/ ARTICLE: The Under'grade'uate: Climbing at University

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UKC Articles - on 14 Sep 2016
Jack Lawledge warming up for The Diamond, 3 kbFormer student Oli Grounsell shares his experience of university life and climbing in Bangor. DISCLAIMER: To future students - do your own research and take some of Oli's advice with a pinch of salt...

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Fraser on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

"Edinburgh - out of all the Uniís Edinburgh obviously has the easiest access to Scotland,"

Eh?
Valkyrie1968 - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to Fraser:

I'm pretty confident that that's quite clear to everyone else, but for your benefit: 'Scotland' is here used metonymically to refer to 'worthwhile climbing areas in Scotland', i.e. all of the stuff that's far, far north of Edinburgh. Nice pedantism though.

I found Manchester to be pretty crap as a climber - struggled to find partners for trad (although there are plenty of indoor climbers), and having to navigate the M60 to get anywhere means that, while you're relatively close to all kinds of great places for full days and longer, the options for quick hits are quite limited. Hobson Moor and Wilton were the two places I found that were a good balance between 'close' and 'not shit', and were still half an hour away if the traffic was entirely cooperative, tending more towards an hour.
Rob Parsons on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:
> I'm pretty confident that that's quite clear to everyone else, but for your benefit: 'Scotland' is here used metonymically to refer to 'worthwhile climbing areas in Scotland', i.e. all of the stuff that's far, far north of Edinburgh.

No - it still doesn't make sense. Why Edinburgh over, say, Glasgow?
Post edited at 12:34
alastairmac - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Oli is obviously unaware that Edinburgh isn't the only University in Scotland. If I was thinking about recommendations in Scotland places like Aberdeen, Glasgow, Strathclyde or Stirling would be well ahead of Edinburgh. Not to mention the various campus options at the University of the Highlands and Islands.
footwork - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

If you're going to uni just to go climbing, you might as well drop £30k on 5 years climbing around the world.
ashtond6 - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to footwork:

> If you're going to uni just to go climbing, you might as well drop £30k on 5 years climbing around the world.

Not really. As living in certain cities let's you get education and climb 5 days a week.
Doug on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to alastairmac:

For a variety of reasons (including access to the hills), I went to Stirling & would argue its the best placed of the Scottish universities from a climbing/mountaineering point of view. Some local bouldering, the central belt crags & Dunkeld in easy reach for summer evenings and the likes of Glencoe & Cairngorms a couple of hours away with the Southern Highlands even closer but at the same time its well placed on the road network for trips down to the Lakes or elsewhere in northern England when the weather 'up north' isn't so good.

I later went to Aberdeen which in some ways was better but while the likes of the sea cliffs, Pass of Ballater & Lochnagar are close, the rest of Scotland (plus England, Wales & the Alps) isn't.

(I also spent some time at Oxford & although its better placed than Cambridge, its not a great place as a base for climbing)

Put that together & I think I was a student for about a decade, fun at the time but in theory I should be looking to retire soon but I can't afford to
Bulls Crack - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to Valkyrie1968:
Manchester bad for climbing? Only in terms of very close crags to the centre surely? Its extremely well placed for the Peak, The Lakes, N Wales, Yorkshire Dales, West Yorkshire and Lancashire (obviously) Pex etc with loads of stuff, of varying quality, around its North and Western edges

It's arguably the best placed city for climbing!
Post edited at 13:26
Fraser on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to Rob Parsons:

I was thinking Stirling, or ...well, anywhere else really, not instead of but as well as. I don't think Edinburgh is the best located uni. for Scottish climbing.
nathanlee on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to footwork:

Ha! What an odd way of looking at it. So following that you're in 30k's worth of debt without any additional qualifications? and a high interest loan to repay. When you could've been climbing 3/4 days a week anyways....

More to the point that's not really what the article is saying...

(or is my sarcasmometer off again?)

In reply to nathanlee:
Your sarcasmometer has either been off, or off the scale, for years mate - I shouldn't worry about it ;-)

As for anyone taking Oli's article as a gospel of serious advice to any forthcoming university student...well...just make sure you've got that sarcasmometer fired up to maximum.
Post edited at 14:12
simes303 - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

"Someone who is boring might tell you that you shouldn't base which university you go to on something like climbing, which is a mere pastime. My opinion would be that they are wrong."

Nothing wrong with that at all. My university choices were all based purely on whether or not the caving club was any good.
Duncan Campbell - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Hahaha brilliant! A great bit of writing Oli, that really sums up what going to uni in North Wales is like.

I hadn't even attended an open day at Bangor before I accepted my offer to study there. That was how strongly I trusted someone I met at Mt Arapiles that I would like it there.

Fortunately I'm not from a big city or maybe I would have been dissapointed!
Michael Gordon - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good stuff!
JJL - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Hi

Small request. Please could the editors, well, edit?


Thanks
In reply to JJL:

There has been a coding issue with apostrophes disappearing post-publishing. I'm working on it just now.
JdotP - on 14 Sep 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

An easy thing to say, but I think that it is worth noting that:

(a) Manchester does have faster access to Scotland than Leeds, according to my personal experience and the AA route planner.

(b) Edinburgh does in fact have accessible post-lecture cragging, there are many crags close enough for an evening trip (Aberdour, Traprain law, Ratho Quarry...) and of course the bouldering on Arthur's seat in the middle of the city.

Though if you want somewhere really good for climbing, just head to the University of Bolton... Very good climbing within easy cycling distance at Wilton and Anglezarke, and next to the M61 for a faster escape to the Lakes and Scotland than from Manchester...
Lurking Dave - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to JJL:

Agreed, poor writing/proof reading.

LD
joepremier on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

For those not fancying 30k debt I think I'd recommend Germany, Frankenjura in particular. There are 4 university cities all within 20 minutes drive of the climbing and there are no tuition fees. Rent and food is cheaper than UK too. For weekends the pre Alps are about 4 hours drive. Learning a new language might be a bonus as well!
In reply to UKC Articles:
Edinburgh!?

Possibly best located uni that's accepting of Oli's. Maybe second to St Andrew's
Post edited at 07:24
Michael Gordon - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to sebastian dangerfield:

I would have said those were perhaps the two trickiest unis to get into in Scotland so it can't be that
Greg Lucas - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to joepremier:

Bang on, forget Bangor, head for Germany, that's what I would do. I've taught at a British university for the last 25 years. Nowadays students are seen as customers. It's been all downhill since the introduction of fees. Go and study in Europe while you still can.
Max factor - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

'and local success is measured on the diameter of your exhaust.' : )
planetmarshall on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to Greg Lucas:

IMHO, not enough British Students take the opportunity to study abroad while they can. I wish I had.
BloodyJam on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to planetmarshall:
If you want a decent degree along the way its probably better to not worry about learning a language at the same time. especially if you want to spend more time climbing.....

Sheff works very well!
Plus when you run out of cash after 4 weeks and your rope is trashed from abseiling from the halls top floor you can head to the boulders on the bike for the next 4yrs.
Post edited at 13:10
Toccata on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to BloodyJam:

> If you want a decent degree along the way its probably better to not worry about learning a language at the same time.

For anyone considering studying abroad, I can assure you, as an employer, I would almost certainly take a 2:2 from someone who studied abroad learning a new language on the way than a First from someone whose main achievement was climbing F8a.

pasbury on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

> There has been a coding issue with apostrophes disappearing post-publishing. I'm working on it just now.

That's is the best get-out clause for the grammar police I've ever heard.
TobyA on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to Rob Parsons:
Glasgow is obviously the best city and uni in Scotland because, well just obviously! It is really one of the best cities in the world. Only a fool would disagree.

But for a climber, are there any other cities where you can go winter climbing regularly just for a day, by public transport? And you've got Dumby for some after lectures bouldering or for a 4 year long siege of Requiem.
BloodyJam on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to Toccata:

You have an interesting take on the degree front and I can see your point. However unfortunately you wont even get an interview with a lot of companies these days with below a 2:1, so don't fully agree with your opinion as being good advice.

Suppose it depends on the job; having someone who can count to 100 in German isn't much good if you need to solve a 4th order polynomial in 5 minutes..



Doug on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to TobyA:

> But for a climber, are there any other cities where you can go winter climbing regularly just for a day, by public transport?

Used to be possible from Aberdeen if you were quick although not often done. And technically Inverness is now a city...

planetmarshall on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to BloodyJam:

> Suppose it depends on the job; having someone who can count to 100 in German isn't much good if you need to solve a 4th order polynomial in 5 minutes..

I'm not familiar with any jobs that would require either of those skills, to be honest.

Philip on 15 Sep 2016
Surely Oxford's the best place for a climbing university.

Centrally located, awesome bouldering wall at Iffley (used by Johnny Dawes), and a chance of getting a good enough degree to actually pay of the student loan.
BloodyJam on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to Philip:

Wouldn't mummy and daddy pay anyway?
HeMa on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to TobyA:

> But for a climber, are there any other cities where you can go winter climbing regularly just for a day, by public transport?

Helsinki... ;)
muppetfilter - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to ashtond6:

> Not really. As living in certain cities let's you get education and climb 5 days a week.

Or get an aprenticeship in a trade .Climb every night after work and earn cash and buy climbing gear and a house to store it in before you are 40 ...
TobyA on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to HeMa:

Totta kai, British cities then. But more seriously, I know Helsinki Uni has had quite a few Brits applying - whole degrees taught in English, no tuition fees, and most people around speaking at least some English, most fluent - pretty attractive compared to paying 9000 quid a year here before you've even eaten or got a roof over your head. For climbing students, Helsinki wouldn't be a bad choice at all - seems to be churning out ridiculously strong boulderers!
HeMa on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to TobyA:

> ... no tuition fees...

Oh come on, you should know better... we have to pay for each year something like 100 to 200 eur.

And yeah, bouldering isn't that bad around here.
Al Onsight - on 15 Sep 2016
In reply to Philip:

In what way is Oxford centrally located?
around - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Al Onsight:

As an Oxford local: Wye, Bristol, Dorset, Peak District all roughly equally distant, not that far from South Wales, and North Wales is 'only' a 3 or 4 hour drive. Obviously living in one of those areas is better, but for variety Oxford isn't bad.

Shame I went away for uni to the flattest part of the country and never came back though.
Doug on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to around:

but its hardly 'centrally located' even for England, much less for the UK
Al Onsight - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to around:

Fair enough, I suppose anywhere can be centrally located between an arbitrary selection of crags, the earth is a sphere after all!
hwackerhage - on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Over Dundee? Over Aberdeen? Over Inverness? Aberdeen has a very active summer (sea cliffs, Cairngorms) and winter (no need to explain) scene.
Philip on 16 Sep 2016
In reply to Doug:

It is for climbing in England and Wales. 5 hours to the lakes (most northerly worthwhile destination), 3.5 to N Wales, 4 to South West, 2.5 to the peak.

You can't stray much further N,S,E or W and still get to all UK venues after work on a Friday in time for last orders.

spenser - on 17 Sep 2016
In reply to Philip:
Wash your mouth with soap! Northumberland is brilliant!
Post edited at 07:27
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Philip on 17 Sep 2016
In reply to spenser:

Sssshhhhh. Keep it secret.
spenser - on 18 Sep 2016
In reply to Philip:

Plenty of stuff in the county needs a bit more traffic and would be excellent routes if clean so more visitors should be encouraged as long as they stick to the general ethic of the area and don't trash the place.
deacondeacon - on 18 Sep 2016
In reply to Philip:

> It is for climbing in England and Wales. 5 hours to the lakes (most northerly worthwhile destination), 3.5 to N Wales, 4 to South West, 2.5 to the peak.

tbh that post isn't really selling it lol


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