Trail Unknown ran its first
guided mountain bike weekend in Exmoor and it totally rocked! We had a group of nine mountain bikers trialing 'The Exmoor Adventure', a two-day two-night adventure that included local mountain bike guiding, our own South African chef and all meals included, glamping in our mega bell tents, slacklining, wild swimming, twinkly stars and serene sunsets! Read on to hear all about it.Prep Day 1: Thursday—Building Trail Unknown Island and The Ridge Line of Doom
After dodging a few of the local highland cattle, we arrived at our favourite campsite in the heart of Exmoor National Park and created Trail Unknown Island—where you had to cross a little wooden bridge over a trickling stream in order to access our very own private area.
We erected our brand new five-meter bell tents, just as Hugo had practiced in his garden on his own somehow, and admired how the surrounding ancient English oak trees were looking especially perfect for our weekend.
We spent Thursday afternoon showing Rich Wilford (owner of MTB Beds) why we love Exmoor and the scenic mountain bike tracks that flow dramatically along the sea edge.Prep Day 2: Friday—Trail Unknown Island becomes an actual island & the first night of the trip
We’d been warned this would be a wet day but we were so excited for our first customers to arrive in the evening that nothing could dampen our spirits. In the morning we did the biggest supermarket shop I've ever done (though I do recall the Shopland weekly shops were similar sized trolley mountains) and spent the afternoon making all of the final preparations to our awesome camp site—fairy lights, colourful rugs, bunting from Hugos mum, blankets, Alpkit beds, tea candle chandeliers, we had it all! Hugo and I were both so stoked showing each other all of the different unique and crazy cutlery sets we picked up from charity shops and car boot sales all over the country, rating them like they were top trumps.
The rain did not stop thundering down all day! Our wooden bridge with the cute little stream was now submerged under raging rapids and being smashed by giant logs. There was a mix of concern and excitement to see whether this little bridge could hold the force of nature. Then the campsite owner came down and we egged him on to boldly park his mega pickup truck on the submerged bridge to anchor it down. The campsite was suddenly full of experts in fluid dynamics and civil engineering.
As if it was all an entertaining plan, the rain eased off at a perfect 5pm, the river started flowing normally and our first customers began to show their happy faces. Brad, our merry South African chef for the weekend cooked up a BBQ bonanza and we all settled down around the fire and under the twinkling stars ready for the weekend of adventure ahead of us.Saturday—The Exmoor Adventure Day 1
One by one, people woke up to a beautiful morning of golden sunshine and the smell of bacon and egg baps with fresh ground coffee in the air. Hugo, Brad and I had made sure we were first up and laid out the breakfast banquet with fresh croissants, muffins, fruit, cereals, tea, coffee and orange juice.
Tom, our local guide for the weekend turned up at 9am and everyone set off by a relaxed 9.30am for the mornings ride with Hugo, finishing down by the sea at Porlock Weir. We also provided tonnes of fruit and snacks for everyone to fill their ride bags. Brad and I stayed back to pack away breakfast, bring some order to the campsite, get lunch ready and fit in a peaceful hour of slacklining.
After a solid three hours of morning riding, everyone came back happy to find lunch laid out with fresh baguettes, hams, cheeses, coleslaw, potato salad, fruits, crisps, tea, and coffee. The group relaxed for an hour before heading out for the afternoon ride, this time joined by Brad and I while Hugo tidied up.
Tom took us on a right adventure, flowing over the moors and down through hidden combes filled with majestic forests that one would never find without the knowledge of a local expert. The afternoons ride finished with a natural slide down into the river, perfect for refreshing the muscles and mind.
For Saturday's evening meal, Brad cooked up a storm with round after round of deeply flavoured sweet corn, aubergine, courgette, peppers, chicken wings, burgers, sausages, garlic bread and even a couple of camembert wheels melted on the BBQ for dipping into. My mouth is watering as I type!
After dinner, Peter bundled us all into his family 4x4 and drove all nine of us off-road to the top of the Moors, complete with Zootropolis on the DVD screens, to watch the sunset over the sea with a few cold beers. We finished the evening off around a roaring fire and Trail Unknown gratefully received a lot of positive feedback for the day’s eventsSunday—The Exmoor Adventure Day 2
Again we woke early and set breakfast out the same as the day before. Hugo and I stayed back to start packing everything down and met everyone else at midday, driving to the top of the hill in the van armed with all the lunches ready to meet the group out on the trail.
We finished the weekend off around 5pm on Sunday with plenty of time for everyone to get their bits together and get home. The trip was a huge success and Peter, the only chap on the trip who wasn’t already a friend of ours before the trip, said he’d had such a good time he’d like to book a Trail Unknown weekend for him and his friends to Wales in Spring 2018. A huge thank you to Brad our talented chef, to everyone who came and enjoyed the trip and to Dan, Ben, and Tom at Exmoor Adventures for all helping us make our adventure a success!
If you get really excited reading this article and are interested in a guided mountain bike trip for you as an individual or as a group of friends, you can get in contact with us on 07597719507 or firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.trailunknown.com/