Springtime France

We’re recently back from a couple of weeks in France, what an amazing (and weird?) series of spring weather conditions we had though… More “Springtime France”

The Goat and Stone

Been in the pub for the last couple of days…

Ok, so some poetic license required, but it’s a nice title! Went to Goat Crag yesterday, and had a session on the Bowderstone today, both times with Strong Andy.

Goat Crag comprised Praying Mantis, Tumbleweed Connection and Bitter Oasis, each one a classic. Goat Crag (Borrowdale) is somewhere I haven’t spent a great deal of time given the general mossness greenery of the place, but it’s been dry for a while, so you could at least try and work through it. Spotting footholds was particularly difficult with the multitude of shades and shadows of green, but it all added to the fun. Protection seemed very difficult to come by on all routes, but there’s a reasonable spattering of rusting ironmongery to clip if you feel optomistic enough…

View over Derwentwater from Goat Crag

Gold star for Andy for some expert route cleaning at the top of Bitter Oasis – small, then large, sheets of moss, followed by heather, then some turf. He rounded off with a huge lump of all of the above, which found it’s way straight to our ‘sacks at the bottom with a satisfying thump. The sheep were moderately less impressed than we were.

I felt tired this morning (an hour and a half of snooze button hitting) until Andy rang, saying he’d finished his mornings work early. A quick 3 pints of tea and a bacon butty later, and I was off to The Stone.

I’ve not bouldered on the ‘stone for a few weeks, so struggled to warm up on the usual problems. I did feel motivated though, so was keen to jump on Picnic Sarcastic early and try to work the finish. A few goes later, and I’d remembered the subtleties enough to get to my previous high point. After a bit of beta from Andy, a new found ‘good bit’ on the crucial right hand sloper/side-pull/crimp, and suddenly it felt stable, perhaps do-able. Concentrate on the present, shift weight, left heal over and toe hook, solid. Slap left. Missed, but I’m still on, slap more. Getting better, there’s an edge, fingers curl round, udge again, yes! Match hands and hang off it and smile…

Andy on 'Coming up for Air'

Happy days. I’ve struggled for motivation since doing ‘Right Wall’ and ‘The Quest’, trying to understand ‘why’ I climb. I still haven’t answered that question, but I feel I’m closer to understanding that that there isn’t an answer. Either way, my mojo’s back and it feels good.

I’ve got team training tomorrow, but I’m hoping to get to Reecastle afterwards to lead a little route I’ve been playing on recently. It’s a bit scary, in that the gear isn’t too good, and is even worse at the bottom where the hard bit is, but hey, it’s all good training. Fingers crossed…

Penrith’s Premier Bouldering Venue

Andy and Sarah popped ’round for a session, having bailed out of the Malham plan. Today’s featured hold…

‘Wile E. Coyote’

Andy had a play on the clockwise orange circuit, and might have found a solution to the last couple of moves I can’t get. Good progress made on the anti-clockwise blue circuit too – should get that next go.

Andy working the orange circuit


A journey home from Chamonix, when you’re not in a hurry, can’t be complete without a diversion to Fontainebleau.

I chose Beauvais, a venue pretty close to the A6 (Route du Soleil) and with a very short walk in (50m).

About to start the orange circuit
Pete tackling a typical Fontainebleau problem

I thought this was a new venue for us, until half way round the orange route Pete recognised a particular jump from one boulder to another. We took a photo so we could check our photos of holidays past… we had been there before, 11 years ago, on our first visit to Fontainebleau. I’ve no idea how Pete could remember a couple of boulders from all that time ago.

Summer 1999
Spring 2010

Anyway, we had a bit of a laugh, and a couple of hours later we continued our journey north.

Look what we found on the way up north...


Following some concentrated overnight skin growing (thanks Tish!), backed up by a plaster and a few turns of tape, I headed to Bridestones today with Sarah, and met up with Neil and Jon.

Bridestones is a bit higher than yesterday’s venue, so we had great views of the Yorkshire moors, but these were slightly tempered by the chill breeze – duvet jackets and big gloves at the ready! Only the one photo too (sorry, hands in pockets as much as possible!).

Jon on the Tilited Pinnacle

As for the bouldering, quality problems with mostly excellent landings, and classic grit – slopey holds and smears for feet. Not my thing usually, but, what doesn’t kill you etc.

Very pleasant all in all, though I suspect I need to get a lot more mileage on grit before it becomes natural. Now, where’s that crimp gone…