Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Mad March

It's hard to know where March has gone. The weather seems to have been all over the place, as have we, and there has been little time to sit still and take stock.

I've had another few trips around the country for various things (avoiding those dreadful train journeys, thank goodness), and have therefore encountered another hiatus in the training schedule (what training schedule?!).

My weekend started on Thursday. Hurrah! A good thing, surely. Well, not necessarily. It started with an impromptu post-work drink (or four), which blurred Friday quite considerably. Having scraped through the day, I managed a few routes at Alien 1 and finished (just about) in time to jet off to Tom's party. Everyone who's anyone in the world of normal strong climbers was there. This was the place to be and the place to be seen. Having escaped the party with only fizzy pop damage, I crashed into bed and had a night of weird and restless dreams. Serves me right for having pasta and goats cheese as my post-midnight dinner.

Cheese and wine - bad news!
On little sleep, and an early start to make cake, we headed to Raven Crag, scooting past all the crowds at Bowden, slipping just over the hill to peace and tranquility and a better view of the Cheviots. Granted the climbing isn't quite world-class, being a bit on the sandy side, but it faces the sun, dries quickly in the breeze and best of all, nobody else seems to go there! Given our approach to Saturday, this was ideal.

The (pretend) hard core boulderer in me acknowledged that those elusive good conditions were definitely not going to appear today. Temperatures went beyond warm and well into the sweaty zone. Nice. The more realistic part of me realised I was just up for some time outside, soaking up some sunshine after what seems an interminably long winter. We did, of course, agree (tongues firmly in cheeks) that since we were only going to be messing about it would be bad form to do so on quality problems found elsewhere in the County. No sense in wearing out problems we hadn't a hope in hell of ticking today. Northumberland sandstone is soft, after all....ask Sam.

Caroline pulled the biggest flapper I've ever seen off her little finger on the very first move of the very first problem. She's too strong for her own good!! It was nasty. Blood welling up under the torn skin. Lots of chat about superglue ended with an elastoplast and several rounds of tape - a professional job.

Caroline's flapperCaroline's flapper - bad pic, but now she has her own blog I can't nick her good pictures any more ;-)

We started on the Meadow Wall, working along the problems right to left. Stuart was enjoing his first day out on real rock and with his long reach he managed a number of moves we birdies struggled with. Like this one, which was a definite dyno-for-small-pocket-off-non-existent-smears for us:

Andrea post-dynoThe move above the dyno....

It took a while for us to remember how to do each of the problems, but since we had taken the pressure off, it was fun rather than frustrating. We went back to the scary slab too - I was impressed that I managed to do it first time in spite of very sweaty hands. I even managed to chalk up half way. Didn't manage that before!

This picture looks pretty vertical; the only down side is that because you can't see my right hand, I could be holding a massive jug. You'll have to take my word for it that there are no crimps on this problem, let alone jugs! All just little tentative smears for both hands and feet.

Scary biscuits! And a welcome bigger hold at the top....not that much bigger though!

The sunshine was wonderful, but just as we reluctantly decided it was time to head back to the city for our evening engagements, the clouds gathered and it started to rain. We didn't feel so bad about leaving after all. When you have to, it's nice to be given another excuse to leave.

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