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Climbing, Walking and Waterproofs: Our First February Short Break of The Year

The second short break of the year saw us head to Champion House in Edale for a weekend of climbing, scrambling and ticking off another Ethel (peaks in the Peak District over 400m).

Champion House accommodation in the Peak District. It's situated in Edale and is a beautiful old building with a tree in the centre of the frame
Champion House - Edale

As the Adventurers arrived at our one of our three centres, on a particularly mild February evening, it was time to pack the buses will all the kit for the weekend and head off on our journey towards Edale.

After around an hour or so in the bus, we arrived at Champion House at 6:00pm to start unloading the busses and have some tea, before heading to bed to get ready for a jam packed Saturday.

On Saturday morning, the Adventurers were split into two groups, to get ready for the day’s activity. One group head straight to the climbing wall whilst the other group tidied up the centre from breakfast.

Two young males making their way up an indoor climbing wall in the Peak District. In the foreground in a pink rope with a figure eight knot tied about 1/3 of the way up the rope in the picture.
Hitting the wall!

Indoor climbing poses different challenges to those that we normally face in the day service, when we head out onto the gritstone. Though we don’t offer indoor climbing as a part of our day service (we climb outdoors in the day service - read about what we get up to here) when we visit Champion House, the Adventurers enjoy the different techniques that have to use to reach the top of the wall. It’s also much warmer this time of year too!

Once the first group had finished their ascents of the climbing wall, it was time for them to head out to tackle Mam Tor. Though it was busy because of how unseasonably warm it was, the group managed to get to the top to take in the views across to Winnats Pass and peer into Castleton and Edale from 517 meters above sea level.

An outdoor group are at the bottom of a climbing wall after reaching the top. They are all facing the camera with their thumbs up. Two instructors are either side of the group, slightly facing away from the camera, with a belay bag, rope and harness attached to them
Smiles and thumbs up all round

Whilst the other group were tackling Mam Tor, it was time for the second group to hit the climbing wall. Splitting the Adventurers down into smaller groups allowed for more time on the wall, a much more person specific approach, as our instructors can take more time to help the Adventurer in their pursuit, but most importantly, it allows for the groups to be split up into abilities. This means that the groups are well matched and everyone in their respective group feels as though they are achieving their potential.

Once the second group had finished scaling the climbing wall, it was their turn to head out into the hills. Though it was warmer than usual for the time of year, there had been a lot of rainfall in the Peak District in previous weeks, meaning that routes were more slippery than normal.

A group of males and two females heading up a path in the Peak District. One ginger haired female is standing slightly off the path with the other at the back of the group. All are facing the camera and waving. They are about 5 meters from the camera and to the right hand third of the image. The left hand third is taken up by the backdrop of hills.
A group on their way up into the hills

Nevertheless, the second group attempted to summit Kinder Scout, by walking and scrambling their way up Grindslow Knoll. Given the tricky conditions the group had to persevere over some very challenging terrain.

About 15 minutes from reaching the top of the highest peak in the Peak District (636m) it was evident that it wasn’t safe to continue, given the fast flowing water and worsening conditions on the path. So, unfortunately, the group had to navigate their way back down the hill, to make sure they arrived safely back at Champion House.

We like to challenge our Adventurers and push them out of their comfort zones, and of course we like to reach our goals that we've set (in this case getting to the top of Kinder Scout) but above all else, the most important thing, is that we do it safely. On this occasion, our qualified outdoor instructors saw fit that we turned around and headed back towards the centre. Though it was disappointing, Kinder Scout will always be there and you can be sure we will go back and conquer it, via the the tricky Grindslow Knoll route, when the weather and conditions are more favourable.

five young men sat down having their lunch in nature, on the side of a hill.
A quick stop for a bite to eat

Whilst the second group were navigating their way back down to the centre, the first group had arrived back from their successful summit of Mam Tor. Having worked up an appetite, they got straight on with preparing tea for themselves and the group that were still out in the hills.

Though we have fun on our short breaks (and lots of it too) the main purpose is to guide our Adventurers to becoming more independent. So, all of the centre tasks that need to be carried out, whether that be cooking, cleaning, taking the bins out or hoovering up, are done by Adventurers. This is done with the watchful eye of our instructors and support staff but they don’t intervene unless they have to.

Not only does this allow for our Adventurers to understand what it takes to communicate and work in a team but how to carefully handle sharps (knifes, peelers etc), how to cook their own meals as well as understanding the importance of these general life skills in their development to achieving their potential and becoming independent adults.

Once both groups were back in the centre, it was time to eat and tidy up. After all the jobs were done, the Adventurers put on their dancing shoes and had a small disco before making their way to bed.

As is the case with every short break, Sunday mornings are much more relaxed and the Adventurers are able to recharge their batteries from a busy Saturday.

Sunday’s on short breaks are very much food orientated. The Adventurers started the day with a cooked breakfast, which catered to all dietary requirements, and then hopped in the buses and made their way to a local café. The café was incorporated into a walk, where we we did a bit of map reading and nature ID before getting to the café for a warm drink and slice of cake.

The groups were split up again. This time it is mainly because we don't want to completely take over a small café in Derbyshire! But it also allows for the group that was feeling a little more energetic, to go on a longer walk with a few more skills woven in.

After the Adventurers were sufficiently full, it was time to head back to Champion House to pack the buses in preparation for going back to the centres.

Then once we arrived back at Mansfield Woodhouse, Top Valley and Chesterfield, it was time to unpack the buses and for the Adventurers to head home.

We wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves at the weekend if it wasn’t for our Short Breaks. Staff love to work them and Adventurers value their time away from home, to become independent and grow into adults who are achieving their potential.

We’d love for more Adventurers to join us on our short breaks, and you can do so by filling out the form on the bottom of our homepage.

We can’t wait for our next short break (which will be today by the time this goes out!) where we’ll be heading to St Michael's in Hathersage for a weekend of caving, cafes and what looks like snow!

See you out there!

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