The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

This quote is by Winston Churchill and it really resonates with me. I’m sure as hell not always an optimist but I’m learning to be, so when Brian from asked if I’d like to climb a sea cliff, I was totally game.

Obviously, this wasn’t my first day climbing. I had done a little in the Alps in September then the crags in Ballyvaughan became my playground for a bit! We started from the top, and Brian went down first.  When I got the OK from Brian to abseil down the adrenaline was alive and kicking. I made the effort not to look down, but I did notice how smooth the rock face was. GULP…

I stopped about three quarters from the bottom where Brian was waiting at a cliff edge. It was slightly slanted and there was just enough room for one foot straight, with the other sideways. I held onto ropes to keep myself steady and comfortable as there was a 15 meter drop beneath me. I was completely oblivious to the fact that my job now was to belay Brian up. Now with the tables turned, he was the one trusting me, and trusting my ability to keep him safe on his ascent.

‘Christ on a bike’ I thought, ‘I hope he’s a fast climber…’

Now, I was completely outside my comfort zone but I’m learning to be OK with that.  I do things like this to challenge my mind and body and push my capabilities. After all, great things happen when we have self belief. Sure, the sense of fear could have risen in me and it was trying to, but fear is just a word, and I try not to let it become a mindset.

I had belayed climbers before, but not in this kind of environment. At this point, my focus was to keep my right hand firmly on the rope whilst my left hand fed rope to Brian as he moved upwards. I was so grateful there was literally no wind.

When he was safe up I gave a huge “whoooo hooooo!” Now the fun started – It was my turn to climb. It was by no means a very technical climb. The foot holes were minuscule at times but the hand holes were great. I could push myself with confidence. I used to think that climbing depended on a lot of upper body strength, and at times it does help, but really it’s all about a good technique and trying to conserve as much energy whilst climbing.

When I got to the top I felt an overwhelming sense of achievement. A high five was in order!

When Emily asked me to write a blog about my experience I was a little morto as I’m still a novice climber. I struggle to even remember the names of all the equipment involved, hence I didn’t try name any! but I do continually strive to learn and be challenged, so like the climb, I said I would give the blog post a go.

So if you can take away anything from this, perhaps take away that we as human beings are capable of achieving great things if we believe in ourselves. Be it running that extra mile or applying for the job you thought you might not be qualified enough for. Whatever it is, don’t just talk about it, make it happen!

I’ll leave you with another quote – Nelson Mandala said “It always seems impossible until its done”.


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