On the 4th July, as lockdown restrictions eased, we found ourselves at the Bear Grylls Adventure, close to Birmingham. Probably like many other people at the moment, we found ourselves torn between being totally excited to do more of the things we love and a bit nervous. What will the new normal look like at an adventure park?
Our minds were soon put at ease by the welcoming staff members who greeted us (and checked our temperatures) upon arrival.
First up, climbing! For us, climbing is something we do plenty of, but with limited opportunities to train over the past few months, we couldn’t wait to spend some time ‘flying up’ some routes. There are some pretty challenging climbs there, so it’s worth a visit no matter your ability. It’s the closest thing to climbing outside, inside. Compared to our last visit, we felt pretty good on the rock, probably thanks to losing a few pounds, a bit of home training and our recent practice outside on real rock. We had a great time!
The session wasn’t that much different to before. We went in and out in slightly different places and had zones to boulder and climb in, but we did just as much as before. There are less people on the sessions, plenty of hand sanitiser and they like you to wear a face covering if possible.
Next up was iFly. Again, the experience was just the same as before lockdown. We got kitted up and waited our turn in a different (bigger) area to before. You actually get a slightly better view from the new position so it’s no bad thing. We know having a blind person on a session isn’t too easy, especially for the first time, but we worked together with the instructor and it worked as well as ever with taps and tactile signals as before. The high fly was a real buzz too!
Last but not least, the obstacle course. To do this you have to wear a face covering, which can get a little hot, but it seems like a fair compromise to keep everybody safe. We also saw the area and obstacles being wiped down on a good few occasions on our visit. The instructor did a great job of helping and guiding John.
Sliding along a metal beam Lauren finished the monkey bars for the first time! Down the fireman’s pole Over the wall. A run up is suggested but John prefers to ‘mantel’ up from a standstill.
We’re really happy we had a great day. The only teething issue we found was with the hearing loop on the front desk (I think somebody had unplugged it) but once we raised attention to it the team began to work on getting it up and running again. There’s also the classic VI challenge of not being able to touch items in the shop, but this is a wider issue in general something that there’s not an easy answer to.
The team at The Bear Grylls Adventure have done a remarkable job of keeping the quality of the experience the same despite the huge challenge of keeping things safe during the pandemic. We’d definitely recommend a visit!