Ever thought of taking up a totally new sport that will inspire you or your children?
Rock climbing (sport climbing indoors and the real thing outdoors) is a brilliant way to get fit, meet friends, learn safety and responsibility, develop personal challenges – and most importantly, have great fun in beautiful wild places.
There’s an ironic old chinese proverb that goes:
“The poor man sits at the foot of the mountain with a bag of heavy gold, while the rich man dances on the summit with a light bag of chalk”….. says it all really.
So where to start with your kids? Here in Devon we’re suddenly spoiled for choice. The brilliant Dartrock opened a year or so ago. There’s plenty of info on their site. They’re also involved in a huge new indoor wall being built at Weston Supermare, so watch out for that. They do excellent sessions for youngsters as little as five. It’s amazing how adept young kids are at climbing – no fear, strong, sinewy limbs and none of the extra baggage that some of us oldies have to drag up the wall.
Dartrock’s mission statement that greets you on the way in sums up the venue, and the sport, beautifully:
Dart Rock Climbing Centre’s mission is to provide the safe enjoyment of all rock climbing activities in an environment accessible to all ages and abilities, without prejudice or elitism. Above all safety and enjoyment are our business.
A new wall has also just opened in Exeter. And of course we have Dartmoor on our doorstep and lots of great cliff climbing on the Devon and Cornwall coasts.
Below – belaying (with sandbag for added weight and safety in the event of the heavier climber falling) – and attempting a 10 metre wall at Dartrock:
Outdoors it gets even better – the pictures below show the Dartrock youth squad developing a taste for bouldering: ‘spotting’ to support a climber if they fall and more general piccies of kids clambering over rocks and getting acquainted with the joys of Dartmoor granite.
Of course if you’re toddler’s fairly hardcore you can present them with a rock and they may decide to give it a go. But remember – safety first!
More infirmation that might be useful: join a local club (and get cheap sunday evening rates at Dartrock) – great for meeting friends, learning useful tips from more experienced climbers and gaining access to local knowledge and climbs..
Here are a few: 2 Degrees – group of legendary local climbers who combine openness, great friendship and extreme skills and experience. Check out their site for news and other information…or come and find us at Dartrock on a sunday evening.
BMC – excellent national organisation. Worth joining for a zillion reasons.
South Devon Mountaineering Club – long standing group of climbers who also welcome new members.
Finally – if your kid starts climbing – there’s an excellent scheme that’s well worth joining: NICAS
More from us soon. Meanwhile – if you’re kids are bored occasionally – get them climbing! They’ll love it…