Where it started

A list going round on Facebook, February 2016: "which of these items have you experienced" etc. Some yes, some no, some didn't interest me. However, it put some ideas into my head, and I figured it was time I followed some of my friends in committing them to (virtual) paper. And then trying some of them out. The first challenge was undertaken on 1 March 2016, and I have no intention of ever completing the list: the more I tick off, the more I'll add.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Indoor climbing

James is a friend from my favourite local theatrical family, the Sewell Barn Theatre. He is an experienced climber - inside and outside varieties - and offered to introduce me to the former.

Having had my first try at 'budgie-hooping' just the night before, I knew I was putting a lot of strain on my not-very-strong arms; but I also knew that if if I didn't take the opportunities at the first available diary slot, I'd probably lose my nerve!

I met James at the wonderful Highball Centre in Norwich. He took plenty of time to explain the various walls, colours of boulders, and levels of difficulty; we hired my climbing shoes (not very comfortable but for hire shoes that's fair enough); and gave it a try.

I was surprised that the boulders - colour coded for difficulty, but all looking tiny at first glance - were not quite as difficult to hold and stand on as I anticipated. With James' encouragement and guidance, I successfully negotiated a couple of the 'starter' walls, reaching a place where I could touch the top boulder before coming down again, and even managing a couple of foot changes (there's a proper term for it which I've forgotten!).

After an hour or so we took a break (for a cup of the wonderfully OTT hot chocolate for which the Centre is renowned). We then returned to the walls and I tried a couple more. On the more challenging (sloping) walls I couldn't, naturally, manage to ascend as far, and by this time my arms were starting to really protest. However, we then also had a go at the climbing (with ropes - like a rope-and-pulley effect with James acting as my counterbalance). Again, I could only manage to get up about half of the wall before losing my nerve, but I could see how this different style might enable me to climb higher on another occasion.

Finally, we sampled some delicious soup and first-rate home-made sausage rolls for supper before calling it a night.

I will definitely return to the Centre, hopefully with James' help, but they also run taster sessions and courses; and I'd be able to apply some of these skills to outdoor climbing once I've got a bit more confident. I've also been encouraged by friends in the Mother Nature's Diet community to try outdoor climbing, which is on the list.

Huge thanks to James for his patient and generous help, and for such a brilliant evening.

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