30 November 2010

A Wintry Photo Shoot

On Monday I was invited out on a photo shoot with one of the students on the University of Cumbria's Adventure and Media Degree course. I decided against heading out on Monday, but after getting snowed in, in Penrith on Monday night we heading out on Tuesday with camera in hand, bouldering mats on our backs and ropes in our bags so that we could get that winning shot.

Walking along the banks of the River Eden to Armathwaite's Sandy Bay.

The location of the shoot was Armathwaite's Sandy Bay and after fixing two ropes from the top of the cliffs, I set to working the handful of problems I have come to know very well, whilst photo's were taken from many different angles, and with many different lenses, from the two fixed ropes.

At the dead point whilst reaching for the rail on Problem 3 (V3).

Photographing Problem 3 (V3).

To say winter is upon us, and there are many inches of snow carpeting the ground, the Sandy Bay area was remarkably warm, but this was only on the occasions when the sun could beat down on us uninterrupted. However, when the clouds filled the sky, and snow started to fall, the temperatures certainly plummeted.

About to make the wide move out to the sidepull/undercut on Problem 4 (V4).

Trying to capture the action on Problem 4 (V4).

I may have Armathwaite's Sandy Bay more times than I can remember, but there are some very nice problems, with some strenuous moves, and this makes it an extremely good training venue. However, it was also nice to be down besides the river, enjoying the wintry weather whilst messing around on the rock, playing with ropes and expensive cameras.

More pictures of the photo shoot can be found here.

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

27 November 2010

Winter is upon us...

Looking across the fen to Matfen Hall Hotel.

I've been working over in the North-East today and, after battling for an hour through the snow, I made it, on time, to Go Ape Matfen, where a couple of customers braved the weather for a two-and-a-half hour high wire forest adventure. It was an impressive site; a snow covered Go Ape course.

Fern, Go Ape! Matfen's chainsaw carved sculpture, and a snow covered Site 2.

A customer descending Site 4's zip wire.

Looking towards Site 5's Landing Site.

The afternoon sun illuminating the snowy forest.

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

26 November 2010

And now for some climbing...

Looking out from the base of the G-Spot Sector, Giggleswick South.

It appears that I have managed to get nearly all of the outdoor activities I engage with into just three days. On Wednesday I went walking, yesterday I went paddling, and today I went climbing on the bolted cliffs of Giggleswick South.

Match Play (F5+).

I repeated a hand full of routes I ticked on a previous visit before taking a good rest and going for the onsight of Black Swan Rising, a pumpy F6b. Unfortunately I failed on the third move from the top and it highlights my greatest weakness: stamina. I already knew this before today, and I have known it for a while, it's just the most tedious and boring element of climbing to train and so it gets left behind for power endurance and limit strength training. I suppose I should start making a conscience effort to rectify this problem before spring comes back around.

Cygnet Chewer (F5+).

Once climbing psyche had started to ebb we decided to take a walk up to the G-Spot Sector of Giggleswick South, where one of the hardest sport climbs in the UK can be found, Violent New Breed (F9a+). The guidebook states that the holds are too small to see and they were dead on the money with that comment. I think they might of well said there are no holds, but that doesn't really matter to be honest. What does matter is the setting of this fine little sector. It must be one of the most impressive in the country and it certainly has a mystical atmosphere which left me speechless.

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

25 November 2010

Paddling down the River Leven

Paddling under the bridge across the River Leven at Newby Bridge.

Paddling down Mill Force, River Leven.

A beautiful winter's day on the River Leven.

Negotiating one of the small rapids on the River Leven.

Negotiating the Graveyard, River Leven.

More pictures of the day can be found here.

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

24 November 2010

A bit of a ramble...

Looking across to the Langdales from Rydal Fell.

It's been a long time since I've been out in the hills with the sole purpose of rambling across the fell tops and it was nice to be out in the mountains, exploring their beauty, and admiring their grandeur.

Looking across to the Helvellyn Range from Fairfield.

Our route today took us from Rydal, up to Heron Pike and Great Rigg before reaching Fairfield. From here we headed across to Hart Crag and Dove Crag before starting our descent back to Rydal via High and Low Pike.

Leaving Fairfield behind on the approach to Hart Crag.

There was a bit of snow around on the tops and this made the day even more enjoyable as it certainly adds an extra element to the views over Lakeland. It is also a sign of the air temperature and it was extremely cold, as a bitter wind whipped across the fell tops for the majority of the day.

The fells above Hartsop illuminated in the late afternoon sun.

We were also blessed, because of the late start, with a magnificent light show as the sun made it's final appearance of the day, before disappearing behind Coniston Old Man and Wetherlam. It certainly made the day, one of the most memorable days, I've had out in the fells.

The sun making a final effort to illuminate the fells before dipping below the horizon.

More pictures of the day can be found here.

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

15 November 2010

Making the most of a nice morning...

video

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

14 November 2010

A quick blast...

Last night was the final(?) Shap International Kayak Film Festival and after a good night watching both historical, and contemporary, films featuring the Indus River, and an offering from Cody Howard, the kayaking psyche was high. After a night in the back of the van and a full English Breakfast, in a proper trucker's cafe, the classic section of the River Kent was calling.

Mid-morning on the Kent: floating towards the lip of Scroggs Weir.

The rapid marking the start of Gunpowder Gorge, River Kent.

Gunpowder Gorge, River Kent.

The L-Shaped Drop, River Kent.

A visit to this section of the Kent has been long overdue - I think it has been nearly two years - and it was good to be back on a section of river that had become very familiar to me in the past. I could still remember the lines and it was nice to re-familiarise myself with them and get some more time in the boat.

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

11 November 2010

Another change in the weather...

Heading off down the Lowther.

I was in university today for a day of canoeing. We started the day off on the River Lowther, but soon gave that up as a bad thing. The river was probably about one or two feet two high for the experience of the group and so we binned that and headed over to Ullswater instead.

Sailing down Ullswater.

Land ahoy. Approaching Pooley Bridge.

Once at Ullswater it seemed that the wind would prove a hindrance, but instead we tied the canoes together, rigged an A-frame and hoisted a sail and headed off, with the wind behind us, towards Pooley Bridge, which took us no time at all.

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

10 November 2010

Back on the rock

Who needs feet? The Sound of One Al Slapping (V2 5c).

It seems strange that my last post featured tales of daring do on the swollen rivers of Cumbria and then, less than a week later, a picture of bone dry gabbro, smothered in a cloudless blue sky appears. Weird, but that is how it is.

I spent the morning on the gabbro of Carrock Fell, repeating a handful of problems I have done on a previous occasion, before heading to the university's library, so that I could get some more work done on my dissertation, and that is what my life has become. The dissertation.


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

05 November 2010

It's all gone a bit wet

It's been a bit wet recently and this only means one thing: kayaking. I've eventually got round to emptying the back of the van of climbing kit and have started getting used to the damp, wet smell that comes with the kayaking scene. Yesterday, the rivers were huge and after getting a quick morning run down the Greta we headed over to the Caldew, behind Blencathra.

Sneaking down Grainsgill Beck into the Caldew.

A very high Caldew.

Whilst we walked into the river, and paddled the opening sections, the river rose a good few feet making the navigation downstream extremely hazardous. We all walked the classic Picnic Pool drop as a humongous hole blocked any downstream progression and, a couple of hundred meters further downstream, there was a very continuous section, which looked horrific. We walked around this before blasting down the last couple of hundred meters and these were very interesting to say the least.

Today, we were back out and quite surprisingly a lot of stuff had dropped off. We checked in on the Caldew, which looked totally different to the previous day, before heading into the Borrowdale Valley to eventually tick off Langstrath Beck.

Walking into a very autumnal Langstrath Beck.

Heading off down Slip and Slide, Langstrath Beck.

Approaching The Fairy Hole, Langstrath Beck.

Galleny Force, Langstrath Beck.

Approaching the Final Fling, Langstrath Beck.

Langstrath Beck must be one of prettiest rivers in the whole of Cumbria and after getting our kicks on the many slides and drops we headed a bit further east, into the Newlands Valley, to sample the tree infested, and rocky ditch known as Keskadale Beck, which feeds into Newlands Beck, which we finished the day on.

Walking into Keskadale Beck.

Keskadale Beck.

The main interest on Newlands Beck.

More pictures of the day can be found here.

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