Friday, 3 May 2019

Turkey Time

Amphitheatre at Aphrodisias
Sunset near Ephesus
After continuous climbing for two and a half weeks with Colin the Peleponnes and another then another 10 days on Kalymnos I felt a bit 'climbed out' so we decided to visit Turkey on the way to Sherri's mums in Marmaris and on the way back to collect the car in France.
Crowds at Pamukkale
Poppies and mountains
Touristing isn't something we do much of but we thought we would try a few of the famous sites of 'Asia Minor'. In the event it was an interesting experience but not one we will be rushing to repeat. The places and spectacular and thought provoking but two of the sites - the Roman remains Ephesus, and the Travertine springs at Pamukkale were packed with almost unimaginable number of tourists pouring through all day long. The exception was the magnificent Aphodisias - a huge site of spectacular remains and completely deserted - touristing for agoraphobics!

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Deep South

The highest peak in the Peleponnes - Mt Taygetus 8778'
After the success of the autumn trip to mainland Greece we decided to do something similar only heading down into the Peleponnes rather than northwards and make the trip a little longer so we weren't under any pressure of time.
Apart from one wet and windy day that affected the whole of Greece conditions have been superb, warm days, cool nights and the fresh greens of spring everywhere. As last year the crags have been high quality with great climbs and apart from a Sunday when there were a couple of teams at Solomos we haven't seen another climber anywhere.

Day Four or was it Five - a tough 6a at Nedousa
The accommodation has been varied and interesting, from posh apartments to old renovated seaside cottages and, as ever, the locals are super friendly and so keen to please.

Day One: Solomos above the olive groves

 The scenery has been stunning throughout, high snowy peaks, deep wooded valleys with tumbing streams and golden beaches stretching off into the distant blue. Plus there is the awesome sense of history stretching back at least 5000 years - in some senses this where it all began.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Swooping Through

Sherri above Ax-les-Thermes
The Blanca was great, Spain has developed a lot over the 30+ years that we have been visiting. We had a productive five weeks in the area, briefly meeting up the a big UKC/Rockfax team who were out for 'jolly' and who well impressed with the weather and the climbing available. Then we returned to the Ariege via very pleasant stop over at the Ebro Delta for a bit of birding. Glossy Ibis and Crested Lark were two new ticks for me - always nice to catch something you have never seen before.
Back to the glorious granite of Auzat.
Then it was back to Chez Arran for a short (9 day) break in the snowy Pyrenees for the usual easy going mix of climbing, hiking and chilling. Next it is back on the road - Greece here we come. Last autumn's tour of the Mainland was so good we have decided to do something similar again. Colin is flying into Athens for two and a half weeks - no fixed plans, lets see where the mood takes us.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Spring in Spain and memories of Dave Gregory

Spain - Spring - Sweet
It is time to start thinking about the Costa Blanca guidebook rewrite even though it is at least a couple of years away so we packed up at Chez Arran, said goodbye to the cats and headed south. We stopped at Castelleon la Plana on the way down for a few days - a pleasant part of the world but very windy for much of the time.
It is seven long years since we have been in the Costa Blanca and being back has been great - 10 days so far and has been exceptional, especially notable has been the fantastic weather.
There are lots of climbers around and plenty of copies of the current book on view - an update is going to be a massive task which is why we have started early.
Sherri and the mighty Penōn

Back in the UK Dave Gregory's family had a wake for him after his death last month - there was no funeral as he donated his body to medical research. Apparently it was  a very moving occasion with over 200 folks turning up to celebrate his life. We would have like to be there but Dave would have understood - there are rocks to climb and books to write.
Rest easy old fellow, it was a privilege to share a rope with you over so many years and on so many great routes.

Monday, 28 January 2019

In seach of the Sun

Plateau de Beille - magical
Our six weeks at Chez Arran have passed a pleasantly as ever, though for the past couple of weeks the weather has been about as unsettled as we have ever known it with a lot of snow, rain and cloud. Colin called in for a week on his way back to the UK, and in the event we only got one day's climbing in which was a disappointment. We kept busy with hiking, caving, snowshoeing etc but I missed the chance for him to tow me up a few good routes.

The forecast remain very unsettled so we have made a decision to bring out trip down to the Costa Blanca forward a couple of weeks. There is so much snow in the mountains we are probably going to have to go 'the long way round' but needs must.

Monday, 31 December 2018


2018 gone, 2019 just over the horizon, lets hope it is another one filled with travel, climbing, good friends, sunshine and adventures. Best wishes to friends far and wide and anyone who has bought one of my books this year - we couldn't do it without you.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Greece to France (via the UK)

Don't go - stay with us- pleeease
We sent Colin heading back to Manchester and nearly flew back into Kalymnos. In the event the plane turned back just short and several hours later we arrive in Kos courtesy of a rescheduled Sky Express flight and via two visits to their Executive Lounge.
We had another two weeks in Kaly, everything was very quiet - the weather was less good than we have come to expect down the years - though MUCH better than the UK. We climbed, wandered, socialised and looked after a host of cats - times are getting harder for them now all the tourists have left.
Then it was time to head back to the UK, in four days we picked up the car, now fixed, visited my mother, had a day at the climbing wall, packed the car and made it to Hull for the evening ferry.
Belle Burgundy
The crossing was a bit 'lumpy' as the Captain called it (Beaufort Severe Gale Force 9) then headed to Burgundy for a look at an area I have never climbed - the event the weather has been a bit crap - I know it is December but really!
Ariege next with plans to head down to the Costa Blanca to start a rewrite on my best selling guidebook to the area - no rest for the busy!

Turkey Time

Amphitheatre at Aphrodisias Sunset near Ephesus After continuous climbing for two and a half weeks with Colin the Peleponnes and ano...