Learning the ropes: Two go climbing in Reading

Toby climbing wall

Isaac and Toby literally went up in the world at the weekend as they tried their hands (and feet) at climbing for the first time.

Heather had booked them on to introductory sessions at Reading Climbing Centre, an unassuming brick building located on an out-of-the-way industrial estate on the south side of Reading.

I’ve often talked about how our two boys are like chalk and cheese personality-wise (most recently here) and this new adventure again underlined that.

Toby had to be cajoled out of the house, unhappy about being dragged out of his comfort zone into unfamiliar territory. But when we arrived and he actually started climbing, he was up the walls like a scalded cat, utterly fearless.

Isaac was more receptive to trying something new. He approached the challenge in his usual rational, cautious manner. Although a little afraid at first, I was impressed with the way he quietly and determinedly knuckled down and kept going.

Isaac climbing wall

It was noticeable that his approach was more measured and conservative than Toby’s – that’s the difference between the two of them summed up in a nutshell – but even so he did brilliantly to push through his fear and the fatigue that seeps into tired muscles at the end of a long session. As you can see from the photo above and video below, these were not small walls he was scaling.

It was a relatively inexpensive way to spend a Saturday morning doing something a little bit different and the instructors were excellent too, finding a balance between gentle support and firmer encouragement to push the kids to the fullest extent of their abilities.

Will we go back? Unsurprisingly, Isaac is keen and already plotting how he will improve next time, while Toby is less enthused despite demonstrating no small amount of aptitude. With a little encouragement, I think we’ll get both of them back for a second try.

As a footnote, we were at Cutteslowe Park in Oxford on Sunday, where they have a set of four ‘climbing trees’ for kids to clamber about on. Kara, despite being restricted by her shorter limbs, was up them like a flash. I think she will prove to be the most adept climber of the lot. This comes as no surprise at all!

Kara climbing

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