daunting as I was unsure whether I would physically be able to do this, as I am lot less mobile than I used to be 9 years ago. However our instructor was fantastic and soon reassured us all. Before I knew it I had a life jacket on and was being hoisted into a canoe! Two canoes were rafted together and we were reassured there was no chance of them capsizing - thank god! We spent a couple of hours out on the lake - playing ball games and team challenges.
After lunch, our next activity was an assault course followed by bush-craft in the forest. By this point we were all a bit wet and cold, and therefore enjoyed making a campfire and roasting marshmallows.
Day 2 of activities started with crate-stacking and an adrenaline zip wire swing. My new year’s resolution was to push myself to be more fearless, so even though I was nervous - I knew that I had to do it! And of course I LOVED it!
On our final afternoon we went bike riding around the reservoir. Several of my more able-bodied friends used hand-bikes and foot bikes, whereas I drove a heavy duty electric scooter. Even though we all got soaking wet in the rain (and covered in mud) - spirits were high and we had a great time!
Overall, I couldn’t recommend this place enough. I had the perfect little mini-break and made some fantastic memories with a group of my best friends. Without the support from my carer, I would not have been able to take part in such a physically challenging weekend.
In my opinion prices are reasonable and include all your food, accommodation and activities. They also often have special weekend offers or reductions in price for people from Cornwall. I would definitely recommend signing up to their mailing list. For more information, check out their website: www.calvert-trust.org.uk
My only criticism of the weekend is that it went too fast!! I hope this review inspires you to also check out this fantastic place! Follow my other adventures on twitter: @rosslannon
Ross also runs his own blog, which you can read here.