Canyoning

Whilst in the Alta Rocca Mountains we decided to go canyoning. For those that don’t know, and there can’t be many, canyoning is a fancy word for throwing yourself, and your kids, down a pristine, freezing cold mountain river. Location southern Corsica.

On the morning of our canyoning expedition we were running late and as we arrived at our rendezvous point we were hastily bundled into the back of a beaten up van and driven to the canyoning site at breakneck speed. For poor Claire, who had so far survived the windy bus ride to the rendezvous, this was the final straw. She literally had her hand covering her mouth as we careered down the winding mountain pass. The back of the van had no seats, no seat belts and no windows and it felt a little like we had been abducted. Milly was a little taken aback by the mode of transport. I assured her all was well and that when she was older and went travelling in far flung destinations this form of transport would become the norm. She looked at me curiously and tightened her grip. It wasn’t to be the last time today she thought her Dad’s judgment to be seriously lacking.

The pace didn’t let up once we arrived as we were presented with our gear; helmet, wet suit and harness. We quickly put it on and tagged on the back of the group picking its way along the side of a steep ravine.

To enter the canyon proper you had to descend the first rock slide, about 8m high and steep. Ben, Oliver and Milly were all looking a bit nervous so I offered to go first. They looked at me with wide eyes as I pushed off and accelerated towards the clear deep pool below. As the cold water rushed over my head I had to really control the urge to gasp for air. It was seriously cold. I bobbed to the surface gave the kids the thumbs up and swam to the rocks.

As Milly, Oliver and Ben surfaced, their faces were pure shock and awe.  I helped them scramble up the rocks at the end of the first pool and as I looked at them I thought that was it, day over. All three of them were wearing the giveaway “what the hell have we let ourselves in for” faces. I said it would be ok and milly gave me another look that said…Dad, seriously!?!

After the next few rock shutes and an abseil the kids had found their stride and were loving it. Leaping off rock shelves into the river, being thrown onto rock slides by our french guide and having a wonderful time. The river was pristine and high above us we could see the granite needles of the Alta Rocca.  Quite an incredible spot.

After 2 hours of insane fun, the finale was a rock shute which you descended backwards before being flung into the air and landing in a pool below. It was a phenomenal experience. All the kids did it, and we were so proud of them. It was scary, fast and high but they all conquered their fears and dropped in to the shute.

All of us had a great day out and at 40 Euro a pop it was exceptional value.

The canyoning was run by an outfit called Xtremsud. They were first-rate. The guide we had was excellent and spoke good English. He had a great manner and knew when to push the kids and when to help them. He took the time to get to know us and was professional and safe. If you are in southern Corsica and want to head outdoors for some  fun, hit them up.

 

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