Monday, 20 January 2014


I have a new hobby!

I went Bouldering again yesterday for the second time. Yes I know this blog is about firsts. Don't worry I'm getting to that ;)

So Bouldering - as represented in the above photograph taken in Berlin - is: "a form of rock climbing that is performed without the use of ropes or harnesses." Which sounds a lot scarier than it actually is. Although to be fair, so far I've only done it indoors with safety mats - which doesn't make it any safer; according to the waiver form you have to sign - I'm sure doing it outside on real boulders and hard ground to hit if you fall - which I hope to do at some point before the end of the Year31Project (the outdoor bit not so much the falling bit hopefully) - is a lot scarier. 

So basically bouldering is what you and me would call indoor climbing. Which is say, what I would have called it before I had been, but now that it is officially my new hobby - I've been twice and plan to go next weekend too - then I get to call it bouldering. You can still call it climbing haha.

As you will know - as you are an avid reader of this blog -  at the beginning of December I travelled to Berlin for a couple of days as part of a Year31Project challenge to travel alone for the first time. While I was there I stayed with a lovely French girl called Lea who as it happened was into climbing (something that was already on my list). & so luckily for me, Lea and her friends - who went indoor bouldering once a week - were going on my final night in Berlin. 

What a stroke of luck! Not only was I crossing off both 'travelling alone' and 'couchsurfing' - something I will be blogging about shortly - from my list but I also had the chance to cross of 'climbing' too. So obviously I jumped at the chance to go with Lea and her friends and I'm so glad that I did.

Now with a lot of the things that I plan to do this year - including karaoke and bungee jumping - I was fairly apprehensive about bouldering or any form of climbing - but especially bouldering as you have no safety equipment - because I am absolutely petrified of heights! Well actually in truth it's less of a fear and more a physical condition. 

I normally avoid heights whenever I can because as soon as a get a couple of feet off the ground my balance completely goes, I feel all wobbly and I either want to lie down or jump off (whatever high thing I am on: ladder, wall, bridge etc). I'm not very good with ladders but bridges and balconies are my worst thing. Especially if you can see through them to the water/road/etc below. I bypass them wherever possible, although obviously it isn't always possible. 

However, I also try not to let my problem with heights stop me. So in the past I've been seen clinging to a tree 15ft in the air attempting to saw it in half, climbing up onto school roofs to retrieve lost footballs and climbing the 1000 - extremely steep - steps to the fortress of Palamidi in the Greek city of Nafplio, all against my better judgment. & in the future I plan to try bungee jumping, sky diving and flying a plane (if I don't it will probably have more to do with a lack of disposable income than my disagreement with heights).

But as you can no doubt appreciate climbing was a bit of a challenge for me but one that I relished and one that I really enjoyed. I had a fantastic time climbing in Berlin. I loved it so much that I messaged my friend Sophia straight away telling her that we had to start climbing - sorry I meant bouldering haha - in London. And - although we didn't exactly start immediately on my return - she didn't disappoint and got a select group of - mostly - novice climbers together for our Sunday morning "Monkey Practice". 

Here we all are for the mandatory group photo:

And here's a couple of pictures of me in "action":

That's pretty high up for me. However, the going up is very challenging and extremely exciting and so the whole time you're climbing you're concentrating too hard and having way too much fun - hopefully - to think about the whole height issue (which shouldn't be too bad as you're only ever around 10ft off the ground... only haha). No it's the coming back down which is the problem. That can get a little hairy! But not so scary that it should be enough to put you off. It certainly isn't going to put me off!

No. Instead bouldering was so much fun yesterday that not only are we planning on going again next weekend but I've already started searching the internet for reasonably priced climbing shoes and chalk bags. 

BOULDERING my excellent new hobby! Be sure to give it a go if you haven't before. It's great exercise - expect to hurt like hell the next day haha - and it's great fun too. We went to 'The Arc Climbing Wall' in Bermondsey but I'm sure there are plenty of other great indoor bouldering venues that might be a little closer to home for you. 

Have fun. Be safe. But don't be boring. Lives too short!

& Happy Bouldering :)

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