Visions of Climbing

Back at the Big Shakeout 2018 Scavenger had their pedal powered sewing machine, The BiSewcle’, rigged up and passing volunteers all added their efforts to help create a giant pillow case out of old rope. The subsequent auction, as seen from our report back at the start of the year, raised a nice sum of money that was donated to the Alpkit Foundation and put towards helpingVision of Adventurerun a Lake District rock climbing trip for the visually impaired.

We’re delighted to have heard back from Jill at Vision of Adventure on how their year has gone and the success of the climbing trip.

“I am really happy to report that Vision of Adventure has had a really successful first year. We really have been to lots of nice places and done lots of good things! We are incredibly grateful to trusts such as the Alpkit Foundation and Scavenger which had faith in us and our ability to deliver these adventures.”

The money raised by the Pillow auction helped to subsidise accommodation costs for A rock climbing weekend course for adults who are blind or partially sighted. 6 VI adults spent a weekend staying in a bunkhouse., joined by 6 sighted volunteers and 2 instructors. They learned all the skills involved with climbing including using the gear and belaying each other. Following a Friday afternoon arrival the first evening was spent learning belaying techniques. 2 whole (long) days were spent at crags. Sunday evening was a celebration of achievements. From the six adults who took part, all are now competent belayers. Jill fed back the impact the course has made.

“One was an experienced indoor climber but had never had the chance to climb outdoors. He is inspired to look for more opportunities to climb outside. One was a complete novice and has since returned for 2 further days climbing with her (sighted) husband with the aim of equipping them both with the skills to use their local climbing wall.

Another was a novice before and said “Please please please put on as many courses like these as you can, they are so brilliant and positive whilst really increasing my climbing skills! Vision of Adventure’s climbing courses have increased my climbing skills, confidence and enabled me to meet some great people supported by wonderful and experienced staff in beautiful surroundings. It is a real breath of fresh air both physically and mentally. The memories and friendships made and the sense of achievement last well after the end of the course”

The others were relative novices who had been climbing once or twice before and all said that this was their only opportunity to climb outdoors.

There were also 6 sighted volunteer guides on this course. All are also now competent belayers. They all report feeling very at ease with visually impaired people now. They appreciated that visually impaired adults are just like the rest of us with ambitions, aspirations and capabilities. They have been amazed how with a little help almost anything is possible most have taken on board our approach of assuming that people will be able to do things and providing just enough help while not doing everything for them or “wrapping them in cotton wool”

On evaluating the course, the only negative thing was that there are not enough opportunities like this. So it was great to hear that the weekend was such a success and the impact that it's gone on to have."Once inspired by rock climbing many of our participants have been welcomed at local climbing walls but have struggled to find other opportunities to climb outside. However, one of our VI participants has even taken the initiative and got a group of 10 together (5 Vi climbers and 5 sighted climbers who all met through VoA), to go to on holiday to Calpe, Spain this December.”

By Col