Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Reading Climbing Centre

When you're a harassed mum, there's nothing quite like heading off for a run alone - leaving toddler tantrums and bedtime fights far behind you. But conversely one of the most enjoyable aspects of being fit and healthy is the ability to try out new physical challenges alongside your kids, knowing that you are more than able to keep up with their boundless energy and hoping that you are proving to them they should give everything a try. Even clambering up a very high wall.



And so it was that I ended up with a lovely young man tightening my harness (oppsie, was it loose?!!) and showing me the ropes at The Reading Climbing Centre (see what I did there?). After an initial form-filling session and a check that our footwear was suitable (don't go in flip flops), we were kitted out with suitable harnesses and helmets for the kids. And then our instructor Josh led us 'en famille' into the wall hall to see how it's done.

We started on a little orange wall close to the door. This enables the kids (oh alright and the grown ups) to get the hang of the technique (more pushing up with your legs and less pulling up with your arms than I had imagined) - and to truly believe that you won't fall if you let go. We also had to learn just how to bounce back down after you'd reached the top - again an issue of trust, you have to sit quite far back and down.

Then the kids were asked to choose where they wanted to climb next, although, to be honest, the walls all look the same to the uninitiated. We took turns again, although our youngest was less keen on reaching the summit by now. Which is when I mentioned that if there were Smarties at the top she'd have no problem. So, Josh disappeared off to reception to obtain a little motivational tool...a bag that each climber could take up and hook on the hand holds for the next person up the wall to retrieve.
Like a rat up a drainpipe once an element of competition was introduced!


Sibling and spouse rivalry soon set in, with the younger desperate to take the bag up as high as she could - hoping her sister would be unable to retrieve it. When she did, my eldest set about putting it out of my reach, but I got it. Then I took it up to the top - naturally hoping my less-than-keen-on-heights hubby wouldn't cope (although he did of course). I'm sure we were a heart-warming example of familial love to all those around us.

Again the kids chose our next wall (or 'line' as the professionals say) and couldn't wait to play the bag game. My daughter plumped for a one of the highest walls I could see, although said that she would never make it. In fact she did - all 14 metres of it, which at age 7 isn't bad. At this point Josh began to toughen up on me and hubs. We were only allowed to climb using certain coloured handholds - making it that bit more difficult. I helpfully pointed out when my husband was using the wrong colour. Nothing is too much trouble for me you see.

The place to be heading is Reading (Climbing Centre)


And all too quickly our session was over - Josh was needed elsewhere - doubtless some other floozy was rapidly loosening up her harness (tsk!). We returned our equipment and headed for some lunch (there's a cafe on site). The taster session we took was excellent - I hope it encourages my girls to try it again - maybe during the holidays as a course or maybe as a birthday party venue. It's certainly something we'd try as a couple or as a family again.

How about you? What exercise do you fit in as a family? And does climbing sound like a good option for you and yours? Let me know in the comment box below.

Thanks for reading
Vanessa.

24 comments:

  1. my kids LOVE a climbing wall, so do I, scares the pants off me! #RdgUK

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    1. I think my lack of spatial awareness is a help here - as I really can't tell the difference between 5 and 50 metres...although I was a bit shocked when I looked down (I'm short sighted too however, so blurry is normal!!). Thanks for commenting!

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  2. Looks like fun - something I have always meant to try with the family since my youngest went to a birthday party. Btw, I am loving your groovy photo collages!

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    1. The pics are made with PicMonkey - I think it helps show lots of what went on without taking up too much space! I'm very tempted by the holiday courses as the cafe has wifi - so I could work while the kids were professionally worn out for me!!!!

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  3. My kids have loved climbing walls, great family fun

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    1. Hello! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It's nice to able to relax as they climb as well, since if my two started up a tall tree I'd probably need a tranquilliser...!

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  4. My sister is a manager at a climbing wall but I've never been (how awful is that?) It looks awesome. Perhaps I should take her up on her offer to turn our garden wall into a climbing wall!

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    1. Wow, that sounds great - I bet your kids (and all their friends) would love that. Thanks for commenting.

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  5. Hi Vanessa! I nominated you for the Liebster Award: http://vickilesage.blogspot.fr/2014/03/liebster-award.html. If you have time, it's a fun little thing to do :)

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    1. Hi Vicki - thanks so much for that. It'll probably take me a few weeks to get to it, as have loads of upcoming blog posts and the Easter school hols to cover. It'll be a perfect intro to my new 'about me' page I'm hoping to add though...

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  6. Not sure about climbing - the kids love it but I am totally scared of heights. Although that bag might spur me on! One family thing we love to do is cycling - we got a trailgator which means that when my 5 year old has tired legs we can hook her bike to the back of mine and I can pull her along. Great fun and a good work out.

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    1. The bike idea is great - gets kids into spending their free time being healthy too. I'd rather be up a wall than on a bike though - however I am planning to work on my cycling confidence this summer!

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  7. Your kids look like they are awesome children. Thanks for sharing this at What'd You Do This Weekend. Have a great weekend.

    Linda

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    1. Thank you! Thanks you for running the linky. This weekend (which is Mother's Day in the UK), we're trying horse riding...

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  8. This is so on my list of things to try for this year:)

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    1. You won't regret it! Let me know if you blog about it too...

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  9. It looks great fun! There is a wall at my work in the sports centre...perhaps I should go and give it a go. I've done it a couple of times, but never had anyone to go with (sob)...but perhaps they will help out at the university. :)

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    1. It's very satisfying when you get to the top - and look down and think 'wow! - I am actually quite big!'. It's a double bonus for me being such a shortie!! Thanks for commenting.

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  10. Oh my I'd be terrified - I'm not so good with heights. I like the running alone. That's awesome. As a family we tend to go on long walks when the weather permits and we have the time. It's great watching my boys running off ahead and exploring new places. My eldest doesn't like climbing either so this would probably not be for us, looked fun for you though! #AllAboutYou

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    1. Well, it's really safe with the professional doing the ropes & harness - don't think I'd trust myself out on real rocks that high!!! My youngest is still not the best for long walks - hopefully that will change in time! Thank you for dropping by & commenting.

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  11. My husband is a climbing instructor on indoor walls and out on rock. He loves it! My son loves it when they trundle off together camping and climbing and leaving me to drink wine! I will do it one day as it looks amazing and maybe you've inspired me too. #AllAboutYou

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    1. I also enjoy drinking wine...maybe two things that should be kept separate though!!! Thanks for stopping by.

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  12. hahah! don't go in flip-flops…there are more things Id be worried about if i did make it up there. Looks great fun though (or that might just be the multi-coloured nobbles on the wall!) and a lovely thing to try as a family.

    Do you think you could do it despite not having great (read: any) upper body strength (I'm having visions of me dangling at the bottom like I did in gym class when I was supposed to be climbing the rope!) xx

    #allaboutyou

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    1. Good news, minimal upper body strength required! The instructor told us it was more about pushing up with your legs that pulling up with your arms. I'm also a right weed on the bicep/tricep front and it was not a problem. Thank you for commenting.

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