This spring & summer we are working with Piri Allergy to prove that life is just more fun when you get outdoors! We spent a good chunk of our Easter holidays “Wild Living” in the Lake District with Ben McNutt from Woodsmoke which was so far out of our comfort zone we could barely see it any more, but honestly just the most amazing experience. (If you missed this I will link in a series of posts and videos at the end so you can catch up!)
Continuing with the theme of “getting outdoors” we had a very busy Bank Holiday weekend trying out a range of different adventures and testing our limits.
Saturday – Smithills Open Farm, Bolton
Smithills Open Farm is one of our favourite places. I first visited with the kids on a Butler / Burgess day out last spring and Dave took Amy back in the autumn when they were having a special day out together.
Amy particularly loves Smithills Open Farm because she’s basically obsessed with cows – she will happily stand and watched them be milked for the full milking session if you let her. Previously she hasn’t been quite brave enough to touch or feed the cows but over the course of our visit last weekend she over came this and stroked some of the calves. (She’s still not a massive fan of being licked by them but then who is?!)
Our visit also included that typically British summertime activity of a donkey ride along with feeding and holding a whole range of animals in Pet’s Corner. Now I’ve mentioned before that I’m allergic to dogs (and cats but I would never go near enough to one for that to affect me because I can’t stand them!) but I genuinely don’t know how far my animal based allergies go – it’s a fairly safe bet that sitting feeding lambs, stroking donkeys and cuddling rabbits could all be things which would set off an allergic reaction be it aggravating my asthma or breaking out in hives. Of course I have no desire to let my allergies stop either me or my family doing the things we love so a quick dose of Piriton before we set out for the day meant I didn’t have to worry about it.
Sunday – City Cycling Tour
Dave has been a fairly keen cyclist for a few years now but I’ve barely had my bum near a bike saddle in twenty five years. I had a bike briefly in a my mid twenties but never really got on with it and it was soon banished to the garage. Ben has been able to ride a bike for about a year now but he hadn’t been out on it since last summer so it was safe to say that we were all a little nervous about how a city cycling tour would pan out! Dave spent a bit of time planning out a route but soon realised that it was a good 3 mile ride just to get from the bike shop to any of the planned cycle routes.
In the end we just set off and with the help of Google Maps managed to stick to cycle paths to get us from Salford out to Whalley Range at which point Amy had fallen asleep in the trailer and I had started to panic that he was going to take us too far out so that Ben & I wouldn’t manage to get back! We decided to head to nearby Fallowfield to show Ben where I had lived as a student and the infamous post box which Dave had leap-frogged the night we got together! We did attempt to stop for some lunch however it would appear you can only eat in Fallowfield if you’re over 18 so we ended up with a bag of crisps each and hopped back on our bikes to ride back up into the city centre. Ben was gaining in the confidence all the time and thankfully the cycle paths up through Rusholme are quite wide and mostly separated from main road as it’s a really busy road. We stopped outside the old MMU Student Union on Oxford Road for a quick selfie as it was there that Dave and I met some sixteen years ago!
We hit a bit of problem when we made it back to the city centre as we basically needed to get across the course of the Great Manchester Run . . . honestly you couldn’t make it up. In the end we had to walk alongside our bikes following the route of the run through the crowds until we made it past the finish line and could cross over! If I’m honest I was quite glad of the walk as my bum was really starting to suffer! All in we cycled somewhere in the region of 1o miles. The cycling itself was fine but I was definitely saddle sore and my hands hurt. I enjoyed our family bike ride far more than I had expected but I would definitely avoid such busy roads in future as it was pretty nerve wracking and also meant that the ride was quite “stop -start” in places.
Monday – Go Ape, Delamere Forest
Regular readers will know that Ben is something of a thrill seeker (he’s desperate to hit the magical 1m 40 to be able to go on all the biggest theme park rides)! He has been keen to visit Go Ape for quite a while now so he was particularly excited about our trip to Delamere Forest on Bank Holiday Monday.
Of course a forest full of trees is not necessarily an attractive prospect if you suffer from hayfever. Ben and I both dosed up on the appropriate Piri Allergy products to make sure that we wouldn’t have our adventure ruined by our allergies!
Once we had put on our safety equipment and had a go on the practice course to make sure we knew how everything worked it was time to get on with it. I must admit I was really impressed with just how confident Chloe was once she got up onto the course, she clearly trusted her equipment and just got on with it! Amy was also very brave considering she hadn’t really wanted to do it in the first place!
The biggest challenge arose when we got to the end of the course and were faced with the zip wire. Chloe broke down in tears and couldn’t bring herself to do it. I think the fact that she was the first in the queue didn’t really help matters so to give her time to get to grips with it we swapped her round and Dave went down first followed by Amy!! Yes, three year old Amy. She was clearly nervous but she just jumped off and did it. Dave said she was smiling when she got to the bottom but she didn’t want to go back up again! Obviously we didn’t push her as we were just so impressed with her for doing it in the first place. Ben obviously just launched himself off with no fear, even pulling out a dab on the way down! Once the others had had a go it was Chloe’s turn to try again. I reminded her of the time she got to the top of the water slide at Splash Landings and refused to go down but then absolutely loved it once I’d made her get on. With lots of help and coaxing from a fabulous member of Go Ape staff, she took the leap. . . . and guess what? She loved it. Of course she did.
Having conquered the first course, Amy decided to sit out and watch from the ground, Ben set off around the more challenging course on his own whilst I did the main course with Chloe again.
There’s quite a step up between the two courses and whilst Ben was able to manage it by himself, Chloe found it considerably more challenging so after having a go with Dave, she reverted back to the first course for her final turn.
All said and done Go Ape was a great success. Ben came home and immediately told Mich that she must take Finn because he’d love it! In all honesty, although Amy was tall enough I don’t really think she was old enough to properly enjoy the experience and I certainly wouldn’t’ take her again until she’s quite a bit bigger as one go round the course doesn’t really offer great value for money! As it is I’ve booked a similar activity for them all this coming weekend but Amy will be doing a course that’s just a metre off the ground so I think it will be more along the lines of the practice trail which she was perfectly happy with!
Dave and I were both especially proud of the girls for overcoming their fears and giving it a go!
Of course we’ve made a video of our adventures so you can get a real flavour of our Piri Allergy adventures there too!
We’ve now finished our Piri Allergy advetures and, later this month, I will be writing all about how we’ve benefited from getting outside this spring & summer. Of course, in the meantime keep an eye on the Piri Hub, my instagram and youtube!
*This post forms part of a paid collaboration with Piri Allergy*