Running, climbing, abseiling: Why Kate is the have-a-go Duchess

·4 min read

Watch: Duchess of Cambridge tries abseiling and meets cadets in Cumbria

The royals have long been known for their love of sporting pursuits - whether it's the hunting, shooting and fishing loved by the senior members of the family, or more widely acceptable forms of fun such as Polo, played by Charles in his youth, and William and Harry in their twenties. 

Prince Philip loved bloodsports and carriage-driving, while Princess Anne and her daughter Zara were both Olympic equestrians. But there's one royal who's happy to try almost anything sporty, from her hockey-captain schooldays to her current incarnation as a super-fit mother of three and working royal.

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge takes part in abseiling as she visits the Windermer Adventure Training Centre with RAF Cadets, in Windermere, Cumbria, Britain, September 21, 2021. Andy Stenning/Pool via REUTERS - RC2DUP9AYOY4
Kate gets ready to rumble in Cumbria. (Reuters)

Read more: Kate Middleton Visits One of Her — and the Cambridge Kids' — Favorite Parts of Britain

The Duchess of Cambridge is never more at ease than when she's moving at speed, on land or at sea. 

This week, she tackled abseiling and mountain biking on a visit to Cumbria to re-open the RAF Air Cadets’ Windermere Training Centre. "What could go wrong?" she joked, as she tried out a mountain bike. 

She next popped on a helmet and abseiled down a cliff face - and though her security detail may have been a little white-knuckled, Kate was entirely unfazed, saying: "Very cool!" as she reached the ground. 

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge competes in the inaugural King's Cup regatta, hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in Cowes, Isle of Wight on August 8, 2019.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge competes in the inaugural King's Cup regatta, hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in Cowes, Isle of Wight, 2019. (PA)

She's just as happy in a boat - a source told Vanity Fair magazine that the Cambridges spent the summer learning to sail near their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall, and added that Kate had been teaching George and Charlotte - they're "very much a family of sailors now.

"Kate has always been a competent sailor and William's pretty good too...They have enjoyed some wonderful time on the coast this summer sailing and showing the children how to steer and sail a boat. They love the water and the two eldest are good swimmers and had no qualms about jumping into the sea even if it was a bit fresh."

Allegedly the family also enjoyed "long walks in the countryside, fishing, riding and cycling" in August, during their annual stay at Balmoral. 

CARCROSS, BC - SEPTEMBER 28:  Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge talk to locals about mountain bikes on Montana mountain near Carcross during the Royal Tour of Canada on September 28, 2016 in Carcross, Canada. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte are visiting Canada as part of an eight day visit to the country taking in areas such as Bella Bella, Whitehorse and Kelowna  (Photo by Andrew Milligan - Pool/Getty Images)
Kate and William talk mountain bikes on a tour of Canada. (Getty Images)

Kate also enjoys tennis. She's a patron of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, and is regularly seen in the stand at Wimbledon, cheering on her favourite players. She recently expressed excitement at Emma Raducanu's astonishing American Open win, too. 

She showed off her own skills, at a Lawn Tennis Association youth event, where she played impressive tennis with pupils from the Craiglockheart Tennis Centre in Edinburgh. 

She even took on William. The couple are notoriously competitive, and William joked to onlookers, "This could go on hours. Talk amongst yourselves!"

The Duchess of Cambridge plays tennis as she joins a session with a group during a visit to Coach Core Essex in Basildon.
Competitive: The face that says "Do not mess." (PA)

Read more: Duchess of Cambridge hails ‘incredible’ British tennis star Raducanu

Both were sporty from childhood, with Kate captain of her hockey team at Marlborough and also committed to rowing and netball, while William played rugby and football for Eton and was known to excel at swimming and cross country, as well as Polo. 

At St Andrews University, where they met, Kate was in the tennis and swimming teams and often got up early to go rowing. 

As if that's not enough, she keeps fit by running regularly, and both are very competent skiers, as Kate demonstrated on a royal trip to Klosters back in 2004, where they were first 'outed' as a couple. 

The Duchess of Cambridge rows in a dragon boat across Dalvay lake in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. ........NO SALES to Landov picture Agency
Kate joins the rowing team - a sport dear to her heart. (Getty Images)
KLOSTERS, SWITZERLAND - MARCH 19:  Prince William and girlfriend Kate Middleton use a T-bar drag lift whilst on a skiing holiday on March 19, 2008 in Klosters, Switzerland.  (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)
Skiing with William back in 2008. (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)

There are only two things she won't do when it comes to sport - she has told journalist Bryony Gordon that she can never run the marathon, 'because of security and all that' - and unlike the other royals, she doesn't ride horses and is thought to be allergic to them - despite having reportedly promised ponies to George and Charlotte. 

Other than that, nothing will stop her. On one royal engagement this summer, she even excelled at table tennis. 

DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 04: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge plays table tennis as she visits Savannah House, a residential facility run by charity Extern, in County Meath, north of Dublin on March 4, 2020  (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Ping pong ninja: take her on at your peril. (Getty Images)

“Catherine is really good at table tennis.” William admitted to onlookers. The truth is, when it comes to sport, the future Queen is good at pretty much everything.

Watch: Prince William and Duchess Catherine pay tribute to Team GB

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