Sunday, 28 October 2007

Due South

A chance to visit Gran Canaria was too good to miss - I am working on the Lofoten guidebook with local mountain guide Thorbjørn Enevold, and he ‘winters’ down in the Canaries, it was either he came to Sheffield or we headed south - so no contest really! The journey from Sheffield to Manchester airport was pretty grim - pity the poor sods who commute daily - and the plane was full of screaming kids - though as we approached the island the view out of the window of the sunset over Gran Canaria and Tenerife made it worthwhile.

Beers on the terrace at midnight (22 degrees) and an air conditioned room was followed by a late start and a ride up into the hills. The roads are extremely tortuous as they climb through the huge areas scorched by last year’s fires. By the time we reached 5000′ feet it had cooled markedly so we hiked up to the foot of the Roque Nubio - a huge monolith of volcanic rock that was certainly living up to its name, it disappeared into the mist on occasions - at sixteen degrees and even some spots of rain, it almost felt like the Peak. There are some decent looking routes up there though much of the rock is a bit suspect - mind you to make up for it many of the bolts are pretty beefy! The easiest looking way up is the German Route up the right-hand arete in the photo, which is fully bolted with big fat glue-in bolts, it looked a bit like an aid route.

We zigzagged back down to the coast, had a quick trip to the Super Market and then back for a late tea - it had certainly been a change from the usual Friday set-up.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Never Go Back!

I was up at the Wainstones at the weekend (and glorious it was too) doing a bit of finally checking for my new Northern England guide, due out in January. Ambling back down the hill at the end of the day my mind rolled back down the years, to my first visit to the North York Moors. Back in 1966 I persuaded my long suffering father to take three of us (all mid-teenages and mad keen for it!) over to Scugdale so we could bivi there for a couple of nights and do lots (and lots) of climbing.

We humped our gear up to the crag (mostly consisting of tinned food) and set up home in a small cave. After an afternoon cracking routes off the rain started, and continued all night - by mid-morning things had turned squalid, and eventually we had to admit defeat, I trekked to the farm to ask if I could use the phone (and got a bollocking for ‘camping’ at the crag) - and my father duly turned up and carted us off home.

It didn’t take long to dry out (though most of the tins had lost their labels) and by early evening the sun was out and it was glorious. From our house I could see the distant hills bathed in sunshine - it all seemed so unfair!

It was a lesson learnt though - on a recent visit to Northumberland with Alan we drove through pouring rain heading for Callerhues, we were pretty close to sacking it when I retold this tale, we pressed on just a little further - and almost inevitably the sun came out and we spent a glorious day.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Time for a New Set of Wheels

Sad maybe (must be a generational thing!), but getting a ‘new’ motor is always a milestone. The last one took us to Lofoten three times, and all the way to the Costa Blanca - so I wonder where the new (bigger - room for more grub, camping and climbing gear) will get us! A weekend up in the North York Moors will do for starters.

The Impreza was a great but brutal car and the lack of whistles and bells always irked - mind you simply hanging on was usually top priority most of the time.

Getting back from the garage with satnav was a revelation - a kind lady told me exactly where to go (in the nicest possible way!) - I may even chuck the scabby old road atlas away.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Full Circle

My first Blog entry was a Burbage Round, that I did last November with Dave Gregory and 11 months on we were there again, (he was fresh from a month in California) another damp autumnal weekend, out for a bit of exercise instead of sitting in font of the computer. It was foggy and damp but pleasant enough for all that, and I mulled over what we had done in the intervening year; a long weekend in Ariege, 14 weeks in Spain, back to Ariege on the way home again for a couple of weeks, six weeks in Arctic Norway and half a dozen trips to Northumberland/Yorkshire Grit - not a bad tally!

As to the future, a trip to Gran Canaria is planned and hopefully an extended trip to the Cote s’Azure, maybe one or both of them might generate a guide. Then there is the Northern England guide on the horizon, and Lofoten Rock no too far behind

Monday, 1 October 2007

Old Favourites

With Dave Gregory still in the USA and Colin tramping around in the fog in the Lakes as DoE support, it was left to the 'old team' to make the most of a lovely autumn Sunday on Stanage. For the first week in October the place was really busy, so we headed for Stanage End, and even there plenty of folks were mooching around. Crow Chin was smothered by the t-r brigade but End Slab and the Crab Crawl area had a few gaps. I got the chance to test my birthday present (to myself a Leica DLux 3) and even did two routes I hadn't done before - that makes 963!

A month in Switzerland

Gornergrat - rammed A month passed in Switzerland and it has been very pleasant, climbing, hiking, chilling and even doing a bit of to...