Brad Barnes and family visit Clip n Climb at Wicksteed Park, Kettering
So what do you do with an energetic four and six year old when it is cold, wet and windy? Well here’s an idea that went down a treat on a recent Sunday morning – take them to the new £700,000 indoor Clip n Climb attraction at Wicksteed Park in Kettering. It is brand new, so we watched a couple of YouTube videos from other centres to see what we were letting ourselves in for – which had a divisive effect. While the six year old was enthusiastic beyond belief, her sister had come to the conclusion that she would just watch; a stance she kept up for the 35 mile journey. Kids being kids, that all changed when we stepped into the bright and colourful arena – and she immediately identified which one she was going to climb up first. We had a 15-minute talk with an instructor, were fitted with our harnesses and then got up close with the 20-plus challenges. They consisted of a variety of takes on climbing walls, of varying levels of difficulty, all rising 7-metres-plus. After a trial – letting go to float back to terra firma on the safety rope – the girls took to it straight away. And while they never reached the top their growing confidence was there for all to see, and they got higher and higher on the Vexed and Jungle Vine climbs. It is suitable for all (from 4), so egged on by the family (Donna had a go too) I put my dislike of heights to one side managed the confidence-building 7.2m speed climb (in nowhere near record time) and the towering 9-metre Face to Face climb.
My favorite though, had to be the Stairway to Heaven climbing a dozen or so big, green pillars to the height of a house before stepping off the top. Exhilarating.
My one disappointment, while I was feeling brave, was that I never got the chance to take the Leap of Faith – climbing a ladder to jump off the 8.4metre high platform and grab onto a punch bag.
For more on Clip n Climb go to www.wicksteedpark.org