/ Where would you take a 6 year old for their first outdoor trip?
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.
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"!
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...
Fontainebleau. Ideal in every respect except the drive.
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.
Do you know what is the walk like in at Hound Tor and if there is any camping near by?
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.
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!
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
"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?
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.
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.
> "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.
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!
Elsewhere on the site
Manchester Climbing Centre is showing Reel Rock’s Valley Uprising on Tuesday the 11th of November at... Read more
Pete Whittaker has flashed the 32 pitch route Freerider 5.12d on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley over three days,... Read more
A fantastically versatile little pack; whether out running in the hills, hitting the trails on the bike or just running for the... Read more
Last year, Finn McCann wrote an article about climbing El Capitan with his terminally ill father Seamus, who had been... Read more