What we're about
AAA - Action Adventure Activity
One of London's most established and active international hiking groups.
Our aim is simple:
To get outdoors and visit new places, enjoy beautiful scenery with people who want to have fun and meet new friends. We have a simply philosophy; provide fun and sociable events that incorporate the best an area has to offer with experienced hike leaders.
All the photos shown are taken on events by group members...thank you to are talented group photographers Alex, the David's, Mike and many others..
Who are we?
We were established in 2008 and have run well over 500 events and hosted over 7000 members. We usually run around 50 events per year ranging from mid week evening social events, such as treasure hunts and kayaking sessions, to weekend and week long UK and overseas hiking trips to Europe and beyond.
In 2016 we are proud to say that we ran weekends in over 35 different locations covering the breadth of the UK from Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands and from Pembrokeshire to Norfolk. In addition to this we have hosted trips in over 8 different European locations and we are constantly striving to offer new and interesting trips. We are confident in 2018 there will be even more events and places that we will be visiting.
The AAA crew is made up of a lot of outdoor enthusiasts with decades of experience, a number of our principal hike leaders originate from the British Army and a couple from the Russian Military who all have extensive navigation, mountain and first aid experience. So you'll be in steady hands! Your taste buds will also be very well catered for by our team of chefs, cooks and kitchen helpers.
AAA's mix of great food, capable hike leaders, interesting destination and inclusive social aspects has been very popular with our members, so popular that we are proud to recognise that other larger groups have now been replicating both our events and format and menus. We are indeed flattered by any imitation as the more groups offering trips is good for everyone and we hope one day to be in a position to flatter their achievements.
We for our part will still continue to strive to provide popular destinations at affordable prices with a strong emphasis on providing good hikes, quality food and and enjoyable and inclusive socialising. You can also be assured that the events and activities we list are activities we have hosted and not just a marketing ploy, as adopted by the largest UK outdoor group.
Our most popular events are weekend hiking trips to locations around the UK.
What makes our events?
Without doubt the answer to this question is our members. We are proud of the fact that we regularly have over 50% of our weekend and overseas trips made up of loyal member who have attended other trips. This is not to say that the group is cliquey in anyway. As hosts we have belonged to groups where cliques exist and we work hard with our members to ensure that this doesn't happen.
AAA has some basic principals for ensuring succesful events. They are quite simply;
1. Great Hiking Destinations. If we are not interested in the destination, then we don't host a trip there. We also don't resist the same destination multiple ties in the year just to host more trips than other groups.
2. Quality accommodation suitable for the event.
3. Only using Experienced Hike Leaders and or qualified instructors for other activities
4. Comprehensive Destination Research which we always pre-visit before proposing an event.
5. Control of the finances, we don't use third party operators on the ground to book transport and accommodation. We control the money, this reduces any risk of ground operators going into liquidation with out the Meetup Group having any recourse.
6. Control of the logistics. If we don't have control of the finances we can't control the logistics. If we have control of the logistics it enables us to adjust the programme if needed.
7. Social Hub. Socialising is a big part of Meetup, after all its in the title! So wherever we are we look to ensure that there is a point where everyone can socialise, whether it be a dinning room, local bar or lounge.
Who attends our events?
The majority of our active members range in age between the mid 20s to late 40s, but age is no barrier so long as you are at least young at heart. Members generally live or work in the greater London area, but we have an ever-increasing number of members who live all over the UK and join us in the destination. After all you don’t need to live in London to visit the Lake District!
A large proportion of our members are international, providing an interesting and diverse mix of experiences and cultures. We also have a significant proportion of single members on events, although you certainly don’t need to be single to attend. We have many couples attending our events.
If you are nervous about committing to a weekend trip, don't be, almost everyone has turned up on an event before without knowing anyone. We all know what it's like. If you are still concerned try one of our evening or day events, they act as a taster and you are sure to meet like minded people. We also work hard to ensure that the trips are inclusive for everyone. We usually provide a minimum of two hike leaders on weekend and overseas hikes to ensure we can offer a mix of hikes to meet the groups needs. We rarely have hikes that exceed 28 people and usually the hikes are pitched a groups of no more than 16 people of similar fitness and ability.
What do we do?
We organise the logistics for our hiking trips so that you don’t have to. We find the locations, book the venues and organise all catering for weekends. We even help co-ordinate transport and lift shares. If you don't have transport contact the organiser who will help put you in contact with someone who's driving.
Our aim is to explore and hike in picturesque and beautiful rural locations throughout the British Isles and beyond. We regularly visit all of the UK’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Whilst we often repeat visits to the many great National Parks we do vary the locations we stay at as best as we can. We certainly don't repeat the same venues and walks over and over again just because we have a hike or hostel that works and is easy to repeat. One look at our past events will show you the variety of places visited.
We arrange a host of evening events that usually provide an element of activity. We believe its better to get people together and involved in an activity that they can participate in rather than just organising a Meetup in a pub. However, we normally conclude our events with a social drink or two in a pub.
Evening events have included (examples of our events can be viewed in our past events section) (http://www.meetup.com/AAA-London-Group/#past)
Treasure & Scavenger Hunts around London, Go-Karting, Paint-ball, Kayaking along the Thames, Yoga, Shopping Discount evenings, Pub Quizzes, Charitable Volunteering Events, Games nights, Orienteering and Photography exhibitions.
DAY HIKES AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
We organise a number of day walks and activities throughout the year. These usually depart from a central London station and the hikes normally start at location 60-90 minutes outside of London in areas of scenic beauty. If you live close to the start of the hike let us know and join us there. We look to organise everything, so all you need to do is turn up and we will have your tickets and everything ready. Our hikes are led by very capable navigators with years of map reading experience. In fact one of our hike leaders spent most of his military life navigating at night, so he's relieved to be allowed out navigating during the day light hour!
We also organise other events such as;
Kayaking on the Cuckmere and into the sea, Go Ape, Go karting, canoeing the River Wye, caving, climbing & abseiling, zip wires, London's Lord Mayors Show, navigation training and even photography sessions.
HIKING AND ACTIVITY WEEKENDS
Typically we organise two or more weekends per month in all parts of the UK. Trips usually involve a visit to the National Park or an Area of Natural Beauty throughout the UK. Sometimes we organise optional activities that can range from Yoga to cycling. Since 2013 we have included even more climbing & Abseiling, Caving, Canoeing, Scrambling, Kayaking, Surfing and Wine Tasting. But nothing is off limits so if you have an idea let us know.
Normally we hire for exclusive use a Youth Hostel or similar accommodation, sometimes it can be a hotel or lodge. AAA almost always host the breakfast and evening meals as we are very particular about maintaining out reputation for providing quality food on our weekends. We will be there to greet you on arrival and allocate rooms etc. There is always a warm supper on a Friday night followed by some cake. The weekends then take on a well rehearsed routine that ensure we can maximize on the time for hiking.
We try where possible not to repeat weekends and if we do we do so in different seasons. However, some locations like Snowdon and the Brecon Beacons are always very popular and worth repeating. But unlike some groups you won't find us visiting the same location twice or more in the same month. As organisers we have a passion for the outdoors and too much repetition is a bad thing.
We enjoy experiencing new places and we are sure you do, too. So we are always looking to host hiking orientated trips in new overseas locations. We typically organise the accommodation, catering etc as well as plan with detail the hikes in the local areas. Often we will pick you up from the local airport or provide you with details to organise your own transfers to the accommodation. We will even recommend flights and help you co-ordinate your travel arrangements with others in the group.
When we are in the location we help to facilitate additional activities from mountain biking, paragliding, white water rafting to wine tasting or local sightseeing trips.
Who are we?
Our core team have a wealth of experience in a wide variety of key areas. We have years of hiking and outdoors experience. Our principal events hosts and hike leaders have over three decades of military experience, two from elite units (certainly not in the catering corp.) as well as 15 year career in the event management industry producing events from small high end events to logistics for 15,000 person event. One of our event hosts has even won awards in the event industry. Not content with our existing experience we also undertake additional training to keep our key skills tip top.
Click here to Meet the team (http://www.meetup.com/AAA-London-Group/pages/AAA_London_Group_crew/)
Why do we do it?
Quite simply we love the outdoors and making the most of this beautiful country we live in and what better way to do it than by meeting new friends.
Our aim is to build a great community of hikers with whom we can share our enjoyment of the outdoors and adventurous activities. As they say size isn't important! We are never happier than when we see the same members repeatedly attend our events, many have been joining us for years and we continue to enjoy their company.
Many of our members have made new life long friends after trips, some have developed into loving relationships and we know of at least three couples that have met and got married after meeting on our events.
How do we do it?
We create appealing trips that are affordable to all. They are affordable because we generally use Youth Hostels and cater for ourselves and everyone helps and contributes towards the weekend.
The food you enjoy has been said by many to be the best they have experience on any Meetup event. We strive to ensure we provide a cooked breakfast, not just a cold continental buffet, after all if you are setting off on a day's hike you want a hearty meal. We set everything up in the morning for you to make your own sandwiches with fillings of your own choice. AAA dinner is always very popular with wholesome ingredients including a variety of salads, vegetarian dishes as well a typical main selection followed by a cake for dessert. After supper we all get to relax and socialise, sometimes with some games, whichever is most fitting. Whilst we all enjoy a pub visit, we include the dinner within the cost, so it's not an extra cost or a car journey (with no alcohol!).
Frequently Asked Questions (https://www.meetup.com/AAA-London-Group/pages/20448201/AAA_Frequently_Asked_Questions/)
Many people ask us questions about our trips, we hope that we cover most of the usual questions in the event description. We also have some answers to popular question in our FAQ section (https://www.meetup.com/AAA-London-Group/pages/20448201/AAA_Frequently_Asked_Questions/)
Our main hike leaders have undertaken the six day Mountain Leader course (accredited by the MLT) as well as having undertaken the two and three day Wilderness & Outdoor Activity First Aid course. One of our hike leaders even undertook a 6 month military medical course culminating with practical training in an A&E Hospital and 2 weeks with paramedics. Both of our principal hike leaders have over 20 years of military experience, not just as conscripts. Much of their experience was focused on fieldcraft, navigation and first aid, making them ideal hike leaders.
All of our events are run by very experienced hikers, most of our hike leaders have a minimum of Mountain Leader training and an Outdoor Activity First Aid qualification or similar experience/qualifications. It would however be unfair to say that this makes the outdoors safe, there is always risks present, but with our experience, training and meticulous planning we aim to minimise the risk.
Generally our hikes tend to be limited to 20 people when in the hills and 24-28 in lowlands as our training indicate that this is a safe number, it's also important for everyone's enjoyment that the hike is not hindered by big numbers, or a very slow pace as you constantly find yourself waiting and it prevents people getting left behind, as we hear so often occurs in other groups with 40-50 people on a day hike.
What type of activities do we do?
Over the past three years we have offered a wide range of events. These have included;
Hiking & walking (of course), kayaking along the Thames, camping & canoeing, yoga breaks, fitness weekends, pot holing, historic sightseeing, overseas trips, indoor and outdoor rock climbing, cycling, trekking, backpacking, adventure weekends, coast walking, long distant walking, caving, countryside conservation, charity volunteering, sea kayaking, treasure hunts, paintball, the Yorkshire 3 peaks challenge, abseiling, recreation weekends, gorge walking & canyoning, rafting, navigation courses, culture trips, community trips, tennis, orienteering, coasteering, go-karting, horse riding and paragliding…
Unlike some larger groups who claim to have offered these activities, because its good for their marketing and Meetup listing, we have actually offered all these events. Please, check out our past events.
[see note 1]
And there are many other activities we would like to give a try in the future such as sailing, scuba diving, static line parachuting, sky diving, exercise boot camps, target shooting, clay pigeon shooting etc…
Where do we visit?
Our usual destinations include the National Parks of United Kingdom such as:
Brecon Beacons, Norfolk Broads, Cairngorms, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, Loch Lomond, New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, Dark Peaks, Peak District, Pembrokeshire Coast, Snowdonia, South Downs and the Yorkshire Dales.
[see note 1]
We have also organised events with visits to the following areas of natural beauty that have included:
Arnside and Silverdale, Chichester Harbour, Chilterns, Cornwall, Cotswolds, Cranborne Chase & West Wiltshire Downs, Dedham Vale, Dorset, East Devon, Isle of Wight, Kent Downs, Lincolnshire Wolds Malvern Hills, Mendip Hills, Nidderdale, Norfolk Broads & Coast, North Devon, North Pennines, Northumberland Coast, North Wessex Downs, Quantock Hills, Shropshire Hills, Solway Coast, South Devon, Suffolk Coast & Heaths, Surrey Hills, Tamar Valley and the beautiful Wye Valley.
[see note 1]
Many of our hikes have included some of the popular long distance routes, these have included:
Cotswold Way National Trail, Cumbria Coastal Way, Highland Way, East Riding Heritage Way, Grand Union Canal Walk, Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail, Herriot Way, Hertfordshire Way, Mendip Ring, North Downs Way National Trail, North-West Coastal Trail, Offa's Dyke Path National Trail, Peak District High Level Route, Norfolk Coast Path National Trail, Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trail, Pennine Way National Trail, Snowdonia Round, Solent Way, South Downs Way National Trail, South West Coast Path National Trail, Southern Upland Way, Thames Path National Trail, Wainwrights Way, Wales Coast Path, Wessex Ridgeway Trail, West Highland Way, Westmorland Way, White Peak Way, Wilts and Berks Canal Towpath, Winchcombe Way and Wye Valley Walk.
We have also organised overseas trips to destinations such as:
The Pyrenees, the Dolomites, Austria, Slovakia, Belgium, Spain, Slovenia, different parts of Croatia, Poland, Madeira, Scotland, France, Swiss & French Alps and Russia & Ukraine.
We have plans for trips to Ireland, Norway, Kilimanjaro, Andalucía and as the group flourishes we will offer many more, too!
The destinations and activities listed are examples of events AAA have organised or part of an AAA event. They are not places and events added here to improve our Meetup search ratings and mislead members. We accept that imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but we don't feel flattered when it misleads others. One of the other larger groups has the almost identical text as ours in places, the most notable error on their part is the inclusion of the West Highland Way, Highland Way and Winchcombe Way which are in countries and locations their group has not visited. We are not even going to comment on the activities listed we will leave you to make up your own minds. Come on guys, you know who you are, let's all be honest about what we do and where we go.