A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting up with Natalie Berry, one of Britain’s top female sports climbers. She had decided to take a week long break in Malta prior to traveling to Munich to report on the bouldering world championships being held there. Why Malta? She’d read about recent developments here on Stevie Haston’s blog – and the flights were cheap!
Natalie started out climbing at the age of 8 when she had a go on a mobile climbing structure outside a supermarket. She enjoyed it so much that next day she was at a climbing wall, trying out the sport in earnest. She hasn’t looked back since then. She formed part of the GB Youth Team where she stacked up an impressive number of competition places, including being multiple British Champion, 1st European Youth Cup Place in Slovenia and BUCS Champion 2011. She’s also racked up an impressive list of routes outside having climbed up to 8b (!) with an ascent of SatanX at Gorges du Loup in 2012.
In Malta, Natalie together with her good friend Amy Johnstone, enjoyed the deep water soloing at Wied Babu and Ghar Hasan/ Wied Mixta, as well as the sports routes on Babu East Side and at Ghar Lapsi. They also found the time compete in a triathlon! Clearly, they coped well with our hot and humid conditions. After a few days it was off to Gozo for some routes at Mgarr ix-Xini and the Tower of Power. In Natalie’s own words:
“Malta and Gozo proved to be fantastic spots to climb, somewhere “off the beaten track” in a beautiful setting with routes of high quality and great grade ranges. Being so close to the sea no matter where we climbed, we could mix climbing and relaxing on the beach on rest days and even try out deep water soloing for the first time! The climbers on the island were friendly and welcoming and extremely keen to share their knowledge of the area. Perhaps my favourite route was on Gozo, a classic 7b called Medusa on SopuTower. The rock was so varied from crag to crag – white walls punctuated with pockets, orange flowing tufas and high-friction sandstone. There certainly is something for everyone in Malta and Gozo – I recommend the climbing and the food, and of course the weather was perfect!”
You can also read Natalie’s own report on her blog here.
In Gozo, our expert climbing photographer In(d)igo Taylor took some great pics of Natalie in action. Enjoy 🙂
Hope to see you in Malta again soon Natalie!