We've taken our children to soft play, roller skating and trampoline parks but I had never had the chance to take the girls to a climbing area. To be honest I didn't know they existed. Well I knew there were climbing wall centres but this one was quite different.
Called "Clip and Climb" (as that is literally what you do!) it's based in Concordia Leisure Centre, Cramlington. We were taken by our friends Al and Cat with thier two daughters whilst visiting them in Newcastle during the Easter break. They've shared their thoughts on Clip and Climb over on their blog.
The centre is currently undergoing some refurb so we were directed to a temporary entrance round the side of the building and as we had pre booked we went straight through to the briefing room. We had a little wait in there whilst everyone booked into our session arrived. It's a basic room with benches along two of the walls, one wall with harnesses and the final wall had a piece of demonstration equipment and a small screen.
Once everyone had arrived (I believe that book up to 25 children per session but cannot find confirmation of this) everyone was asked to take a seat, adults on the benches out of the way and the children invited to sit on the floor at the front. A full debriefing was then given by the girl and she demonstrated how to put on the harness. There were two types and these were then handed out to the children depending on size. Once harnessed up with the help from parents then children were then asked to line up to have it checked (most children did but a few of the adults were pushing their children to the front which was a shame.)
Once checked and everyone was sat down again the girl demonstrated how to the harnesses would be clipped on to the equipment for safety and informed the children what to do when they wanted to start/finish on a particular wall.
Then they were off!
The children were allowed to go round the apparatus independently and there are plenty of attendants to clip/unclip them at each wall. Parents were also allowed to walk round the equipment with their children which was nice as some walls weren't visible from the small seating area. That was my only complaint really, because the seating area serves "Clip and Climb" and the soft play area it was quite crowded but we managed without too much bother.
Our girls and their friends had a go on everything (except the "Leap of Fate" which requires additional payment) and enjoyed the different challenges each wall posed.
Our friends at "Here Come the Hoopers" put together this great video of the action,using hand held and Go Pro footage.
The session lasted for an hour (after the 20 minute debriefing) which was plenty of time, even though it flew by, as the girls started to get tied by then. Once finished you simply take the harness of and pop it in one of the tubs provided by the exit.
For more information about "Clip and Climb" follow the links to their website or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org, you can also follow them on facebook.
Now I'm off to find out whether we
have anything like this near us