that right now as close at hand as Upnor’s Arethusa Centre, you can go rock climbing? There are facilities for you to learn how to abseil and climb in many of the conditions you would find in the mountainous regions of the world. Instructors are there to guide you and provide lessons in every aspect of rock climbing including the use of equipment and how to be safe. We were invited to attend by Paul Lambourne and he showed us the extent of what is available, including something called a Moon Board. This is a piece of training equipment designed by one of the most renowned climbers of the world and is altered on a regular basis to provide a continual challenge to even the best climbers. These designs are created on a computer and emailed to the Arethusa Centre and the holds are then transferred to the board.

There are climbing walls inside and outside the building providing training in a number of climbing techniques and include areas for wheelchair users to train too. All the equipment required can be hired from the centre office, lessons can be booked and you can, after some training, take part in the occasional trips to other locations to practice what you have learned. The centre has around 8000 members and they come from as far afield as Essex, London Sussex and many from Thanet as this is the only centre of this kind for many miles around. With climbing walls that are up to 11metres high there is something to challenge climbers of all abilities.

Groups are catered for as well as individuals and it is a fantastic way to meet and make new friends as there are regular sessions for different age groups as well as sessions where all are welcome. We enjoyed a demonstration of how easy this sport can be made to look after some good quality training and were all too soon reminded how quickly gravity works if you don’t keep an eye on it. However with full roping available and huge crash mats on the indoor climbs you can be assured your safety is well catered for.

This is a family friendly centre with all the facilities you would expect including toilets, showers and free parking! There is even somewhere for parents to sit and watch their children learn a new skill and get involved in something that involves fitness and self discipline too. It’s a great Centre with great people to help you discover a new passion you can’t go wrong give them a call on:

01634 719 933 or click www.arethusa.org.uk

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