Note to self: Don’t ever, ever have another New Year Resolution that is “Try something new soon”.
Well, it’s a new year, and we’re keen to do new things and explore new places still. So yesterday, after our coffee, we signed ourselves up for a 2 hour “Abseiling for the Nervous Beginner” course. Charlotte was keen to go, but Emily was too small, so spent another morning with Gloria and Michael.
When we arrived at the meeting point, we found out that we’d been mistakenly put onto the half-day “Rock Climbing and Intermediate Abseiling Group”. So instead of doing a small abseil down a 45-degree slope, we found ourselves at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, roped up and ready to go up. There were a dozen of us in the group, including a couple of other children, and we alternately climbed and held the ropes for other climbers.
We all had a go at climbing, and Charlotte loved it. After her experience on a climbing wall before, she was raring to go up and raced up the rock face. She wasn’t so keen on coming down – it meant putting your trust in the hands of the rope belayer (learnt some new technical words too!) and leaning back into space, and just walking backwards down the rock face. But we all did it, and all enjoyed it.
Then it was time for abseiling – not on the beginner slope, but straight down a vertical 90-foot cliff face. Charlotte wasn’t up for it – her fear of heights stopped her walking to the edge at the top – but Sarah and I both had a few goes, and walked away with huge grins on our faces (I know it seems unlikely for me to grin, but I did, honest).
The only hiccup during the whole morning was when Sarah slipped on her last climb, lost her grip, and went swinging across the rock face like a pendulum. It was bad timing – it happened on the steepest bit, when her rope was tangled around an outcrop, so there was nothing anybody could do to stop her. She banged her shins against the rock, and ended up with a nice bruise on one leg and a nasty cut down the other, which then bled all over her shoes. Her fall would have been a lot worse, if she hadn’t conveniently swung into the arms of the instructor at the bottom! It could have been a lot worse, but it was an unfortunate end to a brilliant morning.