Restoring parity

When we arrived here on this rustic little campsite, I noticed three quaint little sheds, or camping pods as they’re called, and I wandered over to have a look. A shed is a good description to be honest: a single empty room in a wood built building with a footprint probably slightly smaller than our family tent. I pulled a face off a mild sneer and repeated my old thought that they’re fine for people who don’t want to camp properly. Last night, as I slightly frantically moved all of our belongings into one of them, I suddenly found the appeal.

If you’re think we’ve gone soft then you probably don’t have two small children. If you do, you’ll totally understand. It cost us one night that we probably weren’t gonna last anyway and an extra twenty quid. After a single night, it was worth every penny.

The fact is, this week, our daytimes have been fantastic but our evenings have been pretty miserable. To combat the draught from that first night, I’d put rocks and turf around the bottom of the tent, to little avail. Now there is no need and while last night was still pretty cold, we can put that down to a combination of having the window open slightly after turning the heating down too much. We are, after all, still learning.

Either which way, it was infinitely nicer and meant we could reflect on the amazing day of climbing I’d had during the day. Back when I lived up here, some fifteen years ago, the bowderstone represented everything I wanted to achieve (in bouldering at least) but was never going to given the ridiculous mentality I had adopted from trad climbing: I climbed V5, I didn’t climb V6 so I had up right to get on them and given the climbs on the bowderstone start at V7, this was not a venue for me.

So much has changed in that time and now I lack the fear to try the harder climbs. Instead, I’m more tactically aware and had spent the week leading up to this researching the best climbs that would let me exorcise those demons. Try too easy and it wouldn’t satisfy my intentions, too hard and risk getting nothing.

I couldn’t anticipate how well this day could’ve gone. After a horrid warm up at V4, I got on Picnic Sarcastic 7a+ as that was the climb I’d been looking at all week. I’d be lying if I said it was a solo effort, as I bumped into a local climber who offered me some invaluable beta; cutting out an awesome cut loose but saving me a heap of energy. As he also offered a crucial spot for the committing last move, I did it and felt a wave of relief after years of regret.

I wasn’t done. The sit start to Picnic at 7b fell much quicker, before I promptly walked over and flashed Statstick 7a. A questionable send of Power Pinch 7b finished the day amid a feeling of euphoria. If you’re gonna have your first success on the bowderstone, this isn’t a bad way to do it!

After a quick look at the delicacies on offer in Booths, we headed back and quickly decided to move house. It meant the lovely looking meatballs we’d bought were put aside in favour of fish and chips in a hurry as we settled into our new abode.

Today is looking like a hill walk in sunshine and more low temperatures. The snow seems to have retreated so I’m expecting a day as good as the last two. Now if we can bring the nights up to that standard, this will be an awesome week away.

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