Gemma’s first time…. Canyoning!
I found Intrepidus Outdoors on Trip Advisor and booked for myself and some friends to go a trip canyoning to the Dollar Canyon. I have done adventurous activities before both in the UK and New Zealand, but this was my first time canyoning and like nothing else! We were collected from Edinburgh city centre (in a fancy mini bus) and taken on a REAL adventure. Canyoning, for those of you that don’t know is amazing, and mental (check out their YouTube video). It involves a bit of adventuring through the countryside, getting into a steep river gorge, scrambling down some water obstacles, jumping into the clearest mountain pools, using natural slides and abseiling down waterfalls!!! I’m scared of heights, especially hanging on ropes and freefall, so it did seem like an odd choice for me to sign up for. BUT! It turns out that I definitely need not have worried! The guides really looked after me, Ross put me instantly at ease with his professionalism and thorough explanations of what would be happening during the adventure and taught us how to stay safe.
Me and the rest of the group had a total blast sliding down natural slides that catapulted us into deep pools, laughing at the faces we pulled as we popped back up for air and marvelled at our abseiling skills (like Charlies Angel’s… or that’s what they told us 😉 ). Many of us were novices or hadn’t got much experience on ropes before, but everyone managed the course successfully with loads of smiles and laughs (apparently we we’re naturals)!
How the day went…
We were met by the mini bus in Edinburgh and drove to Dollar with notably good tunes (once the first DJ was overruled – sorry David!) The sun was out, the banter was good and the kit was great (immaculately kept, new and fitted us all well) -this was a good start!
We donned our gear (wetsuits, harness, helmet, wetsuit socks and fancy canyoning boots) whilst the guides set up a rope course in the car park for us to practise the skills we need to “survive” as they put it, like abseiling safley. Briefing done and we were off on a uphill hike to the start of the canyon for the watery fun to begin. We got into the water and set about walking through a stream to get acclimatised, ducking under logs, feeling about at the rocks under our feet and enjoyed a few comedy slips. As the canyon started to steepen the first real obstacle was us getting onto a rock and sliding off with a bit of free fall into a deep pool. It looked safe crazy, but after a demo it was time for me to slide myself down. What fun, I felt like a child in a giant play park! That was enough for me to know I was going to have a good time and be confident for the rest of the day.
There was more sliding and opportunities to jump into pools for those less faint-hearted than me. Then it came to the abseiling and a little bit of rock climbing where you had to edge along a small ledge whilst tied into the rope. All in all it was adrenaline fuelled (and turbo charged) but felt safe and secure with no pressure to do more than you were comfortable with. Watching the guides jump into pools with style and no fear was super cool – one day maybe I’ll be able to do that! I didn’t want to get out when the time came. I was super proud of myself, had loads of fun and just wanted to do the whole thing again. Which i will!
If you are thinking of giving a shot, I would highly recommend it. It’s a great adventure to have and would be great in small or big groups. There’s something for adrenaline junkies and a tamer option for those who are a bit nervous. Superb day and well worth the money. I heard there is a more scary canyon – I’m giving that a shot next!
Thanks for listening to my experiences on my first time canyoning!
Lives in Edinburgh, likes sports, plays roller derby, lectures in nutrition, weirdly hates heights and LOVES canyoning!