/ Where would you take a 6 year old for their first outdoor trip?

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emitto - on 02 Oct 2012
Hello All,
I live in London and have a 6 year old daughter , weather permitting we will do our first proper outdoor trip at the end of this month. Hired a van so we are mobile - where would you recommend for a first climbing trip outdoors?

So I guess somewhere without a long walk in with routes that kids can actually get up and not feel intimated.
If anyone can go so far as to recommend a crag and specific kid friendly routes then please do let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Rockhopper85 on 02 Oct 2012 - 02d88f4f.bb.sky.com
In reply to fatknacker: Hi Tim, I live on Portland Dorset. Took my little girl outside last year when she was 3, she loved it. It's well bolted and the lines are clean and easy access to most beginner crags, 5 minute walk from car park with safe, sturdy, flat paths below at the cuttings, also the veranda is a 10 meter high crag, its vertical but a good area. Has a succession of low grade climbs next to each other, good holds and a sheltered grassy base, the top of the crag is solid and you walk along the top to get to the base, making it ideal as you can set up a bottom rope from above, easily and safely. Also there isa lot to do in the area if it rains etc.
Caralynh - on 02 Oct 2012
In reply to fatknacker:

Progression with my godson was:

Age 6: top roping at Windgather
Age 7: Tryfan North Ridge
Age 8: Jack's Rake. Climing at Hare Crags. Abseiling with prusik pro only.
Age 9: Giant's Crawl, Dow Crag. Scafell Pike
Age 10: Bristly Ridge. Crig Coch in rain and gales. General climbing and abbing at Little Tryfan.

We started with "proper climbing" since at the time, that was what got him interested. As he got older he got more independent, naturally, so hauling him up routes wasn't an option. Therefore we moved to very easy climbs, and scrambles, where he felt more free. Age 8 he asked me to teach him to abseil. I was happy to do this, but refused to do the whole safety rope set up, and taught him how to use a prusik instead. He loved that, being "James Bond" halfway down a crag, pretending to stop, hands off, and "shoot the baddies"!
Mark Haward - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to fatknacker:
Stone Farm has some fun scrambles, boulder problems and short top roping and is quite close to you.
In North Wales my kids used to love 'Fachwen' in the Padarn country park overlooking Llyn Padarn. In the Peaks Windgather is a good option. On Dartmoor Hound Tor has lots of lovely scrambles, boulder hopping and short routes.
It would help to know what your daughter enjoys doing, I know a six year old who has climbed VS and another who just likes to scramble...
flaneur - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to fatknacker:

Fontainebleau. Ideal in every respect except the drive.
emitto - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to Rockhopper85: Hi, thanks for the info, I was thinking of Portland but did not know anywhere specific which would be suitable so will take a look at the guide for this area. Any idea if there is any camping near by?
JIMBO on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to fatknacker:
I took my 6 year old daughter to Dartmoor... Lots of small and larger challenges of lots if grades. She is super light and small for her age so I just used classic belay for her.

Nice tea shop in Widecombe too.
emitto - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to Mark / Alps: Hi Mark, I have been taking her to the local wall (Castle) for nearly a year now, we a mix of traversing and top roping - not sure how this will translate outdoors....
Do you know what is the walk like in at Hound Tor and if there is any camping near by?
Iain Peters - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to fatknacker:

There's a camping barn/independent hostel at Hound Tor Cottage next to the car park, a brilliant tea/ice cream van (7 days in season - maybe weekends out), goes by the name of The Hound of The Basketmeals!

5 minutes' max from car to crag. Lots of easy routes/scrambles/boulder problems. I learnt to climb there a looong time ago, aged 4.

Bonehill also has some nice little climbs, the main slab on the side facing Widecombe being one.
Rockhopper85 on 03 Oct 2012 - 02d88f4f.bb.sky.com
In reply to fatknacker: there's lots of campsites in Weymouth, about a 15 minute drive. When are you thinking of coming? You can stay at mine if you like, I'm moving house on the 1st Nov though. Let me know when you inow, either way I can find out all the info for you
Rockhopper85 on 03 Oct 2012 - 02d88f4f.bb.sky.com
In reply to fatknacker: and if you go somewhere else, be sure to give me a shout when the weather improves again next year.
krikoman - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to fatknacker: Frankenjura
Duncan Disorderly - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to fatknacker:

I'd second Fontainebleau as it's great for kids (we take ours all the time) , like a big sandpit with blocs to play on. They can do as much or as little as they want and you can make up great games that involve getting to the top of things (chocolate egg hunts at Easter spring to mind...) You'll actually get some climbing done too as you don't have to faff around with ropes and gear.. And from London you're really only looking at a couple of hrs (max) to Dover, a ferry (with a softplay area and pirate if you go on norfolk line) then a 5 or 6 hr drive at the other end... If you've got a van (camper?) then you can also stay for free at the aires and bivvy sites... We're off for half term as even if the weather's shite we can nip to Paris and even Eurodisney (shudder!!!). Great!
rurp - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to fatknacker: one adult and one kid? how confident are you soloing? do you have another adult to belay you or to climb in a three. rock, snow, scrambling. UK or abroad.

Without this hard to give advice.

climbed pigne d'arolla when I was 6. Will always stay with me.

fontanbleau great if you have one adult to one kid. Likewise lakedistrict/snowdonia scrambles all have guides full of fun stuff if its just you two.

Most good easy uk climbs suitable for 6 year olds are multipitch like the easier stuff from classic rock,raven crag borrowdale e.g. corvus, idwal slabs etc.commando ridge and other stuff at bosigran.Need a belayer/backup if you fall/get ill etc

Grit is a struggle for most 6 year olds. Maybe wharncliffe but it gets cold. Birchen has a few bits and bobs for the kiddies.

most french areas have low grade bolted stuff for kids, but maybe avoid the famous places
emitto - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to Rockhopper85: Quite keen on Portland so will let you know if we head that way, will be the over the weekend of 2nd-5th nov - thanks for the offer of a place to stay, i have hired a motor home so just need somewhere to park really, waking up by the sea would be great.
emitto - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to Duncan Disorderly: Font would be cool but will save it for next time, but is there really anything child friendly apart from scrambling?
emitto - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to rurp: Soloing, yes no problem, most likely will just be us two.

"climbed pigne d'arolla when I was 6. Will always stay with me." - wow thats amazing, how long did that take and did you need much coaxing?
Yanis Nayu - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to fatknacker: Harborough Rocks
David Rose - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to fatknacker: Late October is going to be chilly in many places, and nothing will put off a child more than getting cold, especially cold hands. I've had four kids and taken them all outdoor climbing at about the age of 6. My top recommendation, given the season and where you're based, would be Dancing Ledge at Swanage, provided it's a nice day - and even at the end of the month, it could be warm there.

It faces south, it's sheltered and scenic. And from the big rocky platform just above the sea there is a cliff about 25 feet high which you can climb more or less anywhere, working out lines in the mod -to easy diff range. The scramble to the bottom is slightly tricky but with care and a little help a 6 year old will manage it.

Harborough is a good next step, but likely to be cold. Symonds Yat is also good, provided it is properly dry. When the sun comes out again properly, a good multi-pitch first objective is Middlefell Buttress. Did that in May with my 8 year old. He loved it.
Carolyn - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to fatknacker:

Font kiddy circuits vary a bit, but my older one really took to most of them at 5-6 - tall enought to reach most of the necessary holds, and with a long enough attention span to try a good number of problems. And plenty of other stuff to do inbetween times. But I guess maybe not an option in a hired van.

I'd reckon it'd be fairly hard work to set up top ropes with one adult, particularly if the weather's cold. Mine will scramble anything, but hanging around and sorting ropes/harnesses/belays and stuff is less popular.
rurp - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to fatknacker:
> (In reply to rurp)
> "climbed pigne d'arolla when I was 6. Will always stay with me." - wow thats amazing, how long did that take and did you need much coaxing?

If your mum and dad tell you its normal you just do it. Think I got half a mars bar at the top, that was the usual bribe! We did one hut day, one route day, one rest day for 14 days a year in the alps.Went on to do 3-4 3500-4500m peaks a year between age of 6 and 12. My parents were a bit barmy! I remember them getting bollocked by a hut guardian in arolla when we came back from an unsuccesful attempt to climb the aiguille rouge traverse when I was 8 and my brother 10, it was a whiteout and storm.

I went back age 20 climbing e1 and it was a pretty tough day out then so they were a bit ambitious!

Can't recommend glaciers with one adult and a six year old. Agree with the comments on cold. Kids are hard to keep warm as soon as you stop or you run out of high energy food. High surface area to volume ratio and all that sort of thing. Sounds like some good ideas south coast and south facing stuff.

emitto - on 07 Oct 2012
In reply to rurp: Good point about the cold,I didnt really consider that to be honest! (its been a long while since I was outdoors....)

Sheltered south facing sounds like the best bet for the time of year, with a dose of crossed fingers for some sun or at least "not cold".
Portland is looking favourite right now, at least there is the beach, fishing and scrambling.

Thanks for all the replies so far!

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