The Perse School

An adventure festival and a spot of outdoor climbing in the Peak District

15 Oct 2014

Sam Clarke, a Lower sixth student and member of the Perse’s Climbing Club shares his experiences on the recent trip to the Peak District for a weekend of bouldering, abseiling and climbing. The group was also lucky enough to meet professional climber, Shauna Coxsey, at the evening they spent at the Buxton Adventure Festival. We hope you enjoy reading.

“For this year’s climbing trip, fifteen students and four teachers headed to the Peak District from to try some outdoor climbing and put into practice some of the skills learnt at the school wall. The students travelled to the Roaches Bunkhouse after a hectic Ascent Group meeting, enjoying the usual stop at the services to buy Burger King and unusually, a treacle tart. After a late night waiting for Mr Parker to arrive with bags, the students woke to beautiful sunshine and a crisp morning – perfect gritstone weather. The group then headed for the renowned Roaches Crag, only a short walk away, for a day of top roping, bouldering and slacklining.

We had the opportunity to try a range of climbing disciplines not possible down in Cambridge, and to also put into practice the skills and techniques they have learned this year at the school climbing wall. When finished at the crag, the group returned to the bunkhouse to shower and dress up to look smart for the Buxton Adventure Festival, and more importantly, Shauna Coxsey.

In Buxton, we grabbed a quick dinner, before returning to the Pavilion Arts Centre for a talk by Shauna Coxsey, British pro climber currently ranked second in the world. The talk was very inspiring and has already prompted many of us to train harder and enjoy the sport of climbing. We were lucky enough to receive signed posters and have a group photo with Shauna. If this wasn’t enough motivation, the students then watched a range of short adventure films (including the making of the world’s fastest toilet) on the centre’s cinema screen.

After a slightly later start and a leisurely breakfast, the group headed to the lesser known (but no less impressive) limestone crag of Harborough Rocks, to try a completely different style of climbing. The dolomitic style limestone creates impressive cracks and pockets which lend themselves to laybacks and jamming. We tried bouldering, abseiling down through a small hole into a cave, climbing a narrow chimney up a chest-width crack, and the usual top roping. The trip was a brilliant opportunity to try outdoor climbing and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Thank you to Mr Tom Slader for running such a brilliant first climbing trip, Mr Parker for the ability to talk to Shauna Coxsey and Mr and Ms Stratton for giving up their weekends to help on the trip.”

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