Monday, 25 August 2008

Pottering at Shaftoe - Sat 23rd Aug '08

A really quiet week on the climbing front. Drove one of my non climbing friends down to Ashington in Northumberland to visit her boyfriend who is working there for 6months and managed to escape off for an hour or so and go check out some bouldering. The drive by passing Edinburgh was stressful with me getting lost and performing illegal U-turns on the road! I hate big city roads! The roads in Northumberland where I was were much smaller and more like the country roads I know and I managed to find Shaftoe Crags really easily. I had instructions to park before the cattle grid, walk round the pond and straight up the hill to the boulders. Well, I parked, walked round the pond and headed upwards but got distracted by what looked like possible boulders off to the right. And ended up bog hopping like I'd never left Scotland!!! Only I could drive a 4hrs drive down to England and end up in a fecking bog! And the boulders there were crap, green and chossy. Crossed a field of cows, carefully, waiting for the horrible beasts to charge any moment and came across some better boulders. Off with the boots and on with the rockshoes! Hmmm, this is awfully harder than it looks, and it's awfully high and I've no mat and there's a not so great landing. Hmmm, traverse about for a bit instead but get mightely bored of backwards and forwards with sections that are just too hard.

Over on the left (and back through another boggy section and bracken!) looks like some other boulders so I get hopping again. And this is much better. I've found a lovely clean slab and manage to do 4 problems, one up the arete, one over an overlap, one up the right of the slab and one diagonal, crossing the previous. All quite easy apart from the moves getting off the ground! Then, to my delight, I found 2 big flakes jutting out of the boulder behind the slab, creating a squeezy chimney between them. In I squeezed and udged my upwards a little. Hmmm, not sure about this now, udged back down. Ach to hell with it and squeezed back in, it was a bit of a struggle but easy in the sense that you were so jammed in that you couldn't fall out but progress upwards was fought for! Back down again and up the knife edge arete of the left hand flake itself. That one was easy peasy but nice and fun! Then around the front of the boulder where I tried some more traversing that was too hard! One move off the ground and I can't move any further, too steep! Come down and try further to the left, too steep again and this goes on right the way across!

The rock was lovely sandstone here. Very rough and the skin is starting to peel on my fingers and I've developed some lovely calluses and that's just after an hour and half of play!

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