It was really good to get back to climbing after so long. My weekends away climbing, and weekend visits to the climbing wall all stopped with the pandemic lockdown. I’ve missed it in so many ways. Over the long weekend I took the chance to go climbing on the concrete boulders at Fairlop Waters Boulder Park, and it was brilliant. The best bit was taking my son climbing again, and seeing him climb really well.
Climbing in a Covid-19 world took a little getting used to. Using liquid chalk (with 70% plus ethanol) for the first time, putting on far too much, and managing to get it over a lot more than just my hands. Getting into the habit of using hand sanitiser after each climb. Trying to maintain social distancing when the Boulder Park was busy with climbers and families. All things I’m not used to, but will have to get used to.
By the end of the session, Leo’s climbing technique had visibly improved and he wanted to come back. While my under-used climbing muscles were a bit sore, but I was content and wanting to go back too.
The boulder park is in Fairlop Waters Country Park in the London Borough of Redbridge. To get to there you can either get the Central Line to Fairlop Station and then walk for about ten minutes, or drive and use one of the car parks (the post code is IG6 3HN for those with a sat nav). The car park nearest the Boulder Park is not the one at the facilities by the lake, but a bit further along the road in the direction away from Fairlop Waters Station. There is a charge for the parking, which you pay either using a mobile or by phoning an automated system (details are on signs in the car parks).
There’s no fee to use the Boulder Park – it’s simply open for all to use.
A guide to the Fairlop Waters Boulder Park, including photos and descriptions of a selection of problems, is available for free online.
UKClimbing describes a wider collection of problems than are in the guide, but doesn’t include any photos or diagrams.