Adventure: Rock Climbing, Parkwood Outdoors, Dolygaer

There’s always that moment when I ask myself….. How an earth did I get myself in to this?  I usually ask that when I can’t get myself out of something!  On this occasion,  I asked myself whilst dangling mid air after I’d slipped over the rock ledge!

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Let me explain….

Rock Climbing with Parkwood Outdoors, Dolygaer

After our tour around the centre – centre manager Mike took advantage of the good weather  and decided rock climbing was first on the agenda.  We hopped on the mini bus and took a short drive to a nearby disused quarry.

Impressive right?

Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer

Unbeknown to which part of the quarry we’d be climbing, activity manager Owen took us for some bouldering to help warm us up.  Bouldering if you didn’t know, is like climbing but  it doesn’t involve any ropes or harnesses.  It helps you to get a feel of where to put your hands and feet when climbing (and we only stayed waist height).

Here we learnt about how our bodies should always face the rock  (like a spider)  and that we shouldn’t ever twist our body or cross over our feet (easier said than done).  Psychologically, I found it more of a challenge because we didn’t have ropes to fall back on. I was partnered up with the (frustratingly good at everything Rik) as I tried to follow in his foot steps but no such luck!

Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer

Now warmed up and slightly at ease with the concept of climbing, Mike introduced us to what looked like the monster climb (everything looks higher when you’re at the bottom). He ‘casually’  mentioned he wanted to give us a taste of an abseil too!

Ignoring the abseiling part (for now), I tried to concentrate on the task at hand and watched the group clamber up like army ants.  I think we were all a little apprehensive but it helps when you’ve two relaxed and confident instructors with you.

Here’s Mike posing for us….

Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer
Cery’s partner Dave climbing like a pro!

The climb up was weird! Nothing mattered other than the rock in front and I may have looked down a few times because it felt like I wasn’t going anywhere.  We had Owen guiding us where to put our feet and hands and Mike cracking jokes (perhaps cracking is the wrong word when on rock…) whilst reassuring us it was OK to take our time up.

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Jenni from The Thrifty Magpies Nest looking seriously cool with her blue hair…

It’s the only outdoor activity I’ve done so far which describes a great deal of logistical thinking – it’s a real mental workout.

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Looks like Mike’s about to lasso my feet!

 

A big smile later and I’m at the top!

Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer

When we’d all got to the top we enjoyed magnificent views of the surrounding valleys – whistles from sheep farmer’s echoed in the wind and buzzards swooped over us.  I loved having a nosy in to the instructor’s background asking them to choose their favourite outdoor activity and they struggled (I can understand why!) since they teach so much. 

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Myself and Cerys

 

 I especially loved our blogger group and how supportive we all were of each other.

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Spider Rik….

 

Abseiling

Just when we thought the challenge was over – then came the abseil. I think I can say it topped my deep water phobia.  This part of the rock face was smooth and slippery.

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Jenni looking calm!

Everything in my mind told me abseiling was just not normal, it went against every instinct I have.  I only realised that when I was near to the bottom, the further you lean back the easier it is (in the long run).

Stepping down on to the ledge was the biggest challenge and then leaning back to begin the descent (not natural).

Parkwood Outdoors Dolygaer
Here I go!

The wind was much chillier now. The ledge slippy and although Mike’s voice was quite soothing to listen too, I lost my footing.  I’ve never been so thankful for rope, a hard helmet and good knots! It’s such a weird sensation dangling in mid air and it certainly reinforced just how important it is to have qualified people around you whilst in the great outdoors- there’s no 2nd chances!

Cerys from Mud & Mascara also slipped but we both gained our composure quickly (a case of having to). I was impressed at how quick she got up and down!

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The dreaded ledge…

With my feet firm on the ground, I couldn’t stop smiling. It’s such an amazing adrenaline rush. And a real confidence booster. I’ll be doing it again! Back in the day when I used to do a bit of public speaking, I used outdoor achievements to trick my psyche into believing I could do anything.

I still definitely believe that…

Join me tomorrow for my Gorge walking adventures with Parkwood Outdoors DolyGaer.

 

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. This looks so much fun. I really want to get in to rock climbing! You’re both still smiling so I remain optimistic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh do!!! I wish I’d perhaps tried it out on a wall first as it is a perfect place to learn foot and hand placement but then you could argue a man made wall vs nature’s totally different… Let me know how you get on!

      Like

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