One of the teaching staff at Concord College, just south of Shrewsbury, has been keen for some time to encourage the pupils from the College to get involved in various outdoor activities. In an attempt to see this get properly off the ground, he has started up a Mountain Sports Club which has gained the interest of 14 students that have signed up for a series of nine activity sessions over the course of the year. Today was the first of these, for which we met at Llanymynech for an afternoon of climbing. Not all 14 were able to make it, but the 12 that were able to be there had a great afternoon in the sunshine. I’d arrived early to set up a number of climbs before they arrived and found myself striping down to a T-shirt in the mid October heat.
Many had not climbed before, so it took a little while to fit helmets and harnesses before looking at how to tie in and belay effectively. However, in the knowledge that we will be doing more sessions during the year, I’m sure it will be time well spent.
Once underway, they worked in groups of three – with two belaying at the bottom while the third made an attempt at the climb. I’d actually opted to set up three quite difficult routes, and one easier one, to give them a challenge. Not everyone managed to get to the top of all the routes during the afternoon, but I was impressed by the determination of some and the natural technique of others. While some struggled to find a way over, past or around certain sections on the routes, others elegantly tiptoed past them while others relied of brute strength and determination.
It was a very successful afternoon on all front. Perfect venue, wonderful weather, great company and lots of fun. A fantastic start to the year’s programme of activities. I’ll see you all on Saturday for a bit of canoeing!