Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Southern Fairies

Home in Somerset for the festive season in a borrowed car. All the usual fun and games: lots of food, Butcombe Bitter, The Plough, Morris Dancing and general tomfoolery.

I had high hopes for getting a route or two in on the local limestone but it's all wet and slimey so I've had to contain myself.

However, I have had a pleasant enough couple of days out and about. Jones and I met Chris at a very soggy Roaches and had to settle for a long walk to the driest rocks at the Very Far Skyline and a wee play at Newstones post Rock Inn refreshments. All a bit of a bummer, but definitely nice to be out.

Jones spotting Chris on a go on Lazy Trout, The Roaches

Grit seems to be a pain in the arse. I've had some really memorable and prolific days climbing and done a handful of great routes and problems, but for every good day there has been at least one day when it was pissing wet, green, dirty and slimey or so hot that you grease off jugs, let alone the famed 'fat sloper'. The jury is still out, but I think the moral is that you need to pick your days wisely if you want to get the most out of it, rather than settle for doing soggy Diffs (something that some find fun).

A low key new year allowed Jones and I to hit the very quiet M5 at a decent hour on new years day and spend a day at some of my favourite crags: the Dartmoor tors. Hound Tor to be precise. These short, very sharp granite tors offer up a variety of routes and problems off all grades and types and on a winters day when it's a bit too nippy to get involved with long or nails hard routes there's not much better than getting involved with the crazy piles, pillars and blocks that the granite creates.

Hound Tor basking in the sun of a new year
Me trying Skin Graft (V2 5c), apparently this has been graded
on the 'Plymouth' scale so is more like 6a. Those crazy devonians.

Still trying....

Off.... Bugger.


Later we met Jen and Luke at Bonehill and spent a nice hour or two on some of the problems on The Cube. One of the things that I had hoped to do was Rippled Wall, a rather highball V3 6a, and I was pleased that it went with (fairly) minimal fuss. A good start to the year. It had been a while since I had had that fluttery feeling at the top of something and as I scrambled back down and the adrenaline surged through me I remembered how amazing it was, and how addictive too.

Jones alluringly modelling Rippled Wall

I'll be back up to Fort William on Friday, looking for a whole lot of wintery fun. So here's to an adventurous 2008!
Happy new year.

No comments: