Saturday 10 May 2014

Trip to Edinburgh

Yesterday I woke up at half three in the morning to meet all the the Boulders academy BMC youth climbing series 2014 qualifiers at boulders. Boulders paid for us all to go on a trip to EICA Ratho climbing centre in Edinburgh. We went by plane because we were only going for one day. It was so generous of Boulders to have invited us on the training day. This trip was organised to give the Boulders academy a chance to practice climbing in the centre that is holding the BMC YCS final.

My brother Oscar and I were very excited about the training day and even more so when we saw our academy friends! I travelled in Leah's car with Leah, Gwen and Sophie. When we arrived at Bristol airport we stopped in Costa for a drink and to wait for the others to arrive. Eventually we went up stairs and noticed that everyone else had already pitched camp in the Costa upstairs.

Next, we were given our boarding passes ready to enter security. I was wearing boots so they made me take them off as well as my jacket and coat - I thought this was a bit unnecessary. We next tried to find the gate we were meant to go through and went the wrong way first until everyone turned around. I had no idea where to go so I just followed on behind them to gate 1. The plane was EasyJet exactly the same as the one I went on last time. The flight wasn't long so we were there pretty quickly.

After arriving we realised that the centre didn't open for another hour. So we stopped off at Costa for another break and had some breakfast. To get to Ratho we went by taxi as it was easier than hiring a car.

As always I was overwelmed by the massive-ness of the biggest climbing arena in the world. It really is a perfect centre!! The climbing arena wasn't open still so we had to sit in the Cafe for some time. While I waited I filled out a form for me and oscar that we had to do before we were allowed to go climbing. We were desperate to get into the climbing area so Gwen, Sophie, Leah and I went to try and find somewhere to fill our water bottles up because you aren't allowed water on the plane. It turned out going to find water meant going into the arena so we slid under the gate and went on to the balcony to see if there was any sort of water fountain or one of those water dispensers. We couldn't find one so we went back upstairs and asked the man behind the Cafe, he filled them up from the tap for us.

Once the centre had opened we all ran down the stairs to the gate, the gate was locked so some of us squeezed through the gap at the bottom again! After crawling through under the gate Tracy came with a card and swiped it for everyone else who were patient enough to wait! Simon next took us on a tour of the centre explaining where the toilets were and that there was another bouldering room underneath the balcony and that the bouldering rocks in the arena are used for the competitions.

After Simon had finished the tour he did a warm up with us. There was so much space because of the size of the arena. I ran up and down Ratho many times to get warm going along with the rest of academy. Then everyone then made a circle to do some mobility to loosen our muscles ready for climbing.

Finally it was time to climb, the first climb I did was the 30m 5+. I managed to top of this climb even though my arms were pumped at the last few moves. After belaying Sophie up the wall I realised that you can get more pumped belaying than you do climbing. The rope was really stiff because the route is so long. It was also a very old and staticy rope. I did loads of different routes until the big wall at the back of Ratho was free so I could have a go. I did a white climb on the left hand side of the wall and I got to the top!

Everyone soon was asking about lunch so we started to make our way upstairs to the Cafe. Sophie and me waited ages for Oscar to come upstairs when he was actually down stairs eating his sandwiches waiting for me to come give him more food - lazy thing. Eventually I gave up waiting and we joined Leah and Gwen by the vending machines to get a snack for later. We got them quickly because we were all starving. Everybody ate there lunch on the balcony to get a good view of Ratho and so that as soon as we had finished we could run back down the stairs and do some bouldering. I didn't eat slowly because I really wanted to go and try some of the bouldering problems.

When we got down to the bouldering mats I shoved my shoes on fast and ran to try my first bloc. My two favourite blocs were a V7 and a V6 which I manage to complete. Some of us went leading again after a short time but I stayed bouldering with Sophie and Gwen. We spent a long time working on some of the hard problems on the big rocks in the arena until we needed a new challenge. Then we went inside the small bouldering room under the balcony. There were loads of cool problems on the walls Joby even let us use his GoPro camera to clip on a hold so we could video ourselves. We each tried the problem and got a video of each of us doing it. After we had finished playing with Joby's camera we gave it back to him.

Next Phoebe and I went leading to finish the session before we got too tired. I tried a 7c but didn't manage to do it, we also did some falling practice but after that we were all tired so we went to the bouldering mats and got our stuff together ready to go back to the airport.

Oscar had never coiled a rope before so Owen taught him how. Everyone watched him drop a coil every time he grabbed a new one - it was really funny! Once he realised he'd dropped a coil he would chuck the hole load of rope onto the floor and start again! Joby filmed him struggling. Oscar did give in, in the end and someone else had to coil it quickly because so we could all eat before getting on the plane.

At the airport we had to go though all the security stuff before getting on the plane and it was extremely busy there. We had to queue for such a long time and when I got to the actual security bit I had to drink a 1L of water really fast. I hate security. Once we all got though security Tracy found us a place to sit while some of us went off to different shops to buy dinner. I was quite hungry. I went to Boots to get food with Sophie, Luca, Chloe and Emily. I forgot to take Oscar with me - oops. When I got back to the seating area I gave Oscar some money and sent him off to buy something with someone else by which time our gate was displayed and it was time to board.

The flight was a good laugh too. While I watched Gwen make loom bands Oscar was putting jelly beans up his nose and shooting them at people! By the time the plane landed we were all really tired. My Dad met me and Oscar at the airport and took Harry and us back to Boulders. I enjoyed the day very much.

Boulders Trip to Ratho

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