I’m not the climber I used to be. I know all you Conwy Climbers will quite happily tell me I’m wrong, and say there’s no other man they know at my age who attempts such intense climbs – but the fact still remains that I’m not at as good as I was. Back in the glory days of climbing, when I was topping out on undiscovered climbs in the Alps, I approached each climb with a gritty resilient purpose. I would start climbing without knowing how I would top out, no planning, no secure technology to rely on! You could argue that they were dangerous times, and I would tend to agree with you, but for different reasons.
Now, when I assess a rock before climbing my thought pattern is a little different. Instead of just considering my first foot hold and going from there, I now analyse the entire face – or as much as my eyes can see. Years of intense climbing and hiking and have left their toll on my body. Now I’m getting through my sixties, I have to consider how much more damage my body can take. See, those glory days of climbing were wonderful, but in hindsight our bodies were not protected as much as they should have been. Heavy falls, punishing hikes with poor footwear and a lack of any pre-climb warm up meant every climb was effectively a shock to the system.If you’re looking to have a long and successful climbing career, then here’s one tip from an old dog who’s always picking up new tricks: take time to recover! Regardless of age or your climbing skill, its an exhausting past time to commit to. Unlike most other hobbies, the entire experience can sometimes be an ordeal. Whether its lugging your equipment up to the rock or the long drives it can take to get to your destination; climbing is an intensive hobby and you need to look after your body post-climb.
I’ve found, in recent years, that the use of physiotherapists and sports massage can be really useful in recovering from a big weekend. Although we might have to travel a little far out of Conwy for it you won’t regret treating your body to some R&R. Experts understand your body more than you do and, with climbing in mind, they can target the muscles under the most stress to get you ready to climb sooner.
Good hydration, food and a decent balance of supplements can also help keep your body in optimum recovery mode after a climb. With all of these factors in mind, you’ll be best prepared for a long and fruitful climbing career. At the very least, you’ll be able to climb for longer than this old codger!
This post is obviously going to tailor more to our out of town visitors than our locals, but its still good to know the best places in town to stay, when you’re here for climbing. Conwy’s not exactly bursting at the seams with hotels and B&Bs, but there’s enough choice to be a little picky. Taken from visitors’ opinions and messages I’ve been sent by other climbers, I’ve collected three options, all from different categories of accommodation in Conwy. The best hotel, B&B and guesthouse – as selected by the lovely climbers who’ve given me their recommendations!
Castle Hotel, High Street
Smack bang in the middle of town, this is a great option if you’re looking for a climbing getaway with some luxury. You’ll be spending more money on your bed. But could there be anything better than finishing a long day of climbing with a long bath, lovely dinner and relaxing drink at the bar? With great access to the rest of the town for day trippers, Conwy’s your oyster after hours when the the tourists empty out of the city!
Gwynfryn Bed and Breakfast, Off Lancaster Square
Sometimes the hectic nature of a big hotel can be more of a stressful experience than a relaxing one. Colin and Monica’s tidy little B&B just round the corner from the Castle Hotel offers all the amenities of a big hotel: delicious food, in-room coffees and teas with friendly and polite customer service. Reviews from my climbers could not be stronger for this place. One again the location is in town, very close to the railway station and a parking permit can be provided by the hosts.
Bryn Guesthouse, Sychnant Pass Road
This is the one place that is actually situated outside of the town walls. With a much-lauded garden that
looks into the town, the Bryn Guesthouse is planted right on the edge of Snowdonia. If you’re looking to bea
t the rush to the peaks and crags, this is the perfect place to stop off at. Alison and Nick have had a great deal of experience when it comes to hosting, and it shows. All our climber reviewers have raved about this one, even though its the least luxurious of the offerings.
Of course there is always the option of camping, however with accommodation options so reasonable and luxurious – why not support our wonderful local businesses!
There has been an increasing amount of interest from some parties for us to engage more activities within the town’s community at large. As part of the local Keep Fit scheme, local townspeople are looking for any Clubs and groups that engage in regular physical activity that are willing to exhibit their skills. Obviously, as a non-profit organisation we are always looking for opportunities to promote our Club and raise awareness for our fantastic sport. Most of all, its important for us to not miss out on chances to recruit new members. As a club, our age demographic skews much older than others. Even though many of us have the necessary training, safety and clearance certificates to run group sessions with young people, we’re struggling to connect with this young audience.
An Activities Fair to be held in a month’s time in the town hall. At this event, representatives of many sports club will be present exhibiting the skills and training ability of their members. We have been provisionally been put down for an exhibition table, so now all we need is a team of lovely members to populate the stand and get our local neighbours excited about climbing in the area! The date is yet to be confirmed, but anyone with ideas or a burning desire to just show off at this event can email me for more information.
Now on to fund raising! The coffers are looking relatively healthy, but it has been a while since we’ve really invested in any major equipment, with a lot of new members joining with their own kit. Obviously the end goal is to find and rent our own space, so we can then store all our gear in one specialised area (instead of our respective garages!). What I propose is that we all brainstorm ideas for both fundraising ideas as well as prospective goals. With a possible influx of younger members inbound, would it be wise to buy dedicated transport? Or perhaps we should focus our efforts on building a climbing wall for the town – an investment in the future of our climbing community here?
Our next sit-down meeting will be a week on Monday, at Reg’s house. Dinner will be arranged by Jacqueline and all are welcome. Bring with you your effervescent enthusiasm and all your wonderful ideas so that we can start planning our next fund raising event!
Conwy Climbers’ Club – Secretary
Its taken us a few years, but we’ve finally got ourselves a corner of the internet to call home! Forgive me if my style is somewhat formal, as many of you know, I come from another era. When the post, morse code and the radio were our only tangible form of communication; we made sure every letter counted. However today, we are unrestricted by what we can share and tell each other, this is wonderful news!
Since the club’s inception in 1974, I have dreamed that Conwy Climbers Club would become connected with the greater climbing community. Now, with the help of technology, we’ll be able to reach out to other small clubs and set up exchange projects. As many of you know, I began my climbing adventure on the peaks of Mt. Blanc in my teens. There is nothing I would like more than to set up a whole new generation of local Welsh climbers and see them travel off around the world challenging themselves with every ascent.
That is the future I envision for us, with the creation of this marvellous website. As an old boy who’s getting towards the latter part of his innings, the permanence of this website brings me much comfort. As many of you know, I have no children of my own, instead I have dedicated my life to building the culture of climbing in Wales. The wonderful people that have flocked to this club have become surrogate members of my family. You have celebrated my birthday with me, invited me to your weddings, your funerals, christenings and anniversaries. I am truly honoured to have played a part in the rich tapestry of all your lives.
There’s a wonderful crag just north of Conwy, you can find it if you follow the forest path out of the town and keep the yellow-sand moss on your left hand side. In a clearing the rock stands, alone and brutal. When I first arrived in Wales to study at University, I remember missing the mountains of the Alps sorely. In my mind, there would be nothing as raw and beautiful, yet so tangibly real as those rocks. Upon seeing that lone crag, I was instantly proved wrong. I still return to that spot once a month or so. I place my wrinkled hands and heels in the cracks and lines of a rock that will never age, and I climb. The rock, like this website, will exist for decades if not centuries – a source of comfort and challenge for anyone who wishes to visit it.
To many decades more of Conwy Climbers!