Driving me up the wall … Part 2

L and I arrived far too early for our climbing induction at the Colchester Climb Project.

We built in loads of contingency to our travelling plans because the roads at that time in the evening were normally full of slow commuter traffic.

We sat in the car outside the Climbing Centre.

We can’t go in yet. Too early.

We chat.

We don’t watch the clock.

We chat.

We realise we really have to go in.

We are greeted by a jolly chap wearing a bobble hat (and other clothes!) who asked us our shoe sizes so we could be issued with climbing shoes.

“They should be tight” he said.

Mine were excruciatingly painful so I asked for a size up.

Then Alex appeared (aka Aly) who was to be our instructor this evening.

A slim, bubbly lady with a great sense of humour. Also wearing a bobble hat.

It is chilly in this warehouse of climbing walls.

We were joined by Jeremy, a fellow inductee (is there such a word?) a charming Finance guy from the City, we learned, who looked remarkably fit.

Aly (who was simply an awesome trainer too by the way) has us doing warm up exercises before she leads us to the first wall.

She explained about the safety issues in some detail, what to watch for, how the walls were structured.

I did not want to go first so avoided eye contact with Aly.

Jeremy stepped forward and off he went up the wall.


I was next.

L looked on, hoping I would survive.

I surprised myself by following Aly’s guidance and reached the top and got down in one piece.

L did the same and when she got down we just hugged for a bit.

More relief than a need to keep warm.

A shared emotional experience.

We tackled other walls with gusto.

All encouraging each other.

No competitive egos here.

After 40 minutes Aly offered us the option of a cup of tea or a further 10 minutes climbing.

It was a no contest.

Tea always wins for L and myself as we watched Jeremy scale a few more walls.

We will be back.

We do hope we see Jeremy again too.

Next time with a family audience perhaps to confirm that we really did do it….

Driving me up the wall… Part 1

I blame my Gym Buddy, L.

She is prone to suggesting challenges that would normally be off our “sensible” radar.

I always accept her challenges.

I don’t know why.

Ok, we have completed bike rides and walks to supplement our regime of Yoga, Spinning and Pilates.

They are familiar activities and a walk in the park, literally.

But this time she suggested we tried out the local Colchester Climb Project near to where we both live in Essex.

It is a dedicated bouldering centre.

Bouldering is a type of rock climbing where there are no ropes, instead there is a foot of matting surrounding the climbing area to make falling more comfortable.

What an inspiring explanation.

Before I committed I suggested we visited the Centre to check out the facilities, the people running it and the climbing walls.

And secretly hoping it would scare us both off.

Our review resulted in us seeing a 10 year old girl behaving like Spider-Man (strictly Spider Woman) climbing up and down the walls without a care in the world at great speed.

We both sat drinking tea on the leather settees around the climbing area looking at other participants scaling the walls, with our hearts in our mouths.

Neither of us would admit to each other that it looked like a challenge too far.

We therefore signed up for the 60 minute Introductory Session a few weeks later and the dreaded day approached fast.

It’s probably best to tell you what happened in part 2 ….