Alan Hinkes OBE, the first Briton to climb fourteen of the world’s highest mountains, and Gordon Browning, the first Briton to have ridden a motorcycle on all seven continents, were VIP guests at school this week for the opening of our new indoor climbing wall, three years before climbing will make its debut at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The famous mountaineer and Mr Browning led the proceedings with Sarah Crombie, Chair of the Parents Association, in an event that brought together our current pupils, OGs, staff and local climbing enthusiasts. They were joined by Headmaster, Mark Turnbull, who introduced the record-breaking guests, and Head of Outdoor Pursuits at the School, Chris Wright.
Gordon Browning was a major donor to the climbing wall, explaining “I couldn’t think of a better project to support. Mountaineering has been a passion all of my life and has provided me with valuable lessons that I’ve used throughout my life and my career. Climbing teaches you that if you put in the effort and hard work, you can achieve things that you didn’t think possible at first and look back and say ‘I did that’.”
Alan Hinkes OBE also gave a fascinating talk about his climbing career, conquering Everest among fourteen of the highest mountains in the world over 8000m. He explained how climbing teaches you to “never get complacent in life” and praising the School for enabling climbing to take place all year round by fundraising for the wall.
The Headmaster thanked Mr Browning for his contribution to the wall, along with the Parents’ Association who have fundraised extensively. He said “The School recognises the benefits of an education that provides breath; building character and resilience through activities such as climbing. It is fantastic how popular the wall has already been in the short time since installation.”
The wall is suitable for new and experienced climbers, as well as performance climbing athletes, ensuring a sustainable progression route for all levels of ability. We hope to run sessions for parents, local schools and community groups in the near future.