Sport climbing in sunny Catalunya.

Sometimes a climbing trip becomes so much more than great weather, wonderful rock, deep learning experiences and rewarding achievements. The great people, wonderful ideas, deep thoughtful moments and rewarding sources of motivation combined with the climbing to produce a profoundly refreshing week.

As an occasional freelance instructor for The Castle Climbing Centre, I was fortunate to be offered a free place on a Climb Catalunya yoga and climbing trip for Castle customers – food, accommodation and transport in exchange for my contribution towards the smooth running of the trip.

I joined Caroline, Emily, Fabrice, Paola, Paula, Rachel, Satu and Yasir for a week of yoga, meditation and climbing in the beautiful Montsec mountains – south of the Pyrenees in north west Catalunya and packed with a mouth watering range of single pitch sport climbs and adventurous multi pitch routes up to 650m in length.

Our days began with up to 2 hours of meditation and yoga, followed by breakfast, a full day at the crag, an hour of yoga before dinner and a half hour meditation before bed. We could dip in and out of the schedule as we saw fit – sleeping in, resting in the shade or relaxing and chatting.

A week without phone or internet, with plenty of time and opportunity to meditate and practice yoga with our fine teacher, Sudaka, alongside climbing and simply being in nature brought a welcome change in perspective to the busy pace of life that comes with developing a new business in London.

In addition to Climb Catalunya, Gee is the founder of Eco-Dharma – a Buddhist community offering courses, events and retreats which ‘support the realisation of our human potential and the development of an ecological consciousness’. Meeting Alex, Carol, Gee and Rob (all of whom live in the Eco Dharma community and help to run the Climb Catalunya courses) was an un-expected blessing that made the trip into so much more than I had hoped for. Time spent with them has encouraged me to consider Mountain Magic’s values more deeply and explore with renewed enthusiasm the bigger picture of how I would like my work to grow and develop.

As if the week was conspiring to fill with me fresh ideas, new perspectives and sustaining outlooks, Yasir introduced me to a website called TED, with the slogan ‘Ideas Worth Spreading’. I really can’t recommend the site highly enough. Amongst some entertaining and thought provoking talks, I was particularly moved and inspired by Sir Ken Robinson and his talk entitled ‘Bring On The Learning Revolution’. After years of frustration with our education system and our government’s approach to children and young people, this was music to my ears.

Environmental sustainability and nature-based, person-centered education are themes I am particularly keen to explore and incorporate into Mountain Magic’s development. Perhaps Mountain Magic’s first steps towards working in education and the environment are just around the corner…

Oh yes, we did some climbing too:

Paola poised and focussed.

Paola poised and focussed...

... and relax.

... and relax.

Emily well balanced...

Emily well balanced...

... and enjoying every moment.

... and enjoying every moment.

Yasir in the zone...

Yasir in the zone...

... and cruising to the top.

... and cruising to the top.

Not that way...

Not that way...

... it's over here.

... it's over here.

Posted: October 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Education, Environment, Spain, Sport Climbing | No Comments »

Sport climbing course in Portland.

Dagmar and Thomas drove to Portland with me for a great weekend of clipping bolts in the sun. We stayed at my mother’s place in Weymouth, really handy for Portland and close to Swanage, she charges £30 a night for a comfortable double room with use of her kitchen and bathroom. 

After lead climbing indoors for a few months, now was the time for Dagmar and Thomas to venture out onto the rock.

Saturday was a scorcher! We began with some easy routes at The Cuttings and moved to Fallen Slab on Blacknor Beach in the afternoon. The Fallen Slab is in a great location right by the sea and offers some wonderful routes for climbers at the beginning of their sport climbing journey.

On Sunday we returned to The Cuttings in the morning before moving to some quality lines on Blacknor South in the afternoon.

“I have to admit it was a bit of a struggle to get up this morning, but was definitely worth it! We really enjoyed the weekend.” – Dagmar
Dagmar climbing Fallen Slab.

Dagmar climbing Fallen Slab.

Thomas on the photogenic Fallen Slab Arete.

Thomas on the photogenic Fallen Slab Arete.

Thomas on the steep and sharp Six Good Biceps.

Thomas on the steep and sharp Six Good Biceps.

The view from The Cuttings.

The view from The Cuttings.

Paul on Jam at The Cuttings.

Paul on Jam at The Cuttings.

Thomas on It's My Life at Blacknor South.

Thomas on It's My Life at Blacknor South.

Paul climbing Lifeline at Blacknor South.

Paul climbing Lifeline at Blacknor South.

Posted: August 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Portland, Sport Climbing | No Comments »

Sport climbing on Portland.

Andy, Jim, Jin and I drove down to Weymouth and stayed at Mum’s place for the weekend.

The Saturday morning rain dissappeared to leave us with a wild and windy day in the sunshine at Cheyne Wears:

A windy day at Cheyne.

A windy day at Cheyne.

After a good buffeting we walked along to Wanderlust, a brilliant overhanging route with huge holds and a cruxy finish. No photo of this one but it was easily my route of the weekend.

We finished the afternoon at Battleship with Don’t Drive A Car When You’re Dead:

Jim

Jim

Paul on Don't Drive A Car When You're Dead

Paul on Don't Drive A Car When You're Dead

Jin

Jin

Jim on Don't Drive A Car When You're Dead

Jim on Don't Drive A Car When You're Dead

The Sunday brought more rain but we pushed on regardless and were rewarded with a fine sunny afternoon at Blacknor. Andy put his camera down and focussed on enjoying some great climbing. Thanks Andy for some great photos! You can see his Parcours photography at www.kiell.com

Posted: June 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Portland, Sport Climbing | No Comments »
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