Rock Climbing & Abseiling
Rock climbing is a fantastic personal and team challenge.
There is the physical and mental problem of how to reach the top combined with learning to trust your team mates holding the rope below. A great level of responsibility is demanded of the safety team looking after the climber.
The sense of achievement when attempting to reach the top does wonders for your self confidence and people are always amazed at how much they can achieve when they work so closely together. The venues we use offer climbs of varying difficulty allowing everyone to progress on to more demanding climbs but at a rate that suits the individual.
Abseiling is another option, for those who wish to face the challenge, usually incorporated as part of a rock climbing day. Abseiling is descending a fixed rope over a vertical or near vertical drop. Success is dependent on lots of encouragement and understanding as each individual faces the feeling of trepidation when leaning over the edge.
A greater feeling of self confidence is felt as one slides down the rope to reach the safety of the ground below! SUCCESS!
Marle Hall tutors will insure harnesses, helmets and all safety equipment is fitted and used properly. There is a great selection of suitable cliffs close to the Centre but every venue will help you build on teamwork and respect for each other.
Rock climbing can either be run as a full day or half day session. A full day at the cliff will allow you to get to grips with the rope work and show a greater progression in your climbing ability. It also provides the opportunity for you to take on more responsibility as you feel more confident with the skills you are taught.
(back to top)
The challenging terrain that Snowdonia National Park has to offer provides opportunities for your team to choose a route that is physically and/or mentally demanding.
Whether it is a difficult scramble or an impressive view from the summit, it is a day not to be missed as the memories and accomplishments will last for years to come.
On the way to the summit you will be learning the ins and outs of using a map and compass, have the opportunity to lead sections of the walk and discover what it takes to operate as a safe team in the mountains. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about the environment in which we live and how the landscape that we enjoy so much was shaped by glaciation and subsequent erosion.
The team will have to be prepared for the challenge, so Marle Hall will provide walking boots, full waterproofs and a rucksack to carry your pack lunch, hot chocolate and spare clothes.
This is a truly memorable day, which helps to build respect and understanding for the weather, mountain environment and the world around us, while providing the opportunity for challenge, leadership, and good communication and teamwork.
(back to top)
Canoeing & Kayaking
Canoeing (or open boating) is an excellent activity for encouraging teamwork, and one in which everyone can participate and enjoy.
The group is split into smaller teams of 2-4 per canoe. To move the canoes around your team will need to develop their 3 C's, as this activity brings out the best in communication, coordination and a great deal of cooperation.
Kayaking is an activity that many young people are eager to try out. Kayaks are designed primarily as a solo boat, and paddled by one person using a double ended blade. Going round in circles is common for beginners which can be frustrating. Therefore a certain level of determination is required in order to achieve success.
Canoeing and kayaking can be run as either full-day or half-day sessions.
Once the basics are mastered, lots of options become available, depending on the team, the weather conditions and the time available. In a half-day session you could be off on a journey across a lake with Snowdon as a backdrop, or taking part in a closely fought game of water polo between boats. Sometimes we may raft two open canoes together and have a go at canoe sailing.
For those taking part in a full-day session there is the opportunity to pack your lunch into the boats and paddle down a river or tidal estuary, learning skills as you go, or perhaps stopping to light a fire somewhere and practice some bush craft skills. You may also have the chance to be assessed for British Canoe Union 1 Star Awards in either a canoe or kayak, as you will have become familiar with the basic skills needed for the assessment.
As well as the water based part of the activity there is the added team challenge of checking that everyone has the right equipment with them, and the particularly challenging task of unloading and then re-loading the boats onto the trailer at the end of a tiring session!
(back to top)
This is by far the most popular activity we offer. You are pretty much guaranteed to get wet and it’s always loads of fun!
Once fully kitted out in buoyancy aids and helmets the team will journey up a mountain stream. Through co-operating and supporting each other you will scramble over rocks, climb up waterfalls, wade across pools and slide down chutes. After all of that, your team will have come together so well that you will be ready to face the challenge of the infamous ‘elephants bottom’. WOW!
All good so far and still time left? Your team will continue on up stream, squirming through rocks, perhaps using ropes and harnesses, allowing rope skills to be transferred from previous activities, and facing many other challenges as you head for the final plunge pool at the top.
The route will always vary depending on the team’s ability and the weather and water conditions in the gorge. The challenges will often be set to help build transferable skills that you can use to progress throughout your stay at Marle Hall.
Gorge scrambling is usually offered as a half-day activity but can be extended to a full day to allow a more technical ropework day and/or a chance to explore more of this wonderful and unique environment.
(back to top)
Ropes Courses, B.L.T. & Zip Wire
Our on-site ropes courses provide great challenges for the individual and the team as a whole. They can be used in their own right or as alternatives to rock climbing if the weather is bad, and are a great test of teamwork, nerve, determination and taking real responsibility.
The famous B.L.T. is a fantastic high rope activity for all ages. Ring a Bell 15 meters up a tree, balance along a Log 5 meters off the ground and leap for a Trapeze 12 meters up. The whole team is involved, taking responsibility for themselves and each other by pulling on the ropes, tying knots and doing safety checks.
The Low Ropes course includes swinging from tyres, slithering through tubes and shimmying across poles. A great exercise in trust and communication as each person is supported and encouraged by team mates. This is an excellent evening activity, which is close to the ground and can be supervised by visiting staff following a thorough briefing.
In the treetops at Marle Hall hides the high ropes course, involving climbing up trees, zipping across wires and completing the leap of faith before finally descending back to the ground. This requires great team encouragement and determination. Sometimes paired with this is the Zip Wire, which is a significant personal challenge. This involves a climb up to a platform in the trees where you then launch yourself down the zip wire, finally coming to rest high up at the far end of the grounds. You’ll need your team mate’s help to get down from here though!
All these ropes courses will have your team working really hard to help everyone achieve their full potential.
(back to top)
Sea Level Traversing
Sea level traversing is basically a journey you take along an area of coastal cliffs. It incorporates many elements of teamwork and personal challenge as you use various climbing and scrambling techniques to explore this wild and ever changing environment.
We use a variety of locations for sea levelling, mainly on Anglesey. The exact venue and nature of the activity will depend on the particular aims and desired outcomes for the team, and the weather conditions and sea state on the day.
You will certainly be scrambling along the base of cliffs. Maybe some jumps, swimming short distances in the sea or even setting up a Tyrolean traverse to zip across a zawn on ropes. Because this is an ever-changing environment it is an extremely valuable activity for using other skills that you may have learnt earlier in your course at Marle Hall, including rope work, climbing skills, and judgements about risk management.
This is a great personal and team challenge that requires the group to communicate effectively and work together. It can be done as a wet or dry activity, but whatever option is taken we guarantee that you will enjoy the day.
(back to top)
Orienteering means maps, fun and adventure. The aim is to use your map and the skills you are taught to navigate between markers that are either set around the Centre grounds or in the adjoining Marl Woods.
This can be completed as an individual or as part of a small team, and you can run, jog or walk. It’s totally up to you!
There are a number of markers of varying difficulty, with some requiring more thinking and greater skill to find than others. We have courses to suit all ability levels from beginner to advanced, including national standard courses.
This is fantastic fun and a great personal and team challenge, allowing skills from the classroom to be taken outdoors. Orienteering allows you to practice map-reading skills and develop an understanding of the land that surrounds you, linking in with the P.E. National Curriculum. It is also a sport that can easily be continued back at home, as there are orienteering competitions and courses set up in parks and woods all over the country.
(back to top)
This is truly a different experience to any other that we offer at Marle Hall. An underground adventure, travelling through a dark, unfamiliar environment that is steeped in social history, geology and geography, it is amazing what you learn.
It requires cooperation, communication and teamwork, and helps to build confidence, and for some it provides a personal challenge of overcoming fears.
It is approximately a 45-minute drive through the mountains at the heart of the Snowdonia National Park, to reach the slate mining towns of North Wales.
On arrival at the mine you will kit up with warm clothes, waterproofs, helmets and mining lamps, and may also need harnesses and ropes. Once inside the mine your team will navigate through the passages to explore the environment and underground conditions the miners had to work in. You have to take responsibility for each other and for organising yourselves, perhaps progressing along clip lines or past flooded passageways before eating lunch by candlelight. After lunch you will need to continue your exploration, maybe even abseiling into darkness, until finally emerging back into the daylight (or perhaps it will be dark outside too by then?)
This day will require you to work as a team, to help each other over rocks and overcome the many challenges you encounter in the dark. Through your experiences of being underground you will learn new things about yourself and your team members, as well as further skills such as rope work and navigation techniques, and a great deal about the underground environment.
(back to top)
Our location allows us access to a variety of mountain biking routes, ranging from complete beginner through to expert. We hire good quality bikes locally and then head out for the day or half a day. There are many options to choose from, including forest tracks, open hillsides, or specialist technical courses. It all depends on what you wish to gain from the experience.
Mountain biking is an activity in which skill levels and technical competence can vary markedly. This means that everyone has to learn to be patient and cooperate with each other, to ensure an enjoyable day is had by all. As we journey along the route, there will be challenges for everyone to try. These will be carefully differentiated to ensure that each person gains the maximum possible out of the day.
(back to top)
Problem Solving/Team Building
How good is your group’s teamwork? Can you get them across a shark infested swamp, work together to ‘ski’ down the driveway or get everyone through the spider's web?
Problem solving is a great way of getting to know your team members and brings out positive qualities in everyone. Challenges can be both physically and mentally demanding and require a high level of co-operation to complete. This gives all team members a chance to contribute in a variety of ways, as everyone possesses different attributes.
At Marle Hall we adopt a plan, do and review approach to problem solving tasks. This allows the team to reflect on the positive merits and acknowledge the areas that need to be worked on during the next task. Marle Hall tutors facilitate the tasks so that the team can progress and become more efficient at facing future challenges.
The success of a good team is always greater than the sum of its parts.
T ogether E veryone A chieves M ore.
(back to top)
Go back in time to an age of more primitive living and learn a few basic skills to harmonise with nature. Learn more about the environment and how primitive peoples would have used it to provide them with their basic needs of shelter, warmth, food and water.
You may start building a shelter, perhaps using a tarpaulin or a selection of natural materials, without damaging the environment. Learn how to light a fire using a firesteel (a bit like flint) and discover what tinder and kindling works best to really get the fire going. Once you have provided yourself with warmth you can then consider boiling water with a Kelly kettle to make a hot drink and perhaps even make bread or cook a complete meal on an open fire.
Learn about the sounds, smells, colours, textures and even tastes of the natural world around you. What can you eat, what needs cooking, what to avoid? Learn how to make string, how to use a knife safely to whittle a peg or make your own spoon. Maybe even have a go at lighting a fire using a bow drill (basically rubbing sticks together!) or making your own charcoal.
At Marle Hall we are constantly learning ourselves and the more we learn, the more we can pass on and share with you. So although we may not be able to cover all these topics in your stay with us, we can certainly introduce you to the basics of the vast field of bushcraft.
All this fits in well with the John Muir Award.
(back to top)
Field Studies (KS3 to A2)
This part of North Wales presents such a rich variety of environments, both physical and human, for schools to use to enhance their work, it is not surprising that groups come to Marle Hall for field studies. Most groups come to study Biology and Geography, whether it is to reinforce classroom-based learning in key stages 3 and 4 or as a data collection opportunity for G.C.S.E., AS level or A2 coursework.
Bringing the textbook to life allows pupils the chance to gain an understanding of different environments and the impacts we have as a population on the world that surrounds us.
A fieldwork study truly compliments classroom taught theories, allowing students to reap the benefits of learning outside classroom.
Marle Hall has a supply of technical data collection equipment that can be used to supplement any brought from school, and we are happy to provide waterproofs and walking boots, which will protect you from the elements and make the experience more enjoyable.
Evenings are usually spent calibrating the data that has been collected, under the guidance and supervision of school staff. We have a laboratory, a lecture room and an outside classroom, any of which can be used for evening work, and we are hoping to improve our IT facilities available for your use in the near future.
Liz Walsh is our field studies expert and is usually available to provide assistance, if arranged in advance.
(back to top)
Environmental Studies (KS2)
Aimed at the Primary age group, a variety of environmental studies can be carried out within easy traveling distance from the Centre. These include:
This is an exciting day out for everyone, full of discovery, at one of the many beautiful beaches in North Wales.
We use locations on Anglesey and at Penrhyn Bay, and once there teams get to investigate a fabulous rocky shore that is teeming with sea life.
It is a challenge for some young people to try to find the well-camouflaged beasties in the rock pools, for some the challenge is identifying them, while for others it is facing fears and phobias and building up the courage to pick them up!
A visit to the sea zoo is often added to the experience and will open your eyes to the wonders that live in the depth of the ocean. The opportunity will arise for you to see everything from the smallest baby sea horses through to the Angel shark.
Follow a river from source to sea, walk around a mountain lake or wander down the Aber valley and discover the impressive waterfall at the end. You may look at how water speed or river shape changes and even take some measurements. You can guarantee that the experience will lead to a greater understanding of the ways that water has helped to shape our landscapes.
North Wales is not just about climbing mountains or canoeing across lakes. There is a whole different country with its own customs and language that is here to be explored.
You can visit the impressive Conwy Castle and walled town and learn about its medieval history; look at tourism in Betws Y Coed or LLandudno (listed as an alternative town study for KS2); or visit the railway station and learn how to pronounce the longest place name in the British Isles - Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – (and one that your spell checker may struggle with!).
After a day out discovering the environments and culture of North Wales, you will gain an appreciation of how learning outside the classroom provides you with a vital educational tool for use throughout life. You may well also learn something new about yourself as an individual or see new qualities in your team members.
(back to top)