Up the creek without a paddle;Mind amp; Body

17th April 1998 at 01:00
The New age water sports

Canyoning

A scary combination of climbing, swimming, diving, abseiling and hiking. Hard-core enthusiasts do it at night and end up throwing themselves off 100 ft waterfalls into gorges. For the less foolhardy, a milder (but no less thrilling) version is on offer through outdoor activity centres such as Croft Na Caber, Loch Tay, near Kenmore, Tayside PH15 2HW. Tel: 01887 830588. Half a day costs pound;30 per person and includes the use of all equipment, such as harness, wetsuit, buoyancy aids, helmet, elbow pads and ropes. The canyoning season runs between April to the end of October and the minimum age is 14. Group rates negotiable.

Gorge walking

A slightly toned-down version of canyoning, this activity is rapidly gaining in popularity and is offered at a variety of outdoor centres such as Black Mountain Activities, PO Box 5, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford HR3 5YB. Tel: 01497 847897. You go where a river goes, whether that's over cliffs, boulders into ravines and so on. There is scrambling, some abseiling, some zip-wiring and lots of water. It is a year-round activity at Black Mountain. The minimum age is eight. A full day costs pound;30 for individuals, pound;18 for school and youth groups. It includes all equipment (wetsuit, helmet, buoyancy aid).

Ghyll scrambling

A cumbrian version of the above on offer at The Adventure Company, Low Grove Farm, Millbeck, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 4PS. Tel: 017687 75351. It's a bit pricey on an individual basis (pound;50 per half day or pound;90 per whole day) but group rates (minimum of 4 people) is pound;25 per person for half a day and pound;40 for a whole one. The price includes the use of a helmet and wetsuit. There is no minimum age. The season runs from April to October.

As all these sports are physically demanding you would need to check that any centre that offers them has instructors who are suitably qualified. The Activity Centres (Young Person's Safety) Act of 1995 requires a centre to be licensed if it runs any of these courses for anyone under 18 on a commercial basis .

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