Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Boulder Thing To Do- By Elliot

Today I went to Castlewellan to go bouldering near Bloody Bridge in Newcastle. Waking up at 6:00 in the morning, I took several bus connections to get south for our 9:00 session. When I got to the forest park where the company that I was bouldering with was located I found a beautiful lake and castle, and checked in to get ready for the adventure.
After putting on a spiffy yet literally breathtaking wetsuit, extremely tight at the neck, I put on a buoyancy aid and helmet and waited for everyone else to get ready while contemplating how much fun the adventure was going to be.  Ready to go, all 12 of us piled into the van and we headed off to bloody bridge, a 15 minute drive away while feeling extremely cramped with a wetsuit, life jacket, and helmet equipped. We went down the trail to the bloody bridge and climbed down the rocks. Our guide proceeded to splash water on the rocks so we could slide down into the water. After I slid into the water with my hands forward to stop myself from hitting the rocks, I swam across the pool of water to where one boulder sat in the middle of the pool while shivering in the icy cold water. After we were all in the water or on various rocks, the instructor stood on the same boulder I was standing on and asked me to move other to the edge of the rock so everyone could see and hear him. As I moved over, he shoved me into the water and said that you needed to be careful when you walk on rocks as they can be slippery.
We began our climb up stream and inland by clambering over boulders and through the water. I always stayed near the front of the group and whenever the water was deep enough I laid in the water, letting the buoyancy aid keep me afloat while I waited for the others in the group to catch up. After climbing several waterfalls and helping others reach the top by offering a helping hand, I felt as if I could climb any obstacle that might block my path upstream. We continued climbing to where we could jump in from 15 or 20 feet above the water and then climbed an extremely steep waterfall or, if we wanted, could just swim around freely. After doing this several times, we all climbed back down the mountain by taking the mountain trail.
When we got back to the centre, we all had showers, which was extremely refreshing in contrast to the freezing water, and changed back into our normal clothing and had lunch together and I was lucky enough to get a lift back home.

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