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This article isn't about teaching technical skills so I am going to presume that you already know how to boulder and climb safely and instead simply provide some pointers on good family locations for anyone who isn't so familiar with the Peak district. 



Starting with bouldering an obvious contender is Robin Hood Stride and Cratcliffe boulders, always presented as two separate venues in the guidebooks they are really just opposite sides of a public footpath. Lots of short, easy rocks to try and a great place to picnic, play hide and seek or generally run around and explore. Robin Hood Stride itself is a small hilltop surrounded by rocks so you can almost always get out of the wind by choosing the right side. 

The main boulder field in the Burbage Valley provides plenty of challenges for older children and climbing parents but for younger children try the area of low rocks at the extreme southern end of the rock faces near the disused quarries (around SK 26483 80908). The Rockfax bouldering guide calls this area The Kindergarten and it is generally great for small children, just be aware of the drop off at the western side of a couple of the boulders. Slightly north of here, below one of the quarries, is a low angled, heavily pocketed slab of rock which isn't in the climbing guides because it is too easy. That makes it absolutely perfect for dropping a rope down for small children and is a great example of what is available if you keep your eyes open for opportunities. 

For roped climbing Birchen edge has long been popular with families for good reason. The climbs are generally short and mostly in the lower grades although many have tricky starts which can be disheartening (using a bent knee as an addition foot hold to get children started can often circumvent this problem). Start with the Gangplank at the extreme left of the crag and then pick whatever looks good as you walk along. Further fun can be had on the boulders at the top of the crag or by exploring the mini caving trip to be found behind Porthole Buttress. 



A personal favourite would be the 'Crazy Pinnacle' in Tegness Quarry. The climb itself is a relatively simple, blocky route graded Difficult which is a reasonable proposition for most active children. However as it climbs a free-standing pinnacle, as a parent you will need considerable technical skills to get both yourself and your child to the top and back down again safely. If you succeed then reward yourself by walking around to the North Quarry where there is a great spot for a picnic or by heading back to the nearby Grouse Inn for a well earned Coke and packet of crisps. 

Most of the gritstone edges provide opportunities for younger climbers but Windgather and Burbage North are particularly suitable, as are certain sections of Stanage if you are prepared to explore. The limestone cliffs are generally too hard for most children with the one exception of Harborough Rocks which is excellent. 

Let's go!

Hopefully this article has given you a few ideas to get you started on your next family adventure. There really are countless possibilities, particularly when you start to combine different activities into a single day. 

Before setting off remember that everything will take longer than you expect and make sure you are prepared for that. If you are in any doubt about your own ability to keep everyone safe on a particular trip then wait until you have gained more skill, experience and confidence. 

But, no matter what level you are starting from, there is an adventure that is suitable for you, so get out there and have some fun!

Written by Gavin Moy - Pure Outdoor Senior Instructor



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