4 September 2014

The Day I Learned To Rock Climb!

It's safe to say that August was a lot of fun but not a particularly healthy month for me. What with my restaurant blogging, birthday celebrations and the holiday to Barcelona, I was starting to feel that I'd lost some of the control of my fitness routine and diet. Living a healthy lifestyle (well, at least the majority of the time!) is important to me and not doing so can really affect my mood. But now I am back in the game and determined to tone up and generally feel much better about myself!

Back in Barcelona, whilst we were sipping on Cava and tucking into copious amounts of tapas, Laura and I discussed alternative activities we could do when we met up other than eat and drink cocktails. Things that would still be interesting to cover on the blog and could be combined with the one or two nights a week we like to go 'out out'. We came up with a few great ideas between us and the first of those was rock climbing!

I signed us up for a half day introduction session at The Castle Climbing Centre. It was to be an intense five hour course intended for those keen to start climbing independently as soon as possible, i.e. us! And what made it all the more cool was that it was inside an actual castle!

Rock climbing is a really effective cardiovascular exercise as well as being brilliant for working and toning muscles in the arms, chest, back and legs. In one session you can basically get a total body workout with only one type of activity.

The centre itself is very impressive. There are outdoor climbing walls around the castle and all sorts of colourful, angled walls inside laid out over several different floors. 

During our course, we were taught about two of the main types of climbing: Bouldering and Top Roping.

Bouldering requires minimal equipment - just the right shoes and a little bag of chalk for grip - and you don't need to have a partner. The blocs in the walls are all different colours indicating the difficulty of the climb and if you fall, you should land safely on the crash mats below.

 Top roping is a little more involved and technical. We learned how to put the harness equipment on correctly, tie the knots and do all the safety checks. With the long ropes attached to your harness, you can climb much higher walls but you also need to have a partner in crime; someone to 'belay' below, constantly tightening the rope to make sure you won't drop if you let go.

Because Laura and I were partnering each other, we don't have photos of the top roping but you can check out our fantastic new bouldering skills!

I'll be honest, when I was top roping I had a bit of a problem with the height. My heart was beating faster and faster as I got higher and it wasn't just because of the cardio workout! I knew I was safe with my climbing buddy below but I think going forward it's bouldering that's for me - the walls are much less high but it's just as good a workout. And as Laura and I get more experienced, we can tackle the more difficult routes! I can see how this can get addictive...

Laura and I came away from the course as officially competent climbers which means we will be able to climb unsupervised at the centre. I can't wait to get back there now and give it all another go!

We did the One Day Intro Off Peak course which cost £55 and lasts for 5 hours.

If you fancy giving it a go, all the information on climbing courses is here!


  1. I absolutely love rock climbing and used to do it a lot back in my home town! I had no idea there were such great facilities like this in the City! I think I'll be heading here when I'm back from my trip away!

    Peach Pow XO

    1. Great! It's a really great centre, I don't think you'll be disappointed (although I don't have anything to compare it to, admittedly!)

  2. I would have been super scared!! I like to do my workouts with my feet on the ground! Glad you ladies had fun! Looking forward to reading more crazy exercise posts!
    Lots of love,
    SilverSpoon London

  3. Such a great idea, although it does seem so weird seeing you without a cocktail in your hand :p

    Can't believe how reasonably priced this is too :D

    Chloe x

    1. Ha, I'm sure the cocktails will make a return very soon!

  4. Never knew about this place in London, so cool!
    I've done some rock climbing for fun as a kid, and I love the higher the better, so that would be the one for me (I kinda love heights!).
    I totally understand what you mean about falling behind on fitness. Being on the go for the past 5 months does make having a fitness routine kinda impossible!

    {Teffy's Perks} X

    1. Ah, you're lucky! I wish I'd had no problem with the heights too although I think the bouldering is better for me anyway as I won't always be able to go with another person.

  5. You look like pros! I did climbing at school and really enjoyed it - minus the wedgies! I got in trouble once at school for climbing up the drain pipe on the side of the junior school. I thought it was brilliant. They ended up wrapping barbed wire around it...

    Katie <3

  6. Some of my climbing partners go there regularly, great place but too out of the way for me. If you are into climbing now you should also check out the Reach Climbing in Woolwich.

    A evening in Edinburgh's Secret Garden

  7. Well this is just a little bit cool isn't it?!
    Makes my gym sessions on a treadmill seem pretty dull...
    Definitely the sort of opportunity that you'd jump at when given the chance!
    Emily xx
    My GingerBread Journey

  8. Looks like you had a great time.

    Anca @ ancaslifestyle | UK

  9. Looks so fun Caroline! I used to go out with a pro rock climber (hahaha) who had a wonderfully muscled chest - maybe I should get the current boyfriend to go for a session with me :P A great way to challenge yourself, keep fit and have fun at the same time. I've bookmarked the Castle - their prices seem quite reasonable!

    Tamsin xx | A Certain Adventure

  10. I used to do rick climbing when I was younger and loved it such a good way to keep fit. The best bit is that it doesn't feel like exercise Lucy x

  11. Ohh this sounds good! I want to find somewhere like this up North! :)


  12. Yay. We go bouldering. Like you, I am not good with heights. Even some of the bouldering walls have me losing the plot slightly. I've not been in ages though so really must go back. Plus they sell really good tea and cake at our place, perhaps negates the benefits of climbing, but ah well!

    Jenny | sunny sweet pea xx


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