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Wall Build!

Well, crikeey, we finally did it!

This week has been half term, usually for a lot of people that would mean some days off before planning the next term. Nope, for me it means getting back to the farm and enjoying the feel of manual labour. It's almost carefree in that I am entirely confident and comfortable in that environment. Always been happiest going onto the farm and being with the animals or building / fixing areas (which is quite often with the old school barns!).

This time however, the first day (and fourth day) myself and the other Nomads decided that it was finally time to build the wall! Always wanted to say that. Outside of rugby anyway.

It was important, this year I had made the commitment to Lead my first HVS and attempt an E1, as well as Lead 6c in sport and indoors; so lockdown was ill timed, frustrating and a danged nuisance! But, we are and always will be, luckier than many in this country, and world. I am thankful we were able to be creative in this sense.

And to the wall! Casually breaking the English rules of starting sentences with 'and,' however I am excited and now that it is up I can continue to train. First I shall recount a story, not far in the past of just another VS on the rock pre lockdown.

It was a wet day, again, happens a lot in Cornwall. The skies were overcast, the big belay jackets were out because hot damn it was cold! But we wanted to climb, get away from the stress of our jobs (Royal Navy, School teacher, civil servants etc) so went down Trewavas. This crag is a single pitch crag that I will use in Summer for group activities if we ever get allowed out again! The history on the walk in, the views and atmosphere is amazing. On this day you could taste the sea salt in the air whilst feeling the soft breath of cold on the wind which meant rain was imminent. We set up a few top ropes on the severes just to warm up. I had wanted to Lead this particular VS for a while now and began confidently on wet rock. I once had an experience in Wales climbing with my Dad where I was climbing on wet rock on a sport route; you get very little friction and suddenly holds, grips, seem a lot weaker. Think sweat but more profuse.

Anyways I digress. I was confident on the holds and got to an area that I could back up before traversing the horizontal crack, placing a rather silly cam for protection before carrying around onto what was probably the crux move. I started psyching myself out, which was frustrating as I was climbing well. My arms had started to tire, the crack being very forearm dependant. But I carried on and pulled hard, using a handjam in a crack just out of reach. My core muscles were taut, aching and squeezing hard to stay balanced. I realised I could not hold this and down climbed to rethink. Having reset I carried on, getting to the point and my arms, again, went. This time i refused to down climb, probably knowing that I would not start again if I did. Being honest. So, I extended my arm and hung; simulating a single armed dead hang on real rock. This was something I had been doing on another training board, where I routinely spent time hanging from each arm, from different max holds, to minimum depth holds, double armed to single armed. I wasn't sure how effective this was.......until I could hang off the rock nonchantly as I planned the route ahead. It was effective, and I had improved. I wanted to train more. The rest of the climb after that was probably some of the best climbing I had done; finding myself in a groovey state of mind where i flowed up the rock. It was really enjoyable. Liberating.

Sophie met me at the top, hands bleeding and breathing heavily after I had set the anchor; I was knackered but had loved it!

So we come to building the wall..... Originally I had wanted to build it across the whole wall of the new barn, however, given our use of machinery on the farm and the cost involved I couldnt justify it.... yet! So instead we resorted to a moon board style design that is backed up by chains and leg stands. This makes it both adjustable, stable and secure so that both myself and my family can use it whenever they want.

We built the wall using 18mm ply (2440mm x 1200mm) and 4x2's - enough to make the base. Counter sinking the screws stopped the splintering of the wood. We worked together solidly and it was only when we realised the bolts didnt fit the nuts that we hit the first obstacle... Didnt last long and now we have a fully functioning climbing wall at Presingoll Farm Caravan and Campsite! Well on my farm barn that is, and it will grow into a bigger wall hopefully!

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