Chris Hamper

My father had unusually long arms and very thin ankles; he was also scared of heights. I inherited the first two but thankfully not the last, this meant that I always had to wear school uniform jackets two sizes too big and was very glad to move to secondary school where we were allowed to wear long trousers. More positively I discovered, from a very early age, that my unusual body shape was rather well suited to climbing so climb I did; trees, houses castle walls the steeper the better. Up to the age of about 11 I thought I was a bit of a freak, but on a family holiday in the Lake District I saw my first real climber and found out what I was. Throughout school in Coventry and University in Leeds It took skill to balance my time so that I could enjoy my four favourite pastimes, climbing, training for climbing, talking about climbing and dreaming about climbing. After University I drifted into a job teaching physics at Sidney Stringer School and Community College in Coventry where I discovered that I could divert my energy from climbing to other things.

In the 1980’s Coventry was not the centre of the rock climbing world but Sheffield was so when I got married to Hilary who lived in Sheffield I was obviously the one who was going to move, and that’s where we had our first child Josie. Although I tried to continue to climb with baby in tow the comments I got from passing walkers made me realise that rock climbing with a baby was not quite socially acceptable. A move to Atlantic College in Wales solved this problem. I discovered surfing, an all together more family friendly activity. The move to Wales also marked a big change in the way I saw my career as I started to climb the greasy pole.

A move to Norway and the brand new Red Cross Nordic United World College presented many opportunities for me and my family which by that time had two new members, Rowan and Florence. Living in a foreign country gave new insight into the problems of non English speaking students and the enthusiasm of all the new teachers was infectious as I collected all sorts of administrative positions. After almost 10 years of trying to keep too many balls in the air I decided that teaching physics was actually what I liked best so gave up the admin and became a full time teacher. This gave me time to get involved in the OCC followed by leading workshops, designing websites, writing books and most recently designing the school database. Too many balls again?

After 30 years of teaching I think I have finally reached where I want to be, I live in a beautiful house that we had built next to the college, I walk to work every day through ever changing unspoilt countryside. In my free lessons I go home and walk the dog, a Gordon setter called Ben. I climb on the boulders and cliffs that are a short walk from my front door and when I sit in my home office I look out of the window and see the fjord. I never buy lottery tickets.