In the blink of an eye, Summer has pretty much gone. The trees are starting to change colour, the mornings and evening have a crisp feel to them. This year will certainly be remembered for being a notably difficult, testing time for all. The one when parents became teachers, and home working became the norm. People stock-piling toilet roles leaving shelves bare. Not a hand sanitiser in sight to be purchased. We were lock downed as a nation but still wanted to support our members. We turned to Zoom, the little known video conferencing platform at the beginning of the pandemic, to run a weekly Wellness Wednesday chat group and a Fun Friday quiz. Then the great news that some restrictions were to be lifted!! We were able to finally meet up, socially distanced of course.
Blaise Castle Estate
A group of us met at Blaise Castle Estate on a beautiful sunny day. Plenty of room for social distancing as we headed off on a walk to search for the castle via a rocky, uneven path. It was a little steep in some places, but we made it to a viewing platform and were treated to a panoramic view of Coombe Dingle and beyond.
We finally reached our destination much to the excitement of children and adults alike. We explored around the outside of the castle, peering through a crack in the door. We descended a different way, finding a tree the children could climb. We ended our morning with a coffee and bacon roll at the cafe and a lovely chat.
Ashton Court Estate
Passing the red deer on the way in, we mustered at the café. For those unfamiliar with Ashton Court, there is an imposing mansion house that served as a military hospital during WW1 and is surrounded by acres of woodland, beautiful rose gardens, two deer parks (red and fallow)and golf course. Under normal circumstances it would have been the week of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, one of Bristol’s treasures but as with most festivals this year, Covid has put paid to that. We took a walk around the pond (no ducks to be seen), had a look at the pet graveyard, the resting place of the Smyth family pets dating back over a hundred years, finishing off with a meandering walk across some of the grassland. It was lovely to get some fresh air.
One of our favourite places to visit is Mojo Active in Almondsbury. It is home to a vast expanse of field and woodland to host all manner of outdoor activities. The staff are friendly, and the children love them. The first of our two days turned out to be dry following days of rain, and composed of Nerf Gun wars, Low ropes and Assault course. After donning safety spectacles, it was lovely to see the children running around in the fresh air, firing foam bullets at one another. Laughter echoed across the field.
Our next activity took us into a clearing in the woods for the Low ropes course. This saw the children having to work together to get around the rope course, to balance the giant seesaw and to cross the lava, shark infested waters using two planks of wood and brain power. From there we tackled the assault course. Nothing seemed to phase the children who took it all in their stride, some getting wet feet in the process. An enjoyable late afternoon was had by all.
On our second day at Mojo saw the group tackle the underground Tunnel Maze, Archery and the Climbing Wall. The tunnel maze was great fun, as the children navigated their way through in the dark with occasional glimpses of daylight when the top hatch was opened.
The group then split into two with one group shooting bow and arrows Robin Hood style, aiming to pop the balloons pinned to the target.
The other group challenged their head for heights and scaled the climbing wall, before swapping activities. All activities were hits with our young members. We can’t wait to return.