Back in June, Toby sent me this link: http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/06/bounce-below-trampolines-wales/
Giant trampolines in an old slate mine! How much fun does that sound?
So we found a free weekend (not an easy thing lately) and booked tickets. Since the venue also has a zipline (flying fox) course, we booked that in too. We have had such a fun weekend!!
I caught the train to Baglan to meet Bruce after work - we both finished a little early so we could get on the way before peak hour. It was a three hour drive to Dolgellau (doll-geth-lie) and our 16th century B&B. We stayed in room 6, which may have once been a stable... but we didn't see any babies in mangers or wise men on our journey. 😁
In my opinion, the Lechwedd Slate Cavern is one of the most fun places in Wales! On arrival we swapped our print-at-home tickets for coloured wristbands and got into bright red jumpsuits (hehe.. jumpsuits.. for jumping!) and collected our helmets. We were loaded into a tiny mine train and were shuttled into the old mine. After a short safety briefing, we popped on our special booties and headed on to the trampolines.
It was SO MUCH FUN ! In fact, I think I'll say that again for emphasis - it was SO MUCH FUN!
It's only a little like being on a regular trampoline - there were about 50 of us on there at any time, so the "floor" is never where you expect it to be and, as a result, you spend a lot of time falling over. It's hilarious. Even when you get some good jumping going on, it just takes someone going past to either take away your bounce (awww) or bounce you double (woohoo!). This happens even when you're sitting on the mats taking a break from the jumping. SO. MUCH. FUN! And actually really tiring too! :-)
Trying to move around the mats takes a lot of effort (see bouncing comment above) and to move between the levels is even more of an adventure! There are 'tubes' (snakes) to descend - made out of the same netting as the mats, you jump in the top and 'slide' down to the next level. You need to cover your face when you jump into the hole so you don't end up with friction burn on your nose. :-) To get back up a level, they have 'tunnels' (ladders) - more like rock climbing than a ladder really.. similar to the tube but with ropes or something to hold on to (and to give a bit of help with your footing). It takes quite a bit of muscle power to climb the tunnels! They also have a giant spiral net that is a little easier to get back to the middle from the bottom level.
You get an hour on the trampolines and this is exactly the right amount of time - just enough for some bouncing, some sitting, some snakes, some ladders and some lying on the mat recovering (looking through from the top or bottom level is really cool - you can see everyone on the other levels, as well as the slate cave around you!). After our alloted hour, we were packed back on the little train, taken out of the mine and returned the jumpsuits.
Unfortunately we didn't know that you could take your phone (and suffer the consequences if you drop it), so we don't have any photos of Bounce Below. We didn't make the same mistake with the zip lining!
After lunch it was time to don another red jumpsuit. This one was slightly more waterproof (only slightly) and was covered by a strange harness. The harness had a wooden 'seat' in it, so it felt really weird walking (I felt like a duck.. quack quack) and trying to sit down (sitting on a seat on a seat.. weird!!). Safety gear in place, we piled onto the bus to be taken to the first zipline. Unfortunately, the weather had taken a turn for the worse so we couldn't see any of the spectacular views that they had seen for the previous five weeks straight! Bah! Actually, we could have been at the Three Sisters! ;-)
I think we missed out on some of the thrill because everything was grey, but it was still good fun. There were three zip lines - mountain, moor and another thing starting with m.. the first one (mountain) was apparently the longest one - but it was so grey! It was like flying through a cloud - I think I caught sight of the ground only once. The second one was faster and probably my favourite - it was low enough to see a little of the scenery (or maybe the weather had cleared a little) and it was fast! Woohoo! The third and last one was alright but it was raining again and that took away some of the enjoyment.
There was a lot of waiting around during the zip line session - the whole thing took about two hours but I reckon we were on the lines for less than a few minutes! The cool thing about it was that there were four parallel lines, so B & I joined two others and could have races (not that you really had any control over how fast you went).
By the end of the day we were both cold, wet and fairly knackered, but it was definitely a fun day (and one that we might repeat in better weather). It was a really lovely weekend (especially since I'll be working half of the weekends in July as well as the first weekend in August).
It seems I've gone on a bit.. oops.. so what have the rest of you lot been up to?