It would appear someone has flicked the big weather switch from winter to summer so it's time to rearrange activities in accordance. Winter projects have been put to one side for now and priorities are for routes routes routes, and if possible, trad trad trad.
Never one to jump on a band wagon too quickly I held out for a few weeks and spent some time playing on the border between cold weather bouldering and warm weather routes. A day at Bowden Doors saw a long awaited ascent of Klondyke Wall and a sealing of the deal I'd made with Dog Eat Dog a few weeks earlier. It was pretty darn sunny though, and Sarah was starting to look pretty bored, so we bailed for ice creams on the beach at Bamborough.
Next up I'd had a four day trip down to the Peak with Chris booked for a while, which coincided with the four hottest days of the year so far. So much for great conditions and cold slopers, but it had the benefit of forcing me out of the easy bouldering options and onto routes. Stanage, Froggatt, the Roaches, then back to Stanage, with a quick evening flash of Tom's Original at Stoney (the softest 7A ever?) in between. Plenty of classic routes that lived up to their billing - Tower Face Direct, Brown's Eliminate, Via Dolorosa - to name a few. A few soft touches - Four Pebble Slab anyone? The odd sandbag - Shortcomings on Roaches Skyline. And of course a few schoolings - warming up at 0830 in the morning by failing on The Tippler was one, failing to get a three metres off the ground on Goliath's Groove was another. Oops!
Despite coming from there, it never fails to strike me how 'nice' England is. Nice pubs and brilliant beer, lovely little villages, greens, rugby clubs and cricket squares, and rolling countryside. The rural wilds of Scotland where I spend most of my time sometimes have an air of seriousness about them. The weather and remoteness really can make some places feel a bit ominous and 'big', for want of a better word. Down in England it's never like that. It all just feels nice, warm and friendly.
Anyway, enough about that. It's the next weekend already. Just in from a Friday afternoon with Steve at Moy, the local suntrap, and managed a quick redpoint of Pulling on Pebbles, a bouldery F7a+ on the Flat Wall. Steve's been locked on a journey with the crag classic Little Teaser for a wee while now, his first proper redpoint project. He's now got the moves well within him, and even has the fitness, but it's turning into a mental battle. He's got to believe!
Oot west for traddage tomorrow. Psyche!