Mountain Climbing, BBQs, Camping & Adventure!
Now I’m an ‘amenities’ kind of girl. While I like to look at nature, I don’t really want it touching me, so I’m still not sure what possessed me to surprise my family with an overnight stay at Challenging Adventure in Ras Al Khaimah. My middle daughter, Allegra, tried to reassure me that it would be fine as we were going glamping ‘which is pretty camping Mummy’. I wasn’t convinced!
However, even I felt a twinge of excitement seeing the mountains rise around us as we drove in to the wadi where the camp is situated. It’s just beautiful and feels a world away from Dubai. I had ‘upgraded’ us to an 8 person bell tent which, while spacious, was still alarmingly tent-like. The kids were delighted. I still wasn’t convinced.
First up was rock climbing, which was on the list of activities my 3 year old, Scarlett, could do. Our instructor, Judith, got us kitted out in harnesses and helmets and off we set. I assumed we were going to a climbing wall so got a bit of a shock when we left camp and headed for a nearby mountain!
Gazing up the sheer cliff face I couldn’t imagine how any of us were going to climb it but with the patience and encouragement of Judith we achieved more than I could ever have imagined. Apparently I gave birth to three little mountain goats whose bravery and determination amazed (and terrified) me. I literally couldn’t have been prouder.
We returned to camp where Mr Y took the girls for a dip in the pool which, while rustic, is filled with warm water piped straight from an underground spring. There are also proper toilets, showers and a small kitchen where the staff can boil water, refrigerate snacks and where you can buy drinks. All basic human requirements if you ask me!
Dinner that evening was a delicious BBQ provided by a local caterer, after which, we headed back to the fire pit outside our tent to roast marshmallows. Later on, as the kids wriggled gleefully around in their sleeping bags my son exclaimed, ‘This isn’t even glamping, it’s proper camping!’
Hmm … I’m inclined to agree. I have to say that it wasn’t the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had despite the mattresses we were given. I’m always freezing and there was no exception here so my top tip would be to double up on mattresses and sleeping bags. However, the wadi did look stunning through my bleary eyes the next morning which (kind of) made up for the sleep deprivation.
Our activity on the second day was survival skills which, thankfully, was considerably less perilous than the rock climbing. We spent the next couple of hours den building, starting a fire and learning some first aid. Once again Judith was brilliant, pitching the activities so that the kids stayed interested and involved.
Challenging Adventure is an incredible place and truly deserving of its name. The staff inspire real confidence allowing you to step (or climb!) way out of your comfort zone while keeping you completely safe. We returned home more exhausted and grubbier than we have ever been but it was totally worth it. I now have 3 little people who say they want to be climbing instructors when they grow up. I’m obviously hoping that doesn’t happen as my heart just couldn’t take it, but the fact that they think it’s possible is pretty cool.
Challenging Adventure, www.challengingadventure.com