Depot Map

Over the past months I’ve been bouldering regularly at The Depot near Leeds (New Pudsey).

Bouldering problemsI’m also taking part in the bouldering leagues. Thirty problems, ranging from easy to seemingly impossible. These are changed every month. They’re a great way to evidence improvement. You award yourself 10 points if you ‘flash’ a problem, 7 points if you get it on your second attempt, then 5  and finally 4 points if you need four or more attempts. The maximum score per round then is 300.

There are many other problems to work on. They are graded by colour and overlap in difficulty. So white problems are the easiest, then blue, black, red and others beyond my capability. These are also changed regularly. The thing is I can never remember which one’s I’ve done.

Whilst printed sheets are available for the competitions, showing a map and scoring grid, nothing exists for general use. To fill this gap I’ve created one, which I make available here, released under a Creative Commons licence. The link below is for the PDF version, the SVG and PNG versions are available from the Depot Map page.



The last time I played roller derby was on 6 May last year. I’d organised a birthday scrim for Hylander and Fox. We had a handful of friendly referees, only three NSOs and just enough skaters to make it six a side. We made a mess of laying the track. Despite all this it was a lovely game and I felt it was a natural point to quit the sport.

I’m still skating in-lines, as a have done for almost 15 years now. That makes roller derby seem like a blip in the time line! On holiday in Berlin last August I covered plenty of kilometres, most noticeably Skate by Night and a roll out to Tempelhof airport.

I’ve also reverted to climbing. I have climbed for many years, possibly more than I’ve skated? I’ve managed occasional visits to The Depot and Leeds Wall in recent years, but there are only so many hours in the day.

I am now bouldering regularly, often two or three times a week. I’m taking part in the bouldering leagues and I’m seeing noticeable improvement in my ability.

I can’t help but compare it to roller derby. There are no ‘teams’ exactly; the ability to climb a problem rests solely with the climber. But I often climb with Rachel (colleague) and Colin (her boyfriend) and we tackle to problems differently/together/as a ‘team’.

The community is very friendly and willing to give advice. It’s perhaps even more inclusive than roller derby? Climbers of different gender, physical build and ability all co-exist without issue. The barriers to entry are very small too. Children as young as five (my estimate) through to adults even older than me are regulars. Equipment requirements are minimal, shoe hire an option for those wanting to try out.

The things that I miss from roller derby are the sweatiness, the physical contact and some of the people. Co-ed games were the most fun because the macho players generally stayed away from them.

Would I go back to playing? Maybe…


This week I seem to have fallen back in to doing more exercise.

Short Version

  • Friday, bouldering (indoor)
  • Saturday, run
  • Today, roller derby

Rambling Version

If you’ve read this far then well done! I was reading back through this blog last week and it brought back lots of memories about my progress playing and understanding roller derby.

Friday I was off work and made the effort to go over to The Depot near Leeds. I used to climb/boulder twice a week, so I suppose at the time it was my “roller derby”. I’ve been to The Depot a few times (with Alex). Great venue, easy to get to, routes are changed frequently and they do coffee and cake! It was a reconnaissance trip as some of the team are interesting in giving it a go. It was as well I did as I’m only allowed to sign in two non-members.

I really enjoyed it. As it was during the day it was really quiet. I did sudoku/crossword on the way there and read (The Hunger Games, still not finished it Katie) on the return journey.

Yesterday was fine and I really had no excuse not to go for a run. It was a little frustrating to start with. I intended to do my usual 5km route but the steps down to the tow path were barricaded – they’re working on the canal over quite a length at the moment. I carried on along the main road then came back along the cycle route. Right knee was uncomfortable towards the end so I only did 4km in about 23 minutes. Room to improve!

Today was Skateful Dead practice. Si and Dave were absent, both for very valid reasons. We had five on track, Liz, Trubs, Woolley, Bucky and myself, with Carly reffing/coaching. It was a really good session. Sweaty! We have (slightly more formally, we don’t do politics) agreed that training sessions will be co-ed. This was, I think, the first session where females have out-numbered males, surely a clear indicator that gender is of no importance in this game :-)

As we were walking out Woolley noted that, while she is the same age as my daughter, she felt that all of us (present) were her age. I quite understand this and it makes me very happy.

And if you’ve bothered to read this far then thank you, now go do some housework, which is what I’m avoiding!