Thursday, 29 January 2009

Guidebook Writing - Sheesh

Another lovely forecast, I decided to head for Chateauvert to take some shots and do a few routes. It is a great spot, big pitches and excellent rock, plus it gets all the sun that is going. I had already tried to photo the crags from below, but the valley is just too narrow and there are so many trees in the way. I checked the map and Google Earth and it was obvious that there was a road/track on the opposite side of the valley, though it was a few hundred metres back from the edge.
A couple of false start with the sat nav (really rough dirt-tracks shown as 'roads') and we got fairly close. It took three separate trips over two hours, heading into a complete wilderness (dense vegetation, fallen trees, briers, thorn bushes, loose rock, big drops) and two false starts before I finally located a jutting promontory that gave me the shots I wanted. By the time I got back to the car I was bushed (physically and metaphorically) and settled for a gentle drive home! We stopped briefly in Correns to photo an astounding mural on the wall there - superb.

Friday, 23 January 2009

The Blue Coast

Awoke to a damp morning today, the first one for two and a half weeks. It is so easy to slip into a routine and forget all about the UK - though an occasional glance at the BBC News (gloom) and weather (double gloom) brings it all back.

Had a trip up to Sainte Victoire the other day - what a crag, only two other teams on the whole place. I first visited the place in the summer of 1981 (with Pete Livesey's little French guide - it was mega-hot and we interspersed climbing with days on the beach (tough eh?). The high-light was a dawn start to do the Grand Parcours, the 15 pitch outing that climbs the central feature of the mountain from base to crest - magnificent. The place has pretty much dropped off the radar for UK climbers, what it needs is a decent UK guide!

Friday, 9 January 2009

Logging and Blogging

Four weeks down here already - time really flies! It has been a bit cool and unsettled, linked to the huge high pressure system that has been giving the UK some proper winter weather. Colin came just before Christmas and we managed 50 or so routes whilst he was here - which is 50 or so more then we would have done back home!
Colin also built a substantial wood-pile that should see us through the cold days ahead - not that there are going to be too many of those I trust! Mind you the current record low was -3.5C so that is pretty cool.
We have continued to explore the area - and very nice it is too, there are some right posh houses hereabouts - most of them are empty though!
I have handed Western Grit over to Alan and he he making all the right noises - I have a few more bits and bobs to tidy up but really it time to get stuck into the Cote d'Azure guidebook.

Inevitability as most as soon as Colin departed the weather really perked up, cloudless blue days and crisp cool nights. So a bit of cragging was in order and we spent a hot(!) few hours on the Pilier de Soliel down at Dramont. There are a few other decent looking routes down there too - must get back asap.

"50 Years Ago Today"

Big Chris and Smaller Colin - 50 years on and still getting wet! Colin was heading back from Spain to the UK so he called in and we spen...