Berkshire may not be the obvious place to learn to rock climb. With it’s lack of height and shortage of mountains, there aren’t any outdoor opportunities. So, it might be a surprise to learn that in the heart of the county there is a thriving community of climbers who regularly climb – indoors!
On an industrial estate in Reading, you will find Reading Climbing Centre. This group of climbers is growing month on month – they know that this unusual way of getting fit and meeting people is actually becoming less unusual and, in fact, intoxicating! There is no thrill like reaching the top of a mountain by means of a rope and grappling hook, but indoor climbing comes a very close second and is much more accessible to those of us located in the South East.
As you enter the gutted warehouse, people can be seen climbing walls and ceilings (yes, upside down!) and bouldering – a type of low level climbing without safety harnesses.
Reading Climbing Centre offers a host of courses for adults and children who are just starting out, or have been climbing a while. Once you’ve mastered the basics of belaying, you can pay as you go to casual sessions and supervise your own children. This works out the cheapest option in the long term and it’s a great way of bringing the family together for an interesting activity that’s suitable for children from 5 years upwards. It’s easy to leave teenagers out when planning activities and days out, however climbing is fun for all and definitely cool enough for Kevin!
Equipment is all provided on the beginner’s courses. You may like to start investing in your own gear when you find yourself hooked! The climbing centre has its own shop with a huge array of climbing shoes, clothes, books, chalk and ropes.
If you decide to let your children have a go before you take the plunge yourself – then don’t worry, there are casual sessions and courses for different ages groups. You will find the The Picnic Cafe on the first floor where you can relax with a coffee and a homemade flapjack big enough for four, while you watch.