Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Kaly Tally is on the Up

Two and a half weeks back in Kalymnos - it was quite busy when we arrive but has cleared out nicely - exactly has hoped for. Colin has been here for just 10 days and we have climbed on most of them. We have made a point of visiting cliffs we haven't been to before, and have ended up visiting some great cliffs, Pallionisos, Lambda and Prohitis Andreas to name but three. My tally for individual routes climbed on Kalymnos has gone up past 600 - not bad considering when we 1st came here six years ago I wasn't sure there was enough to keep me busy for a month.
Colin on Pockets 6a+, a new offering at Pailionisos Bay Crag
Another week before Colin goes home, lets see what other venues we can dig out - variety is the spice of life.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Back and Forth

Santorini was great - very different but a nice mixture of culture, climbing and chilling. Then it was all over - a five minute drive to the airport and two 35 minute flights and we were back in Kalymnos - easy as pie. With it being the last week in October it is still too busy for our liking, several airlines are flying later this year, tempting people to stop further into the autumn.
Hopefully this weekend will see a big clear-out and we can get down to our normlal winter routine.
Colin arrives on Monday for a couple of weeks - all ready for some 'warm rock' - I have a good itinerary sorted for him; lots of newish venues. It is a few years since he has been - let's hope the Aegean weather plays ball.

40+ folks climbing at Dolphin Bay - isn't time for you lot to go home yet?


Friday, 17 October 2014

Santorini Surprise

Santorini - Spectacular or What?
With the chaos that is the annual Kalymnos Climbing Festival we though we would try somewhere different for 10 days - waiting for all the party-goers to head homewards. I have always fancied a visit to the volcanic island of Santorini so flights were booked (£20 each and off we went. Just before we headed south Sherri found some info on climbing on the island so a quick repack was in order to get a rope and 10 quickdraws in.
The main town of Fira is in a magnificent setting but it is a bit too Disneyland for us. Fortunately there are many nice quite  spots away from the hubbub - and as ever the locals and the weather are both great.
Cragging at Kamari - a bit warm but great
So far we have found some cats, had two days on the rock, been out for a meal, swam in the sea - and we have only been here 48 hours.
The climbing is good, on sharp but well-bolted limestone and the grades are not very Kalymnos like - obviously the locals have missed a trick there!
Loads more to see and do before we head off to Babis Bar in a week's time.




Sunday, 5 October 2014

Ariège Again - But Briefly

The village from one of our local walks

Back the Ariège - we have had a pleasant and mellow 10 days after all the rushing around on Corsica. As ever the whole area is quiet - it has a bit of the feel of a time-warp, the rest of the world rushes on by but this quiet little bubble manages to sidestep the hurly-burly.

Sherri up at glorious Soulcem
Monty cruising at Auzat
We have done a bit of climbing, a lot of walking and plenty of taking it easy. Monty and Hillary have been here for a few days, a change from their usual haunts in Provence - all the signs are that they are very impressed with the area and the climbing.
I have pressed on with the new Eastern Grit guidebook, due out early next year, and it it looking pretty good. Currently it is around 530 pages and contains 4000 route - more than double the size and route content of the 'Original and Best' Peak Grit East - the book that started the revolution. 
So it is onward - back to the UK for a week then Santorini - en-route to Kalymnos - winter draws on.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Corsica - A Tasty Treat

Sherri and just another Corsican beach
Corsica is a place I have fancied visiting for years although it has always been a tricky spot to get too. Factoring in the rumours of crowds and roasting hot summer temperatures; these potential 'flies the ointment' have kept us away.
In the event coming with Easyjet (€20 each) and out of the main summer season season has solved the conundrum neatly.
The granite walls of central Corsica - stunning
It is warmer than we would prefer (up to 28C so far), but the island is a stunning place, and offers the easy option of a drive up into the fantastic granite mountains to escape the worst of the heat - on the Col de Bavella (4000') it has been about 8C cooler than on the coast.
The beaches are magnificent and largely deserted but it is the climbing that has been the great surprise, well bolted routes on perfect granite and with grades towards the softer end of the spectrum which is always nice. I have been over-indulging a bit - brilliant!
After a great week in the south-east we packed up and drove through the central mountains a to a new base near Calvi in the north-west corner of the island. It turns out that this area is even more spectacular, with granite mountains, superb white beaches and more excellent climbing - I think we will be back sooner rather than later.
Calvi at sunset - an amazing place



Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Autumn - Time for a Change


Graham on Nemes Pas Harry - E1 5b - Bamford


September rolls round, the leaves are starting to turn and there has even been a bit of chill in the air. Climbing on the grit has been a real pleasure, but despite this, it is time for us to think about heading off.
We didn't have anything booked until mid-October that being Santorini on the way to Kalymnos (£25 from Manchester) so we did a bit of discussing and I mentioned maybe we could fit in a 10 day slider to Corsica, a place I have always fancied visiting. Sherri admitted that after we discussed it a month ago she had already booked a couple of flights, but hadn't mentioned it as I appeared to go a bit 'cool' on the idea - at £20 each, it sounds like she made a good move. From Corsica we are headed to Chez Arran for 10 days before returning home to pack the bags for our annual visit to Kalymnos.
New wheels - Subaru Forester XT


Autumn is usually my time for car buying, a Subaru Forester this time. Not my usual style of vehicle but the price was right, it should do OK in the Ariege's snowy winter peaks, and as ever - a change is as good as a rest. It looks a bit agricultural but there is a 2.0L turbocharged power-plant under the bonnet churning out 250bhp - enough to embarrass more exotic machinery.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Peak Puntering - Same as it Ever Was

10 Days back in the UK - life goes on much as normal, a pleasant mix of jobs, climbing and work. The weather has been the usual frustrating British summer, unpredictable enough to ensure we have managed to get wet on several occasions.  The forecasters would have you believe that it has been unusual for August - but I don't think so: showery and cool much of the time, and horribly midgey out on the Grit whenever the wind dropped - just what we expect from a 'Normal British Summer'.
Above: Colin tiptoeing up Concave Wall
Climbing with the standard team has been fun, some social times, lots of banter and some great routes - on the Grit when the weather allows - and bolt clipping on the Limestone when not - at least we have managed to avoid going 'Indoors" so far.
Below: Sherri heading for Skinningrove 

In reality we are both waiting for the Autumn to arrive so we can head away south to our other life. In the mean-time we drove 'up North' for a few day, to stop in Sherri's mums flat in Saltburn. A change is always as good as a rest and we had an excellent few days including a day's climbing at the Wainstones and some great walks exploring the coastline, escaping the poor weather that everywhere else suffered. Back in Sheffield and we have booked a flight to Santorini for mid-October - winter is calling.