Paula & Robbie (Bert) Warke
Paula & Robbie actually met in a cave in Mexico – no kidding! Kindred spirits, they decided a few years ago to build a climbing wall. They had no idea where that journey would take them, except for back to Devon. After five years of very hard work, they realised their dream of even more hard work!
Robbie can be found most days dishing out tea and abuse in equal measures, working silly hours, and trying to make order out of the chaos they have created. Paula keeps a hand in by teaching yoga at the centre and having a little climb when her injured shoulder allows. They love their work, their climbing wall, their staff, and their crazy little dog Meghan.
Robbie has worked for over 25 years in the outdoor industry in Devon, climbed on some of the most outrageous bits of rock and ice around the world and caved in some of the deepest caves on earth. He is an MIA, CIC, and a technical safety specialist in roped access and industrial work at height techniques. He is the general manager of Dart Rock, and irritatingly one of the best climbers here. Robbie is a technical nerd and will tell you anything you want to know about the gear you are using or the music you are listening to.
Paula is a geologist by training, and an American by birth. She loves everything in the outdoors, but her first love will always be caving. She has caved throughout North America , the UK and Europe and has conducted extensive research in Mid-Atlantic karst areas of the US. She swears she isn’t really a climber, but she has been known to tackle some impressive extremes and long adventure routes both stateside and in the UK, including a memorable journey up the Old Man of Hoy. Now that the wall is up and running she has returned to her first love for rocks and works as a professional geologist, but she would secretly like to run away and join the circus (if there weren’t any clowns), and would really like to start working towards her CIC (cave instructor certificate).
Catherine (Dwarf) Wright
Cat has climbed since she was even smaller than she is now and has competed around the country in a variety of climbing competitions, including several years in the BRYCS and SIBLs. She has also climbed with her family all over the UK and Europe but still says her favourite crags are those of the Cornish coast. She just finished a foundation degree in outdoor education at South Devon College which took her off doing everything from climbing on Dartmoor to sailing across the channel. This autumn she begins her university degree programme which will be building on her foundation degree. She enjoys everything to do with the outdoors and especially snowboarding in Europe most winters. When she’s not doing outdoor sports she enjoys playing field hockey as well.
Cat ticked her first E1 this summer and is looking forward to just getting outside a lot more to get to know the great crags Devon has to offer.
Assistant Centre Manager - Hannah Clay
Hannah has been working at Dart Rock from practically the beginning; she manages the daily running of the centre and things like competitions & events. Hannah is also one of our qualified instructors. Hannah is also a qualified JNC Youth Worker and co-ordinates our VInspired Youth Volunteers programme.
Hannah has been climbing for around four years and says she most enjoys the friendships that climbing has brought her. Hannah also love’s to try and capture the magic of it all behind the camera, she has made several short films for Dart Rock to advertise events as well as depicting the trips she has taken.
Hannah has recently taken a step in to competitive climbing and won the BMC 2013 Para Climbing Series for her category (although next year she is hoping there will be lots more competitors!).
Colin has always loved the outdoorsy stuff, growing up spendingweekends on Dartmoor, and working in the New Forest and The Cotswolds. He particularly likes to escape to the mountains of North Wales.
After gaining a degree in Hospitality Management, he spent many years managing hotels and hating most of it before getting seriously into climbing. As a huge bit of what we do at Dart Rock really is hospitality, his skills come in more handily than he expected!
Colin has been "climbing with us" at Dart Rock since our opening day and joined our staff team in April this year. He particularly enjoys teaching the "Try a Climb" and "Climb School" sessions because people can get so much out of them, and getting more people to enjoy the sport is what it's all about to him. He is currently completing his CWA and is registered for both the ML and SPA which he hopes to complete soon. Colin says his favourite part about working at Dart Rock is getting to talk about climbing all the time, which may have not been so interesting to his former colleagues...
Colin can be found hanging off the rocks of Torbay and Dartmoor most weeks with 2 Degrees Climbing Club, of which he is also Club Secretary (and good to chat to if you want to find out more about the club). Or feel free to have a chat about any climbing related stuff – that makes him happy!
Meghan (Megsy) Warke
I’m a border collie with a very important job around here. I bring things to customers. They throw them. I bring them back. Etc. If you don’t play with me, I’ll have to put my toys inside your rucksack. You really should play with me. I don’t feel like I’m doing my job if you don’t.
Besides fetching, I have the very important job of keeping all the cake crumbs off the floor. I love cake. I love chasing balls. I especially love doing tricks. Ask Paula and she will show you how she puts me through the paces. Please throw the toy, I know it is wet and soggy, but I’ll love you forever if you throw it. Throw it. Throw it now. You know you want to...