Castleton Day 3 2018

What a difference a day makes! We had to be woken at 7:00am, as we were in danger of missing breakfast (which may have been a blessing for your writer’s waistline!). Everyone had slept well and for a very long time! Slowly, we made our way to breakfast, where after demolishing the huge amount of food we were offered, we were told which of the exciting activities we would be up to today.

A quick chance to change and off we went again! The early cloud giving way to the odd glint of blue sky gave us hope for another great day.

After dreaming all night of their every expanding trousers- it was time for your author to take drastic action- a double ascent of MamTor! The first recruits for the morning leg tied up their boots, piled on their layers and the packed the all-important flask of hot chocolate. A quick lesson in map reading from the instructor and assuring us all they knew where they were heading, off we set. After 5 minutes we turned round and actually headed in the right direction! We set a brisk pace for the next 5 minutes before stopping again, this time to remove all the layers that we had put on, as we were in danger of overheating! This time we were really ready and setting a blistering pace up the steep rocky path we were soon at Hollins Cross. A quick photo of the view and we pressed on towards our goal. The wind had died down a little from yesterday’s hooley but it was still stiff across the Mam Tor ridge. At the base of Mam Tor we pushed on to summit, reaching it in record time. Another quick photo opportunity and we dropped down the other side to shelter on the way down. A steady pace was set across the fields as we headed for home, knowing a hearty lunch would await us.

Meanwhile, some groups loaded up the minibuses with equipment, for the short journey to the weasel holes and abseiling. This left the site a little quieter as the remaining groups prepared for climbing, high ropes, archery, assault course and raft building. The cloud blew away whilst we carried out all our activities and it turned in to another beautiful morning if not a little windy. The wind may have helped to blow us up to the top of Mam Tor in record time but it did make archery a little more taxing. Funny however much practice one does on the Playstation, it never quite prepares you for the real thing! Down at the weaselling, the holes smaller (or maybe that was just breakfast!) but with the renewed vigour of a good night’s sleep we were quickly wiggling our way in and out of the rocks and squeezing ourselves through the holes. I am told that a number of fears were overcome on the climbing wall and eventually some of the trickier routes were conquered.

After a hard morning’s exertion, boy were we ready for lunch! Another vast quantity of food was waiting for us and as we worked our way through the chicken nugget and criss-cross chip wraps and everyone told their tales of each activity so all are now eagerly anticipated. Most seem to involve mud, ropes and water!

Fortunately, the sun was ready to shine as we prepared for our afternoon, so it was on with the cagoules and boots and off we went.

This afternoon raised the total of rafts sunk today to two. This caused the crews to abandon ship and the drying room to add to its ever-expanding range of clothes! The assault course proved a little slippery and deposited all but the very cautious into its muddy pits! I’m sure the drying room let out a little sigh as we arrived to add a few more wellies! The weasel holes involve crawling in and out of boulders and inevitably muddy puddles; one or two weasels looked more like coal miners by the end of the session!

If it’s not mud and water, it’s great heights! The high ropes involve extraordinary team work, as one child works their way around a series of obstacles and high wires attached to a safety line another pair belay them, taking in the slack of the rope and moving along with them. The climbing wall tests the ability to choose a correct route and reach the top via numerous different options. Once everyone has got the hang of the climbing, teamwork again takes over.

The Mam Tor double leg two went extremely well for your author and another merry band reached the clouds, admired the view and couldn’t believe how easy it was to scale a mountain! During the days adventure of 20 kms of walking and 600 metres of climbing there was not one complaint of a sore leg, an inability to walk or even a blister. Two great teams to walk with. I probably lost a pound or two.

Another afternoon ended with yet another fantastic dinner. Today was Toad in the Hole followed by brownies and ice cream. There was very little left and everyone was ready for a quiet evening at Miss Parrott’s multiplex! Before the great excitement of this legendary evening, we had to order tomorrow evenings dinner! If you’re not eating, you’re predicting what you’ll be eating. Funny routine!

Arriving at the cinema in their onsies and with their teddies, everyone settled down to watch Inside Out. The film was a roaring success, (although a number of patrons appeared to be nodding off during the show) and everyone drifted off to bed for a well-earned sleep!

The sun going down behind Mam Tor led us to believe it was going to be a beautiful day tomorrow...

We’ll update you with day 4 news as soon as possible.

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