Sunday, January 27, 2008

Abbotsham Cliffs

The sun came out today for the first time in ages, so after I'd finished painting the woodwork on my stairs I loaded the kids into the car and rushed down to Mum and Dad's to drag them out for a walk. Dad came along, Mum, I suspect, had a quick forty winks!
We drove down to Westward Ho! and went down past the rock pools, the Elizabethan, and all the holiday homes and beach huts til civilisation ran out and all that was left was the wild sea and the edge of the land. A path, that used to be the railway line from Westward Ho! to Abbotsham, runs along the cliff edge for about a mile and the views of the bay are fantastic. Today, despite the brilliant sunshine, it was a bit hazy in the distances but you could still make out Saunton Sands, Lundy Island and all the way round to Hartland Point.
The sun, shining low at 4.00, beat straight into us as we walked west and made taking the picture of the pebble beach above a bit tricky. We didn't follow the path all the way down, as little legs were getting tired by then, but its quite fun to go clambering on if you've a mind, and the cliff paths go on after that if you are interested in a longer walk, or you can turn left and follow the path inland to the village of Abbotsham where I believe there may be a pub!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Mill Adventure Centre

If you are after exercise and don't want to go out in the winter this is a great place to get it. The Mill has been open for over a year now but this was our first visit. Although it calls itself an adventure centre it is really only a climbing centre with about ten fixed ropes, a traversing wall and several routes for lead climbing. It also has a bouldering room. But it does boast the fact that it is the largest indoor climbing wall in Devon.

We confined ourselves to about six of the ropes, as the other routes looked far too difficult. The holds are colour coded and the routes graded so you can make it as difficult or easy as you want. It wasn't too busy today and once the kids got the hang of it they were well away, going up some routes four or five times. They also loved the bouldering room. We never had to wait for a rope and even recieved some free tutition from one of the instructors.

You do have to be an experienced climber to just walk in off the street and use the place though. We signed up as members, which costs nothing and then we were in, but if you are a complete novice you have to book a session with an instructor in advance. And when I say experienced, I don't mean very experienced, just as long as you can tie a figure of eight and know how to belay, which is good cos that about all I can manage!

Entrance cost £7.50 for adults and £5 for children and you can stay as long as you like. If you are not climbing, just belaying, then you don't have to pay at all - also good, as the larger, more unfit, one of us (mentioning no names), decided HE wasn't going to climb! There's a nice cafe, which serves home-made food at a reasonable price and is in the same room as the wall so you can sit and watch other people exerting themselves whilst enjoying a nice rest. We had fun and the kids want to go again, so definately one to recommend to all you budding climbers out there.