July 13th, 2006


SRT practice

I went down to the caving club tonight for the first time in... a few years. Come to think of it, the last time I went was to do with a political thing that I won't get into now. I saw a few old faces, a couple I recognised but couldn't put a name to, and a couple I'd not met before. I paid my membership fees, then got straight into the SRT training tower.

The good news is that I remembered how to do the various techniques first time and managed not to make a complete fool out of myself by getting hung up in the middle of a changeover or a traverse (though my execution lacked finesse). The bad news is that I'm very unfit. All the exercise I get is in the form of walking between the office and the bus station twice a day, and pedalling for about half an hour on the exercise bike a few times a week. SRT makes heavy use of a completely different set of muscles, and they've clearly atrophied since I last used them in anger. I was hoping to go on a club trip down Marble Steps in a couple of weeks, but I now think that's probably a bit over-optimistic for my first trip back.

They have a fairly decent setup in the training tower now, including a new climbing wall and a steel cage to hold all the club tackle. The only thing I missed is that the tower in the old clubroom (I'm going back quite a few years now...) had a rope that ran up inside a corrugated iron tube - very handy for practising those awkward tight pitches where you can barely move your arms.

On the way home I took the familiar route to the bus station via the main roads, only to realise afterwards that I probably could have taken a more scenic route along the canal-bank and over the aqueduct. Then after I got to the bus station, I had to wait 45 minutes for a bus, which is probably about what it would have taken me to walk home instead (albeit up a steep hill).

I've since had a look at the Google satellite view of the area, and the canal towpath route from the caving club to the bus station is about the same distance as the main road. The clubrooms are in the middle of this picture, between Bank Hall football club and the Leeds-Liverpool canal. We're on the site of the old Bank Hall pit, the biggest colliery in Burnley before it closed in 1973.