Women in Sport, the leading UK charity that researches sport from the perspective of women and girls, has launched #TimeTogether, a new campaign to empower daughters and mums to get active. We're supporting the cause and are encouraging members to share their own experiences of mums and daughters climbing together.
Spending #TimeTogether being active as a family can have a huge impact in many areas of your life, from confidence and fitness to family bonds.
Women in Sport (Lockdown Research 2020) found that mums are often reluctant to allocate time for themselves to be active, with 32% of women saying that they couldn’t prioritise exercise during lockdown as they had too much to do for others. Currently, only 42% of teenage girls meet physical activity guidelines and just under a third of girls (32%) are inactive, engaging in less than an average of 30 minutes activity per day. (Sport England Active Lives Children and Young People Survey Academic Year 2018/2019).
To support this campaign we're sharing member stories of mums and daughters who have taken their relationship to new heights!
Ruth and Freya
My daughter Freya climbed out her cot before she was even able to stand. At four, I took her climbing indoors with me under instruction as a belayer. I had no intention of climbing and thought it would be like every other activity she'd tried and get dumped before needing to buy gear. It didn't get dumped; Freya climbed everything from trees to street signs!
I was a single mum on a budget so couldn’t buy her the experiences I wanted to offer her; I knew I had to learn so that I could parent her through her passion. I was ok bouldering (low and safe) not so much high up! In her first year in a climbing team she qualified for the nationals in Edinburgh but she didn’t ever really care where she came in a competition so we realised this would only be a sideline!
Meanwhile the climbing community did what it does best and included a middle-aged scared mum with a very small kid in tow, and so our outdoor journey began. We have been climbing outdoors since 2014 give or take. I have cried on a wide variety of rock, too scared to move but having to as even more scared of being lowered! Freya has beasted her way up most stuff as long as she hasn’t got distracted and rigged herself to dangle out a tree or gone catching crickets.
I started leading in 2016 after the first Women’s Trad Fest - the first event ever I could afford, and they welcomed Freya. Freya did her first genuine outdoor leads that year and we both led our first Severe climbs within a month of each other. Freya is the only kid in our climbing crew. The crew is the village raising my climber with me and they have taught her their skills at every milestone. We’re really lucky.
Rachel and Becca
I’m a busy mum of two, and four years ago, I made a decision which little did know would change how I exercised until this day. A friend of mine recommended a women’s climbing club at our local climbing centre. So one afternoon, Becca and I went along to climb for the first time. Aged four, she naturally had no fear and instinctively climbed several of the kid’s routes. We returned the following week excited to see if we could complete any of the basic problems. A few months later once Becca was confidently topping some of the lower grade routes she tried the kids fun climbing club. This turned into a weekly event which she got up early for excited each week for her “little squirrels club”.
DOWNLOAD: A parent's guide to climbing, hillwalking and mountaineering
We started climbing outdoors at the outdoor bouldering park. It was when Becca was seven, we saw an advert for a fun local climbing competition. Becca entered and came 1st in her category. That was it. This success spurred her on. We started climbing 2-3 times a week, together. We were exercising together. We were climbing the same routes despite being 26 years apart and bouncing betas off each other. At four stone and seven years old, and even though I could clearly see her climbing level was now more advanced than mine, we still climbed together. We were hooked!
We went down to watch one of the Youth Climbing Series competitions. Becca continuously asked me when she could take part. After a bit of digging we found out she could compete at a national level competition and so, she did. She claimed Scottish Bouldering Champ aged seven. This was followed by becoming Scottish Climbing Champion.
Since the travel restrictions have been lifted, our girly evenings at the climbing wall have now changed into girly days on at crags. I feel very lucky to train with my best friend, my tiny soul mate, my daughter. Lockdown has forced us both to learn to climb outdoors and appreciate that the plastic moulds are not the be all and end all of climbing. What a journey this has been. Bonding on another level. Who knows where our mother daughter adventures will take us to next! Watch this space... if you want to find us, it’ll be at closing time when we are last out the climbing centres as I drag Becca out of her second home!
Judith and Greta
Here’s a mother and grandmother climbing tale! Judith Plowman whilst aged 69 took her 99 year-old mother to Manchester Climbing Centre for her first indoor climb last year.
Never having climbed before and with her 69-year old daughter Judith belaying, Greta made her way up her first top-rope route and afterwards said “It was marvellous! Really exciting! My fingers ached a bit, but I learnt to push more with my feet and that made all the difference.”
“It was such a thrilling experience to get the top.” Judith added: “I think she has stronger hands than she thinks – she’s often using handrails to pull herself up and pushing down. Anyone who can climb the stairs can climb – and Greta proved that today.”
Judith now actively climbs with the Climbing Clan, after being introduced to climbing by her son Tim at age 68. She now loves both indoor and trad climbing, saying it’s the enjoyment and enthusiasm that matters. With the Climbing Clan, like her son the founder, she now gets the chance to encourage other climbers to give it a try and boost their confidence.
WATCH: Mountain guide and Author, Libby Peter, takes her children climbing on the classic Equinox (VS 4c) on BMC TV
About Women in Sport
Women in Sport is the leading charity dedicated to empowering women and girls through sport. Our vision is a society where women and men have equal opportunities. Women and girls are missing out on the lifelong benefits of sport. They are the only organisation in the UK that researches sport purely from the perspective of women and girls and uses the insight gained to drive change through campaigns and partnerships.
#TimeTogether is a development of Women in Sport’s teenage girls research, looking at how the relationship between mother and daughter can be instrumental in encouraging teenage girls to be active.
The #TimeTogether campaign will be running from 5th to 31st October. For more information visit www.womeninsport.org/timetogether
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