People gathered around the fire to sing songs led by the Castle Choir whilst children made recycled musical instruments and helped to hang cider soaked toast in the apple trees for birds. A Wassail is a traditional celebration of orchards, the rituals performed help to ensure a good and plentiful harvest for the coming year.
20 years have passed since the Castle was born as a climbing centre from its origins as a Victorian water pumping station. Rich in history and architecturally unique, this North London gem that is a community for many climbers deserved a good birthday bash. And wow did we have one!
Like the proverbial pig in muck, I’ve taken a genuine liking to jumping in the compost bins at the Castle during my garden apprenticeship. It’s a place to witness first hand the circle of life as scraps from the cafe and climbers rots and turns magically into dark rich compost that we then use to grow delicious new vegetables in.
We are in the season of autumnal abundance, with harvests occurring all over London’s gardens, growing sites and city farms. Hedgerows are plentiful and trees are laden with sweet fruits ready for the picking. Yet in many gardens around the city a great deal of fruit falls to the ground every year simply to return to the earth rather than feeding people. At the same time as this natural supply is ready to drop, the UK is importing apples and pears from countries as diverse as France, New Zealand and the South Africa.
As autumn arrives to mark the end of our Indian summer, the Castle is becoming increasingly busier and lively. In the next few weeks you may see a lot of fresh faces and keen novices hanging off the walls. Every October universities from around London, such as UCL, will be bringing new climbers to the Castle to let them try climbing for the first time. We are delighted that they have chosen the Castle as a space for their new climbing club members to have a go and learn the ropes in a safe environment.
The Castle ran its first Open Junior Bouldering Event on Saturday, 16th of May 2015 for young climbers aged 8 to 14. The event was held in the Loft with 4 categories competing on 10 blocs set specially for them. Many of the climbers were hoping for a place on the Castle's Climbing Academy next autumn- the first step towards a place on the elite Comp Squad. Castle Coaches and Junior Coaches were present offering advice and support to the young climbers.