Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The Doldrums

Well it took all week to recover from whatever I'd picked up last weekend, though I'm still a bit wheezy. The weather forecast for the weekend was pants so didn't arrange anything - bad move! The weather was mostly fine and would have been OK for climbing, oh well.

Somewhat strangely I went for a run up Pinhaw Beacon on Saturday, no idea what made me do it! I was fine on the uphills but ended up walking some of the downhills. My knees were fine so maybe a few more gentle runs might be in order. Went for a mountain bike ride above Wycoller with Cath on Sunday and basically I was crap :-( so I've quite a few cuts and bruises from 1KmPH unintentional dismounts!

Andy Kitts has written up his BGR report here , most of the individual parts were on his blog but here's the full gory details. Yet to see Steve Brock's report.

I've always been surprised at the number of Curlews that we get around the house. On the family farm in the South Lakes I only remember one or two pairs in the area, here though there must be at least ten pairs just in our little area. It's quite odd to sit having a bath and have a Curlew sail past the window less than 20m away! They were mobbing a Buzzard the other day which has a different distribution: lots in the Lakes and fewer the further east you go though I believe their range is extending.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Going downhill?

A good commuting week last week - biked in four days out of five. OK, it's only five miles each way but it's almost as quick as driving. Got wet on Friday going home, actually got very wet, if I'd left it for another half hour it would have almost been dry.

Saturday saw Gaz and myself at Standing Stones in the Chew Valley, a crag I'd never been to before. In fact I've done very little climbing in the Chew Valley even though Cath is from Saddleworth and I've spent a lot of time in the area. Despite the good forecast it began to drizzle as we got to the crag so we decided to stick to lower grade routes and see how the day went. Gaz had been before and had a couple of routes in mind, however by the time he got to the top of our first route, a VS, it was raining pretty persistently so seconding was "fun". Another couple of teams turned up but decided to head elsewhere so we had the crag to ourselves for the rest of the day.

After waiting a while for the rain to pass we ended up doing another four routes, nothing hard but good climbing nonetheless and jamming uses different muscle groups to face climbing so it all felt a bit different.

Sunday could have been the Roses Round but I got laid low by a cold on Saturday night and spent most of the day (and Monday) in bed feeling sorry for myself. No idea where I picked it up from but it didn't follow my usual "cold sequence" and came on very suddenly. Slowly getting back to normal.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Get the Goat

After a few weeks (well a month) of no climbing it was time to get back on rock but true to form the fine weather mid-week was forecast to head downhill for the weekend. With a threat of the Peak (yuk!) I had a ring round and Simon was up for a trip over to the Lakes and Goat Crag especially now that it's had a recent clean up. A check in the guide shows that the last time I climbed there was to do Footless Crow with Ed Cleasby, just 24 years ago! Some time after this a rumour began circulating that I'd soloed it - definitely not true!!

Heading over we passed through a series of heavy showers along with some interesting cloud formations near Kirkby Lonsdale.

Weird clouds above Kirkby Lonsdale

As we neared Keswick however the skies were definitely lighter so down to Grange and head through the campsite and flog up the steep slope that I don't remember to the foot of the crag. I was surprised to see the biggest prize in Lakeland trundling still in place.

Having not climbed for ages I was happy to let Simon lead the first, crux, pitch. There was a bit of drizzle on and off through the climb but it didn't affect the climbing too much.

Simon at the start of the steep section of the first pitch

My turn to follow and the steep crack doesn't feel like the crux, the moves on to the ramp feel far harder. My lead next and the guide talks of a blank wall but it isn't too bad, neither is the groove leading to the stance. The stance I'm not happy with: two pegs, two Friends and two wires - all between the crag and a large hollow sounding block!

A team on the third pitch of Preying Mantis

I suggest to Simon that the next two pitches could be combined but he decides to stick to the script so I get the top pitch which is pretty good climbing though I'm glad it's not raining. Then it's time to abseil off - I've never walked off from this crag and don't know anyone who has.

Lethargy took hold and rather than do another route at the crag we decided to head over to Quayfoot Buttress, unfortunately by the time we got there it had begun to rain in earnest so we decided to call it a day and head home. Still I'd finally managed to tick off the Lakeland section of Hard Rock - only took 29 years.