Exhilarating ascents and breathtaking descents are the order of the day as you harness up, hook up and tackle that climbing wall! But as the age old saying goes: 'what goes up must come down', so not only will you be learning about the great sport of rock climbing, but your lesson will also show you just how to get back down again.
We think a bit of rock climbing, abseiling or even caving is a great day out for all the family and with climbing centres and natural crags across the UK, you won't have to travel far to take on your vertical challenge. Who knows, you might discover a new sport you become passionate about that's great for overall fitness and doesn't cost a fortune! Read more...
• An introductory class in indoor bouldering • Takes place at Arch North climbing centre London • An hour's teaching on safety, techniques & etiquette • A free day pass to use at any of the 3 Arch centres
With granite and sandstone all around the UK there's bound to be a natural climbing wall somewhere near you. And if not, there might well be an indoor climbing centre within easy reach. However, if you've never scaled a rock before, we strongly advise you to take a lesson, which is where we come in with these packages at outdoor venues scattered around the country.
All sessions will be geared to your level, so whether you have never even stepped into a pair of climbing shoes before, or have already scaled a couple of walls in your time, you can learn lots from your qualified guides who are all highly experienced and qualified climbers and mountaineers.
So apart from a suitable rock and the instructor, what else do you need to climb? Well, the main thing is a partner. This is essential for your security because whilst one of the duo is scaling the heights, the other is 'spotting' at the bottom and belaying you, which is when the rope is run through a belay device on the anchor person's harness and you secure the climber. If you're a beginner it'll be one of the tutors who be assuring you.
After that it's a case of having climbing shoes that have a specific rubbery sole for grip, your harness to attach yourself to the rope with a carabiner and a good dose of enthusiasm.
The first thing you'll probably do is to haul yourself up using your arms, which is the natural way to react when you find yourself on a rock face. But you'll be shown how pushing off with your legs is actually the way to go, whilst keeping your body close to the stone for better balance. In fact, this sport isn't just about physical ability or agility, a lot of it is mental too, as you look ahead for the next hold to grab and to pick your route.
This all sounds quite intense and quite frankly when you're several metres up from the ground it can be just that, but there is nothing like the sensation of reaching the summit. A punch of the air and a little shout of delight is always acceptable as you've conquer that crag. As for how you get down, well you'll soon find out it'll be an abseil on the ropes, or even ladders to come back down to earth.
Crags, sandstone and more to be climbed
As for where you'll be climbing, there are some terrific sites dotted around the UK. The walls in North Wales are probably the most well-known in the country and we have teaching sessions at a former limestone quarry, whilst in South Wales it's hilltop adventure time in the Brecon hills.
The English Peak District is well known for hiking, but also boasts some fine sport and traditional climbing for you try and who'd have though that Kent has a whole range of sandstone climbs. And for a climbing lesson with a difference, try the topsy-turvy world of caving. If you’ve never heard of this outdoor sport before, take a look at this video of caving at Giant’s Hole near Castletown in the Peak District for a taste of underground climbing!