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Operation Moffat // Film Review

By Emily Thompson // I’ve been hiking up mountains most of my life and as such have a passion for reading and seeing films about other people’s adventures and achievements. Unfortunately these are frequently dominated by men, most of whom are household names and well sponsored, enabling them to carve out careers in mountaineering and climbing.

Women’s Climbing Symposium is back!!

If you’ve never been to WCS this is the year!  Put 17th October 2015 in your diary and book your WCS tickets now, before they all sell out.  This year sees an absolutely stellar line-up at the Women’s Climbing Symposium, which takes place at the Climbing Works in Sheffield on Saturday 17th October.  We have no vested interest in promoting the event, other than it looks like the best collection of female climbers, together, in the same place, in the world, EVER!  And they will be coaching, inspiring, entertaining and supporting you to climb more, to climb better and to dream higher.  You can get your tickets on the Women’s Climbing Symposium website.  If you’re still not convinced check out the line up:

Ladies Climbing Evening // Boulder Central // West Brom.

*Boulder central are running a bi-weekly ladies climbing night – every other Friday from 7pm.  These women’s climbing nights are designed to be fun and sociable, as well as including training by experienced female climbing instructors.  It’s not just instruction that you get.  Boulder Central are rewarding women with a free cuppa and free shoe hire included in the standard entry price.  The centre will be open as usual to men and women, but you can take advantage of these great perks at no extra cost.

Book Review // One Green Bottle // by Elizabeth Coxhead

By Katy Stocks // One Green Bottle is possibly one of the most iconic novels about rock-climbing ever written. The novel’s heroine, 18-year old Cathy Canning, is living and working in the working-class slums of post-War Birkenhead when a chance meeting with a rock-climber leads to her first foray into the mountains of North Wales. Propelled by natural talent, gutsy determination and a fierce love of the mountains, Cathy soon becomes the ‘diva’ of a small community of rock-climbers based around a fictional youth hostel in North Wales.

One Green Bottle

I hate the gym
Boulder problems, campus board and gym equipment at PT Hut Stockport

Boulder problems, campus board and gym equipment at PT Hut Stockport

By Emily Pitts // I’ve only ever been to a gym twice in my life and I hated every moment. I felt like a fish in goldfish bowl and a fish out of water at the same time. I couldn’t get out fast enough. In fact the last time, I actually did a runner out of a class at a Virgin Active gym after 25 minutes, because I felt like my life was seeping away, it was so boring. I hate the gym. Hate hate hate it. I hate the idea of slogging away inside, when the weather is nice outdoors. I hate the idea of ‘working out’ with a bunch of muscle bound men who want to gawp at my sweating, heaving, struggling body, while showing off their massive pecs, as I struggle away picking up a 5kg weight.

Film Review // First Ascent // Katrina Brown

This is a charming film about someone going out for a walk topped of with a little scramble.  What’s really lovely is that the protagonist is only about 2 years old, yet still she manages to get kitted out and prepared all on her own, using a map to walk up a hill and experience the outdoors.

Film Review // Climb Like a Girl // Nicole MacGregor

“That’s a good question.  It doesn’t really matter does it, as long as you enjoy climbing?”

The expression of doing something ‘like a girl’ has become a familiar insult in the UK, usually words spoken by boys and men as a way of belittling each other or others.  This film, by Nicole MacGregor, seeks to challenge and explore what people actually think it means to ‘climb like a girl’.

Film Review // Barre des Ecrins // Laura Simpson

This clearly hand-made film by Laura Simpson gives the viewer a quick glimpse into the higher world of the Ecrins Massif in the Dauphiné Alps in France.  Standing at 4102 metres the Barre des Écrins is the highest point  of the Écrins Massif and is one of the classic 4000ers – peaks over 4000m.

With a couple of soundtracks, fairly low quality sound and wobbly camera shots, the film isn’t a cinematic first in any way, but what the film offers is the first hand experience of a woman mountaineering with two friends at altitude.  It’s about someone putting themselves out there to show that women do mountaineer and showing what you get when you go out into the higher European mountains.

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.