So, before that fateful morning in Terminal 2 at
North Quarry is a big hole in the side of
Crook Peak, my childhood playground (Photo: Jon Marshall)
Times Past: Me on a route on The Glacis, Fairy Cave Quarry, Summer 2006
Anyway, the bizarrely named Motorway Sheepdog is actually a pretty good route, despite it’s fairly grotty appearance. A lot of these Mendip limestone quarries are very slate-like, as the limestone sheers to leave smooth, slabby walls with nay gear and nay grips, all in the familiar rotting post-industrial waste land. It took me a few goes on the top-rope to suss out all the moves, but after a bit of foot-work here, some re-balancing there, some good old-fashioned faith in friction and the acceptance that sometimes it is just plain hard, I felt like a redpoint attempt was on the cards. Surprisingly I did it on the first go. Woop woop. Top-marks to Jones for the belay.
Setting off on Motorway Sheepdog (F7a), we only had a thin half rope so had to double up.
(Photo: Sarah Jones)
Next day we were in Staffordshire, so made a bee-line for the Roaches, where limestone crimps were exchanged for grit-stone slopers. It took a while to get used to, initially on Prow Cracks (Diff*), then the very good, if technically imbalanced, Jeffcoat’s Buttress (HS 4c, 4a***), and then the very, very good Safety Net (E1 5b***). As the drizzle started to appear we strolled along to the Hard Very Far Skyline and I tried in vain to get established on Wild Thing (E1 5c**), before giving up and running away.
Jones safely packed up and shipped off, I made my way back to
So, my week off is almost at an end and I’d better get packing. Next stop, Forsinard, the ends of the known world, and two more weeks of bog-trotting, sphagnum counting and plant measuring. Bring it on.