Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Happy Christmas and All the Best for 2015

Diamonds on the Beach - Iceland

Another year rolls round, and it has been a busy one - about six weeks in the UK and forty four weeks elsewhere. Highlights? Well all of it really but Iceland, Corsica and Santorini were new and great, whereas Kalymnos and Ariège were the same as ever - and great too.

If you read this, I wish you 

All The Best For The Next 12 Months

Monday, 8 December 2014

Home - Where's That Then?

Kalymnos - Bye For Now
Two months in Greece have been great but we need to be in the Ariège for Christmas so it was time to pack our stuff in the dustbins and haul them down to Babis's cellar once again. We flew out of Kalymnos's tiny airport for the first time which was great and so convenient - less than an hour and a half after leaving the bar we were in Athens.
EasyJet to Manchester and we booked  a night in Bewleys Hotel at the airport - that was a culture shock, internet in bed, a bath, a TV and a huge complimentary breakfast - Welcome Home :-)

Of course we are technically homeless as some 'friends of friend' are stopping in our flat, we will call in to collect the car, and some warm clothes, and shack up at Christine's place.

It is going to be a busy week!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Winter is here - and so are We

Bumpy Crossing in the Taxi Boat
I have lost track of time a bit, it is a Greek thing! We left the UK about two months ago and have been on Kalymnos about 5 weeks (or so Sherri tells me). We have just had a spell of "Proper Winter Weather" with a cold strong northerly blowing for a week - it was generally dry and bright - but it does leave you battered and chilled. The apartments are designed to be cool in the summer which can make them really cold in the winter - I was reduced to using a hot-water bottle on a couple of occasions. Great to report that things are back to normal now - 20C and wall to wall sunshine.
The climbing continues to be as great as ever - 99 routes on Kalymnos at the last count - and 61 of them were new.
Only one week to go now, then back to the UK for long enough to do a few jobs, load the car and head for the Pyrenees - that WILL be different!

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.