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In between that warm time and this slightly colder snowy time, lots of exciting things have happened in the Castle Garden. In early autumn, as the summer flowers began to die, our team of staff and volunteers were out seed collecting.  Although we weren’t the only ones! The birds, fearless of our giant scare crow, and its miniature underlings (mainly aimed at slugs), ate all the sunflower seeds, massacring the giant heads in the process! This means we will have to rely on seed swaps if we want more sunflowers brightening up the edge of the Forest garden next season.

I woke up early on Saturday morning and headed off to Reading with my Castle Squad team mates. We were psyched to check out the problems, as BlocFest always delivers amazing climbing. I was in the open category so got a chance to have a good look at all the blocs before I started.

The Reading centre had stripped the entire boulder area of problems so the only routes were the blue Holdz ones. This made it much easier to scope them out.

Last Friday 7th December, The Squad was pleased to open their boxes with their brand new uniform!

Our kit consists of black shorts (and leggings for the fashion-conscious girls) made by Prana, silver chalk bags by Metolius and the latest models of Evolv footwear. With the Tshirt design competition now over, we expect that in January 2013 we will have the coolest uniform in the whole of the South East region.

Last weekend I had the chance to attend the BMC Injury Prevention Symposium in Sheffield. Both Saturday and Sunday were packed with interesting lectures that gave us an overview of the different types of injuries that are common to climbers. We even had the chance to go for a little boulder in The Edge with the mighty Steve McClure.

After a few years of not competing, it was very satisfying to see that I still had it in me to get into a final and do well!  I wasn’t the strongest or fittest competitor, but I was probably the most experienced and it paid off. Here’s a few tips:

After many hours spent chasing invoices, looking at spreadsheets and working out emission factors we've finally published our Environmental Report for 2011. You can download it here. It's important to me that this information is available so that other businesses can learm from our experiences and help reduce their own carbon footprint.

If you just want a quick summary of the key facts, read on:

One of our customers, Jo Homan, recently wrote a great piece on the Transition Network website, talking about one of our great local landmarks and what it tells us about our attitude to waste. https://www.transitionnetwork.org/stories/jo-homan/2012-06/waste-not

It describes how the New River was constructed 400 years ago to deal with a problem that we still haven’t solved today and talks about some of the alternatives.

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