Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Coming Soon

Lofoten Climbs Edition II Cover - photo Andrew Burrr
We have been in the Ariège for about 10 weeks now, and it is six months since we left the UK - way back on September 1st.
The peace and quiet of the mountains is always a great place to get work done - no distractions means I can really crack-on. The first job was a refreshed 2nd Edition of my Cote d'Azure guidebook which is due in UK shops next week.
Next in line is Lofoten which we have been working on for a couple of years now. We have rephotographed the whole area and added in 100+ new routes, many of which are very significant and redesigned the whole look of the book. Some great photographers have been involved with the project, American Andrew Burr bagged the Front Cover (left) with an iconic image of Vestpillaren, Lofoten's most famous route. We hope the book will be available in time for the main Lofoten season - currently we are aiming for early May.
Next weekend we head back to Kalymnos, to grab the prime spring season before the crowds arrive. It is definitely time for a bit of Greek sunshine and more importantly - some climbing - you know what they say about "all work and no play"!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Home and Away


Perfect snow-shoeing at Beille
Getting back from the hustle and bustle of Gran Canaria to the peace and quiet of the Ariège was as pleasant as ever. We have had some glorious days snowshoeing in some of the best conditions we have ever known in the area. The main resort section were rammed and the car parks were over-flowing, but as ever with just a tiny bit of imagination it is possible to escape the melee that so many people seem to enjoy.
Book work has progressed well - working on two volumes at once is always a tussle but Cote d'Azur is done and dusted and should be in the shops in a couple of weeks.
Castelldefels and the endless beach
Lofoten Climbs is not too far behind and is looking even more magnificent then the previous award winning volume. We have added the Stetind area which should add the books already considerable appeal.
Chez Arran was very full over the French holidays so we booked a few days stopping just south of Barcelona for a bit of beach time and some climbing.
Unfortunately after one day on the rock we had a meal out on the 2nd night and the fish platter made me very ill - five days later and still suffering!
Break your own 'Golden Rules' at your peril.


Monday, 23 January 2017

Deep South

Thorbjørn and Lutta's house on Gran Canaria - lush
Maspalomas Beach - another world
 After three weeks in the Ariége and some rather cold and unsettled weather we had to head south to meet Thorbjørn for a final push on the new Lofoten guidebook. He could have come north but on occasionally you have to suffer for your art :-)
Of course the day we were due to leave the snow came down and blocked all the Pyrenean passes (just like last year) so we had to go the 'long way round' - 5.5 hours rather than 3.5 hours but at least Barcelona was sunny and warmer.
An easy flight and we were in the semi-tropical paradise of Gran Canaria. The place was really busy but I guess it is peak holiday season, especially for Scandinavians escaping the 'dark'.
In the event, it has been rather pleasant - work sessions morning and evening, with a break for a bit of down-time in the middle of the day. There may be pleasanter ways of making a living but non spring to mind.



Friday, 30 December 2016

Friday, 16 December 2016

Easy As Pie

Bye-bye Myrties - for now
Radisson Blue - Stansted Airport
 We flew out of the tiny Kalymnos Airport to Athens, had 1hr 20 mins to get our connection - Ryanair to Stansted. 30 minutes after landing I was in the bath - it doesn't get any easier that!
The hotel is a bit up-market for use but Sherri has some great deals from various websites and we usually get a room with a full English breakfast for about a 50% discount at around £70. The fact that you can walk to the hotel in five minutes, so no need for transfers or taxi rides makes it a no-brainer.
The novelty of (fast) internet in bed, being able to drink the tap-water and a soak in a bath are great, as is a full pint of cold larger from the bar.
Tomorrow it is back the peace and quiet of the French Pyrenees, time to get stuck into the Lofoten Rock book which is due out some time around Easter. We will need to meet up with Thorbjørn somewhere to work on the book - we have pencilled in a visit to Gran Canaria in January - that'll be nice.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Peace Descends

High above the Vathi Valley
Another perfect sunset
Almost six weeks on Kalymnos, the place has gone wonderfully quiet, there are few stragglers left, but it has become quite unusual to share a cliff with another team which is how we like it.
We have visited most of the new cliffs that have been developed over the past couple of years, Arginonta Valley, Black Buddha and Milianos Cave have all been exceptional - always nice to find new routes to go at and new crags to visit.
We have eaten out on the terrace every evening since we arrived and only had to have breakfast in doors on two occasions because of damp mornings. The forecast is showing storms followed by a strong cold (4C!!!) northerly - but we really can't complain!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Into the Aegean Groove

Bumpy today in the Taxi-Boat
 Just over three weeks now on Kalymnos, 50+ routes climbed and lots of old mates bumped into. Of course they have all gone home now, the place has quietened down to just how we like it. Quite why folks choose to visit when it is hot and busy escapes me - it must be that they like sweating and crowds!
In the three + weeks I have had a frozen shoulder, a gout attack in my elbow and a short but rather unpleasant cold - not what we expect over here!
Bruno ensuring Sherri gets no work done
Despite that the climbing has been a pleasure as ever and we have visited some of the newer crags that have been developed. Arginonta Valleyhas been especially good, a short approach, shade all day and really good set of routes - hats off to Claude Idoux - as ever. I watched him start the development of the crag last winter and the scale of the job isn't to be underestimated.
We have a few other new venues to check out too, so it shouldn't be to difficult fill the next five weeks - what a pleasant prospect.