05 May 2010

Some more climbing and a busman's holiday

Approaching the crux of the third pitch (5a) on Troutdale Pinnacle Super Direct (HVS).

Since my last post I have been continuing on in a similar vain; I've been ticking the odd route here and the odd route there because the weather hasn't been playing ball, meaning that long sessions on the crag have become a rarity. Yesterday's route was the super direct version of Troutdale Pinnacle on Black Crag in the Borrowdale Valley and today's was an 11m single pitch route on Great Wanney, in Northumberland, called Eastern Traverse (HS, 4b).

Looking across Great Wanney in Northumberland.

I had decided last night that I would head east, instead of south, for a change, on the basis that the weather is usually better on the other side of the Pennines and it seemed to be the case as we tracked along the military road in the direction of Newcastle. Our final destination was Great Wanney, a long outcrop of hard sandstone, which is supposedly one of the more spectacular sandstone crags of Northumberland, and the sole purpose of heading east, to the sandstone outcrops, was to get a large number of routes under my belt; the last couple of outings may have been on quality lines, but lacked volume meaning that the sheer act of climbing could not also be classed as training.

Looking up at the East Buttress of Great Wanney.

The weather seemed to have other ideas though; we got one route in before a fine mist of rain started to moisten the sandstone and make climbing impossible for the rest of the day. We packed our stuff away and made the half-hour walk back through the moorland and trees to the van dejected and angry, but we were not Carlisle bound. I made a quick phone call to the Go Ape course at Matfen Hall, where I did an odd day's work last year, and within twenty minutes we were filling in our forms, and getting our safety brief, before heading off on a high wire forest adventure.

Making moves on Go Ape Matfen's Site 2 Tarzan Swing.

About to head through the barrels on Go Ape Matfen's Site 3.

Obviously I'm back in Carlisle now, but that is not going to be the case for much longer. Tomorrow I'm heading north for seven days of climbing, canoeing and sea kayaking with the university. I think I'll take in the boulders of Dumbarton tomorrow as a way to break up the long drive to Oban where I will be based for the week.

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

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