Monday, 10 November 2008


We made another less than ideal call on the weather last weekend, having other stuff to do on Saturday and opting to climb on Sunday. Ah well, such is life. As we drove down the A1 towards Northumberland the sun was shining and we could see miles out to sea. Caroline commented that she'd always wondered what that coastal view looked like! But as we turned off the A1 it started to rain, and we realised that above the road we were driving along was a line - cloud on the left, sunshine on the right. We were turning left.

Sam had sent Sarah a text message saying that it was pouring at Kyloe so they'd headed to the shelter of Back Bowden. We ploughed on to Kyloe thinking , how bad can it be in the trees.

It stopped raining by the time we got there, but the ground was pretty soggy. Some problems had dribbles of water down them, and some holds were damp but a lot was climbable, and pretty ok actually! Cold and dry.....the elusive "great conditions"!! Wow....this could be exciting ;-)

Then is started raining again. But it was so good to be back on real rock. It felt like ages and ages since I was in Spain, and somehow warm Spanish limestone isn't quite as satisfying as cold, sticky County sandstone. Now why is that?? Am I just strange?

So, amidst lots of sitting about under Cubby's Lip, Sarah managed a proper pop at the sit start to Monty Python's. It was so dark that it took ages to get this photo of her. Eventually I took it about a full second before she moved, which just about gave my cold little camera time to think, charge and flash at the right moment!

For the first time I managed to complete that mammoth traverse from the easy way down leftwards. Caroline too managed it, which surprised her (but not me!) since she's not been climbing for a wee while.

Watching Sarah from the shelter of the Jocks sit start

While the rain was splashing away we thought it might be a good excuse to try the sit start to Jocks and Geordies. It's so hard (for us) that we wouldn't seriously give it a go without a sound reason to do so, probably preferring to concentrate on the standing start (first things first, walk before you run, and all...) But in the rain, it seemed sensible to lie on our backs, feet on the back wall, and just pull hard directly upwards, and from there work out which hand would hold longest if we let go with the other one.

I have to say, that these sorts of sit starts are not my forte. We came up with lots of options, none of which were successful, or even promising. Then someone showed us The Way. It helped, in that we then had something to aim for, but still wasn't enormously successful! I'm just not strong enough yet...
Early attempts in April 2007

When it stopped raining, we crawled out from under the rock and attempted the standing start. I had a go at this in April 2007 and was a long way from reaching the top left hand crimp. To my surprise, this time I managed to get both feet much higher, and wriggled my fingers over the edge of it. Pheewwwwweeeeeee! How exciting was that?! Having done that, I would have gone home quite happily then. To top that, next pop I managed to slap for the top sloper. Big slap. I couldn't hold it, partly because it was a bit.....what's the word? spoogee!, and partly because I didn't hit it quite right.

Looking back at the pictures from April 07 I realised that this time round, I was back-stepping with my left foot rather than twisting my knee in. Maybe that explains the height gain this time round. Ah, the wonders of technique!

So I went home with sore fingers and a smile on my face, psyched to come back and try again.

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