…To Be A Dad.

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On the up

March 4th, 2011 · 7 Comments · boys, church, climbing, Fatherhood Friday, local, oliver, play, sport, steve, things to do with the kids


It’s always good when the lazier elements of our household are persuaded to get off their bottoms and do something active other than watch TV. But enough of me, it’s also good for the kids to be active too.

That’s why recently I asked my friend and long-time rock-climber, Chris, whether he thought Oliver was too young to try his hand at the sport. I’ve seen Oliver breeze across small climbing walls in playgrounds, so perhaps it was time for him to climb vertically as well as horizontally.

Not only did Chris think this was a good idea but he kindly offered to take us both down to the Manchester Climbing Centre to show us the ropes. Literally.

Once the paperwork was out of the way, we were quickly changed and into our harnesses. Then it was only necessary to tie a quick knot and attach the belay before we could climb. We let Oliver go first. I could claim this was because we wanted him to get straight into the action, but Chris knew from experience of me scrambling over real rocks in the great outdoors that I have no head for heights and was undoubtedly relishing me watching Oliver climb way higher than I would manage!

First we let Oliver climb about 4 feet before getting him to practice his descending skills, which involved holding the rope then leaning backwards in his harness and walking down the wall. Instead, he chose to do what he had seen on Mighty Mites, and attempted to bounce down with two feet. This was semi-successful but did involve a bit of a face-plant when he forgot to keep his feet up. Not that he was bothered!

Then he set off again and we just let him climb, calling out encouragement and pointing out holds he might not be able to see. Pretty soon we asked him to stop to take this picture.

Oliver climbing

Pretty amazing huh! The fearlessness of kids can be a worry to parents, but in this situation it was just a joy to behold.

Then it was my turn. “Can we have a snack now” asked Oliver. “No, let’s humiliate your Dad first” laughed Chris.

I kid you not, I didn’t think I’d get as high as Oliver. As I climbed, at times I didn’t find it easy and I quickly realised that for Oliver, at half my size, his accomplishment was all the more impressive. Nonetheless, I did actually make it high enough to touch the top of the wall (the easiest wall in the place by the way).


After that we did some more climbing on a sheer vertical wall and Chris showed me a few techniques whilst letting me belay him: my first time. The man’s a fool! The vertical wall was more strenuous than the first and after I had climbed it my hands ached, despite the fact I made a point of climbing it as fast as I could. Oliver too found it more taxing, though again he did well.

Finally we retired to the cafe for flapjacks and drinks, Oliver joking around as we overlooked the climbing walls stretching high from the floor below into the roof space of this magnificant building, a former church still resplendent with its stained glass windows.

At the end of the day I asked Oliver what the best bit oif his day had been. “The best was the climbing wall”, he replied without hesitation. I think we’ll be going back there.

Manchester Climbing Centre runs sessions for kids from 5 years old and up. See their website for more details.

Here in Stockport, Awesome Walls runs sessions for kids from 8 years old and up. More details on their website. They also have sites in Liverpool and Stoke.


7 Comments so far ↓

  • radioactive tori

    That looks like so much fun! I have been wanting to try this with my kids but have never found a place to do it. I think I need to look harder because it just looks like you had such a great time.
    My recent post Random Facts

  • Jessi

    Looks like a ton of fun. I've always wanted to do that, but I am too afraid of falling on my bottom. In front of people.
    My recent post Five Things on Friday – The Boys of SciFi

  • Whit

    Wow, that's great. He got up there! And you, too.

    • Steve

      Thanks. I don't know about Oliver but I surprised myself.
      My recent post I am not a geek but I’m open to persuasion

      • Esequiel

        лицето orl може да получи следната специализирана информация за вързката между СО2 и увеличената продуктнивност на растенията тук:Cao, M., Prince, S.D., Small, J. and Goetz, S.J. 2004. Remotely sensed iuneratnnal variations and trends in terrestrial net primary productivity 1981-2000. Ecosystems 7: 233-242. Xiao, J. and Moody, A. 2005. Geographical distribution of global greening trends and their climatic correlates: 1982-1998. International Journal of Remote Sensing 26: 2371-2390. Young, S.S. and Harris, R. 2005. Changing patterns of global-scale vegetation photosynthesis, 1982-1999. International Journal of Remote Sensing 26: 4537-4563.Ако лицето orl има пропуски в училище в часовете по география, биология и физика е добре да запише някакви частни уроци за да навакса пропуснатото.

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