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The Castle Partial Reopening - The Outdoor Boulders!

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Plan Your Visit

Following the government advice on leisure activities, specifically that “more outside spaces will open if they can do so safely, including outdoor gyms and playgrounds” we are really pleased to say that, after some careful planning, we’re able to reopen our outdoor boulders. We consider the boulders an outdoor playground – don't you?
 
We’ve got extra security measures in place to keep the area safe for everyone, so please read on to find out everything you need to know before you return to the Castle. 
 
Only the outdoor boulders 
 
It’s important to know that we are not reopening the main centre at this time, it is only the outdoor boulders which will reopen on a strict pre-booked basis.
 

Advance Booking Online Only

We will not be taking payments on the door. You will need to book your slot online, in advance. This way we can manage maximum capacity and keep social distancing whilst we climb.
 
All slots must be booked individually, though you will be able to book for more than one person at a time. Please note there will be no supervision during this time and all members of your party must be competent, independent boulderers. 
 
 
How It Works
 
There will be a limited number of people in the climbing area at any one time – no more than 36 climbers, plus our staff
All climbing will be in Single Visit 2-hour time slots, which must be booked in advance online
We will be welcoming current, competent climbers only – no beginner courses or novice supervision for the time being, until we’re confident we can offer it safely
You will need to sign a Participation Statement and have an up to date waiver.
 
Contact free entry and exit
 
Booking online means you’ll have contact free entry and exit to the boulders, showing your booking confirmation on your phone. You must bring your own shoes as our hire shoes will not be available.
 
Facilities 
 
It will be a lean and simple set up at first. Our unisex composting loo will be available, with hand washing sink plus antibacterial gel available, but there will be no access to the main centre, including for those who have left items in a hire locker. A mini Castle Café drinks stand with cold drinks and pre-packaged snacks will be available, but as always, we recommend you bring a reusable water bottle. There will be no changing or shoe hire facilities – come ready to climb! 
 

Competent Climbers only

For now, we won’t be opening up to anyone – you’ll need to be a competent boulderer already, and we won’t be opening to first time climbers or anyone who needs supervision from a competent climber.
To join us, you will need to be a competent, independent boulderer. You need to:
 
Have been bouldering before – if you want to come for the first time read below*
Be able to climb unsupervised
Know the basics of climbing movement and how to downclimb at the end of a problem 
 
If you are interested in bouldering for the first time, then this is not the best environment to do it in. We will be resuming our popular intro to bouldering course soon.
 

Memberships Remain Suspended

At this time we will be unable to resume our memberships offering as before. Trying to balance the benefits we want to offer for our members, and what we can safely provide, has proved impossible. At the moment, we can’t offer unlimited access to the outdoor boulders whilst restricting numbers safely. It is for this reason we have come to the conclusion that we won’t be able to reinstate our memberships right away. For now, we will be operating on an exclusive pre-paid single visit basis.

Those members who have chosen to continue to run their memberships during this time have been contacted directly already.

 

Wet Weather Policy - Updated! 

Unfortunately we can't control the weather! Following on from feedback from you, we have updated our wet weather policy.

In the event of adverse weather conditions, we reserve the right to cancel your pre-booked sessions. If we have to cancel, we will inform you via email before your session.

Cancellation by the Castle will be due to heavy rain or high winds only. Chill or overcast weather, or light intermittent rain will not be considered reason enough for us to close the climbing entirely. Cancellations will be at the Castle’s discretion.

If you feel unhappy climbing in light or intermittent rain, you have the following options:

- Give us prior notice of a minimum 4 hours that you feel uncomfortable climbing due to the weather. There should be a chance of precipitation on a weather app. 
- If you arrive at the centre and decide you feel uncomfortable climbing in the current weather, you may decide within the first 30 minutes that you would like to abandon your climb, or if the weather changes dramatically within the first hour of your session. If this is the case, you must speak to the Duty Manager on the day before you leave the bouldering area in order to approve a refund. 
- If you choose not to attend a session without informing us, or leave early without speaking to our Duty Manager, you will not be refunded. 

Please bear in mind we are receiving a higher than usual amount of customer queries at this time, and we're working with a reduced staff team as many of our employees are on furlough. This means our response time is slower than usual. We thank you for your patience as we work through a high volume of messages. 

For more information see our Terms & Conditions.

Changing Your Mind

If you need to amend or change your booking for reasons other than the weather or symptoms of COVID-19, you may do so up to 48 hours in advance of your session start time. 

Unfortunately, at the moment we cannot switch your session over to a friend, as each booking is made under an individual's name. We cannot transfer across as each person needs to check in using their own credentials - i.e. each climber needs the relevant waivers for climbing registration, plus each indidvidual must sign the declaration saying they have not expereinced COVID-19 symptoms - and we don't currently have the ability to swap it over. Sorry, we're working with our tech buddies to see if we can update that - none of us want these slots to go to waste! 

Coronavirus & Climbing

All climbers will need to sign our particpation statement before booking a slot, confirming that you have no symptoms of COVID-19 and you have not had close proximity contact with anyone who has in the last 14 days. 

If you have covid-19 symptoms within 72hrs of your session please follow NHS guidelines and stay at home and order a free test. To receive a refund for your session we require you to forward your test results.

Refunds will be given for a positive or negative result – we simply require you to have this proof of symptoms. Please note, we cannot offer refunds for general illness.

 

New Terms & Conditions

Please read our new T&Cs carefully, there have been changes in light of the changes to our operations. 

Download

Terms and Conditions

 

Why so many restrictions?

Even with the boulders being outside and totally ventilated, by keeping small numbers of people we can keep everyone safe. Even though we are outside, just to be sure we will be sticking to the 2m rule. By only operating on a carefully controlled basis, we can ensure strict safety measures in place to protect your welfare and the welfare of our team. Thank you for your understanding and co-operation!