Hayley Matthews: What is the etiquette in a jam-packed skate park?

Finding things to do with the wee one (who is two and very adventurous) is now become really tough.

Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 7:00 am
Skateparks are often jam-packed

It's hard to find something that he's not done before, plus I think we've done about every park you can think of. With the warmer weather teasing us with what could be the start of a nice warm spell, it does make getting out more pleasant.

I don't know how many times we've come home recently with bright red wind chilled faces and cold noses so when all you can do with the wee ones is go outside, the warmth is so welcome. Finding exciting things to do in our area with the "stay local" advice, means we need to be creative.

I've known about the skate park near St John's school in Portobello for some time but we've never really appreciate how fun and popular a space it is. After going at the weekend and finding it relatively quiet, I was amazed at our two year old whizzing about and loving life on the slopes. We do get a lot of comments on how he's very good and sturdy on his scooter for a wee yin, but I put it down to him studying his nine year old big brother and having absolutely no fear.

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So I decided to kit the wee yin out with a Fireman Sam helmet to encourage a bit of safety as well as some knee pads.

With me now feeling reassured that everything was a bit safer, we headed up to go and enjoy the mini slides, "car slides" as he calls them. We didn't get on because it was heaving!

All the big guys were skating, swirling and gliding about. I instantly thought it was too busy until I saw a little girl who looked about four learning to skate with her dad. I asked if this was the quiet corner but the the mum laughed nervously and said absolutely not to go on. But her wee kid was there on the outskirts with her dad and seemed ok? She said the older guys don't care about the wee ones and boards go flying about the place.

She was concerned for us so as I told the wee yin "no", (a word he does not like to hear) he sped off in a desperate attempt to try and join in with the woman's daughter on the small slope at the side. I swiftly lifted him as a grown man swooped down missing him my an inch. And so I headed off walking away with a very upset little boy under my arm.

So I suppose what my question is, what's the etiquette in such a place? I always thought it was all ages and abilities that were welcome here to enjoy this space, otherwise how do you learn? And surely the wee kids are allowed on too? I have friends who take their kids to this skate park who are p1 and never have any problems. I'm just surprised that there isn't any info up, any guidance of even why there isn't a part for the bigger "pro" skaters and a smaller slope area for kids of primary age and under.

If we want to use this space do we need to go at the crack of dawn? Send help! All I've been asked since our visit is "go car slide park mummy!".