The only good weather day during the Bank Holiday Easter weekend was Good Friday and it was booked by the Paris family at Symonds Yat.
It was fun and frolics from the word go. Daz, Pip and Lissa were full of enthusiasm and couldn’t wait to get going. Within 5 minutes they said ‘ We have fallen on our feet here – we are so lucky to have found you’ – a great start to the day.
We headed down to The Golden Fleece area which we luckily had to ourselves – unheard of on a Bank Holiday. I led the route demonstrating good footwork, only using my hands for balance – taking my hands off from time to time showing them than corner climbing was just about transference of weight and pushing with the legs.
I then demonstrated how to bottom rope belay using a knotted rope. It was whilst my group were practising this that a hoard of people from Reading Climbing Wall arrived and started climbing less than a metre from our route. I politely asked the lead climber if he would stop standing on our ropes and then turned and asked the young man belaying if he knew anything about climbing etiquette. My clients who were complete beginners had already asked if this was normal behaviour.
The Reading group eventually realised how difficult they were making it for me to allow my group to climb safely when they dropped rocks and ropes upon us, and moved away apologising profusely. Fortunately my group were unfazed by the interruption and also pointed out to me that their belaying was unsafe. Both Lissa and Daz climbed to the top in good style; Lissa cruised it. Pip made it over half way with excellent technique, her fingers getting too cold which made her arms tire too early.
We moved to a quieter spot in the sunshine via a steep scramble that was great fun. Everyone had the opportunity to practise their belaying technique and although they were backed up by a third person, it wouldn’t be long before their belaying was safe for them to belay independently. Darren and Lissa also learnt how to tie on using a figure of 8 knot.
Pip reached the top of Rootin Toot and both Lissa and Daz flashed 7 Deadly Dwarves and Farewell – a HS 4b. Both struggled on the crux of Farewell but understood how crucial precise footwork was on the more technical route. Lissa almost gave up, suggesting she had a rest on the rope but I pushed her into trying harder, making sure she had her weight on her feet. She made it and was so pleased she didn’t give in.
All too soon the day was over. I can’t believe sometimes how lucky I am to do the job I do and meet such amazing people every day. Pip, Daz and Lissa were pleased by how much they had learnt and how quickly they had progressed. I hope it won’t be too long before we meet again.
‘We had such a great day, thanks so much for your fantastic teaching and Darren says your jokes weren’t that bad either. We all enjoyed being with you. Love and hugs P.D and M xxxx’ Pip Paris