Wednesday, 17 August 2022

In the Starting Blocks

Mucky weather across Europe
It in nine weeks since we got back from Croatia and it has definitely felt like kicking out heels waiting for the autumn to come. We have had three trips away, a couple of weeks in the Yorkshire Dales, ten days at Rhyl on the North Wales coast and six days above Holmfirth, just sixteen miles from home. All were very pleasant, but it made us realise that the flat in Sheffield is certainly a quiet place to be - no tractors, seagulls, cows or sheep waking us at the crack of dawn.

 Anyway it is mid-August and we decided it is time to go - ferry Hull to Rotterdam this evening and onwards to Germany and then Austria. The forecast looks pretty poor for our travelling days but much better beyond 

Then we have our 180 day French Visa to look forward to - bring it on :-)

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Biding Our Time

The road goes on - and we must follow if we can
 It must be approaching six weeks since we left Croatia to sit out the summer in the UK. We have had a couple of very pleasant trips away, a couple of weeks in the Yorkshire Dales and a nine day visit to North Wales. Colin came along for part of both trips so we manage to get a good amount of climbing done, often on crags new to me, which is always a plus.

Noggin (HVS 5a) at Noggarth - somewhere new
Perhaps the biggest development has been that we finally got round to submitting our application for a 180 day French Visa. We went over to Manchester to pass the paperwork over and two weeks later got the call to go back for our passports, we were pleased to see that they contained a big shiny visa covering the period from September to March - YES! 

In other news, the UK has just broken its all time temperature record (39.1C) as I write this in a rather steamy Rhyl.

We had hope to get up to Lofoten in August, but with Covid rampant yet again and utter chaos at UK airports we are not so sure if it is a good idea - time will tell.

Monday, 30 May 2022

Back to Croatia

Rovinj from across the bay

Two weeks in the UK was more enough for us - cheap flights to Pula in Croatia and Colin keen to travel clinched it - all booked and a few days later we were back in Rovinj. Colin only had one week, he had to be back for cat sitting, so we climbed seven days on the trot - that hasn't happened for a long time - it was great to be back in the groove.After dropping him back at the airport we kicked back, explored Pula and Rovinj and generally took it easy. 

While we have been away Eastern Grit Mk IV (530bpages) has been published - this is the book that started my relationship with Alan James 21 years ago - a life changing episode.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Turkish Delight

 As our time in Schengen approaches the 90 day limit (thanks once again to the Brexiteers) we had a choice, head back to the UK or pop across the 15 miles of water to Turkey for a few weeks - not really a choice at all tbh. From Kalymnos caught the catamaran to Kos, had a night in a nice (****) hotel then jumped on the early boat to Bodrum. 

Spring in Turkey
Initially we booked a week in Bodrum just to unwind and assess our options - we could fly back to the UK from here, Kos or Rhodes fairly easily.The town is always so busy, but the pad is central, well insulated against the noise and has superb air conditioning and wifi - all a man needs!

Lake Bafa - all mod cons
After a week we moved up the coast to the small town of Akbuk which gave us the chance to have a look at the ancient town of Heraklia on the shore of Lake Bafa  - truly astounding spot and with a huge mountain of granite right behind it with zero climbing on it.

Friday, 8 April 2022

Back to Kaly - one more time

Kasteli Chapel and windy weather
We booked to fly into Kalymnos directly from Athens, the flight was on time but it didn't land as the north wind was too strong - seven hours after leaving Tina's Apts we had covered about two km! That is the second time it has happened - there won't be a third! We rebooked a later flight and rolled into Kos about ten at night - and stopped in Mastichari - much better to get the morning ferry and arrive in good order.

Topo Variations
Asphodel and greenery
Two weeks in and the island has been REALLY quiet but with Easter a week away the place is coming alive as folks trickle in. The weather hasn't been great - often windy and grey, with a hot, stuffy southerly which I find particularly oppressive.

I have droned quite a few of the cliffs for substantial update of the RockFax App due out sometime soon, with a lot of new stuff in it, and plenty of great new cragshots.

Once again our Schengen time is nearly up and we aren't ready to return to the UK so Turkey beckons - the Exchange Rate has shot through the sky - hopefully the place should be even cheaper this time around!


Sunday, 13 March 2022

Southwards to Kyparissi- Serious Arctic

Day Five and the sun came out
After a very pleasant month in Leonidio, we headed south to the tiny village of Kyparissi, one and a half hours (15 miles as the crow flies!) away. We visited the place briefly five years ago and we struck by the tranquillity compared to the busy hubbub of Leonidio. The only fly in the ointment was the weather forecast which was predicting a spell of five days of dirty weather with snow and sub-zero temperatures. It turned out that the forecast was pretty much spot on and although it only got down to 4C the surrounding mountains had a white coat.
Seaside houses

Fortunately our rather smart AirBnB house is warm, and waterproof and everyday we managed to grab a break in the weather and get out for an explore of the area - though climbing was deffo off the menu.

I have had a whole heap of work to be get on with, especially a major update of the Kalymnos App so I haven't had any trouble keeping occupied. 

The only question is - where next?

The wild access road to Kyparissi

Saturday, 12 February 2022

Leonidio Reprise #3

The Red Cliffs above Leonidio
We first visited Leonidio in October/November 2017. The plan was to escape the crowds that flock to Kalymnos in the Autumn and to try somewhere new. We picked up Colin and Andy at Athens airport and drove the steady three hours to the small harbour village of Sampatiki - our base for a week or so. We headed into town for shopping and got the first clue we weren't alone - there were over 50 vehicles parked up under Mad Wall. It turns out it was half-term over much of Europe and a good % of the Continents' climbers had the same thoughts as us. We climbed of course but it was a bit of a struggle, finding both parking and free routes on occasions. The time we spent at Kyparissi and Nafplio were much pleasanter.

A lovely pad in town - complete with friendly cat
A year later we spent a couple of weeks touring the Peloponnese and didn't see another climber until we rolled into Leonidio. This time we were greeted by a thunderstorm and a lightning strike that cut the power to the town for 36 hours - no heating, no internet, and after a few hours, no water as the pumps weren't working - not a great start.

Sherri wasn't mad keen on a third attempt but after our Schengen induced Cyprus sojourn we needed somewhere to spend a few weeks, with a decent amount of climbing - and Leonidio came to mind. After a few cold and snow days at Frygani we rolled into town and were pleasantly surprised, the place had a much more friendly vibe than we remembered and it wasn't too busy. The nights were still cold - around 7C but the days were about perfect - I suspect we can suffer a month here :-)

In the Starting Blocks

Mucky weather across Europe It in nine weeks since we got back from Croatia and it has definitely felt like kicking out heels waiting for th...