Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Back In The Moors

'New' routes at a quarry on Castleton Rigg. Brown Hill Quarry/Sammy's Spring Quarry from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

I'm finally back in the UK and the Moors! I've been really looking forward to getting back for months now and I've got so many plans and ambitions it's hard to know where to start. It was odd stepping off the plane in Manchester to be greeted by 15 deg. rain instead of 35 deg. sun, but it was a welcome change and Manchester was amazing.

There was certainly a focus on the Moors though in my mind and after a few hours back I made my way home.  First passing the guarding cliffs of Whitestone; then past Beacon Scar; and then Highcliffe Nab. I was getting really excited. It's such a great place to come home to- wild weather, bleak landscapes and all that. Most pleasant.

The weather has remained pretty bad the past couple of days, managing to just about stay OK on Tuesday for the Cleveland MC meet and a bit of new route prospecting early morning. We climbed 3 new routes at a new venue just east of Castleton Rigg quarry.

The walls don't offer that much. There are a couple of V diff type things on the right, which are clean and interesting and a couple of slightly more tricky cracks on the extreme left. The main event is the central wall though which, whilst not reaching a colossal height, does offer some very good highballs. The top is pretty chossy, which is a bit sad as there are three variations up the main wall which are alright.

I particularly enjoyed the central wall direct, which is about E3 6b and requires a good bit of technique and strength. It's sequences like this that make me happy I've made a few strength gains, with a lot of very strong body position holds. I'm not even going to guess at a grade as I haven't climbed anything for so long. A strong-at-the-moment Dooge suggested font 6c, which it could be. I'd expect to be getting a font 6c 1st, rather than 3rd go at the moment, but perhaps I need some readjusting to the sandstone?

It's all very un-rushed at the moment, getting used to the rock again and checking out what's left to do. Grades are going to remain very approximate I think, with rejigging at the end of the summer and all that. My technique is all over the place though and I'm getting pumped and terrified after 5 metres- need to work on this...

The forecast does not look good for the coming week. We'll get somewhere though. The unclimbed Camp Hill main wall dries quicker than a shaking badger. So that's always worth a bash if all else fails.

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