Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Cool for Older Cats

There and back again - the journey home was the usual nightmare, we abandoned the stationary traffic on the M1 and weaved back via Matlock.

Monday on Stennis Head was great, another perfect Pembroke day, blue skies, booming seas and the odd shower. We did five routes and the old chestnut of grades reared its head:

Current Guide/Graded List
Quickstep VS 4b
Limbo VS 4c
World War III Blues HVS 5b
Manzoku E1 5b
Cool for Cats E1 5b

Our Thoughts
Quickstep HS 4b
Limbo HVS 5a
Cool For Cats E1 5b (soft)
World War III Blues E1 5b (standard)
Manzoku E1 5b (stiff)

Either way, they are a great set of routes, I was especially impressed with Cool for Cats, long, sustained and on great holds - perfection!

Friday, 21 August 2009

Prime Pembroke

We decided to head back to Pembroke to test drive the new guide - the journey down was steady, despite reports on the radio of some horrendous traffic jams up and down the country. After five hours on the road and some impressive rain storms we stopped briefly at the Thorne Chapel Bunkhouse for a brew and drop the gear off, then scooted out to St Govan's. Conditions were glorious, a low tide, big waves, wheeling gulls and a fresh wind. We zipped down the abseil and did Front Line (HVS 5a) and The Arrow (E1 5b). Both routes are a bit more polished than the last time we did them, but are still as glorious as ever, The Arrow in particular is a magnificent climb - well deserved of all its plaudits.
Saturday was cooler and bit on the grey side, but still dry. Whilst wailing for the tide to drop (a really low spring tide) we popped into the Leap and did Shape Up (E1 5b) - the start was a touch greasy but the rest was great. Then it was onto Saddle Head. The extra-low tide got us to Eavesdripper, a great first pitch, though the upper one felt more like a bold E1 5b than the given HVS 4c. Next a hop and skip over to Bosherston Head, for a trip up Baker's Door (E1 5b), fine fingery climbing on great rock. As we topped out Gary Gibson stuck his head over the cliff top - prospecting for the new CC guide due out by next Whit - or so the story goes!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Grit Bimbling

Its summer, its hot and sweaty, its midgy - its NOT the grit season! So where do we go - Roaches, Stanage, Brimham - what the Hell! Brimham was especially interesting, I haven't been there in summer for donkeys' years - it was absolutely heaving. We ticked the old classics (left Mark Binney on Birch Tree Wall - which I first led c1967), working our way round to Allen's Crack - things were a touch green and greasy, but despite that many of the routes appear to be getting a bit battered which is sad really.

The new Pembroke guide has arrived - it looks gorgeous, so that is next week sorted out then!

Photo: Busy weekend at Brimham

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Back to Front

The month in Switzerland and Belgium was good, especially being back on the granite, but Sunday on Stanage was fine too - and very sociable. I hunted out one more route I hadn't done before (1021) - Colin, Bruce and Tony were down from North Yorkshire and the usual suspects were out from Sheffield.
I suggested to Colin that a couple of weeks at Handegg in September might be nice and to my surprise he agreed. I phoned Sherri on the mobo and 30 mins later she phoned back - East Midlands to Geneva, £43 return including a bag - that will do nicely!

Back to Blighty

Yarncliffe Quarry - hot After a great 10 days in Chamonix it really was time to get back on the road - a steady ride to Zeebrugge and th...