Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Spring! Spring! Spring!

Very glad to see the wild moor horses back at Danby!
Northumberland is a fantastic place. It hums a vibe of difference. I've been visiting and re-visiting some of the crags recently and it's been a very interesting time. There's so much excitement when you visit a new place and Northumberland is one of the more exciting places I've explored.

There's a deep sense here of abandonment and mystery. Talking to local climbers, I get a tangible sense that even they haven't quite got their head around many of the places. For many Sandy Crag or Howlerhurst are adventurous crags that require a powerful motivation to visit. I was talking to the woman who lives in the farm below Howlerhurst the other day and she reckoned I was the first person up there this year!
Howlerhurst Bouldering
On the flip-side, I've been re-visiting a couple of crags I've not been to for 7 or 8 years. I was at Back Bowden yesterday, belaying Anna on some of the classic extreme slabs there. It was really nice to see her grapple and then eventually manage to scrape up them - no mean achievement considering she's only been climbing a year! I also was struck with an enormous wave of awe; It's such a good crag!
Anna on Shine On (E3 5c **)
Back Bowden is one of those places that just oozes class. There are so many cool-looking hard routes there and I just want to climb them all. On and Off the Rocks both look brilliant and Adam Watson's line Purgatory looks like a monster! Even the routes on the dank wall look inspiring. O to be strong!
Best place on earth?
I feel like every year is a lifetime. You come alive in spring; thrash violently at your zenith in the summer; cram as much as possible into autumn; and then slowly die with the winter. I'm a new man this year, trying to pace myself, resting injuries, building the psyche slowly and eating well.

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