Rock climbing

Brit gran who started rock climbing at 93 is ‘never tried before’


Marie Dorbin scaled a 26ft high indoor rock wall for the first time on her birthday and said: ‘It was something inside me just waiting to come out’

Marie Dorbin with Craggy Island instructor Beth McFarlane

Thrill seeker Marie Dorbin took up rock climbing… at the age of 93.

The great-grandmother scaled a 26-foot-tall indoor rock face for the first time on her birthday.

She was the first nonagenarian to don a harness at the Craggy Island Indoor Climbing Gym – and she loved every second of it.

Marie, who is 4ft 9in, said: ‘It felt so natural. I was angry, I hadn’t done this before.

“I kept thinking, ‘I’m going to wake up soon, this is too fun to be real!’

“It was something inside of me just waiting to come out. I’m just glad I finally found out before I got too old.

Approaching the top of the climbing wall

Mary says she’s going back for more

Her daughter Patricia, 71, said: ‘When mum came down there was this crowd standing there, unable to fully comprehend what they were seeing.

“Mum was beaming and claimed she hadn’t heard the call to descend earlier because of her hearing aid – then did three more climbs!”

Beth McFarlane, instructor at Guildford Climbing Centre, said: “I didn’t expect Marie’s strength and speed.

Marie on her husband’s bike on honeymoon

She climbed the wall like someone half her age. It was breathtaking!”

Former Secretary Marie, from Old Coulsdon, Surrey, did a follow-up climb over Christmas and has booked to do some climbing again for her 94th birthday.

The ardent royalist is a bit of a daredevil, however. For her 90th birthday, Marie enjoyed a day of games attended by her five children, 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

There was no way to hold Marie

Mary climbed to the top

Patricia said: ‘Mum was shooting guns, archery, slack-lining, shy coconut… she was the first in the jacuzzi and we had a marquee of Buckingham Palace, with a cut out Life-size queen.

“Later mum led a barge on the Thames while singing Land of Hope and Glory.

“Mom has always done things her way. During World War II, she refused to enter the bunkers, instead sitting under the kitchen table
with his dog.

“She always refused to act her age. We thought she would pull through, but we’re glad she’s still misbehaving.

Read more

Read more