After an uneventful night’s sleep (eventually), there were lots of bright faces this morning ready for the day’s activities. After a hearty breakfast, we met our instructors who took us off into Wales – Llangollen to be exact – where we harnessed up for our assault on the rock face. There were more than a few nervous faces – and that was just the instructors Chris and Matt! Only joking – after our safety talks, and a practice traversing section unharnessed on a lower section of the wall, it was time to team up and attempt one of the four routes that had been set up on the rock face.
Ruby was the first to get to the top of the longest route; Oscar managed to get to the top of two, including one route that had thwarted everyone who had tried to reach the top. Ayesha demonstrated the importance of our helmets when she decided to do a pirouette at the top of one of the ropes before descending – quite impressive. However high the children reached, for all of them it was a personal success! Florence readily admitted she was terrified, and yet made it high up on the faces several times. What was interesting was the approach of the boys and girls: boys tended to go as fast as possible, hauling themselves up with brute strength until they could get no further; the girls were more tactical, thinking their way up the cliff face.
After a lunch at the base of the cliff, it was time to head off for our ghyll scrambling, where we faced possibly the toughest challenge of the day – getting into our wetsuits! After what seemed an eternity, we headed down into the gorge. With Chris expertly leading us through the various ‘challenges of doom’ we made our way along the river, plunging into various pools, being ducked under waterfalls and scrambling up others. “Once in a lifetime experience,” said Henry, who wants to book to go again as soon as possible.
After the second hardest challenge of the day – removing soggy wetsuits – it was back to the centre to dry out. With great excitement as Mr. Connelly accompanied a few of the children to the ‘shop’ (a shelf in Reception stacked with pencils, rubbers and other essentials), we’re now waiting for our Red Tractor burgers before heading out to the campsite. Hopefully, the promised rain will hold off!