Paid collaboration with Coed Lan High Ropes and St Fagans National Museum of History
I was petrified. I cried. My hands were shaking. I almost quit half way through. “I can’t do it,” I shouted down to our instructor below, my lip trembling. I’m not going to lie for the purposes of this review; taking on the CoedLan high ropes course at St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff terrified me.
But I did it. I completed CoedLan’s 18 obstacles suspended among the trees and I’m so proud of myself for facing my fears and not giving up.
CoedLan high ropes at St Fagans
My children knew I was scared. It was the calls of encouragement from Miss E, my eight and a half year old daughter, and Little O, my six and three quarter year old son – bubbling with excitement about their first high ropes experience – that kept me going. “Come on Mummy!” “You can do this!” “This one isn’t as scary as it looks. Just don’t look down.”
I knew I couldn’t let them see me quit. How many times have I encouraged them to persevere with things they are worried about or think they can’t do? I knew I had to continue so that I could lead by example and let them see me facing my fears head on.
With my heart pounding and hands trembling I slowly moved around the obstacle course which is suspended 5m above the ground. Years of yoga breathing practice came in pretty handy as I inhaled and exhaled to calm me down and concentrated on one move at a time.
Our instructor Callum had made sure our harnesses were fitted safely and correctly attached and we’d had a safety talk before we set off. Participants move around the course unaccompanied but staff are paying close attention from the ground below making sure everyone is safe.
“You can’t fall,” Callum shouted up to me. I kept his words in my mind as the wooden stepping stones and tight rope wires wobbled underneath me and I carefully moved one foot at a time. Deep down I knew I was safe – but that didn’t mean I wasn’t scared.
He told me that they often get nervous people like me and they have a ladder that they can use to rescue people mid-way through. I was tempted, believe me. But I knew I had to keep going.
It’s been 10 years since I last completed a high ropes experience at my sister-in-law’s hen do. I was bridesmaid and it was the activity the bride really wanted to do. I couldn’t let her know how terrified I was (although most of the other hens knew and helped me navigate my way around). It was only after the final obstacle when I burst into tears and started trembling that she realised how scared I’d been feeling. I vowed then and there never to do it again.
But then St Fagans invited us to try Coed Lan as part of our role as family blogger ambassadors with the open air museum. Knowing how much my two eldest children wanted to do this I couldn’t say no. Cardiff Daddy offered to go up with them. But I knew it had to be me for the purposes of my blog.
CoedLan opened in May and has been a real success with visitors to the museum. It’s managed by the team from Cardiff International White Water in Cardiff Bay (which also has its own high ropes course) and the staff were so friendly and reassuring, I felt in really good hands. Costing £10 per person, sessions run every half hour from between 10am and 5pm from April until the end of October half term. If you’re in a big group of 10+ you need to book at least 48 hours in advance. But otherwise you can just turn up at the museum and pay at the reception desk in the new entrance building. The staff told us that the first two or three morning sessions are quietest but it often gets busier later in the day so it’s good to book a timed slot as soon as you arrive.
You need to wear sensible clothing and footwear – no sandals, high heels or jewellery. There are lockers in the entrance building operated with a £1 coin. The museum shop now stocks daps for around £5, for spontaneous visitors who suddenly decide they want a go but aren’t wearing appropriate footwear.
Miss E could have done the course on her own as she’s over 130cm. Little O is above the 110cm minimum height but below 130cm so needed adult supervision. Although actually I think he did more looking after me than the other way around. They had no trouble moving around the course and loved every second.
We were strapped in harnesses and given helmets to wear. Once your harness is secured onto the wire at the start you don’t need to do any clipping or unclipping. I found this really reassuring because the previous high ropes experience I did we had to clip ourselves on at several of the stations and I was so worried about not doing it properly and plunging to the ground.
It’s an all-weather course, open from May to October, and only closes if the winds are too strong or the rain too extreme. It was wet and windy today and I’d worried this would make it harder or more dangerous. But the equipment wasn’t slippery at all and the trees keep out a lot of the wind. The bad weather also worked to our advantage because there were less people to see me trembling with fear and no impatient people behind me willing me to hurry up.
It took us around 50 minutes to complete – although the fast and fearless can do it in half of that.
The 18 obstacles include a cargo net, a tight rope, a wire bridge, stepping-stone style tyres and wooden noughts and crosses that wobble as you step on them. Some of the obstacles have wires or ropes you can hold onto. Others don’t. These were the ones I found scariest.
The last obstacle is a 50m zip wire. I’d watched my children whizzing through the air with sheer delight… but it took me a while to get the confidence to lower myself off the platform. My four year old, who was too small to take part, was watching at the bottom with Cardiff Daddy and started counting backwards from 10. When he got to zero I felt I couldn’t really not go.
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and went.
Despite my fear it was so exhilarating.
Part of me wanted to do it again.
Part of me never wanted to do it again.
I felt invincible.
I’ve promised my four year old as soon as he’s tall enough I’ll take him on. He can’t wait. I’m hoping he doesn’t grow too soon though.
For more information on CoedLan High Ropes at St Fagans visit the website.
Read more about what to expect at St Fagans National Museum of History in our here.
Win an experience for two
at CoedLan High Ropes at St Fagans
Are you or your children brave enough to take on the high ropes at St Fagans? One lucky Cardiff Mummy Says reader will win two tickets for the CoedLan experience in this fantastic giveaway.
The prize includes two tickets and must be used by 31 October 2018. The prize is valid for sessions before 11am or after 3pm on a week day only.
Participants must be 110cm tall in order to take part. Children between 110cm and 130cm must be accompanied by an individual over 130cm. The maximum weight is 18 stone.
All participants (or their parent/guardian) must sign a disclaimer before they are allowed on the high ropes course. CoedLan advises that you do not participate if pregnant and if you do it is at your own risk. You should exercise caution in particular if you have had recent surgery or illness, a heart condition, neck, back or bone ailments, high blood pressure or aneurysms or any other similar condition. If you have any doubts or concerns about your ability to participate, you should consult your doctor or other medical practitioner. Please see the website for full information.
For a chance to win leave the answer to this simple question on the CoedLan post on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page. Closing date for entries is 11.59pm on Tuesday 14 August 2018
Q. What is the final obstacle on the
CoedLan high ropes course at St Fagans?
Terms and conditions
- There is one prize, consisting of two tickets for one circuit of CoedLan high ropes at St Fagans.
- The prize must be used by 31 October 2018. The prize is valid for sessions before 11am or after 3pm on a week day. Participants must be 110cm tall in order to take part. Children between 110cm and 130cm must be accompanied by an individual over 130cm. The maximum weight is 18 stone. Please see the website for full terms and conditions of participation.
- There is no alternative prize and tickets can not be exchanged for any other performance.
- Closing date for entries is 11.59pm on Tuesday 14 August 2018.
- Entrants must be 18 years or over.
- To enter, leave your answer to the above question in the comments section of the CoedLan giveaway post on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page.
- The winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries submitted before the closing date. The winner will be informed with a reply to their Facebook comment and a direct Facebook message letting them know they have won. All reasonable attempts will be made to contact the winner. If the winner cannot be contacted within 48 hours the prize will be forfeited and offered to another eligible entrant.
- Cardiff Mummy Says reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions at any time. Any new terms and conditions will be published here.
- Cardiff Mummy Says reserves the right to end this promotion at any time and without notice.
- Cardiff Mummy Says cannot be held responsible for the failure of third party organisations to provide the prize, or for loss, damage or non-arrival of the prizes.
- Relatives of Cathryn Scott, author of Cardiff Mummy Says, may not enter the giveaway.
- Employees and their relatives of St Fagans National Museum of History, National Museum Wales and Cardiff International White Water may not enter this giveaway.
- This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.