Get creative on the water this summer
The Great British traditions of scouting, camping and outdoor fun have been lost over the years, with modern technology and engineering making it easy to take a holidays abroad. However, the spirit still lives on these shores and the current economic climate is helping Britain rediscover its love for the great outdoors. Here in the UK there is plenty of wholesome fun to be had, including the long lost, and surprisingly fun, art of raft building. So why not clear out your old video games, get off that sofa and head to a river or lake for some fun!
Getting your Equipment
The simplest way to build a raft is to lash together large capacity drums with some nylon rope and your best knot tying knowledge. Although basic, the rudimentary construction should be to support you and your friends on the open water. For something a little more robust however, you can also build a raft with wood. Having placed some logs on the floor, put some wood poles across them, underneath and on top, before tying them all together. You can then screw on an MDF deck. Although a little more work, it is still fairly straightforward.
Whichever type of raft you want to make, you can get all the things you for the job need at a hardware store. It is pretty cheap to get everything together, and you can knock price down even more by checking on offer websites, like Groupon, and looking for discount vouchers.
One of the most enjoyable parts of rafting is constructing the vessel itself with a few close friends. You can add an element of competition to the raft building by having a few separate teams and seeing who can put together the best raft, before racing them out on the water.
If you don’t fancy anything too strenuous though, then just setting sail on your homemade raft and enjoying the waters with friends is more than enough fun. You can pack up a guitar, take some food, a few drinks and enjoy your time outside.
It’s probably best to avoid taking your raft out onto the open sea, where the strong current could prove the construction’s undoing. However, in the UK there some great locations for raft building, with plenty of lakes and campsites nearby.
Stithians Lake, England
Stithians Lake in Redruth, Cornwall, is the ideal place to build a raft. The 275-acre lake offers ample water to set sail in and the campsite next door is a cheap place to stay.
Fisherground campsite, England
Set on the banks of the Eskdale stream in the Lake District, this woodside campsite gives raft makers a picturesque place to get building in.
Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales
As well as a campsite and stunning scenery, the Brecon Beacons in Wales is home to the Llangorse Lake, the largest natural lake in South Wales, perfect for rafting.
Situated in Ballycastle, County Antrim, Glenmore is possibly Scotland’s finest raft building location. The region’s lake, Loch Morlich, has beaches and a campsite nearby.