Member Profile Series: Number 1

As we get into 2016, we thought we’d get to know some of our members better with a little Q&A. We start with a face you’ll usually see at the nearest crag, wall or further afield on one of his many day raids and trips: it’s our Club Chairman, Brian Mead. If you see him out and about say hello, he’s a friendly chap…

Name: Brian Mead (TWMC Chairman).

Age: 63.

Location: Crowborough.

Years climbing: About 23 years.

How long have you been a member of TWMC? About 23 years.

Favourite type of climbing (trad, sport, bouldering, top-roping, soloing)?  Trad. I guess I think of top-roping and bouldering as training for ‘proper’ trad climbing in summer season.

What got you into climbing? Was always interested in mountaineering and read various books by Bonnington, Haston, Harrer etc. but was never really interested in rock climbing, but for reasons I can’t now recall, I decided to do a weekend intro course at Plas y Brenin and got hooked.

Where was your first climbing experience? On the course we actually did a three-pitch VS at Tremadog on the second day, which I’ve since led. My first outing with TWMC I think was to Gower, struggling to follow someone on VSs.

What do you like most about the sport? You get to go to some great places often with spectacular scenery and have great adventures. You’re outdoors and there are no real rules as such, it’s all down to you and your climbing buddy. Plus there’s the feeling of elation, and possibly relief, after a tough lead climb.

Favourite climbs/areas to climb (locally)? Any of the sandstone crags really, but nicer to go to the quieter ones.

Favourite climbs/areas to climb (nationally/globally)? Wye valley or Swanage and, further afield, the Dolomites.

Favourite rock type to climb on? Has always been limestone, though everyone else seems to prefer gritstone.

What is your most perilous climb or scariest experience? More recently I think scariest was approaching the Old Man of Hoy and seeing it for the first time, and knowing it was going to be pretty hard (for me) on the crux pitch – it was!

Do you have any projects/plans for 2016? To try to lead one or two E1s that I’ve not done before, and before age gets in the way!

Do you climb indoors? If so, where? The Reach, Woolwich, and now Karma, Tunbridge Wells, as it’s so convenient – though I’m not a boulderer!

Favourite local venue for refreshments after climbing? Probably The Huntsman at Eridge.

How do you keep fit over the winter months? Climbing walls.

Do you participate in any other sports? Running, cycling, skiing/touring, badminton… (I feel tired just saying it!).

Any tips for anyone looking to get into climbing? Just try it, and it’s not absolutely necessary to do courses.