Ben Nevis (Fort William, Scotland)
My Experience Climbing Ben Nevis Mountain I am writing this review to tell you about my experience when climbing to the top of Ben Nevis mountain. It was extremely awesome and I had a awesome time. It began to rain a lot half way up the mountain but it did not hold me back. There was snow at the top of the summit. Climbing it ... was very tiring and I had to drink water to rehydrate daily. I went with my friends and all of us made it to the top except one who was too tired to go on. The misty/cloudiness as we reached half way made it hard to see and while climbing up it we had to go up in a zigzag. When climbing someone was rescued by Ben Nevis Helicopter Rescue because he slipped and smashed his face on the rock. Mountain climbing can be very dangerous! When I saw the guy who hurt himself and it made me feel discouraged and I considered stopping but I did not go all the way to Ben Nevis to give up half way and so I ventured on. All in all I really enjoyed it and was very proud of myself because I passed the challenge and achieved one of my goals.
The Approprate Attire Required For Mountain Climbing
The following attire will keep you warm, comfortable and altogether safer on your journey.
1. Long sleeve fleece to prepare for very cold weather conditions..
2. Wet Suits (waterproof coat and trousers)
3. Hiking trousers (when it is raining you can put waterproof trousers over them.)
4. Goggles (snowboarding types) or sun glasses
5. Walking Boots and I recommend you to get warm, comfortable and tough ones that will endure the wear and tear of mountain climbing.
6. Ruck Sack (you can put your waterproof trousers in your rucksack while climbing)
7. Four pairs of trekking socks
8. Waterproof gloves
9. Climbing stick.
The full price of the attire needed can be anything from £600 or over but if you shop around you can get all of your attire more reasonably priced. I would really recommend to buy the more expensive ones because they can protect you more and will be tougher and longer lasting.
Before you make arrangements for transport. You will first need to decide on and book a B&B that is suitable for all of your home comforts and close to Ben Nevis, Now the B&B I was in is called Acarsaid and I would totally recommend people to book there. It is on the Achintore Road in Fort William. The reason I recommend this place is because it was really reasonably priced to stay for one night for only £25 and because you get free breakfast in the morning and you can choose what you want by from the provided list on a litle laminated card..
Here is the list for breakfast:
Toast with Butter or Jam
(Each has a beautiful reasonably big bathroom with golden colored shower equipment and nice fresh towels)
Once you book a B&B your next goal is to arrange your transport by either boat or plane but I would highly recommend that you travel by boat because you might want to bring a car to carry a lot of your luggage and foods. P&O ferries is the cheapest option to travel and the price to transport your vehicle on the boat is reasonable too. The price for the boat is £90 return per person and a extra 32 pounds for your car.
How Long Til You Get There
Traveling to Troon (Scotland) from Larne in Northern Ireland would take about 2 hours tops. Once you get off the boat traveling by car from Troon to Fortwillaim will take 3hrs 24mins.
Before you head of to climb Ben Nevis mountain you will have to make sure you have brought everything you will require. Things like a spare pair of socks just in case you get your feet wet and you need to put on the replacement socks really fast before you feet get really cold and make sure you got enough water to hydrate as you will stop more than 5 times as you be tired out so quickly. The main thing that is important is to have the phone number of the Ben Nevis rescue in case you get a really bad injury.
For experienced climbers it would take them about 3 or 4 hours to reach the top and then get back down again and non-experienced climbers would normally take about 5 or 6 hours but going back down it takes about 1hr 30mins and it's the easiest.
Once you get to the top of Ben Nevis you will see the ruins of a shelter but most times you can't see it because it is really misty or cloudy so you might have to walk up closer to see it better .
I would recommend people to go climbing around summer time as have been told that during the winter would be highly dangerous.
People off any fitness level can climb this mountain but it would be easier for someone in optimum health who prepares a lot for it and has moral support. So I advice to bring one or two other people with you.
I hope this review will catch your eyes and mind and hopefully you would like to be the next challenger to climb Ben Nevis
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Moors Valley Country Park & Forest (Dorset)
I live a 10 minute drive away from Moors Valley and have visited many times, usually walking which takes about 30 -45 minutes to get there. Having it so near and being so many times I never fully realized how popular it is or appreciately how lucky I am to live so close by as it really is a great place with a wide range of things to do ... and most for free! In my Year 11 Geography class we did a project on Moors Valley, an investigation of whether or not it was a tourist honeypot so I had to look at it from a customers and sellers point of view and I learnt a lot about it that I wasn't aware of at all! I think I decided it was in the end as we had to do a study of cars tax disks to tell where they were from and I was really surprised but how far some people had travelled. I came out with a better understanding and appreciation of having the park so close by, even though most activities are not aimed at my age anymore. I also managed to pass geography somehow...
Anyway! Probably the most popular feature at Moors Valley is the Nature Play Trail, which is small play areas made of wood, each with a different animal or insect theme. To access these you have to go on a trail through woods, the woods is not very thick though and it is easy to see if your kids running off, the trail is easy to follow as the footpath is slightly stony and there are signposts directing you to the next part. It can probably take a whole day to visit each one, especially on a warm day (as it's more popular), but there are many simple ones that I often skip from having visited soooo often! The best ones include the first one which is an 'ant hill' with wooden ants around, you can go in the hill and climb up, poke your head out and exit down a slide. The third is a giant play area which is usually the busiest but one of the best (we used to play great games of hide and seek here!). There are slides, walking things, ladders, tubes and a fire pole. Everything is made of wood and metal(slides and chains) and there is strong metal crossed wire (but stronger) on high parts for safety.
The other good parts of the trail include 'The snakes' which is too large snakes that you enter through the mouth and crawl along inside that have mini slides inside as the snakes overlap each other. Also the 'Tree Top Trail' in which you walk around a trail... in the trees! I love this as you have lovely views on the wood and there are many pond which you can often spot dragonflies at. The tree top trail isn't extremely high but I wouldn't recommend it if you have a fear of heights. There are wooden sides the entire way round that can hold onto if you wish and there is metal wire for added safety that in the all the years I have been has never looked unsafe and I've never heard of anyone having an accident. The other of my favourites is a little activity course which is about balancing, on chains, wood, rope and monkey bars, however this is usually quite busy. Other features of the playtrail include 'spiders web,' 'crocodile,' 'mini maze' and 'mushrooms.'
The playtrail leads you back to the main part of the Park, to the café and ice cream cabins. The Playtrail is very safe but adults should definitely accompany smaller kids round as they often need help climbing some of the steps, ladders and need help walking on some things. Don't expect this to be a relaxing or comfortable day for you parents though as many of the features require you to duck right down and crawl and some parts you will have to leave your child to do by themselves as they are just too small. If you child is older then there are many places to perch for a bit while they go off. I am about 5.2 and have to really crawl in some parts (I haven't been on these in a few years but I stopped growing at about 14!). Most parts of the trail are surrounded by bark too. The only downsides to the playtrail are there are no toilets around it, so make sure you go before but I have seen many parents helping their kids have a quick wee behind a tree which is fine haha! There is also no food stall but there is many seating and benches along the way to enjoy a packed lunch, there are also no bins and you must take your rubbish home. The park is extremely clean considering it has no bins though so you make sure you help keep this up!
The other main feature of Moors Valley are the two parks. One is sand and aimed at younger kids, this is made of colourful castles and things to explore, I don't know much about this one though as always been too old to investigate. The other park is a bark wood park, there is a giant slide, tire swings, basket swings, normal swings, a rope climbing frame, zip wire and a large climbing and tunnel thing that ends in a curly slide. I really enjoy this park (even at almost 20...) but it can be extremely busy on hot days, there is often a big queue for the slide and an even bigger queue for the zip wire.
Next to the two parks is a massive field where you can either eat (there are some benches provided but you can bring a blanket for the floor) or play ball games, there is shaded area too. The field is by a large lake where you can feed swans and ducks but obviously be careful as they can nip but I've never seen them come up and chase anyone for food thankfully! There are more icecream cabins and a warm food stand here too.
Another feature at Moors Valley is the mini steam train which is open topped and you sit on a long piece of wood bench inside so everyone faces the same way, you might be a little squished up as an adult but it still an enjoyable ride. I can often hear the 'Toot toot' of the train sometimes from my house too! I think it costs about £2 to board and it takes you around the park for about half an hour, it's good chance to sit and relax after all the climbing and walking inbetween the park and playtrail. The little station has toilets and a tiny food stall too but I've only been on it once. There is a large golf course here too with a bar and hot food available but I have never visited this but have heard many good things about the gold course.
The newest addition to Moors Valley is Go Ape which is a tree wire adventure activity where you are harnessed in the air and zip wire, walk and climb amongst the trees. I think it costs about £20 but I have never tried it as I'm too afraid! Many of my friends have done it though and said they all loved it. You can see people completing the first few stages when walking towards the playtrail. This is an activity aimed at teenagers and adults, so if you have moody teenagers you could leave them here while you go the playtrail with kids. There is also a huge bike ride trail which I often see families doing and I would like to have done but never looked into and don't know how much it costs. You can take your own bikes to Moors Valley though like I used to do when I was younger but I don't think there are many places to lock your bike up safely.
I had a completely different experience of Moors Valley in year 6 which I didn't know was an activity that Moors Valley offered. Basically we had a week of team building and the first two days were spent at Moors Valley, the first day we did some orienteering and survival skills in which we had Moors Valley staff teach and demonstrate different wilderness skills like how to purify your water, build a fire (this wasn't demonstrated of course!) and build a roof to sleep under. We were put in groups and collected sticks and grass to create a little place to sleep then we all had to rate each others and chuck water on them (while the makers were inside!) to how waterproof it was. The next day we did a bit of orienteering and pond dipping, this was so much fun as the pond was huge and there lots of newts and dragonflies to see, we spend the rest of this day doing the playtrail. I didn't know Moors Valley offered these types of activities and they were very informative and fun, great for outdoors and bug loving kids. It was one of my favourite school trips and I'm sure there's more information available on the website if you are interested in finding more about this.
The only downside to Moors Valley, which everyone I know comments on, is the parking prices as they are quite expensive. You can buy season tickets though if you visit a lot. Although the parking prices are pretty high, pretty much everything else is free in the park, you don't even have to pay to use the playtrail and parks! I definitely suggest taking a packed meal though, the food prices vary and aren't overly priced but I imagine if you're a big family the cost would add up, it's much nicer to eat outside on the field anyway. Dogs are very welcome too, it's a popular dog walking place but obviously clear up their mess, the park is extremely clean. I'd recommend you think about what day you choose to go as it can be extremely busy on hot days and you have to queue to go on anything, the park is till just as fun on damp days though, some of the slides may give you a wet bum but it usually means you only have to share the park with a few people at a time!
The Park has an information desk and café. The staff are always helpful and friendly and the café offers things like sandwiches, crisps, hot meals and puddings. The cafe is quite dark and stuffy inside so I would avoid it personally as it's much nicer to eat outside on the field. There is also a gift shop which sells woodland themed toys, activities and jewellery and there are toilets around the other side. The toilets aren't the nicest but it is a wooded area and the majority or people using them are kids so expect pee covered seats (ew) and a slight smell, also take hand sanitizer to save you queueing for the sinks. There is no staff around the parks, only at the food and paid activitites so you don't feek like you are being watched or judges on your way around the park and feel free to do as you want.
Overall Moors Valley always has a great, cheery atmosphere and makes for a fun, cheap day out, everyone is always happy to talk to each other too. You often make new friends as you end up waiting or helping other people or kids to do parts of the playtrail or climbing frames. It's always amusing and cute to see parents going 'come on, you can climb that, it's not high... and people are waiting for you to hurry up!!' to their child and the kid has a bit of a hissy fit or cries but then eventually does do it and then is always so chuffed and pleased with themselves for accomplishing it! Overall it's a great, cheery and cheap (even with parking expenses) day out which will without a doubt tire your children out so they go to straight to sleep when they get home!
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Walsall Arboretum (Walsall, West Midlands)
Back in May 2012 I was back in Birmingham visiting family when we took a trip with my dog Izzie to Walsall Arboretum. My family live in Sutton Coldfield and it took us around 20 minutes by car to get there. Location We arrived at Walsall Arboretum by car and we parked on nearby Lichfield Street. Car parking for ... Walsall Arboretum is a bit of a pain because as far as we are aware there is no car park for the park so on street parking is the only option. There is a golf course located at one end of Walsall Arboretum and this does have a small car park which I have used in previous years but I'm never too sure if I really am supposed to or not. If you do choose to use this car park then you should take note of the opening hours as they lock it at around 8pm in the summer but much earlier in the winter.
There are also a number of Travel West Midlands buses which run near Walsall Arboretum or to Walsall town centre. You can also get a Centro train to Walsall town centre. From the town centre you can walk to the Arboretum within around 10 minutes.
Walsall Arboretum can be broken down into quite a few areas of which I will go into detail of in a moment but the main Arboretum garden area of this park is what is known as the bottom area of Walsall Arboretum, the bottom being because the whole of Walsall Arboretum stretches the length of a road which goes downhill towards the town centre. This bottom area is by far the most picturesque part of the park. It features nice paths and many different kinds of plant life, there is a small stream which runs through most of the park area and down to the bottom into a large pond. This pond is home to many ducks and a few swans, as far as I am aware there are also fish in this pond although there are many signs stating No Fishing. The whole pond is protected by a waist high metal fence making it a little harder for kids to fall in, but nonetheless you should still keep an eye on them as the pond does look very inviting and not that deep, although in reality it probably is.
In this area of Walsall Arboretum it is required to keep your dogs on a lead which I always do anyway here as Izzie has a love of the water and would be the first in the pond to play with the ducks! There are many bins around the arboretum, both regular and dog poop ones so there are no excuses! Every time I have visited the park I have noticed the bins are usually empty and the park in general is very clean.
My particular favourite thing about this area of Walsall Arboretum is the little stone walls which form the edges of bridges across the little river and being able to see the little river running alongside the paths. On a nice sunny day this looks lovely and clear, however on a rainy day it isn't the best of views and often looks muddy and murky, either way though it would appeal to Izzie so that lead stays firmly in place!
The area at the top of Walsall Arboretum is more open and has large spaces to run around in. This area is popular with dog owners as they can let them off here to have a run around, but do keep a watchful eye on your dog as there are usually a lot of kids around as the play area isn't too far away. I have let Izzie off here quite a lot and she loves nothing more to run around in the long grass if it hasn't been cut or the grass cuttings if it has! Obviously we love this mess once it gets into the car!
Treasure Island is one of the busiest parts of Walsall Arboretum and is basically a giant play area! When my little brother was younger he use to love playing in here. At age 9 he is now more interested in the skate park area. Treasure Island consists of a huge climbing frame made mainly of rope and metal poles, a good sized zip wire, which I have to admit to being my personal favourite, various swings and slides, many log balance beams both stationary and moving ones. There is a mini play area for the younger children and numerous benches around Treasure Island to simply sit and watch your kids playing.
Dogs are not allowed into Treasure Island at all, there is a 'Dog Parking' area next to Treasure Island where you can leave your dog tied up if you wish, however I have never used this and never will. I wouldn't dream of leaving my little Izzie tied up in a park!
Our (my brother's and mine) experience of Treasure Island is a great one. Being a big kid myself when it comes to play areas I have often been unable to resist the lure of climbing to the top of the climbing frame in a race against my brother or swinging back and forth along the zip wire, which can get up to quite a good speed if you can put enough power into launching yourself off the platform. I have fallen off the moving log beams many times while my brother has managed to delicately navigate his way from one to another with no trouble at all.
All of the play equipment in Treasure Island always seems to be well maintained and as safe as a play area can be really. I've never seen any broken equipment here and the area itself is kept clean and litter free.
Skate Park and Football
As I mentioned above, my brother James is 9 years old and he seems to have outgrown Treasure Island these days and prefers to play on the skate park or in the football area. The skate park is of a medium size and looking at it I personally didn't see anything too exciting about it, standing on the sidelines watching my brother was OK for a while but obviously that inner child wanted to play so I had to rob him of his scooter and have a go myself.
I only had one run across the skate park and that was enough for me! I started at the top of a rather large slope and I admit, I was a little scared! But surrounded by kids and teenagers I felt like I couldn't back out, plus my mum was standing on the side lines shouting at me not to be a chicken! That was enough for me and I launched myself down the slope, I was honestly amazed at how fast I went and I just hoped that the kids would see me coming and move fast enough! I went down the slope and along a very short flat before flying up and over a small ramp, I'm sure I left the ground a little bit, but it was all too fast to be sure! When I go to the other side my legs were like jelly and I happily gave James his scooter back. My summary of the skate park... Fast and exciting!
The football area is located across the path from the skate area and consists of two small pitches. The first being on the grass with a goal at each end and the second being one of those football come basketball pitches with a concrete floor and metal fence all the way around. We decided to play in this area as there wasn't anyone playing here. My brother, my mums partner and I entered the pitch and had about 5 minutes of play before I was out of breath and lying on the floor! Once I'd recovered I swapped with my mum's partner and went in goal, it was here I learnt my most valuable lesson, don't play football in one of these areas while wearing glasses! My brother kicked the ball and it ricocheted off the metal bar in the most unpredictable direction and ended up hitting me in the face. Lesson learnt and Lou is off the pitch! Thankfully some other kids came to play and my brother joined in with them while we sat watching with Izzie.
The Golf Course
The golf course at Walsall Arboretum is located at the top end and from what I can see it is not very popular. In years gone by I have often walked here with my ex who lived near the Arboretum and we spent hours simply walking the fairways and enjoying the tranquillity. For those of you who are interested in golf the course did seem to be looked after and the greens clear of debris or overgrowth. The teeing off areas were always clear and a lot of them have tees built into the ground for you to use. I have never seen anywhere to pay for a game of golf or hire clubs from so I presume it is free and you just turn up with your own, but please double check this first as it may have changed in recent years.
Walsall Arboretum has been known for many years for its Illuminations display which is usually shown around October time. The illuminations have a small fee to enter and a shuttle bus which takes you from the golf areas car park at the top down to the illuminations entrance at the bottom. The display consists of loads of light shows around the entire park as well as laser displays with the fountain over the pond. During the illuminations Walsall Arboretum looks completely different. It is closed during the day and opens at around 6pm. They have many food vans as well as a few rides for the kids and in general it is a really nice evening out. Unfortunately, for reasons I am unsure of the illuminations haven't been put on for the past two possibly three years now which is a shame as personally I really enjoyed them.
Walsall Arboretum has a number of tennis courts which are free to use, although they aren't exactly the best looked after courts in the world and have no nets in them. When Izzie was a puppy I used to take advantage of the fact that they had large fences with gates that close securely and I used this area to help with her off the lead training and it worked well for me. I have often seen dog owners in these courts but regardless of this they always seem clear of dog poop and litter.
At the time of our visit there was a refurbishment taking place near Treasure Island. At the time this looked like a pretty ugly building site, however I have been told by my mum that it will soon be a nice little cafe with a seating area outside so I am looking forward to going to see this on one of my future visits home. The area being refurbished was fenced off and looked pretty secure so kids would have a hard time getting through those fences.
Having My Sins Blessed!
Although this was a long time ago I feel it is worth mentioning, especially for those of you who may let your older kids stay out later at this park. Back in 2006 I was walking with my now ex-partner through this park at around 8pm on a summers evening, at this time it was still reasonably light and there were quite a few people around. We were walking near the large open area when a man approached us and started talking to us, being around 24 at the time we knew better than to talk to this guy and tried to casually walk away without making it too obvious. He then must have guessed we felt uncomfortable and said that all he wanted to do was bless us with a quick prayer. Seeing so many people around us we agreed simply to get rid of him and it seemed slightly safer than escalating the situation by running and risking aggravating him. Plus he looked quite athletic and like we wouldn't stand a chance to outrun him. He was true to his word and stood saying a prayer to bless our sins and help guide us in the right direction in life. We quickly thanked him and walked as fast as possible back to our car. For us we felt like we had handled the situation well considering the circumstances but nevertheless we were terrified at the time and I would hate to think of how the situation could have ended had we been alone. So, yep, there is my warning, be very careful if you are here in the evening, or indeed anytime as you can never be too aware of your surroundings.
Entrance & Opening Times
Entrance to the park is free and to my knowledge it is open daily. They do lock the gates to the park when it gets dark but these times vary so it is best to check the sign on the gate which you enter through.
Should You Visit?
I would recommend a visit to Walsall Arboretum. It is very green and a lovely place to take a walk around on a sunny afternoon. Treasure Island is great for the kids and the big kids although if you have your dog with you then you cannot enter the play area. The top end of Walsall Arboretum offers large open areas which are great for running around and often have events held here. So all in all a nice green area which offers something for everyone.
Thanks for reading :)
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National park located near Olney in Buckinghamshire
National Park / Large country park in West Lothian, Scotland with caravan site, restaurant and wildlife.
National Park / Location: Whitworth, Brancepeth, County Durham, DL16 7QX
National Park / The Windsor Great Park comprises 5,000 acres of the Surrey and Berkshire countryside from Windsor Castle in the north to Ascot in the south.
Information: Whipsnade Tree Cathedral, Whipsnade, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU6 2LL / National Park / Tel: 01582 872406
Ashridge Estate Visitor Centre, Moneybury Hill, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire HP4 1LX / National Park / On the Herts and Bucks border, between Aylesbury and Hemel Hempstead.
Address: Lydiard Tregoze / National Park / Swindon / SN5 3PA / Tel: +44 01793 770401
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National Park / Country: England
Address: Camperdown Country Park / National Park / Coupar Angus Road / Dundee / Scotland / DD2 4TF / Tel: 01382 431818
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