Saturday, 15 August 2009

The Deep South

Me wrestling with the joke protection on the popular Back Off at Fairy Cave Quarry

Normally, trips home to the West Country are all about seeing my folks, enjoying the local Butcombe Bitter in traditional hostelries, eating deep fried pork fat and catching up with neglected friendships. While a certain amount of this has been partaken of, this time round I've actually got some climbing done too. Perfection, non?

Bouldering on the mighty (i.e. humbling) Saddle Tor on Dartmoor acted as an effective exfoliant for any excess skin I happened to possess, and despite only fully completing one problem in a whole morning, I drove home from The Moor feeling like a better (more bloodied) person.

Now, these days I climb quite a lot, and while I'm no-where near as good as I should be for someone that obsesses so much about this absurd sport, it's quite nice that I'm occasionally reassured that I'm not as bad as I used to be. A few weeks back I was bouldering on the Heather Hat in Glen Nevis, and was able to make relatively light work of some of the problems I used to sweat over. Progress. Fortunately, the same thing happened t'other day at one of Somerset's more esoteric bouldering locations (and that's saying something about esoterica). When I first started climbing I used to look at the roof of the cave at Weston Super-Mare's Toll Road Crags and think how great it would be if I could climb through it. Well, after no small amount of sweat on Thursday afternoon I found myself pulling on the finishing holds with a large grin on my face. Maybe all this obsession is paying off after all....

Here's the proof:

The next day I took a trip down climbing memory lane with Luke, the fella I learnt to climb with. Happy to explore more wondrous esoterica, we went to Fairy Cave Quarry tucked away high in the Mendip Hills, and climbed some of the obscure slabby gems hidden among the fast-emerging buddleia, before retiring to the pub and drinking more of Butcombe's finest. It's been a hard few days.

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