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ADRENALIN JUNKIE: Water Zorbing and Rifle Shooting at the Ultimate Adventure Centre

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

  • BOY IN A BUBBLE: Simon Lockyer tries his hand at Water Zorbing and air rifle shooting at the Ultimate Adventure Centre in Bideford. Pictures: Mike Southon. To order these photographs call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNMS20140808B-009_C (left); BNMS20140808B-005_C (below left); BNMS20140808B-013_C (below right)

  • Simon Lockyer has a go at air rifle shooting. Picture: Mike Southon. To order this photograph call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNMS20140808B-005_C

  • Simon Lockyer at Ultimate Adventure Centre. Picture: Mike Southon. To order this photograph call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNMS20140808B-013_C

  • SHARP SHOOTER: Simon Lockyer on the rifle range. Other pictures on this page show him having fun zorbing. Pictures: Mike Southon. To order this photograph call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNMS20140808B-003_C (above); BNMS20140808B-010_C (top left); BNMS20140808B-008_C (below left); BNMS20140808B-016_C (below right).

  • Simon Lockyer has fun at the Ultimate Adventure Centre. Picture: Mike Southon. To order this photograph call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNMS20140808B-010_C

  • ADRENALIN: Simon Lockyer at Ultimate Adventure Centre Water Zorbing. Picture: Mike Southon. To order this photograph call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNMS20140808B-008_C

  • Simon Lockyer at Ultimate Adventure Centre, Bideford. Picture: Mike Southon. To order this photograph call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNMS20140808B-016_C

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Shooting at tin cans and walking on water. Adrenalin Junkie Simon Lockyer tests out two new mini-games at the Ultimate Adventure Centre.

"WHEN your zorb starts to steam up, that's when we know it's time to get you out." When Jayke Christie, instructor at the Ultimate Adventure Centre, explained this to me I thought he was joking. I laughed. He didn't. I then realised he wasn't lying.

Water Zorbing may not sound strenuous – being put into an inflatable ball, in a shallow pool of water and having fun for 5-10 minutes – but, trust me, it is.

Standing up is hard enough. Your feet slip as the ball begins to spin – even though you don't want it to. Then you fall over, legs over your head, looking like a fool. And repeat.

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There were a couple of times when I got going and I thought to myself "I've got this now." Nope. Back on my bum I went.

Luckily enough, I wasn't the only one having problems. My friend Ben Keeling, who had accompanied me to the Bideford-based adventure centre, found it just as hard.

After a few minutes we both got the hang of it (kind of) and were offered a race. Being the competitive guys we are, we accepted.

Facing off at opposite ends of the pool, we awaited our starting orders. "Go" yelled Jayke, catching me by surprise. Ben had a head start, but not necessarily to his advantage. He fell flat on his face just as I managed to get the inflatable ball rolling and, like a hamster on caffeine, I transported my zorb to the other end of the pool before Ben had even got to his feet.

By this point the steam was already prevalent on the plastic orb and we decided, with the beating sun making the zorbs sauna-like inside, that it was time to retreat and catch our breath in the cool air outside.

Hearts beating and sweat dripping, we escaped the deflating orbs and looked at each other in disbelief. "How was that so hard?" Ben asked, closely followed by "can we have another go?"

Water Zorbing costs £5 per person, or £2 if you are a customer of the Big Sheep.

I'VE never had a knack with guns. There's just something about them that never really appealed to me. I don't think I had ever really held a "real" one until I was in my late teens (spud guns don't count, right?).

But when Jak Brown, senior instructor at the centre, told me my Rifle Shooting was looking good, I grinned and blushed like a teenage girl. More on that later, though.

To begin with, you are handed a cardboard target to lay out in the shooting range. There are tin cans there to help prop the targets up and also to act as additional targets but, for those Call Of Duty veterans who think they've got shooting down to a T, you can place your targets lower or higher.

Ben and I both placed ours at eye level and retreated to the shooting cabin, 10 metres from the targets.

After the compulsory health and safety spiel, Jak showed us how to load the spring-loaded air rifles, the correct manner of shooting, and let us crack on with our shots, keeping a watchful eye over our technique and safety.

Shooters are given five pellets each and we each took four shots at our target, carefully lining up the cross-hairs with the bullseye and pulling the trigger, willing our pellets to hurtle through the air towards the target centres. For our fifth and final shots, Jak invited Ben and me to shoot at a collection of metal chimes, hanging towards the ground. The resulting pings were music to both of our ears as our shots hit the target with aplomb.

When it came to checking the targets at the end of the session, we learnt that Jak was slightly exaggerative in his praise of my shooting, but it was still an exhilarating experience.

Extra pellets are available if you wish to attempt to improve on your shooting and those competitive amongst us will be pleased to know that you can tally up your scores to see who really was the better shooter.

Rifle Shooting costs £2.50 for five pellets, or £1 if you are a customer of the Big Sheep (£2.50 after first go).

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