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MEMBER'S ADVENTURE


directions – I used to get lost finding my way back to the car from service station toilets. In normal working life, I would never find the time to explore my immediate surroundings. However, the combination of being furloughed and being outdoorsy has led to me exploring the neighbourhood that I’ve been living in for nine months. There’s nothing more satisfying than feeling grounded, and as someone who spends their life getting lost, I now feel a lot more secure in the area around my home.


“In addition to feeling safer in my little pocket of Edinburgh, I’ve also discovered a true appreciation of being outside. Being a part-time postgraduate student and a part-time worker, my life is at times hectic and at other times fairly dull – it’s not got a shade on the years I spent living abroad between my undergraduate and my Master’s. During the days that I manage to dedicate to the outdoors, the hikes usually feel rushed and even a little chore-like. But lockdown has eliminated all of the day-to- day-rushing-around-mania, and now my hours outside are a treat to be savoured.


“I’ve discovered hills to summit and woods to wander


through within walking distance of my flat, and have a newfound appreciation for golf courses (largely because there’s no danger of being hit by balls at the moment). I look at the information panels at the entrances of reserves, and if I scan carefully enough, I often spot the creatures that they’ve depicted. The other day I read a description of a treecreeper and, quite literally 10 minutes later, I was watching the minute brown and white bird ‘creep’ around the base of a tree leaning over the local pond. The little spark of joy I experienced when I spotted it isn’t incomparable to the spike in adrenaline that I get when I send a problem at the bouldering wall! “Now, you’ve probably read that and thought ‘Come on.


While it was time to get creative inside the house, it was also time to stay local and explore the hidden gems tucked away in the quiet nooks and crannies of our neighbourhoods. Instead of having to travel to find beauty, many were discovering that ample was to be found just around the corner. One such was Ellie Berry from Edinburgh who now had plenty of time for micro-adventuring: “I’ve been in lockdown for exactly one month and one day. I’ve bouldered 0% of my kitchen, hiked the equivalent of zero mountains on my stairway, and cooked approximately zero of Wagamamas’ recently released online recipes. What I have done, however, is discovered where I live. Alastair Humphreys has long been one of my heroes, and Covid-19 has finally allowed me to appreciate his micro-adventuring concept – after all, there’s no macro- adventures for us for now. “One day, after daring it out of the flat for beers and eggs, I decided to take my backpack for a quick stroll before the sun went down – I hadn’t taken my allocated exercise slot yet that day. I spotted a guy heading for what I had always thought was a dead end at the end of my road, and decided to follow him. To my abrupt amazement, a path lead through the dead end and, just around the corner, a bench sat at the top of a grassy mound behind a sprawled out oak tree. A green space so close to my flat – who’d have known! “Although this discovery was seemingly small and insignificant, I think a lot can be said for knowing our surroundings. From a very young age I’ve struggled with


24 | CLIMB. WALK. JOIN. 24 | CLIMB. WALK. JOIN.


You can’t compare climbing with bird-spotting’. And it’s true that A. I’m a big animal nerd so that definitely helps and B. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time watching my houseplants grow recently, so anything’s more exciting than that. However, I think there’s something to be said for all things being relative: if a treecreeper’s where I’m gonna get my thrills, I’ll take it. And if this is the time to practice being grounded, I’ll do it. As Francois Bossier de Sauvages said ‘Nature routinely hides her best treasures in such wild places, keeping them only for those explorers who are willing to seek them out’. Who’s to say those treasures haven’t been walking distance from your house the whole time?”


Not content with filling up their own time, others looked to help lift the spirits of their fellow locked up compatriots by organising challenges and creating content for all to enjoy. We’ve seen some amazing projects being dreamt up on social media and one that really stands is Marsha Balaeva’s stop motion video Miss the Ropes. And that was just one project of many that Marsha organised, aside from this she started 'Lockdown Gains' for girl climbers on her Instagram account @marshabalaeva


R Marsha's


incredible Miss the Ropes animation and lockdown challenges.


“I had been seeing a lot of posts from guys telling about their punishing training routines but the girls were very much quiet about what they have been working on, so I invited them to film their workouts or share photos and tell about their gains. The response was great and I'm still receiving more – ranging from holding a plank for over two minutes to doing one arm lock offs.”


She also started the'Rope Coil Challenge' on the Instagram account @crux_control and looked to inject


PHOTOS: MARSHA BALAEVA


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