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.
At the Castle we work closely with the clubs to make sure there is minimum disruption to the centre due to the large numbers of new climbers. We want to also keep our current customers, you guys, in the loop about this.
Starting the end of September we invited the supervising members of each university club to attend safety seminars on how to teach best practice to novices. Two sessions were run by the wonderful instructor and duty manager Julie to cover the important aspects of teaching people how to belay.
LSE were the first group to bring their freshers this week. Their club president, the friendly and well organised David, arranged a taster session for 20 odd keen climbers, new and experienced. We made the decision to rope off the quarry for their event. This helps us manage the numbers and means the rest of the climbing areas are relatively free for your use.
This will also be the case for a few evenings next week. The quarry area will be cordoned off for the students on the following dates & times:
Monday 5th Oct: 7pm till 9pm
Wednesday 7th Oct: 2pm till 6pm
Friday 9th Oct: 6pm till 10pm
14th Oct: 2pm till 6pm
Why do we choose to close an area for this? Firstly this makes it easier for the duty managers to keep an eye on those new to belaying. We all remember what it is like to learn this fundamental skill, it can be daunting with many things to remember, and at the Castle safety is our number one priority. Secondly, it minimises chaos in the centre. We are expecting 100 or so new climbers on the 7th. It will make the centre busier, but with an area roped off for them our current customers can climb in all the other areas in peace.
Climbing is not just a sport, it is a great way to socialise and meet new people. We hope these new climbers will not only fall in love with climbing, but also make new friends and can start their new term with a sense that they are trying something new and empowering.
The photos in this blog were taken by LSE from their visit. The feedback was great. Skills were learnt, fingers sore and spirits high with a well-deserved pint in the Brownswood after.