Friday, 16 April 2010
Going well at Great Wanney, climbing languidly at Crag Lough
So after Sicily it was onto Northumberland for Secret Squirrel's Secret Weekend - with only a minor diversion driving to fucking Glasgow to get spare climbing kit and warfarin. Thanks Ryanair you cunts, I really appreciated the extra 4 hours driving and a total of 3 hours sleep. Genuine thanks to Red Bull and to the climbing posse for being leisurely enough that I met them at the crag parking. That crag was Great Wanney (Squirrel wisely chose to base us in Bellingham to explore the equally interesting but underused southern Northumbria area), and that name filled me with a certain amount of trepidation, because I've been wanting to do the minor classic Thin Ice (below) for years and that doing probably meant getting scared and faffing and stuff.
In the end, however, it didn't mean that at all!! After warming up on the opposite route (Broken Wing - almost as good and an essential warm-up), the World Famous Helen Rogers - as well as providing the usual excellent company AND plenty of amusement getting to grips with Wanney's easy classics - was kind enough to abseil down and clean Thin Ice (north facing crag, bit of lichen, likely first ascent of the year etc etc). And so I got on it and skated up it with a quite frankly shocking lack of fuss. This might be because it's a full grade overgraded, or it might be because it was really inspiring and just drew me on - the crux (below) being the best sequence in Northumbria, surely? Or it might be because I'm climbing well....but let's not get too silly...
Next day, after actually participating in another leisurely morning of eating bacon and stroking cows (mmm cows), the remaining members of the party sampled the diversity of the area by visiting the vaguely Tremadog-esque Crag Lough and Peel Crag. My highest aspirations at this crag were also lichenous and there was no Helen Rogers to get her brush into action, so I could relax and sample some other options. Except, in the perculiar world of grades, styles, and climbing variance, both the other options I did felt as hard as anything the previous day. Good onsight challenges, and one was a great route. And that was that. Feel very chuffed, drive back to Glasgow, battered haggis and chips and SLEEP.