From small acorns...
Updated: Aug 24, 2018
Naturally the place to begin any adventure is to actually meet the people you'll be doing it with! I won't tell you how nervous I was driving 8 hours to Glenmore Lodge, Aviemore, to meet the outdoor instructors. Long journeys have a few added complications for paras, for me everything below the waist is broken and doesn't work properly. EVERYTHING, its not just about the legs!
I decided to extend my trip and make the most of being in the Scottish mountains so packed the car full of kayaking kit and my handcycle. I was determined to start my Old Man of Hoy adventure with more adventure!
I excitedly met the team: Chief Instructor Ian Sherrington, climbing instructor Dave Hollinger and kayak instructor Giles Trussell. They were all as psyched as I was about getting started. The first thing to do was figure out just how i was going to ascend 137m without the use of my legs!
How to climb without legs
The basic idea is that the instructors climb ahead and let down a rope for me. I attached a load of climbing equipment and meet them at the top, easy right?
The climbing rig was developed by Andy Kirkpatrick and Karen Darke, its essentially a pulley system with ascenders. Andy Kirkpatrick's blog, Four Thousand Pull ups, details all equipment used and methodology (see picture below).
Picture credit: Andy Kirkpatrick, Four Thousand Pull Ups It was exciting to find out there are people in the world as crazy as I am with a system to do exactly what I wanted to do haha!
The trip was well worth it. I feel so privileged to have spent time trying the climbing system and receiving some advice from the instructors about adapting a sea kayak for my disability. More detail of my climbing journey can be found in my blogs, "Lets Gamble!" and "Para in motion". For those intrigued about kayak adaptations check out the video blog here.
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