Get your skates on…
Cornwall’s mild winters mean we tend to miss out on snow fun and games. When I was ten I lived in the States in Michigan, where there was white stuff on the ground for six months. We could cross-country ski from our front door, and tobogganing on the nearby golf course was a total hoot. Another favourite pastime was ice skating. The town council used to flood the municipal tennis courts with water to transform them into an outdoor rink. A pair of cheap skates from K-Mart, gloves hat and scarf, and I was perfecting my inside and outside edges like a budding young Jayne Torvill.
But you don’t have to go Stateside to enjoy a bit of ice magic, The Eden Project’s winter wonderland has fun skate sessions for everyone.
From toddlers to young children, absolute beginners of all ages, intermediates and speedy ice pros, skating is the kind of pastime where it doesn’t matter what level you are. It’s all about having a go, and maybe honing your skills if you’re not a first-timer. But if you’d rather just sit back and watch the thrills and spills, the rink-side cafe serves steamy hot chocolate and festive mulled wine.
General skate sessions at £7 per adult and £6 per child, they last 40 minutes and begin on the hour. Bargain. Sadly my kids are all grown up, but for anyone with little people, Eden’s penguin skating aids look ace. Ideal for helping young skaters gain confidence on the ice, as long as the user can walk and reach the handle okay, they can waddle round the rink to their hearts content.
Available to hire for £4, and with engaging names like Polly, Peter and Pip, it’s like being in their very own version of Happy Feet. For tinies who don’t fancy whizzing round in circles, there are special non-skating ice-play sessions with fun toys to play with (must be accompanied by an adult) while Sunday Chilly Junior sessions for 6-12 year-olds who can skate already, feature races and games to bring out the smiles.
But what’s really great is that wheelchair users can have a go too. Having a brother who’s a paraplegic I know how frequently disabled people are excluded from activities, so it’s brilliant that ice skating isn’t one of them. Health and Safety dictates no electric wheelchairs (but you can borrow one of Eden’s) and manual wheelchairs must have a waist strap. Carer’s skate for free if they’re pushing.
So wrap up warm, wear thick socks to avoid blisters (tickets include skate hire), gloves to ensure your hands are warm and protected from skate blades when you take a tumble, and be prepared for bruising – arnica cream works a treat!
Open until 19 February 2017, you can view the full timetable and pre-book here: www.edenproject.com. A valid Eden admission ticket is required for all sessions.
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