Wednesday, 1 October 2014


So I'm on Lewis running an SPA training. Yesterday we started at the Sport Centre Climbing Wall and did almost 5 hours looking at good practise and group management issues in the wall as well as having a play with some less familiar toys.
 Testing assisted breaking belay devices
YY Belay Glasses- think we've got a sale!
Today we were of to Mangersta to look at some personal climbing and a little rigging. After a discussion about the scope of the Award  with regards to the approach (a scramble) and the objective hazards (a large drop into a boiling sea) we all added some layers (to cope with the gale) and got to grips with some gneiss climbing. Always good to visit a brand new crag! Route one saw Toby cleaning a little loose rock- unfortunately the offending rock ended up chopping his rope in 3 places (!!) the cuts being so vicious that they'd actually melted the core in part. Luckily there was enough rope to get him off- problem solving made real!
 Topping up at the stream before the walk in
 View from the wee bothy
 Just to the left…. not your typical SPA venue….
 Great to climb at a new venue
Triple Oops!
Everyone got some leads in and we looked at abseiling to retrieve Toby's gear since his rope was now to short to reach his second! Then we turned to rigging for groups with pros and cons of different systems, equalising 2 and 3 point anchors and methods of protecting yourself working near crag edges.
 Topping out
 Following to check out the gear
 Attentive team
 Cold hands!
 The crag
 Just check my funky extendable nut key cord...
 Not every day you see a Clog Cog placed any more
 Yes… that is a crutch
How old? Paul… tell your wife I said you HAD to replace it!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Development Coach training and MTA workshop

A BUSY weekend.
I've been running a Mountain Training Development Coach Training at Glasgow Climbing Centre with 2 of their coaches. There was a limited amount of new information I was able to give these quite experienced coaches in terms of theory but that didn't stop us putting plenty of stuff into practise and thinking on some of the 'bigger picture' roles of Development Coaches such as the major differences in coaching beginners vs improvers, mentoring Foundation Coaches and considering LTPD pathways beyond their students'  immediate performance goals.
On saturday evening I was also running a short MTA workshop for SPA Trainees/Award holders. This was an informal opportunity to talk through some specific techniques of interest to the 4 members who came along, some information on bolts that was new to them and some general principles in terms of 'good practise' vs 'best practise'. We were still at the crag chatting well into darkness!
 Observation skills using Coaches Eye
 Hand stand fail!
 Blez hates knots… he's a boulderer
 The guys needed a duffer to coach- they got me!
 Alastair on sacrificial protection and bolts with MTA members
 The what and the how
 That one
ttPp component of coaching on steeper ground

Friday, 26 September 2014

Sunny autumn rock

A fine autumn day as Max and I took our WHC Adventure Tourism Degree Students east to Kingussie  to avoid the rain. My 4 were all good to get on the sharp end to get some more real climbing mileage and each of them led two routes- top marks to Nathan for a new wee VS tick to add to his experience. We had one heavy shower at lunchtime but otherwise it was cool, windy but dry. Definitely autumnal now rather than summery though!
Glasgow bound now for a hectic weekend and week beyond...

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Indoor Leading for Abernethy Trainees

A fun day teaching the Trainees from Abernethy Trust to lead climb at their on site climbing wall.
Climbing warmups
Spot the beanbag
Silent deadly beanbag ninjas got a bit violent!
Head and hips
Clipping, figuring it out for themselves
 Trailing a tail
 Nice commute home

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

SPA Assessment Day 2

Congratulations to 4 new SPA Holders for a chilly day's work!
 A little bit of history recognisable to any Glasgow climber
 Alan contemplates taking up knitting
If only this route was twice as long...