I first started climbing over ten years ago when our children, Naomi and Tom, were young and had joined a local climbing group organised by Fiona! My husband, Mark, had learnt how to belay so they all encouraged me to have a go. I was absolutely terrified as I hate heights, but once I started to achieve certain grades and learnt how to belay, I was hooked!
Today, climbing is very beneficial, as it helps keep me fit and reduce my stress levels as I have a very demanding job as a midwife. I find whilst climbing, I can’t worry about work as I’m concentrating on the climb! Once you have completed a route, you feel a sense of achievement both physically and psychologically! I have also found fellow climbers to be a sociable bunch and have made some good friends over the years.
As a family we have arranged climbing holidays to various places in the UK and abroad as climbing is a shared interest which we can all discuss and support each other. One year we visited Tenerife and climbed in an area called Canada del Capricho on Mount Teide. The climbing area is inside the caldera and is surrounded by the remains of ancient volcanic activity. One day Mark and Tom persuaded me to do a 20m climb called Via del Diedro in the sector knowns as El Diedro (The Dihedral). At 4a, the climbing itself was easy enough but I remember feeling very exposed. Set on a high plateau with flat ground all round, broken only by the massive outcrops of pyroclastic rock, this a very different feel to the edges and sea-cliffs we are familiar with in the UK. Everywhere I looked were volcanic towers and in the distance the walls of the old volcano. Although I enjoyed the climb I was quite relieved to reach the top; my heart was racing! Tom then called out asking me to turn round for a picture. At this point I was quite agitated with him as I didn’t want to increase my already heightened sense of exposure and, despite the fact that he had been nothing but supportive through out, I very loudly told him to f**k off!
Ever since then this is route has been called my “F**k off !“ climb.