Hatfield great-grandmother, 99, proves age is no barrier as she conquers indoor climbing wall
PUBLISHED: 14:32 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:39 15 January 2019
A thrill-seeking Hatfield 99-year-old has proved age is no barrier by scaling an indoor rock climbing wall for the first time.
Sprightly great-grandmother of eight Greta Plowman was watching her plucky daughter Judith, 70, at the Manchester Climbing Centre recently when she became inspired to have a go herself.
Greta, who is originally from Welwyn Garden City and had never climbed in her life, said: “It was marvellous, really exciting.
“My fingers ached a bit, but I learnt to push more with my feet and that made all the difference.
“It was such a thrilling experience to get to the top.”
The grandmother of seven and mother of four, who only recently moved into an aged care home at 98, surprised everyone - including herself - by completing the climb.
Judith said: “I think she has stronger hands than she thinks - she’s often using handrails to pull herself up and pushing down.
“She was asking me if she did good for someone her age, I said the average person her age was dead, and so she was definitely slightly above average.”
Judith climbs at least once a week after being introduced by her son and Greta’s grandson Tim Dobson about two years ago.
She added: “Watching her, even at 99, be able to share the sport I’ve come to love made it a very special day.”
Tim climbed alongside his grandmother to guide her up while Judith belayed, securing Greta from falling.
He said Greta’s feat disproved common preconceptions about climbing and hoped it would inspire others to challenge themselves.
“I think the message is if you want to try something, it doesn’t matter what the situation is, have a go and you’d be surprised by what you can do,” Tim said.
Until then, the oldest person Tim had introduced to climbing was his mum and he admitted he was nervous about Greta’s ascent.
“At 99, I wasn’t sure she would even get off the ground,” he said.
“Most people would be apprehensive before their first rock climb, but the only person who didn’t seem scared was Greta.
“She got onto the wall and she, slowly but steadily, made her way up the climb. There was one point near the top where she said to me, ‘I don’t think I can go on’ and I said ‘you’re nearly there’ and to her credit, she pushed through and got right to the top!”
Manchester Climbing Centre owner John Dunne indicated Greta now held the record for the oldest climber at the centre.