When I was 13 or 14 I started climbing and it soon became an obsession…. fast forward a couple of years and I am in my second last year of high school facing the guy in charge of my year. He is asking me why I am consistently late for classes and more often than not fail to turn up at all. The answer is simple – I am going climbing. I attend my morning classes, grab a quick lunch, wait for the bell and skip class, ducking under windows and taking roundabout routes so as to avoid anyone that might ask me were I’m off to.
This streak in me hasn’t changed much. Late last year I missed classes to run down to Bowden with a friend who was skipping work, to spend my day scraping my way along and eventually up Born Lippy. I think it makes it better, I can’t help thinking of the stuffy paper strewn tutorials I am missing as I get muddy feet and cold hands sitting under a damp boulder on a moor watching someone who works for a bank flail his way up a sandy top out! Sounds grim but in reality it’s where I want to be. The older I get the more I am enjoying my course, and there is the underlying knowledge that in reality life can’t always be about skipping class. However the more I am in class listening to people who are under 25 and wear spectacle chains and shirts with collars go on about modernism and the avant-garde the more I realise that the way I think revolves around hard work of a different kind. It’s about split tips and bad conditions, it involves hours of work and still not getting up a climb. I want to worry about landing erosion at Dumby and the next big trip… but enough of this. I have a presentation on the poetry of Poe next week, have to get it done or I won’t be able to get out climbing at the weekend.