Why I….Hannah Morris

WHY I…..With Hannah

 This blog is a truly moving piece, we have Hannah Morris who tells us why she boulders and what the sport means to her. 

Why I climb:The relationship you have with yourself is one of the most important you’ll ever have. For me, and for many I’m sure, self-acceptance has been one of the biggest projects of my life.I’ve struggled with anxiety since adolescence. In my first year of university, my mental health deteriorated. Feelings of hopelessness, low self-worth and a crippling fear of almost everything led me to an episode of depression and substance abuse that nearly took my life.Perhaps this seems an unlikely time to take up an intensive full-body activity but in the spring term of my second year. I registered at a bouldering gym and began to climb.

When I started climbing, the sport quickly became an integral part of my weekly routine. I was weak and clumsy, but pushing myself to progress in a sport that demanded mental and physical strength reframed the notion of struggle and my ability to face it. Working to improve my strength and technique gave me a meaningful project, something I could focus on and improve. As I continued to climb, my view of myself continued to shift and I began to recognise courage and self-belief taking root.

Looking back at 18 year old me. Too scared to make a coffee order on my own and terrified to talk to my peers in the climbing gym. I realise how far I’ve come and how much climbing has helped me to find courage and confidence in myself. At the climbing gym, I’m able to find happiness. I now exchange beta with strangers with ease and meet regularly with the friends I didn’t even think I’d be able to make. Climbing has given me confidence in my strength and independence in away 18-year-old me wouldn’t have believed.

I climb because it is my constant reminder to appreciate my ability to endure. Despite my fears and my weaknesses, I am able. It encourages me to value my body and acknowledge pain and fear as opportunities for growth. For as long as I can pull myself up boulders for no reason other than to sit on top of them for a few seconds. I will have a refuge from my mind when I most need it and the hope that even the most challenging obstacles can be overcome.You can follow and keep up to date with Hannah and her boulder at her Youtube https://www.youtube.com/user/hcemorris and her Instagram @hannah_outside_/

Why I…..Joe Partridge

Why I…..With Joe

Here we have Joe Partridge telling us about his passion for climbing and what it means to him. 

“Have you got me?” I shout down at Tom, who replies “you’re good, you’re above the pad”.

Not that it would have made much of a difference at this point anyway, but still. I needed something to settle my leg which was dead set on doing its best Elvis impression…

I’m at the top of Blown Away, a highball 7b (V8) boulder in Magic Wood Switzerland, and I’m bricking it. I can’t find a decent foot hold for love nor money, and all my ability to climb has evacuated my mind. Leaving me stranded five or six metres off the deck contemplating why on earth I do this stupid shit.

After what feels like an eternity, I finally commit to a foothold and hoist myself up onto the final section of slab and clamber to safety. Where I sit with my head in my hands and finally begin to breathe again. I’ve put my spotters through torture, scared the bejesus out of myself (yet again), and for what? Climbing for me often comes down to a grade, but it wasn’t about that this time.

I’ve not got a head for heights (you should see me on a rope), but I’m determined to get over it. So climbing tall lines which are outside my comfort zone are just a part of the process of overcoming this fear.

Climbing has been the only constant in my life over the past three years through some pretty trying moments. It’s the sole reason for some of the best times I could have ever hoped for. It’s my social life, it’s my job and it’s my passion. But most importantly of all perhaps, it is my greatest teacher. It is an endless pursuit of self betterment.

Through climbing you learn that failure is your best friend, the success is just a small part of the picture. You learn what it really means to try hard, and what it feels like to still not be good enough despite giving it your all. Then, if you’re lucky, you learn to sit with this feeling, and let it stoke the fire to go even harder next time.

My name is Joe, and this is why I climb.

You can follow and find out more about joes climbing over on his Instagram @joepartridge91 or on Youtube where is part of the amazing channel Bouldering Bobat 

Why I…..Cath Wallis

Why I……..

Cath Wallis discusses why she takes on multi-day trail events around the world.

We are surrounded in the media and in advertising by images of what it is to be a female athlete: slender, toned and (usually) young. I am not that person and for many years I struggled to find my place in the outdoors.

When you are a fat person you face judgment at every turn. There are no technical clothes that fit and, even if non-intentional, it feels like the outdoors community doesn’t want you. When you do turn up, there is an assumption that the main or only reason to be there is that you are trying to lose weight. Instead of bringing joy through participation, there is often nothing but shame.

But then I found the trail running community.

I found them by accident. I signed up to do a 6-day trial stage event in the Simpson Desert, Australia because the lady on the phone told me you could hike it. It looked stunning and I needed a break from work and a physical challenge to keep my fitness motivation high. I turned up by myself, with no real idea of what to expect. Over the next 6 days I completed 170kms across the desert; battling heat, cold, dust storms, blisters and self-doubt. I met people from all backgrounds and ages, each with their own reason for being out in the desert. We shared pain, joy, hugs (lots of hugs), bad jokes and rehydrated food. To this day I count them among my friends.

For me, the trail running community has been about inclusion. Except for perhaps the top runners, it is overwhelmingly made up of people there to challenge themselves. To find their limit and go beyond. It was here that I learned to accept myself and to celebrate my achievements. To rid myself of the negative and self-deprecating language – like “I’m only doing the 22kms/50kms/80kms”. To be proud of this body that gets me to the finish line.

And I have become a convert to type 2 fun: terrible when you do it; fantastic when you remember it 😊. That is after all the essence of the multi-day trail; backing up yesterday’s marathon with today’s marathon, followed by tomorrow’s marathon. Oh, and then there’s the long day. In the most beautiful parts of the world.

So far I have taken part in trail events through the forest, a glow-worm tunnel, desert dunes and across a remote frozen lake. The feeling of being out in remote nature is exhilarating. There is nowhere else that I feel such a sense of freedom, moving on my own two feet.

While I began this journey for myself, I recently discovered that there is whole group of people out there, especially other plus-size people and many middle-aged people, who also crave outdoor adventure, but are not currently participating. So I have begun sharing my journey to encourage others to move outdoors; to find and follow their passion. It is my hope that more people can experience the pure joy that I feel in the outdoors, and the sense of connection in the trail running community.

You can follow Cath on Instagram: @plus_size_adventurer and check out her website for listings of multi-day trail events around the world at: www.findyouradventure.online

Why I…..With Jamie Unwin

Here we have Jay Unwin talking about his Passion of training and life after time in the British army. My name is Jamie Unwin, and here is why I train, and why I became a personal trainer.

I was born and raised in Sheffield, England. Some of you may know it as the Steel City. Home to Joe Cocker, Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Def Leppard and countless other artists and musicians. As a young lad growing up, my dad; who used to be the premier DJ at the famous Limit club during the seventies and eighties, I was always close by to records. I was raised on punk, blues, (now classic) rock, reggae and pop. I always remember my dad first playing me the Sgt Pepper album and it absolutely blew my mind.

Needless to say: music has been and will continue to be, a fundamental part of my life. When I turned eighteen, I began working at The Leadmill; a nightclub that is still standing in Sheffield. However, I fell in with some toxic crowds and, in a desperate plea to leave, I joined the British Army.

Here is where I fell in love with pushing my body to its limits and, most of the time, beyond them.

I became intoxicated with how your body adapts to pressures exerted on it. I ventured into various forms of training, from Powerlifting, Bodybuilding and Olympic Lifting. I loved the feeling of my body being tired and the rush of endorphins that follows a hard workout. It was a much-needed reprieve from the toxicity that I had been witness to in my teens.

I competed at high-levels within the army. The most prestigious of these competitions was that of British Army Warrior Fitness; a CrossFit style set of events that culminated with the finals which were held at the Army School of Physical Training down in Aldershot.

After having my daughter, I decided to leave the army. But, I couldn’t leave training behind. And, the knowledge that I’d gained over the years of being trained and training myself, pushed me towards a career in personal training. Which, I am happy to say; I now do full time. 

There’s nothing better than receiving a text or phone call from a client, saying how they’ve ‘successfully managed that all-elusive third date’ with someone that before, they would have never had the confidence to even approach. That actually happened the other month with a client! He drunk messaged me and I still never let him forget it to this day. I still train him now and he is still with said lady!

It makes the job worthwhile when you can actually witness positive changes in a person’s life, just from doing something that you love to begin with.

You can follow Jamies work over on his Instagram @jayunwinpt for even book him for a PT session at https://www.jpt-online.co.uk/

Why I…..With Clare.

Here we have Clare James talking about her passion for Surfing, Photography and basically living in the water. 

As a child I would spend every holiday by the sea and regardless of the weather or time of year. It became the running joke in my family that I would end up soaked to the skin fully clothed. Completely ignoring my parents asking me to stay out of the water. The hardest part was leaving the ocean and going home. I vowed when I was older that I would make a life in which I lived by the sea so I could get in it whenever I wanted.

I chose to study in Falmouth, Cornwall this is where I started surfing, having windsurfed for years I already loved the ocean. As soon as caught my first wave I was addicted. 8 years later I live by the sea on the North Cornish coast in Newquay and try to surf every day, if there is no surf, I swim, snorkel, kayak, dive throughout the year.

Working as a photographer and videographer down in Cornwall allows me to live this life. I first started taking photos underwater whilst working as a dive instructor. Since then I have worked in the conservation, wildlife and the commercial sector. Yet, 4 months ago I brought myself a surf housing for my camera and this has enabled me to go Freelance. I am now lucky enough to be able to combine my work and passion. The last 4 months I have had a variety of in-water shoots photo and video. In which I get paid to shoot products ranging from dry bags, bikinis, hats to different sports, wild swimming, surfing, sailing, kayaking.

I now get in the water more than ever both for pleasure and work! I still wake up in the morning and have to pinch myself to make myself believe it is real.

I am currently reading a book called Blue Mind by the author Wallace J. Nichols which looks at why we feel a connection to water and the science behind it. This book has helped to explain the emotions I feel whilst in the ocean and I think is well worth a read.Check out more of Clares work over on her website  https://www.clarejamesphotography.com/ and Instagram @clarejamesphotography

Why I…..With Eddie Yeung

Here we have Eddie Yeung or better know as climb_ed on Instagram to tell us why he boulders and what his passion means to him.

Why I boulder, I began bouldering because it was a way for me to get fit and become more social. But the longer I stuck at it more I really fell in love with the sport. I feel less of a sport for me and more of a test of understanding, understanding how my body works and feels. 

As I’ve progressed through my climbing and learnt a lot more about the sport, from the different types of boulder competition-style bouldering and outdoor bouldering as well as styles such as being more dynamic or static, all these things make bouldering so interesting.

When you start to really get past the hobby level of the sport and spend more time falling off than actually sending a boulder it gets really fun. But this is a double-edged sword. As it can ruin your mental state, but the fun of this level is you notice that small minute changes to things make the biggest differences on whether you send it or not.

The main reason I love this sport is the community. The people, the friendships and memories you make along the way. Without this, it would make it meaningless.

Check more of Eddie out on his Instagram @climb_ed

Why I…..With Natasha Grzybowski

Here we have Natasha Grzybowski telling us about her passion in Ballet and Yoga, rekindling her love at a later age.

When I was 4 I had the same dream as many little girls have, when I grew up I wanted to be a ballet dancer.

Despite my mum being a single parent and not having much spare cash. I was lucky enough that she supported me. Paying for every exam, every pair of shoes and sat through every dance show I participated in.Then like most girls I hit the teenage years. Becoming more interested in boys, fashion and friends, eventually deserting my true passion.Walking away from the hobby I loved and throwing my pointe shoes to lay gathering dust in the bottom of my wardrobe.It’s funny I always remember my mum saying ‘Youth is wasted on the young’. It never served a meaning until the days when I felt too old and too past it to ever even consider going back to ballet.I always yearned to dance and struggled to watch others perform ballet. As I felt a real sense of being unfulfilled and slight jealousy they were still doing the thing I loved so much.If only I hadn’t walked away if only I could rewind the clock.It was only when I moved back North after university that I discovered that Northern Ballet. They provided a drop in classes at intermediate, advanced and beginner levels.These drop-in classes are simply fantastic, they are led by professional dancers. Everyone is welcome despite ability, age, and gender.A real pianist plays in large state of the art studios. You meet like-minded people and even people who have shared the same enthusiasm from a young age. Who has had a similar experience of dropping out and feeling they could never go back.Nothing makes me happier than at Christmas time being able to dance to The Snow Man or The Nutcracker and feel like I did when I was that little girl. Carefree, unjudged and simply happy to be in the momentI started to dance again every Tuesday and Wednesday. Yet I soon realised I wasn’t as supple as I once was. So despite my initial quibbles and thinking that Yoga was a slow set of positions and maybe lacklustre I would give it ago.Four years on and I now have two hobby’s which I generally love. They go hand in hand, provide me with great fitness, flexibility and strength.I started doing yoga classes. Eventually, I found my preferred method of Ashtanga Vinyasa flow.

Like dance, there are many disciplines. Whether you’re looking for something demanding, easy relaxing or meditative.My dream now I’m 33 .. When I grow up I would like to be a yoga instructor and pass on what I have learnt in both disciplines to others The flow of movement, the sense of living in the moment, the ability your body has to change and get better with regular routine the core strength, the sense of achievement.

It’s a cliché but it’s never too late to walk back into something you love knowing only you are your own judge.


Why I…..With 53 Outdoors. 

I wanted to take some time to tell you guy’s why I started 53 Outdoors and also to introduce my new blog project “Why I…..” where I will be asking a range of artists, athletes and badass people with a passion Why they choose to devote some much time to their passion and what it means to them.  

So why did I start 53 Outdoors?

This is something I ask myself on a daily basis and every time I think of an answer it always comes back to the answer of I was bored. 
I was bored of the brands out there in the fitness and outdoors world, I never felt a connection to them, don’t get me wrong I have huge huge respect for every fitness and outdoor brand out there and their personal beliefs behind the brand be it Environmental with Patagonia or The North Face with their campaign “Wall are Meant for Climbing” to encourage people to get out and climb (which I am a big fan of), or Lululemon providing athletic apparel for men and women to encourage them to feel good working out and now having Pro skater Neen Williams on their brand and telling his story of getting clean from drink and drugs and finding fitness to help him skate longer. These are all amazing brands with amazing stories to tell, but I never felt a connection or apart of them. 

53 Outdoors is my creative freedom from this boredom, it is not meant to be a big brand or really seen as anything too serious, it is just a creative outlet for me to get my design ideas out on Apparel and Gym wear which I think looks good and is totally different from what is out there right now and if you dig my design I am so grateful and if they are not your cup of tea I totally get this as well, as I am coming at this from a totally different angle. 

Growing up I was always outdoors from the sunrise to the time it set I was out exploring wherever I could be, making dens or dirt jumps for my BMX. We had a caravan up in the lakes where I spent most of my summer holidays and this is where my love for the outdoors really grew. Days where spend building dams in the local stream, learning to sail on Ullswater or scrambling up mountains such as Blencathra or Skiddaw. This views and activities in nature just seemed perfect to me and where I fitted in. 

However, I did not like the clothing or the brands which wear designed for this outdoor lifestyle. 
As well as loving the outdoors and nature growing up I was a skate / BMX kid who loved punk and metal music. Watching skaters such as Andrew Reynolds or BMXers as Seth Kimbrough having this amazing raw talent and passion for their art. Combine this with music from Black Flag and Metallica just seemed to blow my mind that there was in raw passion out there for these subcultures. These two worlds of Nature & Hiking and Bmx & Punk seemed miles apart and for most of my life I kept them that way. 

As I got older I got into more sports such as Boxing, MMA, Weightlifting, Yoga, Rock climbing and bouldering. With all these sports I still never felt the connection to their brands as I did to punk, metal, BMX and skate brands with their designs and attitudes. I would only want to wear skate brands or band t-shirts whilst I did these sports which made me stick out like a saw thumb but I liked it. 

At the ripe old age of 29, I am not skating or bmxing anymore. Rock climbing and Yoga have become my main focus’s of sport and fitness but I still have the skate and punk mentality so I thought why not start creating some designs which I actually want to wear whilst I am doing these sports and from this 53 Outdoors was born. 

53 Outdoors is a creative idea of combining my love of Fitness and Outdoors with the attitude and designs of Metal, Punk, Skate and BMX.