Recently we caught up with Caitlin Connor, an impressive 11 year old climber from Cambuslang in Glasgow who has completed a gruelling endurance challenge to raise money for Urban Uprising. Youth Ambassador Caitlin has climbed 100 routes. That’s 1353 metres (4438ft) at a minimum difficulty of 6a (all vertical or overhanging) in 7hrs 20mins…!
Despite having started climbing just over a year ago, Caitlin is already the current Scottish Speed Climbing Champion in the Youth D&E categories. Explaining why she started climbing, Caitlin says: “I started climbing in January last year as it’s something my dad has always done and it inspired me to give it a try. I really enjoy physical activities and especially the challenges of climbing. As I’m smaller than a lot of my competitors, I have had to focus on technique, strength, endurance and dynamic moves.”
At Urban Uprising, climbing is our means for engaging disadvantaged young people and helping them to empower themselves whilst gaining new skills and confidence. Our projects have also motivated Caitlin to help us fund our new youth programme in Dumbarton. She says: “Since I’ve started climbing, I’m even more active than I was before. I’ve gained strength, technique and confidence, as well as making a lot of new friends. I was first introduced to Urban Uprising through The Climbing Academy and I decided I’d like to help give others the life changing opportunities that climbing has given me.”
Caitlin has thrown herself into the sport, tackling all types of climbing and competing in several competitions. She says: “I’m really enjoying all aspects of climbing. I’ve tried traditional, sport, speed and dry-tooling. I’d really love to do some more outdoor climbing and bouldering this year and I’m excited about the new bouldering park being built at Cunnigar Loop.
“I came 10th in the British Bouldering competition in Leeds last September and I was really pleased with that achievement. I also took 1st place in the 2nd round of the Youth Climbing Series which I hope will secure me a place in the Scotland Squad.”
Caitlin’s father, Mick, says: “We’re all really proud of Caitlin deciding to take on this challenge. Caitlin loves competing and pushing her limits and has gone from strength to strength over the past year, gaining in both confidence and ability. She always works tirelessly at improving and has set really high goals for the future.”
Talking about her hopes for the future, Caitlin says: “I’m aiming to be a part of the Scotland Squad to begin with which will allow me to compete for a place in the British Team, but my ultimate dream is to compete in the World Championships. My aspiration is to one day be a world class climber.”