In his Stride

Valerie climbing JT (V0- 4b) at Robin Hood's Stride.
Valerie climbing JT (V0- 4b) at Robin Hood’s Stride.

I didn’t know how Leo was going to feel about his first camping trip last weekend. He’s not yet two years old and being taken away from his home and routine to spend a long weekend camped in a field at night and bouldering in the day might have been a bit too much for him. My main concern was that he would be nervous of the tent. I wondered how Valerie and I could coax Leo into what might seem to him to be a giant orange monster. In the end Leo had a wonderful time camping. He enjoyed banging the tent pegs in, exploring the campsite and playing with one of the campsite owners’ children. Thanks to Valerie’s amazing packing, he had to keep him happy a selection of his favourite toys and books as well as the clothes he needed to keep him comfortable on what quite cold nights. He was initially reluctant to stand on our inflatable camping mats, but he bravely overcame it.

What also made our trip a success was that we had chosen to boulder at the family-friendly Cratcliffe and Robin Hood’s Stride. Leo liked clambering about the rocks and running around.  He also loved scrambling on, bouncing on, jumping off and lying on the bouldering mat (which we had to encourage him off before we could climb). Some curious young cows at Robin Hood’s Stride freaked him out when they got too close and took a slobbering interest in our bouldering mat, but we hugged and reassured him. Leo being ok with the camping and where we were bouldering helped Valerie and I too as it gave us a chance to relax and enjoy the climbing.

It was really good to see Leo enjoy the trip and to know that this can be the first of many more camping trips to come.

9 thoughts on “In his Stride

  • Hi Robin – enjoyed reading this! Tom and I live in Derbyshire these days and love Robin Hood’s Stride, it’s brilliant for kids. We call it the Cratcliffe creche! Windgather and Harborough rocks are also great with lots of grassy areas – give us a shout on facebook if you need extra hands for a family trip next time you’re up this way!

    • Thanks Jacqui. It’s great to hear from you. I’m really pleased that you enjoyed the post.

      I hadn’t thought about Windgather or Harborough before for a family bouldering trip, so thank you for the tip.

      Valerie, Leo and I would love to meet up when we are next bouldering in the Peaks. We don’t have any plans at this stage, but I’ll get in touch when we do.

      I hope you and your family are well and getting lots of climbing done.

      Best wishes,

  • Really enjoyed this post… and, I might add, has confirmed my thoughts that I really should buy that bouldering pad. I can justify the purchase properly knowing that the purchase is not just for me, but the kids will enjoy it as well. Both of my kids have grown to love the bouldering gym, once we get a spell of dry weather, looking forward to getting the kids on some real rock.

    • Thanks – I’m glad you liked the post.

      It’s a good bouldering pad. It’s not too expensive (for a bouldering pad), robust and has a diagonal fold to make it less likely you will land in a gap in the pad. Plus, this season the landing surface’s colour is bright orange, so you can’t miss it when you fall off.

      I hope the bouldering pad gets lots of use with you and the kids.

      Best wishes,


    • That’s certainly true. It’s usually the way that something unnerves him for a bit and then he gets used to it (and may even like it after a while). With time, Leo should be fine with cows. If that doesn’t happen, then we’ll be limited to climbing in the Alps, where the cows come with warning bells.

      Best wishes,


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