23 July 2010

Busy Times

A famous landmark: Sycamore Gap, which was used in the 1991 film, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Well it would appear that the blog has been neglected of late. This is not the case at all; my free time has been neglected, and this is because the school holidays have begun. This for me means a number of things: full time work at Go Ape and as a result of this, less days for climbing and other activities.

Looking up at the prow of Queen Kong (Font 8a).

However, the days I have been given off by Go Ape I have tried to fill with freelance work and so far I have succeeded in gaining an extra day's work for the next fortnight. Yesterday I was working for Summitreks over in Coniston and next week I'm back working for Learning Edge, which is the outdoor centre within the University of Cumbria's School of Outdoor Studies.

Making moves on Prow Two (Font 5).

Today I took the day off though and I am glad I did; the weather was fantastic. After ticking off a lot of little jobs that had built up over the past eight days, whilst I have been working, I headed east into Northumberland for a short highball bouldering session at Queens Crag, and this took me past Sycamore Gap. I have, for a long time, been meaning to stop and photograph this landmark, not just because it appeared alongside Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman, but because it is such an impressive sight.

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

14 July 2010

Limestone Times

Trow Gill.

In my last post I said that I would be off to Yorkshire to sample some of their limestone crags and that is what happened yesterday. The limestone crag for the occasion was Trow Gill, which is an impressive place and it wouldn't be out of place in a film starring that ever popular Iowa boy, Marion Robert Morrison. You could just imagine the Academy Award winner ambushing a hardy bunch of lawless individuals as they trekked through the gill in search of a hiding place.

High up on Clapham in Irons (F6a+).

Luckily there was none of that today; there was the odd group of high school Geography students, but for the most part we were left to our own devices as we worked away on the bolted routes of the southern wall.

Making a couple of tentative moves on Sunday Best (F6a+).

We were plagued throughout the day by the weather. The wind funnelled up the gill making it extremely cold, which made it hard to crank on the small limestone edges, but that was manageable, what was not manageable was the precipitation that began to fall after our third climb. We took shelter for half-an-hour as it abated and eventually stopped and after a couple of minutes the limestone was dry. One more climb was had before the heavens opened again signalling the end to our day.

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

12 July 2010

Quiter Times...

Setting up a Tyrolean in Dalt Quarry.

Since my last post, which was a week ago, things have started to slow down because the weather has taken a turn for the worse, but also paid work has started to pick up as the school holidays start to begin.

A red sky at night over the houses of Greystone Road, Carlisle.

Even though the weather has taken a turn for the worse there have been times where climbing has been possible - I've had a short bouldering session at Carrock Fell - but on more than one occasion motivation has been lacking. I think this is because the weather has made me question, on several occasions, whether it is worth driving to the crag on the hope that it will be dry enough for climbing. However, today I headed to Coudy Rock for another short session on the sandstone outcrop.

Another Coudy Rock route: The Wider Sea (F6b+).

I've decided that a trip to the limestone crags of the Yorkshire Dales will be a good way of filling the time tomorrow.

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

05 July 2010

More Sandy, Sporty Times

Top roping Hooray for Harold (F5+?).

Since Friday's visit to Coudy Rock many new lines have been bolted so I headed over there this afternoon to check them out. I ticked a couple of the easier lines at the far end of the crag before hunting out one particular route in the Megamoose area; El Presidento Robbo (F6b). I suppose the reason for this is fairly obvious and the base of the route highlighted the point further.

The inscription underneath the first bolt of El Presidento Robbo (F6b).

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

02 July 2010

Sandy, Sporty Times

It's not often that a new piece of rock is discovered in Cumbria that hasn't been touched by a climber's sticky shoes until recently, but that was the case for Coudy Rock, which is just outside Appleby-in-Westmorland. This crag was developed last year by the team behind the Cumbria Bolt Fund and because of this all of the routes are bolt protected, which is a good thing because the soft sandstone cliff is devoid of features for natural protection.

Top roping Buffalo Bill (F6a+) after leading the route.

I only had a couple of hours at the crag for a number of reasons; I needed to clean the house; I wanted to see a bit of the tennis; and it rained on Thursday night so I wanted to give the rock a chance to dry out. I think I made the right decision as we definitely caught the best part of the day and this meant that we were able to explore the bolted routes in glorious, albeit windy, conditions.

In Spielberg mode; setting up the camera ready to film my assent of Two Pints and a Packet of Crisps (F6b).

And the finished product.

As for the climbs: they were really enjoyable and well put together. The bolted lines certainly forced you into some interesting positions to make the moves and for this very reason I can see myself visiting the crag on a frequent basis even though I ticked four of the routes.

Getting a no hands rest on Resisting Chiptation (F6c).

Finally, I ticked my hardest onsight sports lead today. The route was Resisting Chiptation (F6c) and this alone made the short session extremely worthwhile.

More pictures of the afternoon can be found here.

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

01 July 2010

Dry Times

Looking out north across Thirlmere.

It's not properly rained for a very long time now and as a result many of Cumbria's becks, streams and rivers have turned to trickles and many of the lake's shorelines have receded considerably. This has meant a number of things - water shortages and hose pipe bans for one - but when it comes to Thirlmere a new bouldering venue has been opened up. The infamous Thirlmere Boulders sit, for the majority of the year, under water, but late in the summer months they usually make an appearance and the local climbers head to this novelty venue to experience some of the cleanest rock in the whole of Cumbria.

Whale Arete (V5).

However, because of the prolonged dry spell we've been experiencing, the boulders have made an early appearance, and I headed over there yesterday, after assisting on a canoeing session for the university, for a quick bouldering session.

Thirlmere with Blencathra in the distance.

I ticked a number of the problems in the two hours I spent down on the lake shore before heading for home with the knowledge that rain was forecast for the following day. I suppose it won't have an affect on the level of Thirlmere so there will be plenty more visits throughout the summer to this Atlantis of bouldering venues.

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