Marriage, South Africa, National Talent Profiling and Coaching Award Scheme

It seems like such a long time since I last sat down to write an update. Well in actual fact the last time I checked in was way back in June so sorry guys!

Things have been incredibly busy both on a professional and personal front in what has been an extraordinary couple of months. Summer is always a special time for me as it my  favorite season. The weather is warm and everyone is generally a little more happy, smiley and enjoying themselves. Me and my partner Michelle are big fans of the summer and after months of planning, our dream summer wedding arrived in July.  I must admit, planning a wedding can be a little stressful, consuming all the spare time you might have in the couple of weeks leading up. However, the day arrived and it was a stunning occasion. A very happy man indeed.

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Keeping it Serious! Photo: Liz Maher

For our honeymoon we had decided to go all out with a 4 week long trip of a lifetime style affair in South Africa. The plan, 3 weeks bouldering in Rocklands followed by a week on Safari and by the coast. For those of you who have not been to South Africa I can certainly recommend it. The country is simply stunning, with incredible landscapes, colours, wildlife and culture. Both me and Michelle have travelled extensively throughout Europe so this was an opportunity to explore somewhere with a totally different vibe. Africa certainly delivered this and although in some areas you do need to be a little sensible, we found the people to be so welcoming and friendly towards us.

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Tom Greenall climbing Orange Heart 6c. Photo Michelle Forrest

Rocklands is situated in the Cederberg National Park, approximatley 2.5 hours directly North of Cape Town. The rock is a dazzling blend if orange and black sandstone which is bullit hard, creating stunning lines. The Pakhuis Pass leads through a large mountainous range which did attract a little bad weather but on the whole gave us great sunny climbing conditions.

A particular highlight from the trip was getting to climb The Rhino, a totally unique boulder that even from far away is instantly recognisable. Having seen a lot of footage and photo’s before leaving we were keen to sample all the classic lines. The bouldering in Rocklands is breathtaking. You have such a mix of options from tall, proud lines through to powerful roof and cave problems with almost everything else in between (except maybe slabs). Other great bloc’s include Creaking Heights, Jon Denver, Soul Train/Dirty Lies, Zanzibar, Orange Heart, Demi Lune and many, many more.

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Photos in order of appearence. Jon Denver 7a, Creaking Heights 6c, Cloud Inversion over Clanwilliam, Zanzibar 7b and The Rhino 7b+.

We are really looking forward to heading back and are already planning our return trip.

It felt like the wheels on the plane had only just touched the tarmac at Heathrow and I was back in work mode. Being away for 4 weeks meant a big push to catch up on what I had missed. In particular I am excited to be spearheading a new coaching development with the BMC. Over the next 2 years, I will be leading a project into Talent Profiling. This project is being run in conjunction with other major sporting National Governing Bodies and Sport England.

This is a very exciting project as it will truly be breaking new ground within climbing coaching. (I will update on developments  later).

It is also exciting to see the launch of the new Mountain Training Coaching Award Scheme. Having been involved with the Coaching Technical Group for this scheme over the past 2 years, its incredibly rewarding to see it finally come to fruition. The development launch is primarily been driven by Plas y Brenin’s Director of Training, Martin Chester and should be available within the next couple of months. For more information please follow the link below.

http://www.mountain-training.org/award-schemes/coaching-scheme

I will endeavour to keep you all more up to date in the coming weeks on some of the areas above and also give you a run in to our final GB Junior Bouldering Team competition in October in Laval, France.

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