We needed to be up dressed and ready for our date with the Rainbows at Clip n Climb Cramlington, our newly opened local climbing wall at Concordia Leisure centre in Cramlington for 9.30am. No time for lounging around!! One day I’m sure I will get one of those Sunday mornings you see people enjoy on the telly… long peaceful lie in, mug of tea in bed, bacon sandwich, and a leisurely read of the papers. Sunday 21st February was not to be that day though!!
Since this facility was installed at Concordia Leisure in January, I have heard nothing but good reports. So we were eager to let our girls experience it. Concordia is not much to look at from the outside as it’s essentially a 1960’s concrete building typical of many leisure centres. It is being brought up to modern standards with huge investment over the next few years. The Clip n Climb wall is just the start from the eye-catching artists drawings in the foyer.
After some back and forward emails between leaders (we really are busy people… or more accurately our children are!) our date and time was set. The private hire of the wall (for 25 children – the maximum) is usually £200 per hour. We managed to get a charity group discount for to £160. When you worked out the price per child this seemed like a great deal, so we went ahead and booked.
Clip n Climb Cramlington
The excited Rainbows waited in the designated spot until the instructors came to get our group. Leaders were asked to take the girls to the toilets before they were harnessed up – when you see how tight the harnesses are this all made sense! We were led into the spacious sports hall, which had a section for the climbing wall and a soft play for younger children. There was plenty of modern seating for parents to watch the children at both areas. The only slight negative was the lack of a proper cafe. They had popped a young girl on a trestle table with insulated jugs of hot water and sachets of instant coffee instead. Starbucks it ain’t! Maybe this is in the plans though. I know there is a larger cafe upstairs from the wall, but you can’t go seeking it out when you are leading a group.
The girls were ushered into a room where they were shown how to put on the harness. Then were given a brief safety talk – mainly tie your hair back and stay to one girl per wall. Nothing too scary or complicated – so far so good. The girls then made their way to the clip and climb walls. The blurb on the Clip n Climb website reads as the following:
“Test your resolve and determination across 24 separate challenges – climb commando style on the Jungle Gym, reach new heights on the Skyscraper, take the Speed Climbing challenge light up the board on the Checker plate. Dare to tackle the Dark Tower or, for the ultimate challenge, sign up for the Leap of Faith!” It is hard to describe just how diverse and colourful the walls are. The girls didn’t know which one to go on first! We made a group decision to stay away from the Leap of Faith – mainly because it was an extra £2.50 per girl. If they are keen to come back I’m sure they can wrangle their parents for it!
In the climbing section there was around 6 members of staff. Each girl needed clipped off and onto the various walls. The staff were patient, encouraging and on hand at all times. As anyone knows who is in charge of a group of kids (that aren’t your own) it’s worth its weight in gold!!
I was seriously impressed with all the girls. They all had a go and persevered right till the end of the session when our time was up. Some of the girls really were ‘spider girls’ and shimmied up to the top. Touching the buttons to signal their achievement. The feedback on the trip has been fantastic from the parents. My eldest now says she wants to have her 9th birthday party here. Although I bet she will change her mind twenty times before November.
As the popularity of the ‘Clip n Climb’ wall grows I’m sure there will be more throughout the country. If you are a Guide leader looking for an exciting adventure with your girls I urge you to seek it out. It really was a fantastic activity! Now where to take them next and how will be beat climbing?….