Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Hot new trend for the "playcation"

First there was the staycation, now the hottest holiday trend for this summer is the “playcation”. According to research almost four in 10 British families are planning an activity-based break this year.

The study by revealed that more than half of those asked are keen to try new sports and reported that their playcation would be their main holiday.

One reason for taking a more active holiday is to “spend time with family”. It seems that because busy home and work lives have a major impact on the amount of time spent being together as a family, many parents are now keen to get away for an all-inclusive children and adult activity holiday.

Another factor is that many parents now believe that children aren’t satisfied by a lie-by-the-pool vacation. Instead they are keen to try holidays with their kids that include hiking, cycling, canoeing and horse riding.

The more daring also said they will be doing assault courses, climbing and archery or shooting while on holiday.

Highway 2 Adventure is delighted that more families are planning an active holiday. Owner and instructor Mike McLaggan says: “It's great that so many families are planning adventure holidays as a way of getting together and trying something different. Being outdoors and having fun is such a great way to spend time together."

Friday, 6 May 2011

Why kids love outdoor climbing

Looking down from his position six metres above the ground, 10-year-old Thomas cracks a broad smile and briefly lets go of his grip with one hand to give a thumbs up sign. After several minutes of determined climbing, some highly audible huffing and puffing and a fair amount of scrabbling, the youngster’s determination to reach the top of a tricky crag face located amid picturesque Perthshire countryside has paid off.
His 11-year-old friend Ryan is almost as pleased with Tom’s efforts. “Awesome,” he says, gazing upwards. “He’s really good at climbing already, isn’t he? But surely it’s my turn now.”

And so the second that a rosy-cheeked Tom returns to firm ground following a smooth abseil off the summit, Ryan begins to busy himself with the task of tying a rope into his harness and belay system.

For Tom, Ryan and another friend Hollie, also 10, a chance to learn the basics of outdoors climbing for Tom’s birthday treat offers fun challenges and lots of rewards.

Coached by an informative and child-friendly instructor during a morning session the young climbing trio learn how to put on a harness and how to safely configure the rope, harness and belay system via an anchor at the top of the crag.

They have also been shown where to stand while other people are climbing and how to tackle a rock climbing route.

In just a couple of hours the youngsters have made around 10 ascents of increasingly challenging routes along a low but long “sport climbing” crag near Crieff.

Highway 2 Adventure instructor Michael, who can organise bespoke climbing trips and group climbing parties in Angus and Perthshire, says that children are quick learners and make natural climbers. “Most kids instinctively want to climb up and over things and they have this in-built enthusiasm so the activity of climbing is perfect for them,” he says.

“As soon as you show them a few tips about where to put their feet and hands and a bit about body positioning they’re off.”

Michael also explains that climbing does not have to be about reaching the top or being competitive. “The great thing about climbing is that it offers all kinds of goals for all kinds of
people,” he says.

“For some kids simply putting on the harness and getting a few feet off the ground feels like a really big achievement. Others aren’t happy unless that have topped out. But either way there is a lot to be gained for children both mentally and physically.”

In fact, many experts believe that climbing offers an ideal “alternative” fitness activity for youngsters. According to Kevin Howett, development officer at The Mountaineering Council of Scotland, climbing appeals to children who aren’t so keen on traditional sports, such as football or hockey.

Kevin says: “There are no set rules for climbing – other than the safety guidelines – and participants can move and progress at their own pace without needing to form part of a team. Many children love the freedom that climbing brings.”

To find out more about the fun and challenges of climbing outdoors please give Highway2Adventure a call or send an email.