If you’ve always liked the idea of taking your kids rock climbing, but not sure if your kids are too young, get some inspiration from Steve and his kids…
Ok, we are lucky to live where we do, with a river running through the field behind the house, the Fairfield horseshoe in the back garden and Langdale a stone’s throw away, we have fewer excuses than most to get out with the kids.
With the sun finally making an appearance this week we had our first reminder after; rain, rain and yes more rain mixed in with a bit of wind of what the summer can hold and how lucky we really are. After school fell running with the last fingers of the setting sun reaching out into the valley bottom, evenings spent endlessly throwing stones into the Lake and an afternoon on the crag.
So for anyone visiting the lakes this summer we’ll start a series of short guides to our favourite mini adventures with kids. After a week of sunshine, we’ll start with an afternoon on the crag.
The Lake District is full of great little crags to take young children climbing at, some are in the guide books and some aren’t. I usually look for a relatively safe crag base with a not too long approach. Our first crag and we will cover more in future articles is a very popular crag but the wall that is best for kids is often free from other parties. Lower Scout Crag in Langdale is passed about a quarter of a mile before reaching the National Trust Stickle Barn Car park in Great Langdale ( OL6 298, 067, or Sat Nav LA22 9JU). It takes about 10 minutes to walk from the car ( at a 4-year-old pace).
The boulders below the crag give opportunities for a mixture of bouldering and games of hide-and-seek. With Rowan and Tom ages 6 and 4 we head to the easy angled wall on the left hand (North West) side of the crag. At approximately 15m high with a number of different lines and an easy thread anchor at the top it is a perfect place to master the arts of getting a bit of air under your feet.
The crag takes the sun through a large part of the middle of the day and dries quickly when on rare occasion it rains. A large rock at the base of the wall acts as a base camp and with a few boundaries set up it’s ok to let accompanying kids loose whilst others climb. Combining a climb here with a scramble up the lower section of Stickle Ghyll gives a great morning of adventure that can be topped off with a bowl of chips in the Stickle Barn.
A single rope, set of harnesses, helmets, a couple of big slings and a belay device are enough to get you off the ground leaving plenty of space in the bag for chocolate biscuits, juice and other bribes.
If you like the idea of climbing with your kids but don’t have the confidence to take them yourself then there are lots of local guides who are always more than happy to introduce kids to the joys of climbing. Check out Paddy ay www.mountaincircles.com always a favourite with enthusiastic young adventurers.
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