XC is a world class extreme sports facility based in Hemel Hempstead. Boasting one of the world's largest organic indoor caving systems, bouldering and a challenging high ropes course.
By Sharon Webb
Well, what a fabulous day.
Having programmed the sat nav with the postcode published on the web site, my eight year old son and I arrived promptly at our destination. There was plenty of space to park and as a bonus there were no parking charges!!
In addition to this there was an excellent range of restaurants to choose from if you need to build up your energy levels prior to your activities.
On entering the building we were warmly greeted by the reception staff. Having filled in some safety forms, we were soon taken to our first activity, the high ropes, where we met a very patient instructor who managed to answer all my eight year old sons’ queries!
Before you reach the high ropes you have to climb through a tunnel, which although my son had some reservations about, he was soon climbing his way through. We then made our way around the course, which seemed to be a little scarier as an adult than a child, although I gained a lot of encouragement from my son! As promised, the course seems much higher up when you are walking around it than from the floor. Following my sense of achievement from completing the course, I found that I could then do a free fall jump to the ground level; although I was very hesitant about this, I refused to be out shone by an eight year old. After much encouragement from the instructor I found myself free falling to the ground rather rapidly, before the rope saved me from an embarrassing landing. The sense of achievement was great and I would strongly recommend you push yourself to try this.
Next we moved on to climbing.
Initially we were practising on walls of varying difficulties, where you could work at your own pace. We then moved on to climbing in a harness and shown how to use the aid to lower yourself to the ground. As a parent I found that the instructors worked to each individual’s level and whilst offering encouragement to the children to gain the best out of their skills, they did not push them to a level they were not comfortable with. Again this was a very enjoyable activity and we both gained a lot of fun from it.
I would definitely recommend this activity to the more adventurous children and also parents that like to do activities with their children. It's a fantastic 'Gift Experience', and would also make a great birthday party. Whilst there a group of boys were participating in climbing and having an excellent time.
All in all, an excellent afternoon out with well supervised instructors.
The Full 3 hour XC experience, including: caving, climbing and high ropes course with a 20% discount on lunch is, £29.20 (non member) £26.80 (member), for 18 years +