The Climbers’ Club AGM, aka
“The Face of Adventure Weekend Party”

The Climbers’ Club AGM has for me been traditionally a great opportunity to meet up with friends, enjoy a slap up dinner, and get involved helping set the direction of those that manage the club More “The Climbers’ Club AGM, aka
“The Face of Adventure Weekend Party””

Letterboxes, Birthdays, Climbing Wall & eBay star

Awful Weather

The weather this past week (month!) has been utterly awful! June was twice as wet as any June in (at least) the past seven years – this table shows just how wet…

Rain Database (mm)
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
2006 200.6 74.0 124.8 61.2 106.8 101.0 101.8 160.0 165.6 276.8 1372.6
2007 244.2 106.2 121.6 75.0 82.6 137.8 139.2 99.4 79.2 76.6 99.2 176.4 1437.4
2008 256.2 135.0 138.8 94.0 45.0 116.2 116.4 199.8 150.4 311.2 123.2 128.0 1814.3
2009 194.2 21.4 106.8 60.0 136.0 75.6 185.8 212.6 72.8 139.4 334.8 131.8 1671.3
2010 72.6 53.4 110.6 49.2 19.6 47.6 253.2 94.2 182.2 106.8 128.2 37.2 1154.7
2011 146.6 203.6 81.6 92.2 147.8 58.4 104.8 164.2 205.2 192.0 1396.5
2012 124.2 89.2 42.8 47.8 90.4 210.4 9.4 614.2
Database Summary
Min 72.6 21.4 42.8 47.8 19.6 47.6 9.4 94.2 72.8 76.6 99.2 37.2 1154.7
Max 256.2 203.6 200.6 94.0 147.8 210.4 253.2 212.6 205.2 311.2 334.8 276.8 1814.3
Avg 173.0 101.5 114.7 70.3 92.3 101.0 130.8 145.2 131.9 158.8 170.2 157.0 1519.4

This incredible weather has led to many things, some being: flooding all over Cumbria, a series of almost adventure-less weekends, my having to rescue Laetitia from Carnforth when the West Coast Mainline train system was brought to a halt by a rain-induced landslide near Tebay, and Rachel getting national exposure on BBC television for her knowledge and research in to sustainable drainage!


Anyhow, Saturday was only moderately wet, too wet to climb, but not too wet to get out for walk and a little letterbox hunting, or as Paul amusingly phrased it, “it’s a bit like cunning running in’it”.

Newby Bridge
Laetitia tunnelling through a dry-stone wall!
The weather turned out nicer than we’d expected as the day went on… In fact the evening was clear with a wonderful moon. Why is it that the fine wether never seems to coincide with the daytime?
Finsthwaite Tower stamp Finsthwaite High Dam stamp

Sorry the stamp impression for Finsthwaite Tower is so poor – it isn’t actually a stamp, it’s a B&W picture from the cover of the letterbox log-book. The stamp had been taken away and the book itself was water logged.

Fiona & Richard’s joint Birthday Party

As their birthdays are either side of summer in the damp and miserable winter months, Fiona and Richard decided to hold a joint birthday party in June to take advantage of damp and miserable summer weather instead! 😯 They’d chosen Consiton as there’s a great little hall there, the Coniston Institute. Plus it is really close to the MAM hut for those people travelling to join the revelry.

We all had to bring an offering of food to help create a very impressive spread that ranged from chicken curry to baked potatoes, from quiche to prawn salad, and from rhubarb pie to chocolate torte! :yum: In exchange – as well as the amazing company – we got treated to a brilliant band, and far too much Coniston Blue Bird bitter! Richard had bought a barrel from the Coniston micro-brewery and far too much of it found it’s way in to my glass… 😳

A party – beer, music, and climbers – a recipe for a hang over the next day!
(Sorry the photo quality is so poor 🙁 )

Climbing Wall & eBay Stars

On Sunday, with a very heavy head (due to too much consumption of Coniston Blue Bird), we dragged ourselves out of bed, managed to eat a couple of slices of toast, drink a few mugs of tea, pop a couple of paracetamol, and eventually – as the weather was yet again raining – get ourselves to Kendal climbing wall. Not much to say about that really – I find pulling on plastic quite dull to be honest, I’m not very good at it as I lack the stamina, and I don’t go often enough for it to make any difference to my rock climbing ability.

Ah well, there were two much more fun events when we got home: 1) Sarah was calling round for dinner and to chat about a forthcoming trip to Chamonix she and Zac are planning, and 2) those nice people at eBay gave me my 100th star.

Le Weekend

Just a quick one from me – sorry, no photos.

Saturday – Kendal Wall. If you fall off whilst trying to clip above you, you go a looong way, no surprises there. However, if you try and inadvertantly slow yourself down by hitting your arse on all the holds on the adjacent wall, don’t expect to get away with it! Sore, swollen, and very purple!

Sunday – Pisgah Buttres, Scafell. Not very snowy, but VERY cold, and verglass all over the place. Technical, tenuous climbing, but with reasonable gear. Great fun – feeling good about things. Hooray!

Dodging the Rain
Do two half-days equal a whole?

Saturday’s weather was just about what we’ve come to expect in the North West this past two months, wet! Not since April has there been any meaningful nice weather. The result is that I’ve been getting weaker and weaker, to the point that last weekend I struggled (albeit – here come the excuses – climbing with a rucksack at 2500m) on a F6a+. The ultimate price had to be paid… £6.50 to visit the indoor wall – in summer! The problem was that we got there are 3pm, thinking we’d climb up to dinner time. Then, at 5pm, the main lights went out and they told us they were closing, doh, summer opening times! Not good value for money, not even two hours of climbing. (Luckily they realised it would have kind to have mentioned this to us when taking our money when we arrived, so they gave us a free-entry voucher for another day.)

Happily Sunday dawned a little brighter and, blessings of blessings, with no rain! Richard was desperate for some Lakeland rock to try and dismiss some of the depression of endless weekends of rain, rain, rain. And to try and get some exercise following Saturday’s half-session at the wall. We headed to Shepherd’s crag in Borrowdale.

Laetitia following the excellent and steep Creeping Jesus
Richard on the direct finish to Fisher's Folly
Richard and Ali on Fisher's Folly Direct

The rock was quite greasy, not surprising considering all the rain, and there were millions of hungry midges at the base of the crag. We’d stupidly forgotten to bring our insect repellent out with us so we all suffered – my arms are covered in little itchy bumps now! 😥 But at least we were outside and climbing rock! That is, until after one more route the heavens opened… :angry: Laetitia and I were safely back at the bottom of the crag, so we darted for our sacks and waterproof jackets (never be without your waterproof jacket in summer in the Lakes). However, Richard and Ali were a pitch up with no prospect of climbing the drenched rock in a downpour – a hasty retreat was organised, complete with jammed ropes and much swearing, but skilfully no gear was left on the crag! 😉

So, after our second half-day of climbing we enjoyed a slice of Shepherd’s Café’s best apple pie (with litres of cream), not a bad weekend after all. 😛

In Need of New Arms

I need new arms! Two complete sets with fingers, forearms and shoulders! Preferably a right one and a left one and I’m willing to pay extra for some extra muscles. The longer the better.  No problem if they’re hairy, with today’s modern technology I can easily solve that problem.  I’ve completely demolished mine this week. (Now as I look at what I’ve just described, I probably need the arms of a chimp!)

Mistake #1

I went to Amsterdam for a meeting. On Wednesday I had some free time between the end of the meeting and my flight. There was a climbing wall just 10 minutes from my hotel (right in the city centre).

How could I have resisted the temptation?! I simply had to go. It was worth it, a really great place with lots of routes and some very interesting holds I’ve never seen before. Very much like real rock. Result: pumped forearms, numb fingers and aching bicepses. I could hardly hold the fork when I had my well deserved cake!


Mistake #2

The next day I let myself be convinced by my daughter that I needed more exercise at the local climbing wall. Result: same as Wednesday. Needless to say, I went on Friday as well with a friend. He needed a partner, so what could I do? A friend is a friend, even if she must sacrifice her arms.



Saturday was the day to do the real thing! Our team organised a visit to one of Hungary’s best climbing venues. I obviously had no idea where I was going to as I foolishly thought it couldn’t be tough on my arms. After all, the grades I can climb are not that demanding on the muscles.


I was wrong!


It was an old limestone quarry with perfect rock quality. The routes are short but really hard (for me and my poor worn-out arms.) The above route is lead by Zoli, one of my clubmates. I don’t know how but I was convinced that I should try it top-rope. As my first climb that day. 5c… I never did anything this difficult in my entire life. Good for warm-up.

Result: like all the above, doubled! Needless to say, I could only do one more route and that was it for me. But the place is great, a must re-visit by all means!


My second (and last) route was the one in the corner, a „relaxing” 5b.



For these routes I'm gonna need the arms of an octopus! All 8 complete with suction cups!!!

Project in Plywood

So, after I’m not quite sure how long, the infamous ‘Rubble Room’ is no more. Penrith’s premier bouldering venue had it’s last holds added today, ready for a winter of plastic pulling.

The dwarf sized entrance
The dwarf sized entrance
The 45 degree right wall
The 45 degree right wall
The back wall
The back wall
The back wall and 30 degree left wall
The back wall and 30 degree left wall

It’s just a shame you can’t hear the motivational tunes coming through the roof!

I wonder if I should get Bonners round to cut the ribbon?!

P.S. Rachel – I’ve blatently stolen your post title from the good old ‘Project in Copper’ days, hope you don’t mind 😉

Ratho Climbing Wall

The climbing wall at Ratho (the EICA; Edinburugh International Climbing Arena) has got to be the biggest climbing wall I’ve ever seen! It has almost the same ability to intimidate as a real crag. 😯 Is it really the largest indoor climbing wall in the world?

Perhaps the strangest thing, with such an amazing facility, is that it seems pretty poorly used. I’ve been a few times now and on all of these visits the number of people at the wall has been tiny. For such a massive centre this seems crazy, how can it be paying for itself? Kendal’s indoor climbing wall is regularily heaving with chalk dusted, beeny wearing, climber dudes. Not so at the Ratho centre.

Ah well, maybe it’ll close (again). 🙁 It had to shut once before after it’s founders failed to make it work. It’ll be a shame if it does fail again, it’s a great place. I guess one factor in making it pay it’s way all year is that it must be near impossible to heat in the winter, being basically the outside with a fabric (marquee-like) roof over it. The place must be un-usable in the winter for the cold – as even if the sun were out it would be super cold as it’ll be shaded by the roof that is intended to keep the rain off in the summer! Doh.

Having said all that, at least I’m getting the benefit now…

Ratho climbing wall is "Tall"
Ratho climbing wall is "Tall"
Ratho climbing wall is "Wide"
Ratho climbing wall is "Wide"