Friday, 16 September 2011

Northumberland Nibblings.

In that meagre 2 day weather window I mentioned before, I got down to Northumberland to do a bit more exploring. Day 1 was still blowing a gale so it was suitable to explore somewhere in the woods. No, not Kyloe although that is very good for routes and I've done some really nice climbs (still need to get High T in good condition). But rather the distinctly obscure Callaly crag, recently micro-popularised by Beastmaker repeating The Young, which is indeed a stunning bit of rock and really should be on every hardcore boulderer's ticklist. The only thing hardcore about me is my taste in techno, so we stuck to the easier routes which despite being short and esoteric offered pretty intense climbing on good rock. After a couple of spicy routes on the upper block, I cleaned The Auld for Ewan to climb, he cleaned Family Affair for me to get onto the initial ledge, find the lone gear placement was out of reach and the move was too hard, so that one got away.

Day 2 was not blowing a gale but was still pretty good weather so it was suitable to explore somewhere exposed, or so we thought. Linshields One was exposed to the backdrop of military training, as we conveniently missed the red flags at the Otterburn range so spent the day climbing to the soundtrack of artillery and small arms fire :D. Curiously it was under-exposed to the wind so we did have to battle midgies and sweatiness a bit, but it was worth the effort as Ewan did a couple of spicey little routes and I managed to tackle Stealth and Mirage, two tasty little slab climbs that I think I'd seen photos of years ago. Both used the same collection of gear and it was arguably the biggest Cluster Of Bollox ((c) Pylon King 2003) that I've ever placed. The beta is:

Ballnut size 2 in shallow slot.
Ballnut size 1 in shallower slot.
RP 0, directional, in tiny seam.
HB 0, directional, in tiny seam.
Camalot C3 size 1 in very shallow down-facing seam.
RPs 4 and 5 stacked together in small borehole pocket.

With climbing gear 6 wrongs can make a right, although it was a rather tentative right whose veracity was best left untested, so it took a while to commit to both routes, but was fun when I did so.

Definitely up for more County action over the winter. I've only got one more esoteric place to explore - Howlerhirst - and then it's back to mixing and matching all over the place, I might even go to some honeypot crags ;).

P.S. Just discovered that blogspot have switched to the stupid pointless user-unfriendly slideshow style photo display bollox. Will have to make sure in future that whatever pictures I post just use a normal link or are full size anyway. Bleh.

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