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Travel Wales

Zip World Velocity 2

Last year, while my brother and his family were visiting, we went on Velocity 2, the fastest zip line in the world. It is based at Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda, Gwynedd, and is the longest zip line in Europe (1555 metres – I’m not sure if this is the total, including the little zip too). Depending on how much you weigh, you could reach 100mph as you fly down the wire.

I would definitely recommend the experience: it is exhilarating and an adrenaline rush. There is a smaller zip to get you started, then you get in the red truck to go up to the start of the big zip. The views from the top are fantastic: the North Wales coastline and Snowdonia mountains; then you fly over the beautiful blue Penrhyn Quarry lake.

You ‘zip’ lying on your front, with all limbs tucked in and if necessary, you’re also given a sail to slow you down. Velocity used to be for one person at a time, but now 4 people can zip alongside each other, and it’s a bit like a production line.

You cannot take your own camera – they provide REVL head cams – but don’t have to pay up front (like I did). They attach them to everyone at the top and you can decide at the end if you want the video and stills. The video is great quality but I would’ve preferred a video from my point of view rather than my reaction. I think it’s a real shame they don’t have cameras that can provide that option.

Travel Wales

Zip World Titan

Back in 2017 my family and I went on Europe’s first 4-person zip lining experience. I took my head cam and put together a video of it, which was very long and not very exciting. I have now shortened the video to mostly just keep the zip lining and not the in-between bits.

Zip World Titan: the first 4-person zip line in Europe

Zip World Titan is part of Zip World Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales. Because you ride in a sitting position, you can look at the views all around you, of the Snowdonia mountains and the slate mines.

You can reach a maximum speed of 70mph, but this depends on weather conditions and your weight. Mum and I were nowhere near that speed! You can also increase your speed by tucking your knees up and leaning backwards.

We have also been on Velocity 2 – Titan’s big brother – in Penrhyn Quarry. This used to be a single zip but is now also a 4-person zip. This is the fastest zip line in the world, with speeds up to 100mph.

Unfortunately you can no longer take your own cameras on either of these zips: instead you can use their REVL camera and get a video and stills of your reaction, rather than the views. I’d recommend the experience and the picture quality is great, but I’m disappointed with my Velocity 2 video, which is basically my face, with a bit of the quarry and lake around the edges.

I’m never sure if it’s Zip World or ZipWorld, but either way, at the Slate Caverns you can also do a zip-lining course in the caverns and Bounce Below, which is trampolining inside the caverns. There is also a nice cafe on site. And if you’re interested in the slate mines, there are Slate Mountain tours where you can learn more about it and go into the Deep Mine.

Sport Wales

Bone of Contention

Pick a contentious issue about which you care deeply — it could be the same-sex marriage debate, or just a disagreement you’re having with a friend. Write a post defending the opposite position, and then reflect on what it was like to do that.

Daily Prompt (but I’m only doing the first part – complaining!)

Not really issues I care deeply about, but a couple of things that have really been getting to me.

The first is about the hard time Rhys Priestland got from the rugby fans, which led to him needing professional help; and the fact that the Welsh coaching squad asked the fans to give Dan Biggar a chance to keep the pressure off him.

Priestland did get quite a lot of stick, and some very nasty comments were made. I don’t think I said anything majorly harsh about him personally, but I did question the choice of him over Hook when he had played badly in game after game.

My bone of contention is why the fans are being blamed for this. We weren’t giving him a hard time for no good reason: he made many mistakes again and again. And if it wasn’t for the coaches selecting him again and again, we wouldn’t have had any reason for complaining.We just couldn’t understand why the coaches apparently couldn’t see what we could.

And my second bone of contention is the volume of anti-rugby posts on Facebook during the 6 Nations. Yes, lots of people support rugby just for those 6 weeks and post statuses about the scores. Yes, they only support the national team and don’t support a domestic team.

But let’s take a deeper look at this. First of all, I and most of the people I know are in North Wales. Our regional team is the Scarlets, who are based in Llanelli. Which is in South Wales. Go figure. So there aren’t really any local teams for us to support for the rest of the year.

And secondly, rugby doesn’t get much media coverage, except during the national games such as the 6 Nations. So excuse us for getting a bit excited for a few weeks of the year.

What really gets to me is that most of these comments come from football fans who hate rugby. What do they really have to complain about?! Football is everywhere from August to May, and even longer if there are international games on.

Why can’t they just leave our time alone?

Maybe I’m completely in the wrong and I’m the only friend of theirs who doesn’t give them a hard time about posting football statuses, or tell them they should support Welsh rugby because it’s patriotic. I doubt it. I think I’ll just need to remember to shift them all to my ‘acquaintances’ list before next year, so I don’t have to put up with their comments.

I’m trying to get into regional rugby, but it’s difficult when you don’t have a real reason to support a team, and just want to choose one. We have a relatively new team up north – RGC 1404 – who are looking pretty good and are (I believe) supposed to be our regional team and regional development base. But I’m unclear as to whether they would be able to get into the Pro12, or just be able to get promoted to the Premiership. And they’re still a bit away from that.


Hate to Love Wales

Supporting Wales has been difficult this Six Nations. Not because we’ve lost almost all the matches, but because the players don’t seem to care.

There are 15 guys on the pitch at any one time and only about 3 of them look like they’re trying. This is a fitter and stronger side than there has been for a long time, and yet they amble around the pitch while the oppositions run. So many mistakes creep in – and really careless errors – so are they just not that intelligent?

I say there are 15 guys on the pitch at any one time, but discipline has been so appalling that often this isn’t the case. This isn’t peculiar to Wales – it’s a problem for all teams in the tournament and one that needs to be sorted.

But back to Wales. Andy Powell isn’t a legend for getting caught drink driving a golf buggy down the M4. He’s a stupid boy. He had it all, and because of that, he lost it all.

Playing for and representing your country is a privilege. It’s not a chore. It’s not something that should be expected. You have to deserve it. You have to earn it.

I worry for the future of Welsh rugby if this is a sign of things to come. Rising stars who seem to think they’re owed something because they have some talent? You still have to work for it. This isn’t football, but it feels like it’s going that way. Shame. The gentleman’s game will be no more.