Sky Sports Living For Sport

Sky Sports Living For Sport Glaramara Centre visit

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to spend the day with a group of Year 8 boys at the Glaramara Centre in The Lake District as part of the wonderful Sky Sports Living For Sport programme, for which I am an Athlete Mentor. I arrived at the school thoroughly looking forward to a day of offering positive encouragement to the boys from the sidelines, while they worked together to complete various team building and problem solving tasks. And that was more or less exactly what happened...for the first couple of hours at least.

Little did I know that shortly after lunch, I would be introduced to something called ‘ghyll scrambling’. Apparently everybody in Keswick knows what ghyll scrambling is, but I’m from Sheffield, and nobody in Sheffield has even heard of it! If anybody doesn’t know, ghyll scrambling is essentially rock climbing up very slippery waterfalls whilst the water cascades down in an effort to knock you back down the waterfall. If this isn’t difficult enough, you must attempt this dressed in a big woolly bear suit, oversized wellies that hold gallons of water to weigh you down, and a helmet that seems to attract hundreds of horse flies. I came to the conclusion whilst I slipped and plunged into yet another deep pool that I couldn’t stand up in, that they call it ghyll scrambling to hide the death-defying truth and pure dread that would be instilled in any potential ‘scramblers’ if the name reflected the reality.

Now, you may be expecting to hear that I had a totally miserable afternoon. The truth however, is that it was one of the most superb and uplifting experiences of my life. The boys were fantastic, relishing the opportunity to work together as a team and helping each other tackle to ghyll. Special mentions go firstly to Alfie, who did an excellent job of conquering the incredibly challenging task, and inspired me to do the same, and secondly to Sam who often stayed behind the others to make sure that Alfie and I made it through each section safely, encouraging and supporting us throughout.

Finally, a huge thank you goes to Mr Turnbull for organising the trip (but not for “forgetting” to notify me that I would be risking my life rock climbing up waterfalls!), to Miss Stephen for reassuring me that I would in fact make it through the day without ending up in A & E, to the Glaramara Centre for being such fantastic hosts, and most importantly to the group of Year 8 boys who made the day so special and memorable.