The Bridge is Back in Town!
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The Bridge is Back in Town!

Aberdovey centre celebrates the return of Picnic Island Bridge!

Aberdovey received an early Christmas present last week with the return of Picnic Island Bridge. The bridge represents a gateway to the wilderness, offering safe passage over the Coastal Railway away from the busy roadside.

The old wooden bridge closed in October 2018, making journeys to the sea much longer, with young people having to take a minibus or walk 1.5 miles along a busy road. Its return cuts that journey to just 100 yards on the road, making Outward Bound activities like our legendary jog and dip far more accessible.

It was a long journey to get to this point, with COVID, the energy crisis and the cost of steel acting as huge obstacles. But these factors were no match for the plucky ‘Picnic Island Partnership’ an alliance of Gwynedd Council, Network Rail, Aberdyfi Council & AA&I, Cardigan Bay FLAG and Outward Bound who came together to overcome the problem.

Over four years the partnership worked as a team, pooling funds, resources, and ingenuity to agree on a design and install a new steel bridge, that would last the test of time.

The new bridge will transform how we deliver our courses, making adventures on the sea far safer and much more accessible. A huge thank you goes out to our partners and friends in the local community, we are really grateful for their leadership and support in getting this resolved. We can’t wait to use it again and start jogging and dipping once more from Picnic Island.
Al Crisp – Head of Centre at Outward Bound Aberedovey

The jog and dip is a long-held Outward Bound tradition, starting way back in 1941 when courses were delivered to prepare seamen with survival skills during WWII. Nowadays, it’s a much lighter affair with groups of 12 huddling together as they dunk themselves in the sea to kick start their Outward Bound adventure and step outside their comfort zones.

Everyday activities like these are designed to take young people 'out of the moment', helping them reflect on what their new skills and experiences mean back at home and in school. Outward Bound participants will never get a GCSE in Jog and Dip, or an A-Level in abseiling, but the experience can be just as valuable. Immersing young people in new and challenging experiences, so they can realise their potential.

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