Spotlight - equipment views and reviews from the AK team
Weekend Warrior days are history
24, Mar, 2017
From Canadian mountains to Cambridgeshire flatlands, Rowan tells us how his love for the outdoors developed
I grew up as a weekend warrior; squeezing every minute out of every weekend, in the outdoors. I moved around a lot as a child; some locations were great - particularly the remote west coast of Canada. Moving over there at seven years old, I had to learn to ski pretty quickly as it was main mode of transport to school. It was certainly a big step from rural Oxfordshire! It was a great age to be over there - the opportunity to truly experience the outdoors without much consequence mixed with that fearlessness that comes with youth. However, we returned to the UK and the flatlands of Cambridgeshire, forcing me to pursue my outdoor interests under the strict time-constraints of the weekend.
When I moved to Nottingham to study History, it gave me the opportunity to climb every sunny day, all year round! Out in the Peak District, I would be stealing the fleeting light of midweek evenings, or full days hanging off Stanage Edge. My weekends turned into venturing further for excursions to Scotland, the Lakes and Wales. Ultimately, this led me to the Alps to test the skills I had crafted on the gritstone edges of Derbyshire.
I was fortunate enough to be elected President of the Climbing and Mountaineering Club at university. This experience really opened my eyes to the world outside of trad climbing and braving it in the Scottish winter. It gave me an appreciation for the multitude of outdoor activities. Seeing the eagerness and passion that is shared across so many disciplines, formed a 'yes man' attitude in myself; keen to get involved in anything I can. I went outside my comfort zone kayaking through white water, paragliding over Lake Annecy in the Alps, and even trying snowboarding despite being a through-and-through skier (I wasn't very good!)
Unfortunately, like a great deal of graduates, I was lost as to what to do after uni was finished. I tried working in the NHS, and then in IT, before realising that I no longer wanted to be a weekend warrior living for that 5pm Friday feeling. I was dissatisfied with waking up on Monday morning longing for Friday afternoon. I set two aims in my life: to climb the North Face of the Eiger within 5 years of graduating, and to climb an unclimbed line or peak in the Himalayas within 10 years. Stuck being a weekend warrior, I was quickly losing sight of these goals. Alpkit have given me the opportunity to blend my passion for the outdoors with my professional life. I no longer feel that I'm 'working'. More than anything I'm eager to be involved in everything that Alpkit do and to 'go nice places, do good things'.