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Reviews

Film Review // Looking Up // Cara Howard

I don’t think I really consider myself disabled I’m just ‘me with removable parts’.

Selling itself as ‘The highs and lows for female paraclimbers’ this charming short documentary features some of the best female paraclimbers in the UK.  Think Sianagh Gallagher and Fran Brown, as well as Esme Hart and Alex Taylor.  Each of these inspiring women brings something different to the story.

Film Review // A Story to be Told // Emma Whittaker & Silver Sloth Productions

A Story to be Told is a short bio of Rachel Simpson, an inspiring woman who overcame the physical limitations of the condition hyper mobility to become an avid mountain biker. Her reflections on coming late to the sport and going through the pains of her condition are interesting and will provide anyone with a long term condition affecting their mobility hope that all is not lost and that it’s possible overcome physical challenges through persistence and determination.

Film Review // Beyond the Clouds // by Justin Tracey

“I want to challenge myself really physically, something that’s ‘out there’, but not for an ordinary person.”

This film charts one of the most uplifting and truly inspirational stories entered for the Women in Mountain Adventure Film Competition.  Sandra Scott is 68 years old.  On retirement she took up running and this film is about her attempt of the Joss Naylor Challenge – an ultra run of almost 48 miles, taking in 30 peaks and 17,000ft of ascent.  Sandra wanted something that would really give her a physical challenge and the film is a real nail biter.

Film Review // From the Heart // by Ellie West

“Let nothing prevent you living that dream”

Alison O’Neill is a shepherdess like no other and this short film charts her thoughts and contemplations on life in the hills, being a woman and the inspiration that the landscape brings to her.  The visual imagery is stunning and her voiceover throughout the film takes us on the journey of her upbringing to her story of bringing up her daughter on her own as a shepherdess on a farm in the stunning Lake District.  

Film Review // Blue Hue // Natasha Brooks

Winner of our Women in Mountain Adventure film competition 2015 with the BMC, ShAFF and Sport is Beautiful this film is truly stunning. Charting Natasha Brooks’ exploration of wild swimming in the UK it is a visually arresting testament to what one woman can do with inspiration, an idea and the confidence to follow a concept in spite of what others might have to say about it.  The film features Natasha, as well as being self-shot & edited by Natasha, who is an artist based in Snowdonia.  It is accompanied by a stunning soundscape which captures the mood of the film perfectly.

Film Review // Aleksandra Taistra in Oliana // by Zofia Reych

Aleksandra ‘Ola’ Taistra is an incredibly well respected and accomplished sport climber from Poland.  This film is a short film about her climbing in Oliana and her climbing ambitions.

The film has some really nice shots, which work together to create a film that flows well.  Production quality is good – it’s all about the climbing, so you get a lot of bang for your buck.  A woman’s physiology is different to a man’s, so it’s important for women to be able to see other women climbing, to be able to learn and develop.  It’s a good showcase of what training and commitment can help you to achieve in climbing.

Film Review // 14 UK Summits 2014 // by Megan Loats

This short film charts Megan as she walks 14 summits in 2014.  What I really like about the film is its honesty in showing someone doing a challenge with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors without the need for fancy gear or specialist equipment.  The changing British weather is perfectly captured as Meg counts up on her fingers each summit as she reaches the top.  The film really encompasses lots that you might encounter on a hill walk in the uk – bad weather, poor visibility, scrambling, steep descents, lunch soon a rock in the wind.  What I like most is the smile on everyone’s face – they look like genuine smiles of people who are enjoying what they’re doing.

Film Review // 3 | 6 | 5 // by Emma Whittaker

This incredibly short short film, weighing in at only 1min 46 seconds, is perfect evidence that a film doesn’t need to be hours long to inspire and engage.  The film reframes a year into seconds, minutes and hours to encourage reflection on what we actually do with that time, and what we could do if we took advantage of our time to do something out of the ordinary.

Film Review // Scaling the Whale // Shyla Lee

It’s tempting to think that only extraordinary athletes or ‘other people’ can get out into the mountains and enjoy what the hills have to offer.  This gentle, but inspiring short film documents a professional woman, over 30, using the hills as release from the pressures in everyday life, with work and other distractions placing increasing demands on us.  Shot very simply and taking the pace down a notch, and then some, the film’s pathos provides a great reminder of how entwined we are with busyness.

Film Review // Fran // by Jen Crook

An insightful short film, which looks into the life of Fran Brown, powerful athlete and world paraclimbing champion.  The film focusses on how Fran went from being in a wheelchair through a spinal cord injury to becoming a climbing world champion, through to her aspirations for the future.  What is interesting is the voice over of Fran talking about what doesn’t work in her body, alongside visuals of the body she has trained into doing things that you wouldn’t imagine someone with in a wheelchair could do.  It turns around your beliefs and gives a sense of the possiblities, in climbing and in life.  The film is incredibly understated – calm and reflective in manner – it’s an incredibly powerful piece of filmmaking.

LLAMFF // Llanberis Film Festival // Film Screening

LLAMFF logoJoin us for a free film screening event at The Heights hotel in Llanberis on the weekend of International Women’s Day to watch a set of 14 beautiful short films featuring women doing adventurous things around the UK and beyond.  From walking to climbing and wild swimming to mountain biking, you’ll definitely get your fix of inspiration and adrenaline from these films – the entries to the BMC Women in Mountain Adventure Film Competition 2015.

Ten cool things about Windgather…

  [caption id="attachment_527" align="alignright" width="300"] Sunset at Windgather Rocks[/caption] Easy walk in (30 seconds!!!) Fantastic for beginners as it's short and has a lot of easier routes No midges Friendly chatty people Family friendly and dogs Easy to find and access Plenty of parking [caption id="attachment_518" align="alignright" width="224"] Evening climbing at Windgather Rocks[/caption] Lovely gritty...

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How to Improve your Route Reading

route reading31By Emily Pitts // Route reading is like solving a puzzle. It involves time, skills and attention. These are some exercises you can use and practical things you can do to help you get better at finding solutions to your climbing puzzles, focusing mainly on indoor top rope climbing, as a mechanism for improving and moving on to lead climbing indoors and climbing outdoors.  There’s hopefully something in here for beginners, but also people who are more experienced climbers.

Prana Halle Pant // Review

imageBy Jacquie Budd // Around 10 years ago, Prana produced a women’s trouser called the Borego.  I loved those trousers (so much that I bought 4 pairs over time) and every person I came across wearing them raved about how fantastic they were.  It was a sad day when Prana stopped manufacturing the Borego’s and I’ve spent years looking for something to rival them.  Enter the Prana Halle trousers.  

It has to be said that the Halle’s are a completely different animal to the Borego’s but I think I could come to love them just as much. 

South Sinai Expedition 2015 // TXC

Sinai Women Climb 20TXC invite you on expedition to south Sinai, Egypt.  This expedition, led by international Mountain Leader* Anne Arran, will take a group of adventurous women into the mountains of south Sinai to put their stamp on this emerging new climbing destination and enable women to:

  • Experience the thrill of climbing first ascents
  • Challenge mind and body with the endless bouldering problems up for grabs
  • Become immersed in the beauty of the local scenery and culture
  • Hopefully make friends for life!
What is the women’s climbing symposium?

Sign up now for the UK’s best climbing event just for women designed to bring together everyday women who climb with the UK’s top female climbing professionals  – coaches, nutritionists, celebrities, physiotherapists, trainers, speakers, and much more.  Saturday September 27th sees the return of the now annual Women’s Climbing Symposium.  The first event was in 2011 and each year it travels to a different venue around the UK – The climbing Hangar in Liverpool, The Arch in London and, this year, The Climbing Academy in Glasgow.  Essentially it’s about sharing the passion and the love of climbing, whether you’re just starting out climbing or an old hand.

Climbing at Malham Cove // Yorkshire

By Jacquie Budd // When I was 5 years old I moved to Malham.  Growing up there, the fields and rivers were my back garden. Sitting with friends on top of Malham Cove and playing rounders in the fields below the Cove was just normal life and I was totally unaware of the importance that climbing had in the area. The only time I did become aware of any climbing taking place was when the odd emergency siren went past our house and my Dad spoke the infamous words we came to know and love “that’ll be another climber fallen off then”.

Becoming a Munro Bagger: Part 1

The first in our series about becoming a munro bagger.   By Beth Thomas.

After reading an article in TGO magazine early last year I decided to become a Munro bagger. This is not as creepy as it sounds. A Munro is a mountain in Scotland of a height of at least 3,000ft and there are 282!

The article in question was on the Charlie Ramsey Round, a fell run challenge covering 24 Munros in under 24 hours! However I am not a superhuman and neither was the author of the article who wrote about walking it in 4 days. Even this looked like a challenge, a beautiful, tough wild camp challenge.  It was a good 12 months before this plan came to fruition when I convinced my dutiful and just as unassuming partner to do it with me.

Day 1- Expect the unexpected!

Becoming a Munro Bagger : Part 2

Day 2 – Just because the tunnel has corners doesn’t mean the light isn’t at the end!

first nightI woke in high spirits and opened the tent door to a view, which made up for our unfortunate start. Directly facing Ben Nevis I squatted over and tried to wee into the wind (a shewee would NOT have been great in this situation! it was far too windy and I fear it would have created a sprinkler effect upon leaving the spout).

porridge

Becoming a Munro Bagger: Part 3

Day 3- The hard way may be hard but it’s so much more fun.

descent viewThe next morning we were both sore and stiff after sleeping on some awkward rocks but got going after a bowl of porridge and sultanas (and a call of nature!).  I found the first 3 hours of the day quite hard physically due to my legs being so tired from the day before and starting immediately on steep downhill loose rocks.  However, once I found my stride again it was as if my legs we reborn and I was ready for some more Munros!

Space below my feet – Gwen Moffat: Book Review

gwen moffatt imageGwen Moffat’s direct and impassive writing has accompanied me all the way to the alps and back.  Now, having finished the book, I feel quite bereft, but equally uplifted and inspired by this wonderful woman’s unpretentious record of her feats of climbing and living, from just after the war in 1945, through to the 1960’s.

gwen moffatt climbingHer frugal writing seems to mirror the nature of her lifestyle, deserting the Land Army and travelling the country from Cornwall to Skye often with little more than a sleeping bag for company.  She lived a humble existence, sleeping in barns, under trees and next to rivers in all weathers, sometimes not eating for a few days at a time, whilst gradually building up a brilliant portfolio of climbing experience.  

5.10 Rogue VSM Womens Shoe Review

At first I thought these shoes had it all – 510 rubber and quality, tight soft fit for smearing, cheap and comfy. I guess the ‘comfy’ bit should have given it away though – despite being pretty cheap, I thought it was going to be a...

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What is… Kettlercise

kettlerciseKettlercise is a fat burning, body toning intense kettlebell workout session of around 45minutes to an hour. There are 37 x minute-long kettlebell excercises which are easy to follow and done alongside stimulating music with a dynamic and fun instructor demonstrating the exercises at the front of the class.  Kettlercise is a specific brand of kettlebell class, so the instructor will need to be officially recognised (and trained), with the workouts structured and developed according to the Kettlercise program, for maximum results.

Yellow and Blue Adidas Terrex Fast Jacket
Review // Adidas Terrex Windstopper Fast Jacket

Love… 

The wind-stopping capabilities. The fabric. Superb functionality.

Price:     £145

This jacket has been given an incredibly thorough test – climbing at the crag, in winter mountaineering conditions, for running, at the climbing wall and day-to-day.  It has coped very well indeed.  All * ratings out of 5

Design *****

Yellow and Blue Adidas Terrex Fast Jacket This jacket has a slightly retro feel to it, but with all the things you need in all the right places.  The pockets are a good size and in the right places.  It’s a perfect marriage of form and function.  The colour is good – a change from the tedious pinks and purples with which we women are ordinarily presented.  

Katy Stocks // Interview

Katy Stocks is a collector and researcher of women’s mountaineering literature.  Her passion for women’s mountaineering writing has led to a 25 year endeavour to catalogue Women’s Mountaineering literature across the globe.  Katy’s work is an inspiration and she hopes to encourage more women to write stories, short and long, as well as poetry and biographies of the mountains, their people and the exploits.  Katy has given over her list to you and I to use as a guide and motivator to read more and write more.  

What is… Bouldering?

Kilnworx Climbing Centre10Bouldering is unroped climbing, which is usually lower in height than other climbing routes, both indoors and outdoors.  Indoors the highest bouldering problems are around 5 metres high.   There are often crash mats below to help protect you if you fall off.   Indoors, these mats are provided, whereas outdoors, you carry a bouldering mat to the boulder with you.

People often mistake Bouldering as ‘practice’

Buying a Waterproof Jacket


How to choose a Waterproof Jacket 61
I have recently taken the plunge and made the decision to replace my 12 year old jacket and enter the world of modern fabrics and design.  I thought I would jot down my experience and share it with you.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that staying dry is the key to staying warm.  I spent a lot of time researching different jackets and trying lots on before making a final choice.  This is definitely advisable if you are thinking of spending your hard earned cash, as a good waterproof jacket will set you back anything from £120 to £500 depending on what specification, fit, fabric, style, brand and colour you’re after.  Don’t feel under pressure to buy until you are happy with your choice.

The History of Women and Mountaineering…

Katy Stocks is a collector and researcher of women’s mountaineering literature.

A shelf full of women's mountaineering literature... a delight to see.

A shelf full of women’s mountaineering literature… a delight to see.

Her passion for women’s mountaineering writing has led to a 25 year endeavour to catalogue Women’s Mountaineering literature across the globe.  Katy’s work is an inspiration and she hopes to encourage more women to write stories, short and long, as well as poetry and biographies of the mountains, their people and the exploits.  

Kuhl Splash Roll Up Pant // Review

Kuhl pantBy Jacquie Budd // I recently came across Kuhl clothing and decided to look online for a pair of trousers.  Aware that I feel uncomfortable climbing and walking with anything which feels too tight across my midriff/hips, I looked specifically for a relaxed fit.  The Splash Roll-up Pant fit the bill and had good reviews.

The trousers are a mix of cotton, nylon and 3% spandex and feel quite a heavy trouser for warm weather in the summer months.  However, the flipside is that they feel a super durable trouser and I think they will really come into their own on cooler autumn days at the crag.

The fabric is advertised as quick dry but (unbelievably for the UK) I still have to find a rainy day to test this out (ssshhh!). 

ROCfest 5.0 2014 // Rock Over

ROCfest 5.0 2014

ROCfest 5.0 is a bouldering competition, in Manchester on Saturday 1st February 2014, designed to give everyone a chance to compete in a friendly environment.  We’re putting in some teams and we would love it if you’d join one of our teams.  So far we’ve got about six people signed up to compete, with people bouldering at grades V1 – V6, so there’s a real mix.  We’ve been promised that no-one will get 0 points!  

Ladies’ Night // Rockover Climbing

bouldering outdoorsNaomi Buys is the star coach leading Rockover’s new Ladies’ Night – fortnightly on Thursdays, starting on 16th January 2014.

The sessions are designed for anyone who wants to improve their bouldering with the guidance of a skilled and experienced coach.

You can join the sessions whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete beginner – Naomi is experienced in coaching people at all levels of skill, strength and confidence.

Climbing in Costa Blanca in March

By Hannah Thomson // There has to be no giddier a team than two girls from Hull finding themselves in a rental car on the Spanish coast on a Sunday morning in March on their way to climb in Costa Blanca. Lydia and I had met working at Rockcity Climbing Centre the previous winter and, after hearing rumours of sunny sport climbing abroad, we booked flights to Alicante and worked out the rest afterwards. We found cheap accommodation at the Orange House near the village of Finestrat and hired a rental car from Alicante airport which made getting to the many crags a piece of cake. That, and we had managed to borrow a guidebook (from the 80s) and commandeered a SatNav. Oh, and a brand new 60m rope belonging to one of our friends.

KMF 2013 // Spice Girl // Hazel Findlay

Cimbing runner1Four StarsThe Verdict: This film is most definitely worth 25 minutes’ of your life.

Prior to seeing this film the Kendal Mountain Festival was somewhat littered with macho precedents, so this was a beautiful break. There was no better introduction for me to one of the most self-effacing and talented trad grit climbers in the UK.  

KMF 2013 // Petit Bus Rouge

If you're an adrenaline junkie or an adventure queen, then this is for you…. a phantasmagorical journey with the most outrageous circus performers, clowns, climbers and jumpers you've ever set eyes on.  Gripping from the first second, it's a sensational journey with a group of...

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Women’s Climbing Symposium 2013 // Dynamic Climbing

Dyno climbing moveLeah Crane and Shauna Coxsey, both from Team GB bouldering team, took this workshop during the 2013 Women’s Climbing Symposium at The Arch climbing wall in London. We were split into 2 groups and I was in Leah’s. I had watched Leah at many a competition event and always marvelled at her flying-squirrel like tactics so was eager to learn her secrets.

WCS 2013 // Awkward Holds

How to use slopersYou could feel the buzz from the moment you stepped in, instantly spotting all the elite climbers milling about and chatting with other attendees.  Initially I was a bit star-struck, but they were so friendly and welcoming it felt like you were just there with a load of mates.

The workshops I attended were Awkward Holds and Dynamic Climbing.  I was looking forward to an afternoon of talks including Rebecca Dent’s talk on nutrition and losing weight safely.

Ten Great Christmas Presents for Climbers

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 14.49.57Over the past year I’ve made lots of friends through climbing and one of the things that accompanies friends is birthdays and buying presents.  I always leave it until the last minute and then find myself faced with the dilemma of either a) buying a substandard gift or b) spending more money than I want so my friend receives something s/he deserves.

Women’s Climbing Symposium 2013

Climbing HandsDo you want to climb better?  

Then the WCS is for you.  If you don’t know about it already, you should.  This year’s Women’s Climbing Symposium is upon us – taking place on Saturday November 2nd at The Arch Climbing Centre in London 9.30am-6.30pm.  What a great line-up the WCS team have put together for us this year – Angela Soper, Fran Brown, Anne Rigge, Jen Randall, Eva Lopez and Rebecca Dent to name just a few.  They’ll be covering everything from nutrition to yoga and training to testing yourself – and all in relation to climbing and at every level – from beginner to competition climbers.

Women's Climbing Symposium 2013

They have a handful of last-minute tickets available (we’ve heard on the grapevine), so if you log onto the website now, there may be one left just for you.

Best Places to Boulder in the Peak

Bouldering overhang at Burbage SouthWith winter setting in and the nights drawing close, I think it’s time to consider bouldering as an outdoor option that eats less time and helps you to avoid frostbite in the chilly weather.  Here are our Peak District Top Tips:

Best Peak Bouldering venues

1.  Curbar //  Top Tier // Right Hand Side

Forty ish problems graded 3-5 – perfect for beginners.  Around 15 minute walk-in.  Parking available in bays nearby – does get busy in summer.