A Grand Day Out
As the clocks were changing for the winter months, squad climbers from all the Parthian sites got together and celebrated what is the unofficial the end to the outdoor climbing season with a couple of days in the Peak District. Roll on Parthian Climbing Grit Camp 2023!
This was a Parthian first! We had representation from Manchester, Harrogate, Reading and Southampton. The aim of the weekend was to give the Parthian Squad kids a flavour of grit stone climbing and allow them to let off some steam before the end of a busy competition period. We also had the parents climbing, with some on a ‘learn to trad climb’ course, and some on a rock intro.
The weather was the only factor we couldn’t control, but fortunately we managed to climb outside on both days. After a late start on Saturday, we met at Stanage Plantation and organised the kids into their respective groups. Reading Coach Joe Olson, and Southampton Coach Alex Walker loaded up the bouldering pads and took the older squad climbers on a journey in search of dry rock! Their patience paid off and they soon had the kids climbing on classic grit boulder problems across the plantation area.
Manchester Coaches Mattia and Adam, ably assisted by Southampton’s Justine and Reading’s Charlie, lead the rest of the group to set up some ropes on a variety of Stanage routes. With a wide age group to look after, with the youngest being 6 and the oldest being 17, their local knowledge was put to the test! Unsurprisingly, they didn’t disappoint and everybody managed to find their limits and send appropriate routes. All the kids had loads of fun and enjoyed the challenges presented by the gritstone.
Whilst the kids were climbing, the parents were also having a great time. Marek from Manchester took two parents on day 1 of a ‘learn to trad climb’ course and Southampton Senior Instructor Andy Waterfield took a few out on an ‘outdoor rock intro’ course. The rest of the parents explored the local countryside. We ended the day in the pub, enjoying some food with a local beer.
On Day 2, out came the sun and dried up all the rain, and all the Parthian squad kids went climbing once again – this time at Burbage North. Mammut athlete Anna Wild joined the older kids, giving them additional encouragement and using her skills to demonstrate moves on some of the harder boulder problems. The rest of the squad had the combined Parthian dream team of Mattia, Adam, Andy W, Justine and Charlie. Who better to set up ropes and supervise them on a variety of routes of different styles across the day? In addition, everybody got to experience abseiling back down after successfully topping out on a route.
The weekend was the result of a huge culmination of effort and planning from all the Parthian sites. The instructors travelled a huge number of miles with a massive amount of kit to deliver a weekend of quality outdoor climbing for the Parthian community. A big thank you goes out to those guys for putting in the effort to make the weekend work.
When a Plan Comes Together…
It was also good for me to see the weekend from a ‘Parent’ perspective, rather than instructing! Whilst I was the main organiser, it was great to see the instructors from across the centres working together and taking control of the weekend. The kids from all the centres naturally gelled well and everybody was very accommodating! Tom (my 6yr old) made some new friends and was very upset to be leaving them at the end of the weekend! The instructors had nothing but high praise from the parents and the kids all came back very tired and most importantly – in one piece! A truly successful weekend.
Parthian Climbing are licensed by AALA (Adventurous Activities Licencing Authority) to provide outdoor rock-climbing activities for U18’s. We have a highly qualified and experienced team who can facilitate a huge range of outdoor climbing activities. Keep an eye out for next year’s Parthian Climbing Grit Camp dates and please contact us if you would like more information.
Written by Andy “Trad Dad” Fleming – Parthian Operations Manager