After a relatively easy journey down we arrived at our main base for the weekend – Llechwedd Slate Caverns. Top of the agenda was Zipworld Titan, the longest zip-line in Europe! Claiming to have spectacular views over the moors, mountains and mine we were glad the weather was on our side, and the sun was shining – I am not sure how much fun this would be in fog and drizzle!
First things first it was time to kit up in some particularly fetching boiler suits, matching helmet and a harness that had your seat attached! Then after a thorough safety briefing, we were transported up to the top of the first zip-line…
Standing at the top of the first section, it occurred to me; I really hadn’t had the chance to give the whole thing much thought… We were effectively going to be flying through the sky, fast, a long way above the ground – eek! Watching the first group set off I decided the bit I was most nervous about was the start, as once the gate goes back, it’s up to you to take your feet of the barrier and set off. What if I couldn’t take my feet off?!
Soon it was our turn – 3, 2, 1, GO – we were off! Very quickly all my worries were gone, as odd as it sounds you don’t feel like you are going as fast are you are, it’s not really in perspective. It was awesome! Not only were the views amazing, it really does feel like you were flying.
As soon as I was off the first zip-line, I wanted to get to the next. The fact of the matter is I am a total adrenaline junkie, I may get a bit scared at the start, but I love it! The second line began with a steep drop over the mines; this one was meant to be even faster – great. All fears gone, the plan was to try and go as fast as I could. This meant making myself as aerodynamic as possible. Tucking into a tiny(ish!) ball I zoomed down.
The third and final zip-line came too quickly. It was a good one though, at this stage we had all got the hang of it and were having a great time. The only negative thing I can say about the whole experience is I wish it were even longer!
The rest of the day was spent enjoying the sunshine in Betws-y-Coed, a very pretty Welsh village nearby. That evening on the recommendation of our B&B hosts Gwen & John, and we made our way to the Gwydyr Hotel to watch the rugby. Pack full of supporters, (unfortunately the Welsh kind :P) the atmosphere was great. England’s performance, however, was not… I think the less I say, the better here – I’m still recovering!
The next morning we were up early in time to eat (and digest breakfast!) before heading back to Llechwedd Slate Caverns for Bounce Below. This was something I was really looking forward to. For those of you that don’t know this is effectively a giant multi-level trampoline in an underground cavern twice the size of St Paul’s Cathedral! Netting slides and tubes separate each level – think snakes and ladders on an epic scale.
Kitting up I was getting pretty excited! Once again we were given some pretty fetching helmets for the experience and the option of a boiler suit to protect your clothes (which we declined). A few pieces of advice here – it’s certainly worth wearing long trousers and a top that covers your arms and tucks into your trousers. As silly as it looks you really don’t want it riding up coming down the slides, or you will end up with some pretty nasty friction burn on your back. If you don’t have enough coverage you will have to wear a boiler suit – these are fine and do protect your clothes, but everyone I spoke to that wore one said how hot and sweaty they were!
Walking down to the cavern, I will admit I was a touch nervous! We soon arrived in the main cavern – it looked amazing. After another safety briefing, we were off. At first, I really couldn’t get my balance, off the chill out area (that allows bouncers to acclimatise) I was flying everywhere! One moment you seemed to have control of your bounce then another person would come near you and throw you off course, it was a lot of fun. The slides had to be my favourite bit, although a bit daunting at first, once you have been down one, the nerves go away! I was also amazed at how much of a workout it was for my legs. Not being arrogant but I would count myself as fairly fit – this was tiring!
Here’s a video to show you a bit more of Bounce Below. Sadly I was not quite as agile as these guys, plus front flips were a big no no from the safety team!
After plenty of bouncing, slightly wobbly we resurfaced back into the sunlight and we made our way to a picnic bench in the sunshine to recover – I felt like I had just got off a boat! After a bit of time just sitting still we all felt stable enough to jump in the car and head to Conway for lunch by the sea before heading back to the Peak District. Altogether it was a great weekend away, and I would certainly recommend a trip to Llechwedd Slate Caverns, there is so much fun to be had for all ages, and I will definitely be going back for the mountain biking!