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Helen Skelton: “I Tried A Segway Tour”

3 MIN READ • 21st March 2017

Your Fitness’ intrepid columnist stakes out the newest classes and takes on the latest challenges

I’m a tad adverse to organised fun. The idea of following a guide around a course with a hen party or family of five while sporting elbow pads and a helmet doesn’t really float my boat, and that’s why I had never been on a segway until recently. But despite my misgivings, I have to admit, my time on two wheels was a really good laugh.

The segway tour I enjoyed took place in the shadows of the cliffs that line Dumfries and Galloway’s ‘secret coast’ in Scotland. Once upon a time the area between Rockcliffe and Sandyhills was used by smugglers to store the liquor, tea and sugar they were illegally bringing into the country from the Isle of Man. These days, however, it is a playground for kayakers, kite surfers and, perhaps more surprisingly, segway users. I was lucky to get an individual tour taking in the cliffs of the secret coast but group bookings can be made here too.

The electric hoverboardtype contraptions with their chunky wheels and stabilising handle bars have been around for a while now and once aboard one, I quickly found out that balance is key. If you stand up straight, you stop. If you put weight onto your tip toes you go forwards and if you transfer your weight into your heels you go backwards. It’s simple – if you’re calm, cool and collected, that is (which I am not). There were moments when I shot forward and then lurched backwards, and stopping is not something I was able to master, but I got the hang of the basics. In the end I travelled up and down that beach like a 21st century version of Mad Max.

To turn, you push the handle bar right or left depending on which way you want to go. Of course, a little bend in the knees and a sway of your body helps the overall appearance of your manoeuvres, but I don’t think it actually affects the efficiency of the segway. Using one, I felt like I was constantly skirting the fine line between geek and cool, but with the epic back drop I am pretty sure I got close to the latter.

It’s not exactly an aerobic workout but an hour on a segway spinning around in circles and making giant figures of eight in the sand certainly gets the wind whistling through your hair and the sea air circulating through your lungs. All in all, it was a good giggle, a great way to explore the outdoors and certainly worth doing. Just be wary of stopping and getting off. When I did so, I leapt backwards with vigour, but apparently there is no need for this – you can just step off calmly. And that way you probably won’t land in a heap in the sand. Ahem.

This month Helen’s been…

Visiting… Laggan Adventure Park

The human sling shot here is as much fun as it sounds and is definitely one for adrenaline seekers. They strap you into a harness on the end of a massive piece of elastic and fire you off the side of a hill and it’s brilliant. If this isn’t for you there’s plenty more at the adventure park in the heart of Dumfries and Galloway to get stuck into: clay pigeon shooting, grass sledging, water balling and dirt scooting, just to name a few.

Buying…  An Egg pram

Baby number two is due in April and the only thing I have ordered is my push chair. I like to get out walking and as I will soon have two children under two years old I will need a buggy suitable for the pair of them. After much research I have settled on the Egg. With this, I know I can get them out and about safely, easily (relatively speaking) and stylishly! They look fab and have rave reviews.

Eating… Eggs

How many times can you write ‘egg’ in one column?! Talking about my new pram just made me realise how obsessed I am with all things egg-related at the moment – especially of the food variety! Scrambled, poached, boiled, on toast or with salmon, I love them – in fact, I even had a fried egg on my salad the other day! I am no cook and they are the one thing I can rustle up easily and quickly, and plus they’re a great source of protein.

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