Adventure Oban outlines its plans

Adventure Oban

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A new adventure group for Oban now has 70 members and has mapped out its future plans to the community council.

Four volunteer directors at Adventure Oban gave a presentation at a meeting of the council on Monday April 26, and stressed it plans to work for the community.

Dave Bleazard, Neil Matheson, Isla McCulloch and Ben Sunderland are among the eight directors of the board of the not-for-profit, community-run organisation.

Adventure Oban has applied for charitable status with Scotland’s charity regulator and aims to focus on improving access to and participation in outdoor activities and adventure sports.

It also hopes to encourage stewardship and care of the natural environment, and form partnerships with other organisations too.

The idea had been in the pipeline for nearly two years, largely due to a ‘gap in the market’, in particular the closure of the Kilbowie Outdoor Centre.

Mr Bleazard, who runs Outside Edge in Oban, said: ‘All eight of us and our volunteers with Adventure Oban are all passionate about getting outdoors as much as we can.

‘It’s good for you, it makes you feel better and we’d like to pass that onto people of Oban and visitors as well.’

Since the project got under way it had helped inspire more than 500 participants to log over 2,000 sessions of outdoor activity in its One Million Miles Initiative.

This included schools, people from Oban, Dalmally, Easdale, Mull and Tiree, as well as participants in Austria, The Netherlands, Australia, North America and Europe.

It also stepped in to help reopen and clean the toilets at Ganavan Sands during winter, a move which saw many local people of all ages express their gratitude, the meeting heard.

It also plans to launch ‘come and try days’ and an ‘Adventure Library’ at the site where people can get access to kit to encourage them to have-a-go at outdoor activities.

The aim of the library is that people are not excluded from trying an activity because of the cost of gear that is required.

It is also working with Sustrans on the provision of a new cycle stand in Station Square to link-up with ScotRail’s new adventure carriages, and plans beach cleans and litter picks.

Community council member Duncan Martin said the group had shown a really positive attitude to getting things done, saying: ‘It’s absolutely wonderful to see.’

Councillor Jamie McGrigor said Adventure Oban would be a handy way to help promote things to do in the Oban area regardless of the weather conditions.

Councillor Elaine Robertson added: ‘I think it’s an absolutely super project and it gives our younger people and our older people the opportunity to participate anywhere and in any outdoor interest.’

Addressing concerns about commercial activities, the meeting heard that the voluntary directors were not ‘paid a penny’ and it was not intended as a commercial venture.

Director Neil Matheson told the meeting: ‘The whole point of this organisation is to make access (to the outdoors) as wide as possible’.

He said the aim would always be to make any activity as ‘inexpensive’ as possible.

Councillor Roddy McCuish called for the group to include elected councillors in any future discussions with Argyll and Bute Council.