Thursday, 9 May 2013

A weekend climbing in Northumberland

On the weekend just past I made a trip to Northumberland, to go bouldering with friends. It was the warmest weekend of the year. But being close to the coast, the county's crags were blustery, keeping the energy-sapping, hand-sweat inducing heat relatively at bay (at the exposed crags).

This was my first time climbing on the Northumberland stone and, I have to say, I loved it. There are holds, which is unusual for someone who spends most of their time scraping themselves over grit in the Peak District. The climbing is technical and physical in equal measure - grab a positive hold, pull hard. Body position is important to reach those holds, but when you do you tend to just yard. While it is relatively skin friendly (compared to grit), the nature of the climbing destroys the nerves in your finger tips. So after one day, my tips were pretty shot, sore to touch. Despite that, I ascended a handful of really good problems. 

I'm going to return to Northumberland not this weekend but the weekend after, when hopefully I'll try some harder problems (weather permitting), but for a first trip I was happy with the below tick list. What was most important was the fun factor - and there was plenty of that. BBQ, pints, fish & chips, whisky, coffee and climbing... that pretty much sums up the weekend. A good holiday.

Climbing Manta LH - tough problem off a pocket I couldn't get my fat fingers into
 Tick list
  • Cave RH Problem (6B+), Bowden Doors
  • Cave Central LH (7A), Bowden Doors
  • Manta LH (7A - hard for the grade), Bowden Doors
  • Transformer (6A+ - hard & reachy), Bowden Doors
  • Transformer SS (7A), Bowden Doors
  • Badfinger SS (6B), Kyloe in the woods
  • Slapper (7A), Shaftoe
  • 6C Traverse (can't remember or find the name), Shaftoe
I tried a few other problems as well - things to try again, maybe. I'll see what grabs my fancy in a week and a bit. Really hoping for good weather. I can't wait to climb in Northumberland again!


Additional note: I read this blog from Dan Varian, of Beastmaker fame, shortly after returning from Northumberland. Bowden Doors is looking rather warn, weathered and eroded, so take care climbing there. Try not to use chalk to excess (something I think most of us are or have been guilty of) and be sure to clean up after yourselves, including removing as much chalk as possible from the rock.