My climbing career started when I was 15 years old, in the early part of 2005. I was first introduced to climbing through the Duke of Edinburgh Award and soon after encouraged by my teachers at the George Watson’s College climbing club.
I would climb every Friday at Alien Rock 2 with my Climbing supervisor, Johannes Felter, and again at EICA: Ratho every Tuesday with the school club ran by Richard Travers. It was first through the school club that I got access to climbing at EICA, a place that has since become my home away from home…
After a year of climbing, I had been invited to join the BRYCS club who met every Saturday to train with coaches, Neil Mcgeachy and Neill Busby, to prepare us for competitions. After a while of training with them, I entered my first competitions, the BICC’s (British Indoor Climbing Championships).
In the next few years I would continue to compete nationally and internationally as part of the GB Climbing Team. It was a great time in my life to be competing for my country in the sport I love and this is what partly inspired me to become a coach.
I was first introduced to real rock in Scotland visiting local quarries around the central belt… none of which inspired me massively. I got the idea that Rock Climbing was actually pretty dull… you show up at a quarry, hang around for ages, get wet or bitten by midges (sometimes both), place a few bits of gear and go home…
That was until Kalymnos! I have to thank Neil Gresham and Climber magazine for this, for if it wasn’t for them I would never have known about this amazing place. I visited Kalymnos at first with my mum and dad because it was a place they could have a “normal” holiday whilst I went climbing. Needless to say, Limestone Sport Climbing in the sun on fantastic features and overhangs was far displaced from my earlier encounters of real rock at the local Dolerite Quarries.
Over the next few years I would go on to visit some of the worlds most amazing climbing destinations such as:
- Ceuse (France)
- Rodellar (Spain)
- Siurana (Spain)
- Santa Linya (Spain)
Climbing on rock became my real passion and competitions where something I enjoyed doing and being a part off. In my opinion, Competitions are amazing for getting kids into climbing and giving them something to focus on whilst they have limited access to rock. Where they take climbing afterwards is up to them…
When I left school at the end of sixth form, I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. I knew that climbing was my passion, but to make a living out of it was something that had seemed so far from possibility that I never considered it. After a gap year to think about things (and go climbing :P) I was still unsure, but went to university to study Biochemistry (just because…). 6 weeks into the course it was obvious to me that this wasn’t the life for me.
Around that time I had already started coaching a number of young climbers at the wall and was acting as mentor to some of the top youth climbers in the GB Team. It was then I realised that a career in climbing was possible and if didn’t go for it then I would regret it the rest of my life.
I haven’t looked back since and things have been going pretty well :) I am currently working at EICA: Ratho as a Performance Climbing Coach, coaching their Youth Team alongside other regular Adult clients. I am also the Regional GB Junior Team Coach for Scotland as well as Scottish Team Coach. I am also conducting a lot of Coaching Holidays for kids and adults alike who want Performance Coaching at amazing rock climbing venues around the world.
My main passion in coaching comes from working with the kids that want to develop their skills whether for competitions, rock or just because they want to become better all round climbers. I have coached some of Britain's top youth competition climbers such as Angus Davidson (British Champion) and William Bosi (World No.4) as well as others.
I am hoping I can do this for as long as I can and continue to see the standards in British climbers rise to that of the World’s best!