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Zip WireLast weekend we held our first BIG Challenge weekend, a family event organised jointly by D3, who are based nearby, and our office. The aim was to attract family teams to participate and compete in various activities around the castle grounds. Luckily, the weather was quite good, if a bit cool, and we had almost 3,000 visitors over two days.

Teams had the chance to face an orienteering challenge, try a mountain bike course, climb high ladders, participate in archery and riding and descend the 250 metre zip wire from the top of one of the towers across the lake. The last activity, on a wire rope with a 20 ton breaking strain (we are told) was quickly sold out as it is great fun and only requires the participant to climb up a ladder to reach the top of the tower, with a narrow hatch acting as a tactful selector for those the right size to go on the wire.Siege Ladders

My 4 year-old daughter loved the riding and the climbing ladder, which was a home-made affair made out of tree trunks and branches roped onto them to form the rungs. They looked like medieval assault ladders, to lead an attack from the Lower to Upper Terrace, and worked well, even if climbers had to wear hard hats and be attached to safety ropes. But that may be why there were no injuries during the event, and everyone seemed to have a good time. I hope we can do it again next year. JH-B 3/06/10