A mindfulness practice for me usually looks like this: lie down; begin meditation; try to focus on my breath for a bit; think about something else; do a bit more focused breathing; wake up half an hour later, confused about how I managed to fall asleep.
‘Wow! A lifetime would not be enough to climb all the rock in this place!!’ – that was my thought when I first arrived in Asturias, a region in the North-West of Spain, in June this year. I have now just come back from a second trip, and I want more already!!!
My love affair with Asturias dates back to a day in mid-May when I was googling somewhere cheap to fly to in Spain at relatively short notice, to climb, of course. I stumbled upon Asturias on skyscanner.com. The flights were cheap! Even for the May bank holiday weekend, the return tickets were barely over £100. ‘I wonder if there is any climbing there?’ I thought to myself, so I looked around and came upon this article on UKC…and I knew straight away I had found something pretty damn special!
I had always wondered about these goofy-looking belay glasses that people sometimes sport at climbing gyms – I didn’t even know what they were at first, then I tried a pair on and felt vaguely dizzy.
The idea behind them is that you can see the climber above while belaying without having to lift your head and strain your neck for hours to keep an eye on them. They have special lenses that allow you to see like this.
In theory, it makes sense and I was always tempted to give them a shot, but I wasn’t going to fork out £40-£50 just to try them – and what if I didn’t like them anyway?
Continue reading Review: Climbing Frog Belay Glasses
Your perceptions of a ‘disappointing’ summer change quite substantially when outdoor climbing is the main goal.
This summer has at times felt distinctly British – we’ve had a coupe of properly hot weeks so far and a couple with mid-twenties temperatures in the heart of the city, but most of the time leaving the house without a jacket and an umbrella hasn’t been advisable.
This weekend I went back to Tintern Quarry, where I have already been before, but somehow it felt massively different and I liked the place so much more this time around. Everything worked together this time to make this weekend a breakthrough moment in my outdoor climbing so far this summer.
Tintern Quarry lies on the east bank of the River Wye, not far from Chepstow and just over the Severn Bridge if you’re driving from London. The Wye Valley will always be memorable to me as the place where I did my first trad lead, but the sport climbing in England hasn’t really managed to find its way into my heart until this weekend.
Continue reading A breakthrough weekend