Blast Off!

Saturday morning saw me leaving sunny Barnsley for a damp Fisherfield campsite in Eskdale. Tent pitched a pre activity tea and cake session over which Jago the Optimistic suggested Hare Crag. A ten minute approach turned into twenty minutes wading through chest high bracken.

Sunny Eskdale

On arrival at the lower crag Jago spotted the route Fireball XL5, [refer to YouTube] childhood memories compelled him to give it a go. I thought its dry that’ll do for me so I led off with Nick in tow. Having completed Fireball XL5 we moved on to the Central Slabs doing part of Jugged Hare and Slab Route which led to Upper Buttress and our last route Spiked Hare.

Happy with our tally for a supposedly wet day we retired back to camp buoyed by the prospect of better forecast for Sunday, NO CHANCE!

Summer in Lakeland?

Saved by the birds!

The Arete Welsh meet was based in Helyg and despite the Met Office promise of monsoon rains four more members joined me on Friday night. Saturday dawned as promised WET! The only hope being a possibility of bright spells in the afternoon. After numerous brews and mutterings of, “not going for a walk in this”, Nick the twitcher went outside armed with binoculars. Suddenly an excited cry of Redstart emanated from outside the hut, rousing twitchers and even climbers into action. What followed was a couple of hours ticking several more species of LBBs. Over lunch we decided to head for Anglesey – twitchers looking for Choughs and climbers dry rock. The result was a weather window of around four hours during which all parties achieved their goals.

Welsh Hot Rock

Sunday morning, after the CC Welsh dinner, dawned cold but sunny as forecasted by the Met Office. A short discussion, Pass or Tremadog? Decision made, a short time later saw us gearing up below Merlin Direct. However, a couple of moves off the ground a polished large wedged flake took offence at being stood on and with a disconcerting rumbling sound it moved down the crack. 😮 Further attempts to move it failed but I fear it’s present position is only temporary! The rest of the route went without a hitch and we were soon back down looking for another.

The new guide pointed to a route we hadn’t done, Grotto Direct.

After that we adjourned for tea and cake and the long drive home.

Rare sighting on Grit!

Driven south by monsoon conditions in their natural habitat of the Lakes, a pair of Rock Sterlings were spotted on Stanage. First seen moving around the base of Goliaths Groove they quickly moved along and climbed Fina and were last seen on Fairysteps where I was privileged to get some photos of these rare visitors to gritstone. Sadly if you would like to see this rare occurence you’re too late as after spending Sunday on limestone the visitors returned north to their natural habitat…

Pete on Fina
Fairysteps
Paul and Laetitia on Fairysteps

Black Sunday

A six am start, traffic free roads saw me arrive at Fisherground campsite 3 hrs later to find the AMC team with no plan of action. Good weather and Eskdale usually points towards Scafell or Esk Buttress so not being real fit these days I suggested Esk. The premier objective being to lead Red Edge having lost the toss to a former climbing partner way back in the eighties. Alas it was not to be as a team of 3 were already in situ, the leader moving slowly. A quick look at the guide and Jago suggested Black Sunday, a crack line to the right of Red Edge which turned out to be well worth its ** rating. After the climb a long slog back to classic camping fare (pasta & sauce) and a poor England performance. Should have done another route!

Esk Buttress