A Challenging Weekend: Noelle Mann

Noelle was the winner of our blog post content

“That’s definitely schist!”

I can’t quite remember whether Clodagh or Zoe spotted it first, but our Sunday bouldering session on Louisburgh beach swiftly evolved into a Geology challenge. The theme of the weekend turned out to be expertly chosen, as the entire Women with Altitude meet was full of unexpected ways to “Challenge Yourself”.  

It began with some of the trickiest questions my Orienteering group had ever come across. We never did find out who you were supposed to make sure was asleep before you commenced knitting. I’ll also need to re-watch The Field several times before I head back to Connemara again.

Our planned multi-pitch session on the Saturday morphed into an exercise in stubborn persistence. By the end, everything I owned was soaking wet and the climbing rope weighed twice as much as when we’d set out. Many thanks to Val for offering to carry it back! However, the extensive instruction the group received from Orla and Josie meant that we’d be able to escape safely in even the wettest and windiest conditions. We know so, because we did!

Sunday was a complete contrast, with the sun burning through the clouds and drying off the rocks so that we could boulder some exciting new problems. A sequence of burly moves across a dog-shaped boulder turned out to be the most fun of all, with a satisfying mantel finish. Big thanks to Angela and Jo for spotting a great venue!

When we sat down to dinner with Marcella on Sunday night, the only thing we knew about her was that she’d been on the Learning to Lead session. However, she turned out to have tried almost everything else: from ice-climbing to football coaching. It was fascinating to listen to her talking with Helen about their shared love of surfing and loathing of golf! It seems some of us never stop challenging ourselves.