Swinging in for some XCeedingly good fun

Construction of Jarman Park’s XC Centre was finished earlier this year, so my colleague Tom Allnutt and I decided to kit up and get a taste of what the centre has to offer.

And if swinging your way across wooden blocks suspended from the ceiling or squeezing your way through pitch black tunnels is your idea of fun, then the XC has just what you are looking for.

Caving and Highwire climbing at the XC Centre'Hemel Hempstead Gazette 10/11/11'Adam Hull and Tom (Sports / Reporter)'VIDEO STILLS ONLY Natalee Hazelwood

Caving and Highwire climbing at the XC Centre'Hemel Hempstead Gazette 10/11/11'Adam Hull and Tom (Sports / Reporter)'VIDEO STILLS ONLY Natalee Hazelwood

On our agenda for the morning was a session on the high ropes course, before taking to the caving tunnels – and we met up with our instructor Chris who gave us a run-down on what to expect.

We headed to the high ropes kit room where we put on our safety harnesses and listened to a briefing, before making our way out onto the course.

The circuit begins with a small caving passage that heads out onto the main course – and the sheer drop which accompanies it!

Although fully secure in the harness, it is impossible not to get a bout of the jitters as you take your first step onto the course and the adrenaline really kicks in.

A combination of swings, netting, tunnels and platforms awaits on the circuit – which took us around 15 minutes to complete – providing a good test of mental and physical determination.

Tom and I worked our way around, nervously at first, enjoying the thrills and spills that the route had to offer.

By the time we had completed our third lap, the nerves were subsiding, but we had certainly started to build up a sweat!

With our feet safely back on terra firma, it was time for us to try out the caving course – 162 metres of tunnels and passages to test flexibility and logic.

We put on our helmets and Chris took us around the taster route before letting us embark on the main section.

I had never tried caving before – and was amazed initially at how small some of the passages were that we had to manoeuvre through – but we were soon getting the hang of wiggling and twisting our way around.

I think it’s fair to say that Tom found it a little bit more difficult to squeeze through some of the smaller passages than I did – but that’s what you get for going to the gym every lunch time!

After our time ran out, we emerged back into the daylight, both sporting the odd bump and bruise but definitely feeling the effects of a good work-out.

Granted, caving and high ropes may not be your traditional form of exercise, but they are certainly good fun and worth a try – whether with friends, colleagues or on your own.

If going out jogging or putting in the hours at the gym isn’t your cup of tea, then a session at the XC may be just what you’re after.