/ Where dd you take your kids to learn outdoors?

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localboy on 16 Jun 2012
My kids are starting to get interested in climbing (4 and 6) and I'd like to introduce them to outdoor climbing before getting them down the wall. But where's good to go? I'm based in the Bristol area so somewhere local would be best. Places like the Wye Valley and Chedder seem a bit awkward to get children into and I'm not aware of any 'very' easy climbing in Avon. I guess I don't actually need named routes to get them started, just a set of good anchors and plenty of holds.

Any suggestions?
Tony the Blade on 16 Jun 2012
In reply to localboy:

Not too far away is Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower, it's about 1½ to 2 hours drive from Brizzle. However, you could make a day of it as it's on a beach. Pleanty of easy stuff and a great day out if sunny.
Al Evans on 17 Jun 2012
In reply to Tony the Blade: Actually my three kids all started climbing at Windgather, we used to take them there in their prams, then when they were older they said, all of them, 'we'd like to try a climb'.
I think we started them all off on an 'easy way down', but we never got them to climb unless they asked to, until the youngest, Jo, was around there were not really any indoor walls. None of them were obsessed but they were all really good, a lot better than me, particularly at bouldering and competitions, none of them ever trained and the two girls made BRYCS and BICC finals. Nicky the only one that still climbs (very occaisionally) came 4th in the BICC bouldering finals at the NEC, but the best was probably Jo who saeems to have lost all interest .
Point is , I know its not near Bristol, but I'm just saying it's best to let them go there own way in their own time. I would agree Three Cliffs Bay is a good place, with some nice bouldering above sand in the next bay, can't remember it's name.
localboy on 17 Jun 2012
In reply to localboy: windgather is certainly a good starting place. I'be climbed there with novices before for that very reason. It's a little far for a day trip, but we might be able to get up there for a weekend soon.
I've been to three cliffs as well but never to climb. I was hoping for something a bit closer, but if nothing else turns up then this may well have to do.
davidbeynon on 17 Jun 2012
In reply to Tony the Blade:

Also in the gower guidebook is "Box Bay". A great little place near porthcawl, and over an hour less driving than gower proper.
Trangia on 17 Jun 2012
In reply to localboy:

Maybe a bit of a drive, but Dancing Ledges at Swanage are a perfect setting for teaching young kids, and thats where I took mine, particularly the lower ledge.

One caveat though, don't go there at high spring tides if there is stormy weather and a running sea. People have been swept off the lower ledge by freak waves and drowned, otherwise it's perfectly safe.
Al Evans on 17 Jun 2012
Carolyn - on 17 Jun 2012
In reply to localboy:

From memory, there are a few small easy outcrops in the grounds of Blaise Castle that would do for a first outing. Couldn't swear to it, as we moved away before kids!
davidbeynon on 17 Jun 2012
In reply to Carolyn:

There are some nice routes, but a lot of them are horribly overgrown at the top.
Carolyn - on 18 Jun 2012
In reply to davidbeynon:
> There are some nice routes, but a lot of them are horribly overgrown at the top.

I wasn't necessarily thinking of the "real routes", tbh. I think there are some easier, more
scrambley bits that might be more suited to 4 & 6 year olds - have a memory of doing some ML ropework refresher stuff there for a friend. But yes, it's a bit of a jungle....!
localboy on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to Carolyn: Blaise is just the other side of Cribbs isn't it? That would certainly be a lot more accessible than the other suggestions. I've never been there personally, so can you remember roughly where the scrambling is or is it obvious when you get there? Is there only one entrance into the place or if not then where would be best to park up?
tallsteve - on 21 Jun 2012
In reply to localboy:
The Tors of Dartmoor give good scope for scrambling around and climbing. Each Tor has a different feel and good friction. You can also wild camp which could be fun.
If you're near Hay Tor you could try Tunnel Chimney (M) and the other Mods/Diffs

My kids loved Brimham Rocks - A Tor in Yorkshire.

Camping details here:

"Proper" climbs often need a much longer reach and legs than kiddies have and it can be tricky finding routes out of rock guides - Even mods can have bigger step ups than you think. Often its best to go to a climbing area and look for easy stuff in the area. Any sloping slab can be good.

Traverses just above your head are also good as they feel "high up" but you can catch them if they fall.

Keep it fun and don't be afraid to haul on the rope occasionally to encourage a feeling of success. All they'll remember is that they did the climb.

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