In the last few weeks, I have had the pleasure of running several sessions for a group of pupils from Concord College. As part of their Mountain Sports club, we spent time rock climbing and canoeing before half term. Today we met at Nesscliffe Hill Country Park for an afternoon of abseiling and orienteering.
Nesscliffe has a large abseil (about 40m) which attracts people from quite a wide area. In fact, when I arrived to set things up today, I bumped into a group from Peak Pursuits. They had travelled some 50 miles from the Stoke on Trent area just to do the abseil. In the event, only one member of their group could actually bring themselves to do it! Running an abseil can be quite time consuming (especially such a big one), so I split the group into two and had one using the permanent orienteering course around the woods whilst the other was on the abseil with me.
Getting over the edge of an abseil is both the hardest and scariest bit and people can need a fair amount of encouragement to commit themselves to the rope. However, I was pleasantly surprised that most of the group were brave enough to give it a go. Even the two that decided not to go for it both came right to the edge (roped up of course) for a good look at the vertical drop in front of them. Those that did do it seemed to increase in confidence as their faith in the rope increased and there was even interest in doing it again.
The orienteering took the form of a scored competition in which they worked in pairs to find as many markers as they could in 1 hour. All groups made it back within 2 minutes of the specified finish time having experienced varying degrees of success. The winning group managed a score of 160 out of a possible 200, closely followed by a group that achieved the same score from the markers but also picked up a time penalty for being 2 minutes late – close!
By the time we packed up, the light was fading fast. A reminder that the days are drawing in, but we certainly made the most of the light available today. Thanks for a great afternoon.