I think it’s fair to say, my first few weeks with LUMC have been pretty eventful. As a self-confessed couch potato, that would rather be eating pizza than climbing mountains, I figured I would drag myself outside to see some of what mother nature has to offer (besides pizza). So I signed up to the freshers climbing trip to see what this couch potato could manage. After getting carried away at the pub the night before, and then waking up at the unholy hour of 6 o’clock in the morning, it was safe to say I was not on top form. But there’s no better way to quell a hangover than fresh air (apparently). After a much needed nap on the minibus, I awoke to find myself in what I thought was middle earth, but as it turns out it was actually Windgather Rocks in the Peak District.
We really couldn’t have asked for better weather for climbing that day, and after spending the majority of the summer in front a computer, the opportunity to gain some kind of tan was definitely welcome. We began the day playing “ninja” (which I am yet to fully grasp) whilst the more experienced members set up routes. We started off by learning how to safely tie ourselves in and then were shown how to belay, after ascending my first route and despite the subsequent harness induced wedgie, I knew that climbing was for me. After a few more climbs and an overpriced Shell garage meal deal to sort me out, my hangover was cured and I had an awesome rest of the day meeting some of the members of LUMC.
After a few days off from climbing due to injury (I am very clumsy), I went to one of Liverpool’s local indoor climbing centres: Awesome Walls, to learn how to lead climb ready for the climbing day trip to Holyhead. As a North Walian (yes, it’s a thing) with so many amazing places on my doorstep to walk, climb and do all manner of outdoor stuff, I have shamefully done very few of these things. So to get the opportunity to see where I live in another light, was definitely one I wasn’t going to miss.
After another early start, we arrived in Holyhead about 9:30 and were met with some amazing views of Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula. After a quick scramble up to Holyhead Mountain and some coffee, I was paired up for the day with Matt, the president of LUMC. We started off with “Wandering Primrose” a VD (Very Difficult) route which I was quite proud of having climbed fairly easily. Until I found out that means it was very difficult like a hundred years ago, and is now considered very easy with modern climbing gear.
We carried on to some of the other slabs further along the mountain, and passed some of the more hilariously named routes: “Trouser Snake”, “The Elephant’s Arse”, and “Spreadeagle Crack”. Also I want to say a big thank you to Matt, for teaching me and for being so patient whilst it took me the better part of an hour to do my first lead climb (I owe you a pint!). After watching the sun set over the Irish Sea, we made a quick stop at a pub in Holyhead for the mandatory post trip pint, before we headed back to Liverpool.
I’d just like to say a big thanks to everyone in LUMC for literally showing me the ropes, and for being so welcoming.
Conor (Bastille Dan)