I've always been rather fond of the North Yorkshire Moors / Cleveland Hills. I think I first went to Scugdale 17 years ago although I'm not exactly sure. I went to Goldsborough Carr in the evening and got a bit scared by the steepness, slept in my old 340, had a morning soloing at Scugdale and then shepherd's pie for lunch in Thirsk, marvelling at an area of a country that I'd never even seen before. The 1992 Orange guidebook was my bible for esoteric craglet exploration for a while. Later on it was replaced by the North East Outcrops guide in which the information was more plentiful and only a bit less esoteric. Sheffield replaced Nottingham as a base, Northumberland replaced NYM as a sandstone destination of choice, but still I went back on sporadic visits, introducing friends to the quiet crags, expansive views, and funky little sandstone climbs. Then I moved to Scotland and it all got a bit too far away.
In recent years, there's been another replacement: noise replacing quiet, static replacing silence - not on the crags but in the new pico-community that are re-discovering and re-developing them. Unfortunately rather than a calm celebration, it's a discordant babble of grating catchphrases, embarassing hyperbole, transparent trolling, beggy look-at-me personalities, and juvenile gimmickry. All of which obscures the useful information and realities of the climbing being done. The attention-seeking "characters" involved don't need any more mention, but perhaps their discoveries DO. No smoke without fire and even if the smoke is pretty noxious, the fire could be quite pleasant.
Thus I headed back down to the North Yorkshire Moors, seeking shelter from strong sou'westerlies and some new crags to explore. We had a whirlwind tour and went to Tranmire, Stoupe Brow, Roseberry Topping, Round Crag, Smuggler's Terrace, Thorgill Crag and Clemitt's Crag, with variable results, all in a few days (and there's enough trekking around there for my poor wee legs!). I was a bit hampered by travelling tiredness, steep ground weakness from lack of training, and skin that was out of practice with continuous sandstone climbing and thus rapidly wore out, but still managed some good routes. I missed out on a couple of other good ones and saved some for the future. I did have to remind myself that I'm still in injury recovery mode - although my wrist has reverted back to steady healing from the last blip, and survived this trip well, it's only a month or so ago I was having to be careful wiping my arse to avoid tweaking it! With the colossal portion of home-made chicken (surely ostrich?) kiev at the Lion Inn above Round Crag, that was some hardcore wiping on this trip so I'm glad it's feeling stronger now.
On the subject of shit....what about the recent routes and developments?? What gems were hidden amongst the forum/blog diarrhoea?? Quite a lot, it seems. The new routes are good, the new venues and re-developments of old ones are good too, simple as that. The information gleaned online was mostly accurate - more so than outright fallacious - and while the grades and descriptions might be a bit varied, the star quality is genuinely appropriate. Out of everything we did, almost everything was worth it's stars, a few maybe one less, but a couple maybe one more. The quality of the developments and the climbing speak for themselves, and that's what I hoped to find down there. At the end of the day, ignore the chaff and enjoy the wheat - that is what we did and it was worth the effort.