Saturday, October 29, 2016

Westonbirt Masterpieces

Not my pictures but the incredible trees - mainly Acers that were in full Autumn display today at Westonbirt Arboretum

Friday, October 14, 2016

At home on The Range

After a frustrating summer for climbing, a few recent trips to Gogarth with perfect Autumn weather have been a timely reminder how amazing climbing in Britain can be. Yesterday John and I visited The Range (Gogarth's little gentler cousin) - what a top venue! We did four routes all good and two of them really characterful. Here are a few pics

Jon on Just Brew it (VS)

Me on the "deep and intimidating' recess of Lovely Day Mr Thomas (E3) 

Jon on Steam Piano (HVS)

"Axe-like" positions for Jon on Steam Piano 
End of a lovely day

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Ancient Trees

Some images from a great day exploring Savernake Forest finding some of the largest and eldest trees - many of which have their own names with some of the Oaks over 1000 years old.

Un-named Oak
The Cathedral Oak
Un-named Beech
Saddle Oak 1
The Great Beech
The Big Bellied Oak (11+m circumference)
New Queen Oak 
Un-named Chestnut
The Spider Oak
The Turkey Oak

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Climbing year that was

So like a lot of climbers I started off the year with a long ludicrously ambitious tick list, and now looking back, also I suspect like most, I've ticked almost none of it. In many ways it's been a good year though, as I've visited some really top drawer spots.

January - My winter visits to Scotland this year almost all went a bit pear-shaped. This was an example - a quick hit with Will Sim that included a broken down car, getting lost on a walk in, getting up the crux of this cool route in Glen Coe, Eggäschpili, before failing on a verglassed easier pitch and plenty of trail breaking but only 1 pitch climbed

February - Up to the Northwest with my old alpine partner Kenton, again we didn't complete a route and did far too much driving, but climbed 6 and 3/4 pitches this time and came very close to doing the first complete winter ascent of the Cioch Nose feature in Applecross

March - After my ankle tendons said no more to marathon training, I visited the magical Churnet, trying to get some modicum of climbing fitness for the summer. One of my favourite climbing areas despite my boulderphobia

April - One of the highlights of the year was visiting Donegal's sea cliffs and being shown around by local hero Iain Miller. This shot from Owey Island will probably be too small to see but halfway up the pointy pinnacle (The Blade) is a yellow dot - thats me Mum!

May - The Ten in Ten for Nepal event was a great opportunity to raise money for the Nepal Earthquake appeal and also have a bit of fun on the local crags, so I set myself the mini challenge of climbing100 routes, although nothing much harder than this HS, the beautiful Manchester Buttress

June - One of the best days out this year was with one of my an old Exeter
University Climbing Club mates Derek, in Twll Mawr climbing Joe Browns superb Hamadryad followed by Super Massive Black Hole - 8 pitches of top quality trad and sport

July- Another fine plan that didn't quite work out but got me to climb at a crag I'd always been intrigued about - Lliwedd. Drove over early from Sheffield hoping to solo as many routes as possible. As I passed the Llanberis village sign the first rain spots started - managed one route in drizzle before sanity prevailed - magical spot though 

August - Great month with trips to Skye, Fontainbleau and Lundy. The Skye trip included a spirited attempt on a very steep crack sans tape. Failed but chuffed with myself for even giving it a go as steeper than my usual plodding terrain

August again - Lundy was another year highlight. First time Ali and I have got away climbing since we became parents

September - Another great trip this time with Gary to Orkney and Hoy. Plan A didn't quite happen due to changing forecasts but we still managed the South Face on the Old Man and a big new route at Rora Head

October - Family holiday to Gozo and managed to sneak in a couple of routes including 3 at the extremely characterful Underworld crag together with its equally characterful developer Stevie Haston. A highly recommended venue

November - Nothing, although I did start training perhaps inspired by October's Maltese shrinking violet.

December -  An early season winter punt up to Scotland with Dave just paid off with a snatched ascent of Swallowtail Pillar which I found desperate and was glad for Dave's snug rope as I seconded the crux.

Monday, November 2, 2015