Throughout her childhood, my daughter has always enjoyed a variety of adventures in the outdoors. As she grows older, we have seen her adventures get slightly riskier as her confidence grows, and she develops a need to push her abilities further.
Lately, I have been thinking about this.
I’ve been sorting through some old photographs, and recently found some from last year, the first time we went gorge walking. Gorge walking is an activity where you scramble across rocks, jump into pools and rivers, swim against the currents and moving waters, work together as a team to help each other stay safe and, basically, have a day full of fun.
We go to a brilliant spot at Dinas Rock, near Pontneddfechan, which is about a 45 minute drive from Cardiff and is a great location for a day out.
That day was a lovely day and we went as a full, extended family, for a long day. We packed wetsuits for everyone, including my mum and dad, and my nephew. Another bonus to a long day out is the picnic, so we packed some lovely snacks for a full-on adventure day.
Our little adventurers, ready to go.
We arrived, changed, and made our way down a slippery slope, making the best use of good foot and hand holds. It was great to see both of the young ones helping each other – pointing out the slippery green rocks and feeling so brave as they started their adventure.
The first test was to get our feet wet and we slowly eased into the river water, listening out for the gasps from my husband and dad. The “Alpha Males” didn’t have wetsuits on, just shorts and t-shirts under their buoyancy aids! It was cold, but the first five minutes are always cold. You really have to keep moving and you really will get warmer.
We practiced floating by letting our feet float to the top of the water, and showing the children how the buoyancy aids work. Everyone was so excited, and it was such a new experience. Everyone was having a wonderful adventure.
Getting used to the river: (sorry for quality of photo’s, they were taken by my mum who didn’t know how to use the focus on the camera)
After playing around in the river, we were now warm and just wanted to explore the environment, so we headed up to the outside jacuzzi!
We tell the children that a mini waterfall is a jacuzzi, where the challenge is to put your head completely into the fast-flowing water and see how long you can stay there. The clever trick is that your helmet acts like an air pocket and you can actuallly stay in the water for quite a long time.
Our outdoor natural jacuzzi
After lots of fun, we headed to the last part of the gorge – the beautiful waterfalls.
With our working groups, we normally crawl through the waterfall and then jump off the ledge into the pool of water below. It’s such a great feeling when you see a nervous child, who has convinced themselves that they can’t do the jump, and then after lots of encouragement actually leaps into the air and plunges into the pool. Its fantastic and such an achievement, it’s a really positive part of my job.
Back to my own little adventurers, who were a bit nervous of the jump. We played around in the pool, swimming nearer to the edge and letting the water push us around. It was so much fun, bobbing around in the beautiful pool, seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces, and is such a lovely memory.
Playing around at the waterfalls
It was such a great day, to be able to take the skills from my work and be able to have the adventure with my family. My daughter loved it so much, as she thrived on the challenges of the day and you could see her confidence growing by each step and jump she took.
As a family, it was a great day and, as a parent, I couldn’t have been a more proud mum. I secretly like to think that my little poppet is a chip off’ve the old block!