Away again

Originally written on 31st July. 

In a situation very reminiscent to my Big Birthday Mission last month, i find myself sat in a house in Leeds today, alone, and awaiting it’s inhabitants return. Once again i have been entrusted with keys, and have free reign of the place. The strange thing is it feels like an age since i came back…

It’s probably been due to the amount of climbing and travelling i’ve managed since i made it back to Blighty; rarely has a day/weekend gone by without me getting out in some way, and this has definitely been a hectic month of climbing, visiting and general activity, as may have been evident from the delay in blog posts about Canada 2011. From blogging every day in Vancouver, i went down to one every few days, to every few weeks, to whenever i find myself with enough spare time to actually document what i’ve been doing! It seems to be a Catch 22: do you actually get out and do things, or do you make the time to write about it? So what have i been up to?

I landed back in London on the 29th (see previous post) and was back at work on the 1st July. [As it happens, a month is a bit much to remember so i’ve had to browse the archive on my Facebook profile to remember what happened!] Looking back, i got back to work on the Friday, set up for a nice short two-day week, before two days off. Not to be, as i had been put in to work the Sunday too, so three days on, one day off. Bugger. What was worse, once i was back, i had a six day week to look forward and another solitary day off, although after a quick word with the boss, this was quickly remedied. After all, i was supposed to be meeting Phillipe in the Peak that weekend…

Phillipe is a French friend of mine, whom came to join us at Snow and Rock several years ago. At the time, he could speak barely any English but soon picked it up and as with so many of my old friends, every now and again one of us will get in touch and we’ll go for a climb. As it turns out, he’d sent me a message while i was in Canada, and we’d arranged to go the Peak District the week after i got back.

I’d intended to go from work on the Saturday, and get a couple of days in, but on discovering Phillipe’s ferry wasn’t until late Sunday night, i decided to nip across on Sunday after swimming and stay with Tom in Sheffield for the night before heading out at my leisure. We met in Hathersage, had a cup of tea, i suddenly remembered to talk a bit slower, and we headed out to Burbage; a mammoth Burbage Circuit in order, taking in the boulders at the South, some quick problems at the North, a dabble at Bridge and on to West to have a bash at West Side Story a highball 7b+. On the way back, we might even nip in to Higgar Tor. It sounded good but with a relatively relaxed start, and two tired and sluggish boulderers, it was destined for failure, although that certainly isn’t the word i would use to describe the day!

In truth, the only part of the plan we did manage was to tick off some 30+ problems on the Burbage South Boulders, mostly in the easier grades. No Retro Ticks and  a new guidebook requiring me to climbing everything again, this was quite sensible from my part, and it was thoroughly enjoyable until my skin began to give out again. We walked back to the cars, meaning we didn’t have the mile-long walk back after being exhausted at Burbage West, and Phillipe alone tried West Side Story as i nursed my aching body with nicotine. After not too long, we said our goodbye’s and parted ways once again, with the Frenchman heading North to Scotland, as i returned West and home.

Another week of work, and i had booked the following weekend off for what i thought was my friend’s wedding. Turns out, that was the RSVP date, so i had a weekend free, from Friday night to Monday night. Well, not wanting to let that go to waste, i decided to head to Birmingham for a quick visit to the old scout troop, a football match and some mountain biking (it was forecast to be wet anyway). The first went well, the second was rained off, and the mountain biking ended with me being very muddy and happy, the mud being the main reason i like going out on the mountain bike…

More evenings of frivolity ensued before what i was hoping was that long-awaited rest that i needed. However, on the Saturday, my cousin Lindsay appeared in the shop, having come up for weekend. In fairness, Sunday wasn’t the epic walk we had planned the night before in the pub, and culminated in a visit to Lyn’s Cafe in Beddgelert (thoroughly not being a strong enough word for the recommendation i would give this place). They went home a bit early, so i chilled out for the rest of the day and on Monday, i finally got the rest day i had been craving for so long; i did some washing, i wandered around the house but never left, nor actually got dressed properly.

This past week has again involved some evenings bouldering sessions, including a nice ascent of Emyr’s Arete V7 in a meagre three attempts, with a new bouldering buddy, Andy (who will hopefully feature on here more in the coming months). I’ve been on the Cromlech, at Elephantitus Cave, and this week returned to Jerry’s Roof to try and get some decent progress on a problem i really should put some effort in. Now, returning full circle on this post, i am in Leeds, having been at Almscliffe on Friday night, surprising myself again on Crucifix Traverse 7a, and at Caley yesterday before going to Dan’s wedding. I’ll try and give a better Leeds post once i’m back, but i wouldn’t hold your breath.

And of course, this doesn’t even touch on an overnight camping trip on the Crimpiau where the tent blew down at 3am, the house party/barbeque on the 9th July, the repeated issues of the replaced flat roof of my kitchen leaking, a handful of film nights at my house, countless hours in the pool including one session where i was too tired to get out at the end and had to roll out and several evenings bouldering which i’m struggling to remember! Need to stop doing things to be able to write about them? Hmm, need to stop doing things to recover!


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