Kids Club

Results and Round-up! BMC Youth Climbing Series Regional Final!

Sunday, March 30th, 2014 - Posted by Danie

DSC_0316Another weekend and another youth competition…  But this one was a bit special as it was the Regional Final for the British Mountaineering Council’s Youth Climbing Series and the decider for the Regional Team that would be heading to the National Final in Edinburgh!

The Youth Climbing Series (YCS) is run by the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) and gives youngsters aged between 7 and 17 the chance to compete in a fun series of competitions within their region. During the competition the kids are required to climb 3 routes and 3 boulder problems – scoring points for the distance that they manage to climb up the route or boulder problem.  A maximum of 100 points is available on the routes and 60 on the boulder problems.  All routes and boulders are set specifically for the competition and take in to account not only the age of the children that will be climbing them, but also their size and the strengths and weaknesses which are likely at their age.

DSC_0140When all the competitors had been registered, the judges had been briefed and everyone was warmed-up, in their places and ready to go it was time to get started!

I’m very proud to say that we had a big Craggy team at this one – considering they had to qualify in to the Regional Final by placing top 5 within their Region (London & South East had been split into North and South this year due to the number of competitors in this area) it was already such a great achievement to be there!  Our region is notoriously strong and have been winners of the Team competition about as far back as time began at the National Final.  This really does go to show the level of competition and the talent that we’re producing in the South!

DSC_0210With 8 Craggy Island Youth Team members and 4 members of the Youth Squad all battling it out for podium positions it was, inevitably, a very hectic day!  However, both the Youth Team and Squad did not disappoint…

Teeny tiny Matilda Collins showed her usual superb form.  She took the win in both the bouldering and routes and took a very convincing 1st place in Youth D Girls.

Lucy Bradbury was absolutely delighted to take 2nd place in Youth A Girls!  This is her last year of competing at the YCS and she really is climbing better than ever so a very well deserved Final place for her with lots to push for in the run up to it!

DSC_0044It was another extraordinarily close competition for Toby Roberts…  He took 2nd place in Youth E Boys by a whisker when it had to go to countback for the second time this series (Toby came 1st at Round 2 having won the bouldering with a clear margin).  Toby’s hard work and dedication really is paying off – I’m very sure I’ve never met a boy with quite as big a desire to improve!  Toby had set himself the challenge of climbing 7a before his 9th birthday…  He turned 9 on the 15th of March and crushed a 7a the weekend before.


The closest category had to be Youth C Boys…  This is always a tough one with all the lads being so closely matched!  We are extremely proud of both Miles Graham and James Bateman who took 2nd and 3rd place respectively in Youth C Boys.  They’ve both moved up into this age group this year and have exceeded everyone’s expectations – perhaps even their own!  They push each other every step of the way in both training and competition but it would appear that friendly rivalry can produce great results!

DSC_0011Reegan Brown demonstrated the rate at which he’s improving yet again!  Having only started climbing a year or so back, Reegan took 3rd place in Youth A Boys.  Having only been a “boulderer” up until 3 months ago we’re very sure you’ll be seeing a lot more of Reegan on the competition scene!

It was such a tough day for Joshua Bruyns…  Having been out of action for the 2 weeks in the run-up to the competition with flu he battled hard to take an agonising 4th place in Youth D Boys when it went to countback.  His climbing has come so far since we spotted him and took him onto the team at the start of the year and with plenty more comps to train for he’ll be back on that podium in no time at all!

DSC_0094Lenaya Page also had a tough day and took 5th place in Youth B Girls.  Having placed 2nd in the bouldering she couldn’t hold that form going into the routes in the afternoon.  As her confidence keeps growing and her hard work in training keeps her strength building she’ll soon be styling it up again like the Nay we all know and love!

Big congratulations go to Tola Lally from the Youth Squad too!  Tola took 3rd place in Youth D Boys when countback had to be used to seperate the 3 boys all tied for 2nd place.  Tola’s efforts in the bouldering secured him his place in the National Final and he is the first Youth Squad member to achieve this!

The Youth Squad put in a fantastic performance and really did themselves proud.  Matt Gee finished just outside the podium places in 4th place in Youth B Boys.  Molly Read was 7th in the very tough Youth A Girls and Amy Feakes took 9th in Youth B Girls.  All the Squad members show great promise and we’re looking forward to seeing them at future comps too!

Full results for all regions can be seen here:


So, let’s see…  Who do we have going to the National Final…  Reegan Brown, Lucy Bradbury, Miles Graham, James Bateman, Matilda Collins, Toby Roberts and Tola Lally!  We can’t wait…!

There’s a lot of work to do in the mean time…  I’m thinking lots of laps, some hard core circuits and a hell of a lot of fun along the way!  :o)

The National Final will be hosted at the Ratho International Climbing Centre, Edinburgh on Saturday 28th of June.

As always, I’d like to say a huge thank you to the parents and families for being so supportive of your children and also being there for all the Team members.  Without all of you this wouldn’t be anywhere near as much fun!

For any media or sponsorship enquiries regarding the Craggy Island Youth Climbing Team, please contact Team Manager, Danielle Rushmer.

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Craggy Island Youth Squad Comes Into It’s Own at Regional Competition!

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 - Posted by Cliff Hanger

DSC_0002You may have noticed the grey T shirts of the Youth Squad training at Craggy Guildford recently – this is a new group of highly motivated young climbers who are dedicating themselves to becoming better climbers, and of course competing!

With so much interest being generated by The Craggy Youth Climbing Team and their success in regional and national climbing competitions, Shona Hanmer, Guildford’s Centre Manager created the Youth Development Squad. Only running since last September these groups have become the most over-subscribed Kids Clubs that we run.


The BMC Youth Climbing Series is a regional competition with the 2nd round held here at Guildford on 1st March. The Squad turned up in force to pit themselves against the best in the region and what a day they had. Only the top 5 in each age category go through to the regional finals at the Castle in London and squad members Tola Lally, Matt Gee, Amy Feakes and Molly Read all qualified. So well done to them and to all the Squad members who are such a great bunch.

For a more detailed report, read Shona’s blog here:

The Youth Development Squad started up in September 2013, we had had so much interest in the Craggy Youth Team that it felt right to try and get more kids involved. All the spaces had been taken by October and we had 18 enthusiastic young people eager to learn and to give it their all.


We had a wide range of experience and ability, some had never been to competitions before where others knew what to expect. We wanted to introduce them all to the competition scene this year and got them all to enter the BMC Youth Climbing Series. It was explained form the start that this year was just for fun to see what they were all about and to gain experience. After all, they only had five months to train for the first round in January. Some of them had never lead climbed before and had the complexities of that to learn, others need to improve stamina, some technique and a few needed to build confidence.


The first competition at White Spider was quite the learning curve, everyone got a lot out of it; learning how they run and what is expected throughout the day and the standard of climbing from other competitors. It was fair to say they had all done Craggy proud, with their positive attitudes and friendly support to other climbers, they had been a credit to us.

After 3 weeks more training they competed in the second round of the BMC Youth Series on home turf here at Craggy Guildford on Saturday the 1st March. And wow did they pull it out of the bag, I have never seen such an improvement made by all in such little time. Louise Truman, who had onl
y learnt to lead just after Christmas showed a lot of determination and confidence on Saturday leading her hardest climbs to date and pulling moves on the bouldering wall that she hadn’t been able to do in training.  Henry Herring and Ben Spinks’ technique training seemed to all fall into place as they both climbed some steep routes with real thought and precision.  And each and every one of them supported each other and encouraged each other to keep going, there were some tough moments but they all picked themselves back up again ready for the next challenge.

T1DSC_0086And to top it all off Tola Lally and Matt Gee took podium places on Saturday both coming 3rd in their categories with some spectacular climbing on the day, both managing to stay very calm and collected with a positive attitude going into each climb. This means they are through to the regional final along with Amy Feakes who is one to watch on the bouldering wall and Molly Read who showed real courage competing against some very good climbers in her category. The girls both came in the top five overall sending them through.

It was a really great day for the Squad, it showed all their hard work is starting to pay off and best of all they have all had a great time in the process. The coaches left feeling very proud and excited on Saturday, what a great group of kids to be working with.

So, watch this space, as the squad are going to the regional final at the Castle on the 29th March, guess we better get back to training…..CIRCUITS!!


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Halloween Photo Gallery!

Thursday, October 31st, 2013 - Posted by Danie

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Blog: BMC Regional Academy, Saturday 28th September 2013

Sunday, September 29th, 2013 - Posted by Danie


Issy Adams working on her slab climbing

Issy Adams working on her slab climbing

The BMC Regional Academies are a series of workshops to provide additional coaching and support to young climbers in the UK.

Children from all age groups who qualified in to the Youth Climbing Series (YCS) National Final that was held in June of this year have been invited to attend the Academies and represent some of the most talented young climbers in the country.  I’m very happy to be one of the coaches on all of the BMC Academies as it’s great to work with such a psyched and able group of kids on an on going basis.

Jake Collins playing "Sticky Hands and Feet"

Jake Collins playing “Sticky Hands and Feet”

There are 4 Academies taking place in each region and they each look at a different element of climbing.  Session plans are devised by Ian Dunn, GB Junior Team Manager and provide a consistent approach to the coaching throughout all of the regions.

Yesterday’s session, held at Mile End in London, was on “Movement” and was focused around creating and developing efficiency whilst climbing which is something that I feel most climbers could benefit from!

The younger climbers – Youth D and E attend during the morning session which is predominantly games-based and has them learning about their climbing without them necessarily realising it.  The standard was really impressive and amazing to see such small people cranking hard and improving every step of the way.

Matilda Collins and Toby Roberts from Craggy getting to grips with a boulder problem

Matilda Collins and Toby Roberts from Craggy getting to grips with a boulder problem

The older groups – Youth A, B and C attend in the longer afternoon session and after a group warm up it was soon time to split down in to groups and start working on performance.  With a really small ratio – 1 coach to 3 climbers, the Academies offer great value-for-money coaching and constant feedback throughout the 4 hour session.  After working on various drills and looking at movement on different angles and styles of holds we finished up with a friendly, fun competition to gauge how effective the day had been.  Given how tired all of the climbers were by then it was really pleasing to see them topping out on problems that some of them would certainly not have considered possible at the start of the day!

Would like to say a huge THANK YOU to Mile End Climbing Wall for being an excellent host to all of us!!  Their facilities are fab and we were made to feel extremely welcome – help was always on hand whenever we needed it.

Can’t wait for the next one in October!

Please feel free to get in touch at if you have any feedback regarding the coaching being provided at the Academies.  I’ll be happy to either answer any queries or forward to the appropriate person.


Future BMC Academy dates and sessions:

October 26th @ Westway, London: Technical Training – Endurance

November 23rd @ Craggy Island, Guildford: Physical Training – Strength and strength endurance training.

January 18th @ Reading: Technical Training – Technique and route reading

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BMC National Academy – a great day out for everyone!

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 - Posted by Danie

I feel very honoured to have been invited to coach alongside Ian Dunn, GB Junior Lead Team Manager as part of the BMC National Academies.  I was sure that it would be both a great experience and a lot of fun too and I’m very pleased to say that I was not disappointed.

The Academy took place on Sunday 15th of September at the Westway Climbing Centre in London.  National Academies are just for Youth B & C age groups to give them experience and focus.  The criteria for attendance was a top 10 place at the Youth Climbing Series Final held in June of this year at Ratho and/or qualifying for a final in either the National Youth Leading or Youth Bouldering Opens.

BMC National Academy Westway Climbing Danie Rushmer

Youngsters viewing their routes ready for Finals at the Academy

With the aim of the day being to gain experience of International-style competitions the 25 or so young climbers nervously got themselves warmed up and waited to find out their routes and start order for qualifiers.  Luckily Jim Pope, current GB Team Member and all-round super star was on hand to demonstrate all of the routes.

The standard of climbing was fantastic from all and really impressive to see youngsters who had never lead climbed without a top rope before topping out on routes of around 7a.  With changes to next year’s YCS meaning that Youth C will now lead their routes this kind of experience is invaluable and now is certainly the time to be getting to grips with leading ready for January!

After qualifiers had finished there was a break for lunch followed by ‘Isolation’ for the Finals.  ‘Isolation’ means that the competitors are kept away from the route to be climbed so that all of their attempts are made ‘on-sight’ and therefore all have an equal chance of success.  During their time in isolation they were given a talk about how to prepare, relax and warm-up appropriately to ensure that they were able to give their best performances.  This talk was delivered by Ian Dunn who has an undeniable wealth of experience on such things and is able to translate it in to words that the youngsters can understand.

The climbers all get 6 minutes to view their route before coming out to climb.  This is done all at once and can be seen in the photo above.  During this time they must work out their sequence – taking in to consideration where they intend to clip and how they will move up the climb.  Once the viewing time is up then it’s back in to isolation to wait their turn to climb…

The day was a rare opportunity to gain experience of competition climbing at this level and seeing how seriously all of the youngsters took the day was really inspiring and gives me huge faith for what’s to come for British climbing!  With our current GB Junior Team competing with the very best the World has to offer I hope that we can help to support these young climbers to not only aim high but achieve it.

With Craggy’s Youth Team Selection Day happening in just over a month it was also good to see some of the kids that are putting themselves up for selection here at Craggy in action.  Spaces are booking up fast so please make sure you’re booked on if you’d like a chance to be a part of the Team here!  Further information can be seen here.



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BMC Regional Talent Academy comes to Craggy!

Monday, July 15th, 2013 - Posted by Cliff Hanger

BMC youth academies academyThe BMC has been supporting talented young climbers since 2008 when they launched their National Academies.  With funding from Sport England these have been running ever since and they have proved extremely popular. 

This autumn sees the launch of their Regional Academies at walls across the country to provide further support for emerging talent.

Craggy Island in Guildford will host the 3rd of 4 Academies in the London & South East region on Saturday 23rd of November and we’re very proud to have been chosen as a venue.

We’re also very proud to announce that Danie Rushmer, Craggy Youth Team Manager/Coach and General Manager here at Craggy will be one of the elite coaches at all of the BMC Academies in this region.  Having been a successful competition climber both as a Junior and a Senior in Bouldering and Lead climbing she is now putting her experience in to developing our talented youngsters here at Craggy.

Danie says: “Working with our talented young climbers here at Craggy is fantastic.  Their enthusiasm for the sport and their willingness to improve has taken me by surprise and I’m really excited to see what they can achieve with focused and carefully planned training.  Coaching on the BMC Academies is something I’m looking forward to immensely – with so many great youngsters in the London and South East Region it is guaranteed to be an inspiring and rewarding series of Academies!”

If you would like further information on the BMC Regional Academies, please click here.

If you want to find out more about what we have here at Craggy for young climbers, please see our Mini Kids Club, Kids Club, Youth Squad and the Craggy Youth Team for further information.

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NEW at Guildford… Youth Development Squad!

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 - Posted by Danie

12 year old girl rock climbing at Craggy IslandWhat is it?

The Youth Development Squad is for youngsters aged 8+ wanting to not only develop their personal climbing but also wishing to compete at Regional or National level.

Who is it suitable for?

The Squad is suitable for children with a good knowledge of the climbing safety skills.  All members of the squad must be at least Craggy Silver or NICAS Level 3 to join.  Weekly sessions will not only look at techniques and training but will also focus on competition skills and preparation.  Anyone who does not have an interest in competitions should attend Kids Club or Craghoppers.

Why should my child attend?

Here at Craggy we have a great deal of experience when it comes to competitions, techniques and training.  With coaches that have been Junior, Regional, National and International Champions there is plenty to offer youngsters wanting to explore the ever more popular world of competition climbing.  The instructors that will be working with your child each week will be there to not only guide and develop but also to ensure they’re having a great time!  Each group will have a coach assigned to them who will work with them regularly, every week.  Oh, and most importantly…  They get their very own Youth Squad T-shirt!!

Youth Team members Issy and Matilda receiving coaching from Shauna Coxsey - current British Bouldering and Lead Climbing Champion

Youth Team members Issy and Matilda receiving coaching from Shauna Coxsey – current British Bouldering and Lead Climbing Champion

What will they do each week?

There will be a weekly session plan which the youngsters will work to that will ensure their climbing and techniques develop as the weeks go on.  This will include everything from warming up and climbing efficiently to strength training and competition skills.  They will also be issued with a Training Diary to record their efforts and keep them on track.

Do they need to do competitions?

Yes.  All members of the squad will be expected to attend at least one competition each term.  This can be local, regional, or national – whichever is most relevant to the time of year and their level of ability.  Craggy Island is not able to provide funding or transport for this so parents or guardians must be willing to make that commitment to their child’s climbing.

teenager rock climbingWhat is the difference between the Youth Development Squad and the Youth Team?

The Youth Climbing Team are what we consider to be our elite young climbers and Craggy funds all of their training and assists in raising funds to enable them to compete at events.  Their coaches are available to them at all times and they have a Team Manager who ensures everything runs smoothly.  They are youngsters who have already shown form in competitions and have potential to improve further.  The Youth Development Squad is open to any young climber wishing to attend and excel in competitions.  It gives them access to coaching, training and advice which they would not normally encounter during a Kids Club, Craghoppers or NICAS session.

Will my child be selected for the Youth Climbing Team?

There is no guarantee of this.  Each year, in October, we will host a selection day for the following year.  Any young climber wishing to be considered for the Youth Team must attend this selection day – including the current Youth Team members.  From this we will then select the new team.  Selection will be based on recent results, attitude during their weekly sessions and their potential.

Want to get booked on?

See here for further information, prices and availability!  Spaces are limited and we are taking bookings now for the term starting in September.  You can contact Reception on 0844 880 8866 and they will be happy to help.  If you have any questions or wish to discuss whether this style of session is suitable for your child, please contact Shona, Centre Manager at

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Success for the Craggy Youth Team at National Finals!

Sunday, June 16th, 2013 - Posted by Danie

Miles and Matilda with their trophies, prizes and the winners trophy for London & South East

Miles and Matilda with their trophies, prizes and the winners trophy for London & South East

We’re very proud to report that both Miles, 11, and Matilda, 9, took bronze in their categories at yesterday’s Grand Final of the BMC Youth Climbing Series!

Having qualified for the event back in the early spring it must have felt like a long time coming for our young climbers.  Also present at the event, held at the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, were Finley Adams and Toby Roberts, both aspirant members of the Youth Team here at Craggy and so we had lots to cheer for.  Danie Rushmer, Team Manager and Mark Croxall, Coach, were also there – providing our young climbers with all the support, advice and encouragement they needed to not only do well but have a great time trying.

With so many young climbers (over 300!) it was very difficult to keep track of how each group were doing and how our climbers were doing within their separate categories.  It was only at the very end of the day – when the results were being read out that we learnt how well Miles and Matilda had done.  Credit also goes to Finley Adams who took a very respectable 4th place – just missing out on a podium spot and Toby Roberts finishing only just out of the top 10 in 12th place.

It was a tough competition for all of them and certainly a step up from the Regional competitions which were their only experience up until now.  Having to cope with nerves, an intimidating venue, lots of waiting around between climbs and the pressure of competing at National level I can honestly say that I could not be more proud of our little Ambassadors.

I also want to say a HUGE thank you to all the parents, brothers and sisters who provided transport, love and support throughout the whole weekend. 

Full results can be viewed here.

Lots more photos can be viewed here.

You can read a bit more about the Craggy Youth Team here.  We will be having a Selection Day for 2014 in October of this year to select the team for next year.  Watch this space for further announcements or email me at if you would like to be the first to receive further information on this.

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Action Photos from BRYCS

Monday, February 18th, 2013 - Posted by Cliff Hanger


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