John Proctor volunteered to become the national climbing co-coordinator and Neil asked him the questions that count!
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I am 35, I live in the Manchester area. I have been climbing since 2004 and with ODL since 2014. For my entire life I have loved the outdoors, though unfortunately my job as a University lecturer involves being indoors all the time.
What are you looking forward to most in new role with ODL?
I look forward the most to seeing people take up climbing who would otherwise not try it. I already see this in my role leading indoor climbing events at Manchester for the past few years. Also I am really keen that we develop an active community of outdoor climbers in ODL in which people can get involved and learn the skills. It would be great to see an ODL events calendar full of climbing events!
What is your favourite part of the UK?
From my time living in Scotland I would say Glencoe, the southern Cairngorms (especially Lochnagar / Loch Muick area) and the Isle of Arran. Sadly I don't get the chance to go to these places very often nowadays (though Glencoe and Arran are on my draft schedule of weekend climbing meets for next year!) Outside of Scotland I prefer most Snowdonia and the Chew valley area in the northern part of the peak district. Much of Snowdonia still has a very rugged and empty feel to it despite being quite easy to get to and some really long and adventurous climbs to do! The cliff of Lliwedd overlooking Snowdon is nearly 300 metres high.
What is your dream climbing destination?
I have been fortunate to be able to visit quite a few climbing destinations that I would previously have thought of as "dream"destinations. My dream destinations that I haven't been to yet are Alaska (going there next year), the Wakhan corridor in eastern Afghanistan (not safe enough at the moment but I hope that I will still be climbing in 20 years time and maybe then it will be safe) and western China. My partner is going there for caving over new year, I'm not jealous of the caving but I am jealous of him getting to see such an exciting part of the world!
What's the one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about becoming a leader?
First of all - to do it. The rewards are enormous. But when you do it, to be careful that you only take on what you are comfortable with and don't bite off more than you can chew (in terms of leading or admin). I've made that mistake when I was a student in the University club, so now I'm really careful only to commit myself to things that it is actually feasible for me to deliver