A new community group in Argyll and Bute is encouraging locals to access the outdoors and understand the impact they have on the environment around them.
Adventure Oban was formed to encourage residents to make full use of the natural playground the local area has to offer.
The group has been developing several projects aimed at promoting active travel and supporting the area around them.
What is Adventure Oban?
Led by a volunteer board of directors, Adventure Oban is a not-for-profit community group with members brought together through a shared love of the outdoors.
The group is an affiliate member of the Oban Community Sports Hub - one of over 200 hubs across Scotland. Through National Lottery funding, hubs bring together club and community organisations to understand local needs and provide opportunities for everyone to take part in sport and physical activity.
Stacey Holloway, liveArgyll community sport hub officer, said: “One of the Oban CSH projects in 2019 was to promote outdoor activity and adventure sports through the development of an outdoor group.
"Since then members of the sports hub, along with motivated and determined local people working in our sports clubs and the local community-owned leisure centre, created the community organisation Adventure Oban.”
Adventure Oban director Ben Sunderland added: “Adventure Oban exists to help everyone enjoy equal access to Oban’s natural playground.
"We believe spending time in the water, out on the hills and generally outside is one of the best ways to keep our minds, body and community healthy.
"We know that the barriers to getting outside can take all shapes and forms. From financial constraints to confidence issues or even just being nervous about going out on your own - these can all get in the way of getting started.
"We intend to break down some of those barriers by bringing the community together around shared experiences and group activities such as walking, climbing, cycling, watersports, coasteering and wild swimming.”
The Adventure Library
As part of the club’s increasing awareness and access to outdoor activities, Adventure Oban have recently launched the country’s first Adventure Library, which stems from the success of the Edinburgh Tool Library.
Members of the community can contribute and recycle spare or no longer used outdoor equipment such as wetsuits, gloves, paddles and SUPs that other members of the community can borrow – exactly like a normal library.
The initiative will help reduce equipment being thrown into landfill and save members from purchasing their own equipment and clothing. It will also encourage community members to try sports they otherwise wouldn’t try due to the initial expenditure on equipment.
Ben Sunderland said: “The Adventure Library is still in its infancy but we’re busy behind the scenes, finetuning the software and logistics that will help the Library run.
"Once the Library is fully developed, we look forward to supporting more of our community access the beautiful natural environment we have around us, whilst also helping them contribute towards a lower-carbon lifestyle.”
Cycle Repair Stand
In partnership with BID4Oban and the hub officer, Adventure Oban have spent over a year and half working with ScotRail and Sustrans on the installation of a Cycle Repair Stand at Oban’s Station Square.
The project is running in conjunction with the roll-out of ScotRail’s new fleet of Adventure Carriages, specially-designed carriages that will allow room for up to 20 bikes, ski equipment and a wide variety of outdoor-related gear.
With the introduction of the carriages ScotRail hope to increase ease of access to the outdoors around Oban for travellers and locals using their West Coast main line.
The carriages will also help locals access key areas around Oban and keep their carbon footprint to a minimum.
Oban sits roughly a third of the way along the Sustrans Caledonia Way, NCR 78 cycle route and with the rollout of the carriages, will be the gateway to many outdoor activities.
The Cycle Repair Stand, right outside the station, will be kitted out with all the necessary equipment to keep bikes running efficiently such as a pump, a variety of basic tools and a bike stand so that the bikes can be safely repaired off the ground.
The stand will also feature information and help guides on basic bike maintenance, as well as a community noticeboard to advertise routes, trails and local information.
Ben Sunderland said: “The Cycle Repair Stand is a handy piece of kit when cyclists are in a pinch or need emergency repair.
"Its location is also a fantastic focal point, right in the centre of town, where people can rendezvous before heading out on an adventure.
"The community notice board will be really useful for sharing local routes and news – particularly helpful for tourists and anyone that’s new to cycling in and around Oban.”
One Million Miles
Adventure Oban launched One Million Miles in early March 2021. The community exercise initiative, which encourages everyone to get outside and get active, has already amassed a collective distance of over 20,000 miles.
Everyone can get involved regardless of activity level or interest, whether they are a walker, runner, cyclist, sailor, diver, climber, swimmer or anything in between.
One Million Miles works very simply: everyone continues with their various pursuits, tracking how many miles each activity session clocks up. Session totals are entered on the Adventure Oban website to raise the Totaliser closer towards one million.
The initiative works closely with local clubs and organisations including Oban High School, local primaries, Oban Mountain Rescue, Wee Walk Oban, North Argyll Cycle Club, Hope2Oban and Atlantis Leisure amongst others.
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