Katherine @lovetoclimb facebook page

Floods more than wellie height

11 Sep 2008

Rubicon flooded

Ben Morton showed me this picture today.  My project Caviar has been dangling its toes in the lake now and then all summer but currently its positively taking a bath.  Ok, so not all this water is new, there's normally enough for the swans and ducks to glide about, but there is also normally a path meandering its way gently through the valley next to it.  I hope the fish are having fun checking some new nooks and crannies.

Lundy washout but Slippery Jacks in the bag

09 Sep 2008

Nic and I had a rather disappointing week hanging out in damp Devon not actually going to Lundy, so it’s going to be difficult to write without sounding completely down beat.  Arriving in torrential rain last Monday, and with a dismal forecast, we rebooked Tuesday’s tickets for Thursday.  We weren’t convinced that our tiny tent, as much as anything, would hold up in the wind and rain.  When Thursday arrived the weather was even worse so we made our way back home.

James Dyer's Lookout

I would say the only positive to come out of the week was catching up with James Pearson on the Tuesday and eying his most exciting trad project at Dyer’s Lookout not far from Bideford.  It’s a 50 metre slab, up an effectively blank wall.  It’s not hard to see, even to a lay person it’s clearly pushing boundaries.  This is surely the most inspiring new trad route for many years in the UK.  Ian Vickers previously climbed an E8 up the wall but traversed in at a 1/3rd height clipping a load of pegs.  Most of these pegs have rotted so James is attempting to repeat this line but with the natural direct start (adding almost 20 metres of protectionless, insecure climbing) minus the pegs.  Bonkers might be one word you could use.  Unfortunately for James, following a serious plunge earlier in the year, he had to return but last week it was way too windy and showery.  Good luck to him.

Katherine Dyer's LookoutMeanwhile Nic and I wandered north along the coast and found some cliffs – we had no guide and decided to be vaguely daring and climb upwards in the rain.  We thought we might be new routing but we probably weren’t.  I did a rising flakeline, about VS (pictured here), and Nic climbed up the inside of a blowhole (you can see the big hole on the right of the picture).  He touched a peg (so we weren’t new routing) and it crumbled immediately along with everything else.  I seconded the ‘pile’, scared out of my wits.  Nic thought it about VS, but as he led up in the darkness repeatedly murmouring ‘I am Crispin Waddy’ (bold and daring king), it clearly wasn’t that easy.

Anyway we continued on, driving around, ending up at Anstey’s Cove on Wednesday.  A shame really but I guess I wasn’t in the mood for punchy steep walls.  I had dramatic, sweeping, Lundy granite walls in mind instead.  Still, note to self… must get fit.


Slippery Jacks Whist some people did manage to climb outside this last weekend, Nic and I couldn’t be bothered and took our ‘Best Pub walks in the Dark Peak’ book out doing a good old ramble in the rain.  That’s when we discovered the Slippery Jacks, a very tasty type of mushroom.  Here they are.

On Sunday I decided to give up on my project Caviar this year.  I’ve so little time what with the Turkey trip coming up and right now the route is well and truly flooded and showing no signs of recovery.  Sometimes being keen just isn't enough.  I was in such a filthy mood at the wall on Sunday, having 2 weeks off before Turkey, not bothering to fight against the elements seems to be a good idea.

Shouldn't complain too much though – sun is definitely guaranteed for the Turkey trip in less than two weeks.  After a whole Summer of climbing on wet rock, this will be a wonderful novelty.