We have documented quite a few of our Center Parcs visits over the last few years. It's a winter treat for us to go to Cumbria and spend a few days somewhere with activities and a swimming pool in walking distance. If you come from the very far North-West it's a real treat to be able to just pop to the pool or go for a game of badminton without planning transport, spending hours on the road and needing a car. Whinfell Forest is set amidst a beautiful established forest so we still feel very much at home.
Over the years some of our most popular activities have changed and over the last three visits it was the High ropes course that has been a real treat for the little and grown up trekker. I have a fear of heights so there is no way to get me up there although I really would like to do a zipline one day. I just need a more accessible one without the challenge to get to the zipline balancing over wobbly logs and ropes and nets and all of that!
Corwin's first encounter with the lower part of the High ropes two years ago was impressively easy. He loved it, he went through the challenges without hesitation and had a great time. When we returned last year we expected the same. But being stuck behind a few more anxious kids on a freezing cold day last year changed the dynamic and what was fun turned into a much bigger challenge that was much less fun for all involved. He bravely finished the course and forgot parts that caused the stress and seemed quite happy to aim higher this year - literally, tackling both the lower and higher course, which can be booked as a package deal. Book I did, with some worries, but I pushed those aside. On the evening before our booked slot I wished I had not because suddenly there were tears, and worries, and memories from last year.
In the end we agreed it was no big deal, we had booked anyway so he could try and do just the part he wanted and nobody would be cross if he let Daddy do the higher up course on his own.So much better prepared for the weather (cold, crisp and stunning blue skies which always helps for those amazing images) this time, with extra layers, long johns and fleeces and extra gloves and super warm hats we reported to the start of the course at 11am. There was nobody right in front of them and the staff were as always lovely and cheerful and very encouraging. Height-challenged mothers like me are welcome to put on a hard hat and watch from right underneath the course, which is really nice and gives everybody a chance to stay together and be part of the fun. They set off at an impressive speed and all went well until challenge number two, which is probably one of the most wobbly bridges of the whole course.
Nearly tears, some moans of 'I AM NOT enjoying this at all' but there was equally a sense of accomplishment with every step he did manage and he sorted out his emotions pretty quickly and went on without further worries. They went through the course at quite a speed and soon reached the ziplines which is always a highlight.Soon the lower course was mastered and the higher one was next. Still the spirits were up and everybody was ready to go.
At that point they hit a roadblock with another boy needing to be taken off the course as he had frozen and would not move on. My heart went out to that little adventurer but fortunately it did not throw mine off course.He persevered and after only other wobble over a section that nearly made me faint from just watching they reached the big target - the really long zipline at the end of the course! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee - it looked like fun and they both arrived happy and cheerful with big smiles. And NO I'm not doing it next year ;-)
Written by Monika Strell on Thursday, 01 March 2018.