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Saturday, 22 November 2014

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High wire adventure area offers new tourism boost for Carlisle

Thrill-seekers can embrace the fear factor at a high-wire adventure area which is poised to become a major attraction for Carlisle.

Urban Adventure Carlisle
Putting the finishing touches to the Urban Adventure area

Urban Adventure, in the shadow of the city’s historic castle, officially opens today – and it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Its opening marks thelatest stage in creating new attractions for Bitts Park and follows the opening of a synthetic skating rink in March.

The team behind Urban Adventure say their “action-packed and exhilarating” attraction will becomeanother reason to visit the city, as well as being a great asset for its residents.

Manager Mike Gair said: “This is really exciting and just what Carlisle needs.

“Bitts Park has the skate rink, you will be able to hire bikes and now this – it is making it a day-out destination for people.”

Assistant manager Emma Parrott, 26, had been working at a similar venture in Lockerbie but moved to Carlisle three weeks ago to take on the new role.

Emma said: “There is nothing like it in Carlisle. Staff have been training last week, this week and they will train into the future to ensure they are fully equipped.

“Some of our staff are from similar backgrounds, while others are completely new to this.”

Construction of thewooden frame that forms its base has been eagerly followed over recent weeks.

The main element is the aerial trek, set over two platforms – one at four metres high, and the second at eight metres.

Willing participants are tightly strapped into a harness, before being clipped to the frame to take on 26 challenges.

Swinging wooden platforms, balance beams, tightrope walks and shaking stirrups are just some of the obstacles on the lower platform.

The second level promises even more to test your nerves, complete with a jump over thin air.

Staff worked to ensure the attraction was ready for its official opening today – and public opening tomorrow.

Among the staff is Barney McAlister, 57, who is retired from the Royal Air Force. He said: “This was a wayof combining a bit of pleasure with work and maybediversifying a bit. I wanted to challenge myself – and this course does. There are a few elements which will bring out the fear factor and will challenge a lot of people.”

Staff regularly test the course to ensure they are capable – as much to ensure they can help talk down anyone for whom the fear is too much.

Vicky Scott, 21, currently lives in Tebay but is preparing to move to Penrith for her new job.

She previously worked at Center Parcs, overseeing outdoor activities, and said: “This is a lot easier for a family to experience than having to go on holiday or trek for miles. It really is amazing.”

To ensure the little ones do not miss out, there is a special seven-element wooden course for those under 1.2 metres tall.

Urban Adventure also includes an eight-metre powerfan descent – whereby people step off a wooden platform and freefall until the fan catches them and stops their drop; a 70-metre zip wire; an eight-metre climbing wall; and a corporate or schools’ team-building course which stretches 11 metres into the air.

Mr Gair, a former construction worker, is excited to be opening the centre.

“In the past Carlisle has been criticised for its lack of activities for kids and not being forward-thinking,” he added.

“I believe Carlisle – and Bitts Park especially – will now be a real summer destination.”

PRICES
Urban Adventurer – aerial trekking course, zip wire, powerfan descent and climbing wall – approx two hours. £19.95
Aerial trekking – approx 90 minutes. £14.95
Urban flyer – zip wire, powerfan descent and climbing wall – approx one hour. £8
High flyer – two activities out of zip wire, powerfan descent and climbing wall – approx 45 minutes. £6
Kids’ Bitz – infant seven-element rope course for children under the age of five and up to 1.2m tall – approx 30 minutes. £2.50
Zip wire – approx 30 minutes. £4
Powerfan descent – approx 30 minutes. £4
Climbing wall – take on the four main routes – approx one hour. £4
Turn up or book online to guarantee a slot, by visiting www.urban-adventure.co.uk
 

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