Sunday, 26 November 2006

Stanage - Weekend Cobweb Removal

A grey morning but forecast to brighten later sounded just the ticket, and as occasionally happens the Weather Girl got it right. Usual partners were overseas, out of commission or climbing on limestone(!) so I thought I would take my new Nikon 18-200 lens out for a test-drive. I parked and wandered up towards True North, it was wild but exactly what was needed. A solitary boulderer was tackling Mating Toads (V2), blowing his own cobwebs away, as I scrambled up to the trig point and hoovered up some lung-fulls of the west wind.

Along the crest of the crag there were the usual convoys of weekend walkers, as we trooped past each other pleasantries were exchanged in the time-honored fashion. Peering off the edge I spotted a couple of copies of the new Eastern Grit guide being used; daft I know, but it always gives me buzz. A youth was trying to top-out on Right Unconquerable (HVS) though the gale whipping over the edge wasn't helping as he was enveloped in clouds of chalk at each attempt, I wonder if his ascent should have been classified as wind assisted!

I dropped out of the wind onto the flagged path though the Plantation; it was a different world down there - late November and as mild as a May day, strange indeed. The place wasn't heaving, but it was certainly BUSY - there were boulderers everywhere! I watch a guy on Tower Face Direct (E2) make very neat ascent and cracked of a bunch of shots, also noticing the chalk on Flight of Ideas (E7), it looked like there had been some daring deeds done recently.

I wandered on down to the road and set of back towards the car. The Edge was quite busy now, and several teams were enjoying the low winter sun shining straight on to the cliff. I mulled over the idea that with the new lens, when Eastern Grit needs a rewrite in five years time, I might be able to get the required crag shots without even getting out of the motor!

Back at the car and time to tootle back down the long hill home, invigorated, mind cleared, I felt a bit more ready for Sunday dinner and the working week. As to the lens, its a bit of a big brute but overall, I'm impressed.

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