Fehmahrn fun, fear and fitness: Siloclimbing and SUP

By Marina Aagaard, MFT. Photos: Henrik Elstrup and Marina Aagaard
Ready. Set. Go. Today’s program is not for those with a fear of heights or hydrophobia. But it is spot on for everyone who wants outdoor activity with that little extra.
Sunday. It is morning. Henrik and I drive towards the harbor, Burgstaaken, close by. The fall weather is cool, but beautiful with blue sky. When we arrive, we walk around – and photograph – the harbor, which is awakening.
The first thing we see is the submarine and a lifeboat. There are three museums in the harbor; U-boat museum, Seenotrettungsmuseum and Übersee Museum. They are not open yet, but we get to take a few photos of the submarine, a favourite of the local sea gulls.
Fehmarn_IMG_2442wFehmarn_IMGw_2437My errand in the harbour today has nothing to do with shopping for fish or sailing, though.

Silo Climbing – Europe’s highest toprope secured climbing facility

The website lures: Are you looking for a good leisure activity on the Baltic Sea? You’ll find that here with us. One of the silo’s 16 climbing routes is 40 meters high and thus the highest toprope secured climbing route in Europe. The degrees of difficulty are from (1) 2-7 as far as I can see from the signs below the routes, which have planet names.

The climbing holds are positioned, so that a body height of 1.10 m is sufficient, and even beginners have only few problems coping with the easier climbing routes. The youngest climbers are 4 to 5 years old, the oldest being over 70 years old. 

The website informs, that climbing is a partner sport, so you should preferably have a partner with you; one with a certain body weight. The climbing, though, is for both beginners and beginners, which most of the visitors are.

An introduction to safety and climbing is offered. It’s free, but takes a little while, so you should prepare to spend at least 1 hour including the necessary 5 minute climbing breaks. You can rent a harness and shoes, which I, as a novice without my own equipment, had to.

When I read about the activity on the web, it seemed like a great idea, but:
The silo can be seen from far away and it is towering, when we get closer it; my courage diminishes considerably.

Fehmarn_IMG_2455

We are there just before 9:30 am: You must get there fairly early in the day, because it is only open from morning to early afternoon. In the high season, the silo is full of climbers, but not today …

Fehmarn_IMG_2477Fehmarn_IMG_2492

Climbing is a challenging sport, where you have to use both your head and a lot of muscles, big and small. You train strength as well as motor skills.
Most people can succeed on the easiest routes, but they are not that easy …

At Aalborg Sports College, where I worked for years, climbing is popular and I had the pleasure of trying it once, but 1) it is a long time ago, 2) it was a small climbing wall, and 3) I still remember, that the fingers were sore the following days. You use muscles, you did not knew exist.

Owner and instructor Roland Hain, however, seems extremely relaxed and optimistic, while telling about security and briefly about climbing.
Just do it, seems to be the recipe.

After the instruction and securing belt and line – Henrik and I are at each end – I start climbing a level 2 route, a fairly easy route according to Roland. I do not now think so; it feels quite challenging and I’m already sweating.

After ringing the bell at the top, the return trip down follows, a small break: I grab the rope with both hands, lean back and jump down one meter at a time.

Then another level 2 route on the other wall. It feels different, a little easier, great. I think the climbing is over now. Roland does not think so. I get a short break and then get ready again, ready for a level 3 route, a bit more difficult. I grit my teeth, but make it …

But now Roland leaves us, and it’s only me and Henrik, my ‘safety’ (counterweight) buddy. I grip the climbing holds tightly, using my arms a little too much, although I know, that I should be using the legs for most of the work.

During the climbing I suddenly hear Roland’s voice over the speakers, he is apparently watching at a distance and now gives some instructions and encouraging remarks over the PA.

After this climb it is time for another level 3 route?! It’s too hard I think, but I’m struggling my way to the top and get to ring the bell, then grab the rope, lean back and jump downwards.

It was hard. I’m ready call it a day, but then Roland pops up. Now he says it’s time for a level 5+ route. I do not think so at all, but he lures me into at least making an attempt. Also he takes over the lead, so Henrik can take a few pictures of me huffing and puffing on the wall …

For me, a novice, the track is very challenging and even if you are secured by a ropes, it still feels a lot like actually climbing on a rock wall and that a lost grip could be (at least slightly) dangerous.

Roland reassures me; it’s not dangerous at all and “it’s going well.” I am not convinced, but struggling, driven upwards only by his pep-talk.
Unbelievably I reach the top and with an effort I ring the bell, while the sweat is pouring down my back. Now I slowly jump back down again.

Relieved, and in fact, also somewhat proud that I did make it at all … I had my doubts, when I looked up the silo earlier this morning. I can only say, that Roland is very positive and persuasive …

And actually, I must admit that climbing (on the easier routes) is great fun as well as an awesome workout … it is definitely not the last time, that I do this.

From the silo climbing we drive to the other side of the island to the Orth harbor. We arrive at noon and go to the Quinttings café.

The waiter in the cafe looks busy and we have to find our own way. The place looks trendy, though, and in the kitchen a couple of cooks are working with concentration. So we settle down on a bench and order “burger of the month”.

For an additional 2 Euro, we get organic Galloway beef – with vegetables, pumpkin seeds and a special pumpkin, coconut and balsamico sauce. The ciabatta bun is toasted exactly right as is the hamburger; all together this burger tastes heavenly; Perhaps the best, freshest burger I have ever tasted.
A very satisfying meal.

SUP – Stand Up Paddling

Several personal trainers have already integrated SUP, stand up paddling , in their training programs and it’s only due to lack of time, that I have not had my first SUP tour yet. I’ve been wanting to get on that SUP board ever since I saw the activity for the first time several years ago. Now the time has come.

We check in at Windgeister, where I am to meet with Achim “Stuzi” Stuzmann.

The Windgester shop looks very, very cool with expert gear and the latest fashion for surfers … I think it’s mostly for hardcore windsurfers and kite surfers. However, there is a warm, welcoming atmosphere and great service.

The weather is quite windy and Stuzi asks if I possibly can come back on another day. Unfortunately, I can’t. Today is my last day at Fehmarn, but I’m more than willing to back out, because I, too, think the wind seems quite hard.

Nevertheless, Stuzi think it will probably be o.k. anyway. I get a wet suit – which it is unbelievably hard to get into, firstly because it’s my first time ever in this kind of clothing, secondly because it is size small, and maybe it should have been medium, because now I feel size extra large as I’m struggling feverishly with the tight fit neoprene.

After an embarrassingly long time dressing session, I’m in, and now walking like a duck through the little harbor to meet with my SUP coach André.
André is all smiles and looks incredibly laid back. He mentions, that it is more windy than usual for SUP, but that it will be okay, as long as we stay close to the coast.

I get a quick course about the board, technique and weather conditions. I’m a little nervous because both Stuzi and Andre have mentioned that not only is it windy, but it is also pretty cold now in October and the idea of ​​falling into icy cold water does not seem appealing. This is why I listen very carefully to make sure, that I get the informations right.

André emphasizes, that we are not trying any cool tricks such as jumping up onto the board, but rather we are starting very carefully by getting up onto the board via the kneeling position and from there move gradually to the standing position. Yes, yes, that sounds good in theory.

To my surprise, the board is a lot more stable than expected and it’s also easier to get to standing, than I thought. Stearing is harder than expected, though! The waves and the wind takes power of the board, so initially I zig-zag to and fro with a very, very un-cool technique … and a desperate look.

Fortunately, it does not take a long before the board is somewhat under control with my feet in the right position and the body upright and ready; now it is possible to paddle in the wake of André’s board.

Another surprise today. I was ready for losing balance and falling into the water right away. So it is really uplifting, that we are paddling away on a small cruise already on this first ever SUP tour … at a leisurely pace, of course.

I have time to look down into the water, which is crystal clear and to the open sea, that glitters in the afternoon sun rays. Paddling is still not that easy, but the tour is a success without any unhappy events.

Back on the shore André lights up and I get a high five. He now admits, that he had not expected me to make it, because the wind – and the tide – was actually too strong today. Normally, SUP takes place under almost windless conditions and with 3+ on the Beaufort scale, there is normally no SUP courses.

I’m just relieved, that I did not “go under”; high five, enthusiastic clap, from me…

SUP, stand up paddling, is a great outdoor activity – I love the sea – and it is much easier than expected. I look forward to SUP’ing again soon.
The hardest part is actually getting the neoprene suit on …

Now it’s already late afternoon, so we – Henrik, who has taken the photos – drive back to the hotel. Here I turn the sauna on immediately and it is ready in just half an hour. So am I; the intense heat interrupted by cold showers (four laps in total) promotes recovery and wellness, so hopefully I will not get too sore tomorrow, which may happen according to both my climbing and SUP instructor.

By 8 o’clock we drive into town. We had planned to dine at Netti’s – as  recommended – but the place is full (Sunday off season?) So we have to go elsewhere. We end up at a hotel, where the restaurant looks inviting.

We order and get a simple dinner consisting of mixed grill for Henrik and three different fish fillets for me. Both courses with roasted potatoes – today’s side order – and a tiny bit of green. Nutritionally not that well balanced, but filling.

Shortly after 9 o’clock we head back to the hotel and go to bed early.

Read more:

Siloclimbing

Windgeister

Naturaaktiv.com

EinSmuttur

Fehmarn.de

Ostsee-Schleswig-Holstein.de

2 Rad Marquardt, Burg 

Fehmarn Google map

The blog was invited by Natura (Interreg Deutschland – Denmark)

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