26 February 2009

Some climbing action

I'm down in Preston at the moment as we've got the week off from University. This has meant that I've been able to lounge around and recover from the wee trip up to Scotland, but also get some climbing in. Today I hit Danham Quarry up and managed three routes before having to retire because of some extremely strong winds at the top of the crag.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

23 February 2009

Another one

There was one more river I managed to get on whilst up in the far north. This one was in the guidebook, and required a walk in, but didn't offer up as much as the previous run. Go out and explore; there's still stuff out there on your doorstep.

More inspection.

Running the shizzle.

Finishing out at sea.

There's an alternative take on the trip and some different pictures over on the Rainchasing blog.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

22 February 2009

Blue lines, brown lines and mountain tracks

For many millenniums rivers have flowed downhill and for not quite as long a period man has mapped these rivers. By using blue lines to mark the channel and brown lines spaced at increments of a specified height he was able to show not only the rivers path, but also the gradient at which it fell. Kayakers have used these line drawings to seek out rivers to float their boats up on, but many now rely on printed literature to tell them where to go and boat.

My little excursion into Scotland tried to get away from the use of the guidebook and instead return to basics so that a proper adventure could be had. The idea had been proven before by the guys I was boating with, and it was proven once again.

Hiking in on a mountain trail.

In the upper section of the river.

Running the shizzle.

The river was only half of it: the location was the other half.

Inspection, inspection, inspection was the name of the game.

Putting it all together.

Good times.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

15 February 2009


It's eventually stopped being ridiculously cold, but it hasn't decided to rain or do much really, which is a bit annoying as this weekend was my 4 Star Kayak Leader Assessment and a bit of water would have gone down a treat. We managed to get down a rather scrappy Leven on the Saturday and then on the Sunday hit the North Lake's low-water option, the River Eden. I passed my assessment and now can get started on what I really wanted - 5 Star Kayak Leader.

A scrappy River Leven.

A sunny River Eden.

An Armathwaite Weir.

Not much else to say. I'm heading off to Scotland on Wednesday afternoon to explore some runs up near Ullapool with the Rainchaser boys and then the week after I'm thinking of hitting Lancashire up with a bit of climbing.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

08 February 2009

Another afternoon jaunt

Looking over to Skiddaw and the Lake District National Park during it's big freeze.

With an equation of: not being enthused by university work coupled with getting bored sat around the house in Carlisle you are left with another afternoon jaunt climbing in the Eden Valley area. Ok, maybe I wasn't quite in the Eden Valley today as I was at Head End Quarry over near Wigton; I don't know where else you would class it though. What I do know is that I really liked this 40m long, 10m high quarry and will make sure I pay it another visit when the chance of snow beginning to fall is not on the cards.

Looking along the quarried limestone face.

We only bagged four routes before the snow started to fall, but they were all really nice and enjoyable, and still enthusiasm for climbing keeps on coming. It's a shame that I'm back in lectures tomorrow otherwise another afternoon jaunt could have been on the cards to another Eden Valley outcrop.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

07 February 2009

Some afternoon jaunts

It's gone all quite on the university front now as timetables have changed considerably meaning that I am only on campus for two-and-a-half day's: I now have a four day weekend. This means that I am not only super productive in getting assignments done well before they're due, but also have loads of free time to get out climbing, kayaking and walking. However, that doesn't seem to be the case. The Lakes are locked down in one almighty freeze meaning the rivers are empty and the hills require the use of spiky, sharp things to ensure some degree of safety.

I did manage yesterday, after being locked up inside for a whole two days tapping out a couple of assignments, to get out for a couple of hours with my boat in the afternoon. I walked from my house, across Carlisle, through the city centre, to the River Eden. There is a small grade 1/2 ripple behind the leisure centre and it kept me entertained for an hour or so.

Then today, after deciding that university work was not going to be on the cards, I headed to Scratchmere Scar for an afternoon jaunt. Of late my enthusiasm for climbing has come back in leaps and bounds: the past fortnight has seen me searching for bargains on the Internet and spending pounds on nice shiny pieces of metal work. This has now left me with somewhat of a reasonable rack and allowed me to lead a handful of diffs. and v. diffs. this afternoon.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

02 February 2009

Global Warming???

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

01 February 2009

Blowing in the wind

The weekend pretty much panned out how I had wanted it to, and it was very similar to what I stated at the end of Friday's post. Saturday saw me blast through an assignment analysing and evaluating the performance of one specific area of an established expedition, and today, I ventured into the Lakes as a reward for the work I had put in yesterday.

I had been watching the weather forecast pretty religiously over the last week, more as a means of seeing what was in store for Friday's climbing, but also for what would be the best activity for a weekend jaunt. I had decided upon walking by Friday morning and when I woke up this morning it looked like I had made the right decision; there were patchy skies, some sun and no sign of the strong winds that had been forecast. More importantly, there was no rain or any sign that it had fallen overnight, which would have put that little niggling thought in the back of my head; "should I of gone boating."

The aim for the day was to traverse the Coledale Valley starting from Braithwaite and taking in Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head, Crag Hill and Sail.

On the summit of Grisedale Pike.

It was all going well until we started to make the descent from Grisedale Pike to the col before the ascent to Hopegill Head. The strong winds had kicked in and were certainly impeding walking. We put our heads down and carried on; it wasn't that bad.

Looking across to Hopegill Head.

We reached the next summit and then turned to make the descent to the col between Sand Hill and Crag Hill. The winds really had picked up now and walking was almost becoming impossible. If you wanted to rest you had to sit down so that you were not blown across the fell side. At this point I quickly scanned my map and found a route, which would get us quickly down into the valley, and away from the really strong winds; we sacked off our plans of reaching Crag Hill and Sail.

Looking down into the Coledale Valley. Force Crag Mine is in the bottom left.

The route from up high was quite testing at first in the extremely strong winds, but as we dropped lower and lower into the valley we felt the winds less and enjoyed some nice views down into the Coledale Valley and across to Low Force tumbling down the face of Force Crag.

Walking along the Coledale Valley on the mine road.

Looking back up the valley to Force Crag and Crag Hill behind.

We soon arrived back in Braithwaite and headed for a quick potter around the shops of Keswick.

More pictures can be found here.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...