Staff Roasts (Bios)

Gareth AstonPreviously known as the website manager, Gareth has a great relationship with computers, as long as they do exactly what he wants and were made before 2003. When unable to find answers on Google, he has also been known to apply such forward thinking ideas as taking a piece of 3 by 2 to a computer.

Come to think of it, was he ever really the best choice for dealing with the website? Probably not, hence why he settled in to the role of V12 Overlord so well. The guy paraglides when the weather allows, rock climbs when the wind picks up, runs when the rain follows, and takes photos and films when it gets any worse than that. What a life!

• Jack Rattenbury; clocking more hours a week than most do in a month, Jack lives and breathes V12. Putting most of life's major milestones on hold until this season's forward orders are in; a martyr to the cause.

Jack is one of our four main men on the shop floor, has great product knowledge and can tell you anything you want to know about bouldering in and around the area, as well as much further afield.

He has been known to tie on to a rope every now and then but he generally ends up crying at the end of it all! Deliberation is his game; currently deciding whether to pump iron, swing irons or work his way through the local test pieces, injuries allowing.

• Will Eccles; Assistant to the Regional Manager. If V12 required an in house model Will would be the obvious choice; rugged good looks, charisma, strength, intelligence and humbleness. Will performs a plethora of important jobs to help keep V12 running smooth.

Amongst those jobs, the vital task of ensuring the staff bios are relevant and impartial. A task he has excelled in.. just fantastic work, Will! Hobbies include climbing, cycling, hillwalking, photography, surfing and gardening.

• Bertie BennettBertie comes from the land down under, well the west country anyway! He prides himself on his near perfectly abysmal fashion sense, which he seems to achieve on a stunningly regular basis. Slacklining, Rock Climbing, Ice Climbing, Surfing, Longboarding, if it's got an 'ing' on the end Bert probably does it!

The enthusiasm of youth is slowly ebbing, but a real dynamo when you get him going. If you’re ever lucky enough to be in the shop when he isn’t on his lunch (and the odds are stacked against you) he offers unparalleled customer care and is a delight to deal with! Bertie is the quintessential gear freak. From working loads to cord diameter; down fill power to hardshell breathability Bertie applies it all to memory.

With so much brain power given over to the world of outdoor equipment it is no wonder really that he functions so poorly in the rest of life. Looks good in a hat though.

• Rich Hession; a.k.a the Oracle (self titled), the Scouse, the Cat Whisperer, the Closet Carnivore. If Rich doesn’t know the trade, recommended retail and V12 discounted price of a product then you do not need that product. Rich is so unbelievably work orientated that he often takes his lunch nearer to most people’s dinner times to ensure your parcels are dispatched at lightning speed. He doesn't half let us all know about it though!

If this wasn’t enough, Rich has also bouldered to a higher grade than that which the shop is named - much to Gareth’s dismay. For a moment we considered renaming the shop but the projected cost of replacing branded pens, tees and carabiners would have undoubtedly bankrupted us. "It would be cheaper to fire him." Gareth Aston, 2023.

• Emily Law; as long as it doesn't require attention to detail Emily is the perfect sales assistant! What she lacks in vigilance, she makes up for in just about everything else. Endlessly optimistic and with a beaming smile, she contrasts the general vibe from the older staff members nicely, whilst delivering a torrent of useful information on anything from access to crags to her favourite slate shoes.

To quash any lingering doubts that we're an equal opportunities and progressive outfit we task Emily with nearly all of the heavy lifting work, usually whilst chanting "Feminism! Feminism!" from our well worn stools. Much more than a Sales Assistant though, Emily is a ray of sunshine, font of knowledge, valuable team member, friend to all and most recently our social media guru.

• JanetThe human calculator. An enigma. Is Janet even her real name? Does she have a surname or is it just Janet? Like Bono.. or Adele.. or Batman. When not working she can often be found out on the pull; that would be the local Himalayan Balsam, of course. Totally google-proof and integral to the company, Janet keeps us on the straight and narrow. Watching the margins, keeping the lights on and paying our wages. Hooray for Janet!