What’ll happen if we fall off the mountain?
Inspired by the sight of Ben Nevis, whilst on a trip to Scotland with her Grandma, one of the regular kids at Shiremoor Adventure Playground asked if the park could organise a trip to climb the highest mountain in Scotland. As a trial and to test the fitness of the staff, we decided to head to the Lake District with the aim of climbing Cat Bells, a climb of 1,480 feet.
On 11 September, seven children and young people and staff set off with camping gear in hand to see what this mountain had to offer. For many of the kids, this would be their first experience of wild living and demanding physical activity (the round-trip was about ten miles!) As we ascended, we discovered things about ourselves and the world around us, ‘do they have bridges between the mountains or do we have to walk down and up again,’ one pondered, whilst another exclaimed, ‘I really can’t make it – I’m going to die on the mountain!’ (repeated a dozen times before making it all the way).
Everyone made it to the top and felt a great sense of achievement. It was a sunny day and all that climbing had made us very hot, so we descended to the shores of Derwentwater to have a swim and a cool off in the beautiful tranquil lake.
Exhausted but elated, we then headed to our camp site at Stonethwaite, where we pitched tents, cooked dinner and lay and watched shooting stars across the clear night sky.
The staff and children at Shiremoor Adventure Playground Love Outdoor Play because that weekend we got to: make echoes in the field, pick and eat wild raspberries, swing on a farm gate, watch shooting stars, swim in a lake, skim stones, climb trees, see crickets, watch sheep, cook on a fire, climb a mountain, read a map, watch birds fly, watch clouds and shadows in the sky, walk ten miles, laugh, tell ghost stories, sleep under the stars, pick up and throw fuzz buzzes, have fun!
Janet Orrock is a Nature Play Development Officer at Play England. For more information, visit www.playengland.org.uk/natureplay.