Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year? Let's Hope So!

It has been a varied and interesting year, with extended periods in Kalymnos (about 3 months) and Ariège (about 4.5 months) plus quite a bit of time in the UK plus visits to Spain and even Turkey. With two books published (Peak Limestone and Ariège) and another just round the corner (the new Costa Blanca guide) it has may well have been my most productive year ever. I think a bit more 'me time' (as in more climbing!) might be on the horizon.


Left: me and White Cat

We didn't get to Norway this year which was a pity as it always a place we love to spend time, maybe next year we will get back to the superb mountains and fjords, the friendly locals (and not forgetting the lack of tourists).
Other possible places pencilled included Corsica and Sicily - a couple of spots that keep cropping up - and then back to the Alps - but not in July/August when it is hot, sweaty and crowded!

Right: Sherri and a black cat - Squeek!
 
We have missed Colins company over the past few months, he hasn't recovered too well from his bypass operation in the summer - here's hoping for a better 2013 for him, and peaceful one for the rest of us.

****   Happy New Year to all my readers - of both this Blog and the Guidebooks  ****

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Mountain High


A week back in the UK was busy, especially with the need to sort out after Kalymnos and pack the car, plus fitting a couple of days on the Grit with the usual suspects.
The Portsmouth to St Malo crossing was just a bit choppy, we disembarked at dawn and by dusk were settled at Chez Arran - 540 miles away.

Above: Barry d'en Bas and the surrounding mountains 

White Cat was pleased to see us back, nearly as pleased as we were to be here.

Over the 1st few days the weather has been fine, quite warm (up to 15C) and a bit showery. As well as winding down we have done a bit of local rambling, a few routes on the granite at Auzat (test driving the new guidebook) and a had a visit to Andorra to stock up on 'essentials' and hike up a little hill - 8500'.

Right: Sherri above the snowline

Christmas is two days away; it is 26 years since Sherri suggested we escape the UK winter for a bit of Spanish sunshine - just look what she started!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Onwards and Upwards

Ten and half weeks gone by, we arrived in the heat of September and slipped away on cool December afternoon. How cool was revealed by the snow-capped peak of Mount Tmolus, 7800' high and 120 miles away in Turkey glittering in the wintery sunshine.
Leaving great places and good friends is always a strain, but I guess if you never left anywhere you would never arrive anywhere either. We said bye-bye to the cats at the bar and the team at the harbour but we won't be away for too long.
Home in the UK for a week, just time to say hello do a heap of jobs, pack the car then push off to the Ariège again. We may sail to Bilbao but will be watching the forecast carefully and not booking it until the very last minute - the Bay of Biscay in December isn't to be undertaken lightly.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Plans afoot

November in Kalymnos continues the same as each year, cool and quiet - just perfect. Babis Bar is almost empty, and the main man has provided freshly caught and cooked fish on a regular basis - one of the highlights of the winter! Only two weeks left is the sad news, but there a places to go and travelling anywhere after mid-December is very expensive so we have decided to bail out a bit earlier than we would prefer.

Left: late November on Dolphin Bay - sweet

No rest though, we reckon 10 days in the UK to visit, launder and pack the car (the one I bought 2 months ago, drove two miles and stuck straight in the garage) then hopefully it is away to Ariège for a few months in the mountains. We were sad to leave the place back in July, and we will be sad to leave Kalymnos too - the fate of the nomad I guess! We aim to pop back to Kaly in March to sample the Spring here, which isn't too far away - so no sad faces allowed.

The Ariège guide should be out in a week, plenty of folks are looking forward to that judging by the pre-orders. At the moment there is just about a month's work left on the Blanca guide - but then what?

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Greek Style

Coming up to seven weeks away, the season has turned and the tourists have all gone home. A brisk northerly wind blew for a couple of days and all the summer heat and humidity were whisked away - a breath of fresh air for real. November and eating on the terrace morning and night - a novelty that never wears off!
It has been a bit of an odd season climbing wise, with no visitors to get fit for (or to drag me up routes) and already having completed over 500 different climbs here, there hasn't been heaps of motivation so we have taken to exploring some out of the way places. Found a few more Crag X cliffs to add to "The List".

Photo: Exploring the Sea Breeze Canyon

I have been submitting to Alamy photo-library, an interesting experience. If any single shot in a submission isn't up to scratch, they reject the whole lot AND ban you for 28 days - kinda focusses your mind on the job in hand! 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Just One More.....

That's the Ariège guide put to bed - or near as damn; it goes to the printers tomorrow. It has been a real pleasure to work on the guide and a great part of the world to live in. So nice in fact that we are booked in to Chez Arran from mid-December - which should be a stark contrast to Kalymnos.
Of course the tail end of the book was the usual haul, checking and rechecking, then checking once more time. After looking at the same pages for a year it gets tiresome - but it is done now.
Time for a rest and a bit of climbing and to think about the Costa Blanca book, which sold out at the start of the year and is in real demand at the moment with the winter season right around the corner.
Maybe the rest will have to wait!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Island Hopping Mad


 We left Kalymnos for a look at a few other islands and with the idea of popping over to Turkey to visit Sherri's mum who spends a lot of time in Marmaris. We caught the fast ferry to Nisyros and spent a couple of great days exploring this volcanic island. The place was really quiet which suites us - a right pair of 'Shirley Valentines'.
Then it was on to Rhodes by way of a couple of other interesting islands -which looked great from the ferry - maybe next time round! At Rhodes we breifly ended up in the Old Town, it felt like a cross between a Bank Holiday in York and Disneyland - not pleasant.
In summary, Rhodes is busy (and hot) - lets see what tomorrow and Turkey bring.


Update: Turkey was interesting, much hotter than Greece (which is odd, as that area only about 50 miles apart) and very cheap. Their propensity for queues and rubber stamps felt like another era - thank goodness for the EU! Finally I don't think we saw a woman working anywhere - in the shops, driving vehicles, in the restaurants or on the boat - a bit 19th Century.

On returning to Rhodes we decided to leave the travelling for a couple of days as it was so windy - got to like the place, especially the old town - as you avoid the tourist traps.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Two Weeks in and Counting

Two weeks since we left the UK and Kaly has been much the same as ever - as in just great! It is hard to tell how busy it is compared to other years, there are certainly plenty of folks abou though some of the cliffs look remarkably quiet.
I have done a gentle 30 routes just to start the skin growing, and we have done some excellent snorkelling - the water is amazingly warm.
Today (10th Oct) we had a heavy shower which lasted all of ten minutes, apparently it is the first rain they have have since May!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Home is.......... where exactly?

Welcome back
Welcome home
Time spent in Sheffield is always very pleasant, days on the grit with good friends and all the comforts of my 'stuff' around me. Despite that it feels less and less like home the more time we spend away - which is hardly surprising I guess. Kalymnos and Ariège have become the latest "homes from home", and so seven months after we slipped away in the early morning light we were back for some more island life. As if to emphasis the welcome, Mike Kardoulis was waiting for us on the harbour front in Pothia with our our little blue hire car and Babis left a small 'something' in our apartment. It is great to be back!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Autumn's a Coming



The Blanca trip was a job that needed doing and it was satisfying to get it sorted in the time-frame we had allotted. It was unpleasantly hot for much of the time (30C+) and shockingly busy, though Sherri managed to rustle up some superb places to stop, all with air-conditioning which made it bearable.
We used to love Spain, but there is no doubt our tastes have changed over the years, I think it is called 'getting old'; peace and quiet have climbed up to the top of the list of 'must haves'.
The Ariège guide is handed over and has recieved positive comments from 'the team', it should be out by the end of the year. The Blanca will be hot on its heels, so that will be three books published in 12 months. I figure I deserve a bit of 'me-time' so Kalymnos beckons!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Back to the Blanca


Leaving Ariège always feels like a bit of a wrench - but there is work to do - so hay-ho, we are heading southwards!
We started with a couple of nights at Castelldefels close to Barcelona - busy, busy, busy. Then it was south again, just over four hours to Finestrat, where we spent five excellent days at La Plantacion hotel. Highlights included a late evening visit to Sella to photo the Wildside and a full day trip down to Leyva. The hire car we collected in Barcelona (a nearly new Renault Fluence) began to die on the long hills up to Guadalest, by the time we got home in the evening the clutch was completely cooked - we had to push it part of the way as its hill-climbing power was reduced to zero. Sixt did well though, a tow-truck arrived within the hour to remove the dead Renault and close to midnight a replacement (Opel Insignia) arrived on a flat-bed.
Friday we moved to Calpe and were astonished how busy the place was - our hotel of choice was full so Sherri did a bit of snooping and got us a smart bungalow close to the beach.

So - back to where it all began - 25 years ago! Full circle I guess.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Ariège - another Reprise?

The journey back was OK apart from the grim dealings with Goldcar in Barcelona - a 'never-again', especially queueing for 1hr 10 mins in 33C heat to sort the paper work out - appalling!
Once on the road things were better and a steady drive though the Pyrenees saw us back at Chez Arran in time for an evening beer.
With only a week we have had to crack-on but four days in, the important jobs are done. It has been about as warm as expected, thought 35C two days ago was a bit of a shock. We headed up to Soulcem (photo left) at 6000' where it was a lot more equable.
Back to Spain next, Barcelona to swap cars (not looking forward to that) then on to the Costa Blanca for a 10 day flier to collect the last bits of info for that book too.

Then it is away for autumn in Kalymnos for a bit of downtime and some climbing.

We have booked back into Chez Arran from mid-December for three months - who said we like the area?

Thursday, 23 August 2012

South ->

It has been pleasant enough being home, jobs got done, routes got ticked and some quality socialising with old friends. The summer has been quite mixed, but that has suited me with work and play going on pretty well in equal measure.
We have been home almost seven weeks and both feel the need to head off. A week in Ariège and a couple on the Blanca should do for starters. It has been desperately hot down in Spain but it looks like it might just be set to cool down fairly dramatically - good luck or good planning?

Sunday, 12 August 2012

High Summer

Summer is always a tricky time, Europe is hot and crowded, the UK is just plain crowded! Scandinavia is doubtless the best bet, but without a direct ferry nowadays it is a long haul via Denmark and the whole journey can end up cripplingly expensive, especially if you end up head to the far north.
Five weeks we have been back in the UK and I realised today, out in the Peak, that is just about long enough!
It has been great getting out with the 'team' several days a week, and I have made huge progress with the Ariège guide, but we are both getting itchy feet. A flight to Barcelona is booked for two week hence - off we go again!

Rigth: Big Bro and Little Weed

I have been submitting some of my shots the the Alamy Photo-library, the ones from the DSLRs all passed muster and the ones from all my various compacts were rejected. A visit to Harrison Photo-video was in order and I am now the proud owner of a Sony NEX-7, a compact camera with a huge sensor - lets see how it goes!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Thumb Twiddling Time

We have had some great days out with the team in the Peak ticking old classics, picking the decent days and avoiding the weekend crowds!
It is about seven weeks before we head off to Kalymnos for the autumn - so - what to do?
Mooted plans included Arctic Norway, Ireland, Ariège and the Costa Blanca. Time (and the weather) will tell.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

North Men

Graham was pleased we were home, he hoped the UK might get a bit of sun at long last - and true to form we did! It was a bit cool and blowy which had the advantage of keeping the midges at bay; they have been particularly bad this year.

Left: Dan on The Link, put up 40 years ago by me

We have a couple of months before we head off to Kalymnos, a break in the UK might not be too bad!
A year ago yesterday we climbed Hamaroyskraftet - Stanage was steeper but not as enjoyable.
We went up north for a few days to visit the parents and finally make contact with Colin after his heart surgery - a few pleasant days in a nice part of the world. Sherri's mum has a nice new pad in Saltburn and Colin was looking well, fresh from a few days in Scotland.

Right: Sherri finds a quiet corner in Paddock Farm

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Homeward - but slowly

We finally bailed out out of Chez Arran after 17 weeks - the holiday season is about to arrive and it has been warming up so we headed for the seaside.
We have a ferry booked Bilbao to Portsmouth for the weekend but decided a few days on the coast might be recompense for having to leave the mountains.

Photo: Bouldering on the remains of the Atlantic Wall.


Follow-up: we stopped at Ondres, just north of Biarritz for four days, and it was pretty pleasant, some fantastic beaches, plus an interesting area of lagoons and reedbeds inland where we did a bit of 'birding'. It sounds like life at Chez Arran is trundling along perfectly well without us - even the cats are coping. We drove to Bilbao to catch the ferry and had some more beach-time - it was incredibly busy there probably because it was the weekend - I had forgotten what a noisy rabble the Spanish could be! The crossing was smooth and on time, a rapid exit and by 11:30 I was sat in the big chair with a scotch - job done.

What to do with the rest of the summer is the real question?

Photo: A man lost!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Not Long Now

Just a bit of tidying up now before we think about heading home, which is a strange turn of phrase - we feel like nomads.
We have checked out the last few crags, including the superb bouldering at Laramade, had a hike up an 8600' bump in Andorra and even been in the pool. Summer has arrived in the Ariège though the area is still quite. I think the French school holidays start at the week-end, so we are braced for the crowds!
We have booked a few days over on the Atlantic Coast, close to Biarritz and a ferry home from Bilbao, though we have tentatively booked a return in the winter - could be interesting.
The other news; after chest pains and a minor op, Binky went into hospital last week and had a double heart bypass operation on Friday. According to Janet he has bounced back and will be coming home today - 5 days after the surgery. They sure breed them tough up North!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Cat's Whiskers

We arrived here in February with snow on the ground and everywhere deserted. Now it is the Summer Solstice and the holiday period is just around the corner - it is doubtless going to get very busy here over the next few weeks.
It has been great spending an extended period in the mountains, I know Sherri was a bit doubtful about being here for so long here, but in the event I can't drag her away ! A mixture of a super-tranquil setting, great weather (unlike the UK - what a season to be away!) plus the host of 'pets' to look after have persuaded her. She has also taught me to play wiff-waff - from being a complete div, I occasionally win the odd point now.
Currently work on the books has stalled a bit, motivation has plummeted which is an odd feeling - but who cares - all work and no play...............

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Plodding On........

We have been back in the Ariège over a week now, and have settled back into the pleasant routine of checking, working and climbing in roughly equal amounts. It has been a bit showery, but not enough to affect what we are doing, whereas it sounds like it hasn't stopped raining in the UK since we left so that is a bonus - and of course this is June, usually the most reliable month of the year for weather.
We only have a couple of weeks left at Chez Arran now and there are still quite a few jobs that need sorting before we push off north - no rest for the productive! How to get home is the next thing to wonder about and whether to stop anywhere on the way.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

To Travel Hopefully.....

10 days back home flew by then it was back on the road. The flight out of East Midlands was at 06:50 a.m. which required a pre-dawn taxi. On the up-side we expected to be established back in the Ariège by midday. In the event, we taxied down the runway, sat there for a while and then returned to the terminal - neither of the 'transponders' were working so we it was a no go. RyanAir flew an engineer and spare parts up from Stansted whilst we twiddled our thumbs in an information vacuum. Eight and a half hours (fuming - not me!) later we finally got on our way. Today was hot and sunny so we did one of our regular round-walks to blow the cobwebs away - it feels a bit like summer has arrived. The last few years we have been in Norway by now, lets hope it doesn't get too hot down here in the deep south!

Monday, 28 May 2012

A Day on the Grit


A new route tucked away on the Cleft Block at Stanage End.
A hot Monday and a small team - Stanage far north was the chosen venue - it got it up to 29C in Sheffield, so shade was must. We wandered out beyond High Neb and settled on the Marble Wall area. After ticking a couple of of the popular classics I had a wander round and spotted a line or two that I was pretty sure hadn't been done. After the exceptionally wet spring, I was expecting the recessed area to be green but it wasn't too bad at all. A couple of hours later and we had six new (OK unrecorded) routes in the bag. The pick was Hidden Pleasures E2 5c (see photo) - a tricky little number. A bit of shoddy footwork and I was rewarded with the Gritstone Kiss, but it was worth it!
Further research has failed to find any mention of the routes so maybe they really are new - get in!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

There and Back

The UKC/RF team have been and gone, the weather was kind and lots of excellent climbing got done. Overall impressions of the area appeared to be very positive; great scenery, brilliant routes and as ever, it was lovely and quiet. There were several highlights but the BBQ at Chez Arran (photo above) went down particularly well after a long hot day on the rock. The next few days are forecast to be showery so it looks like they timed it pretty well.
Our original booking runs out at the end of the week and Chez Arran is fully booked (a group of 16, including lots of children - arggghh!) so we are set to be homeless  ;-( After checking our options - the simplest thing appeared to be booking a flight back to the UK for 10 days; RyanAir: Carcassonne to East Midlands €12:99 each - all in - unbelievable!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Change Over

Colin has just had another six days with us and has climber ever one of them (I farmed him out to John Arran one day to give me a breather) and now he is trekking back north, with a big bag of butties and a song in his heart - UK bound. Today was really hot (35C briefly) to we went bouldering at Orlu which was a great call, a bit of a breeze from the river, and shade from the trees. It was really idyllic - even though we don't 'do' bouldering.
Tomorrow the UKC/UKH/RF team arrive for their weeks 'jolly' in the Ariege - the forecast is set fair - I am sure they will have a cracking time, with loads of climbing, partying and sun bathing - bloody holiday makers!

Friday, 4 May 2012

End of the Line?

The forecast was for rain later so a quick job was in order; check-out Roquefixada and had a look at a couple of other crags in the area - time well spent - the rain arrived bang on time.
The Ariege guide is progressing well, maybe another six months work should see it done.  It has been great living in the area and working on the book - so much easier then jetting backwards and forwards, especially considering this is such a lovely part of the world to spend a bit of time.
I wrote my 1st guidebook in 1991 - 21 years ago - I don't think I'll be taking on any new books, I must have done around 20 titles now - nor bad for a slow learner! That doesn't mean I am stopping just yet mind, those UK titles still need nurturing as does the Blanca, Lofoten and Cote d'Azur.




Thursday, 26 April 2012

Master Blaster

Colin drove down from Darlington (via London) and a long one day haul from Le Harve to Ariege, so we have spent a few days getting him relaxed - and me knackered.
It is a while since I have climbed five days on the trot but it has been great, decent weather, and as ever; no-one around. We have alternated granite and limestone, and done about half a dozen routes each day - all very pleasant!
He is away over the hills to Spain tomorrow which will give me the chance to crack on with book (and have a lie-in) and anyway he will be back in a week for some more action.
The RockFax/UKC team are here in a couple of weeks, and will doubtless need pointers as to where to climb and what pics we need, and by then Peak Limestone should have been published - hopefully they will bring a copy down so I can get a look at it.
Then there is the Blanca rewrite which keeps nagging/nudging me - busy times.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Topsy Turvy

Left: Exporing upper Auzat - worth it for the views alone

When we arrived in Ariege, way back in February there were heaps of snow everywhere and a feeling that winter had only just cracked. March was hot, settled and dry, the south-facing cliffs were almost too hot; summer was on the way - or so we thought.
April has been a step backwards, cool and shower, with loads more fresh snow on the hills, almost down to the village on occasions.
Despite that it has been pleasure being in the mountains, everywhere is superbly quiet and work on the book has progressed steadily in the right direction. The Costa Blanca volume has sold out now so there is some urgency to get that out before the Autumn season begins - looks like a bit of application is required!

Right: Snowtime

Graham Lynch called round yesterday, we stopped with him and Christine on our 1st few visits to the area. I complemented him on his little guide to Niaux Limestone, which has been well received by the locals. It was nice to see some refreshing innovation in the design/layout and even a thanks in the credits. I wasn't aware that 20 months ago he pull a flake off when checking Baychon, the tumble resulted in a snapped femur and shattered elbow - ouch. He is on the road to recovery - but I need to be careful out there, it is a dangerous game this guidebook writing!
Colin arrives Sunday, doubtless he will be distracting me and dragging me up some big rock around here - can't wait!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

No really!

Peak Limestone is away - two years and six weeks from start to finish - phew! Onwards and upwards, we checked out a crag near Ax Les Thermes yesterday, nice enough but a bugger to photo because of the trees. The roads were really busy, with it being Easter weekend, but there was no-one else up there.
I decided to go an have a poke around the bouldering at Orlu. I am no fan of bouldering (aka "playing on small rocks") but it was a magical spot, and I did a dozen (easy) problems - and enjoyed it - no, really.
A team of young Spanish lads were a short distance behind us on the circuit, I guess they were enjoying themselves - but do they need to be so bloody noisy?

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Weekend Warriors

Five weeks in and Easter is just around the corner. The trees are starting to flush green and the snow is in retreat, though the High Pyrenees are still plastered.
Chez Arran is going to be full next week, which will be different, we have pretty much had the place to ourselves since we arrived.
Of late I have been distracted by all the late bits and pieces of Peak Limestone but that goes to the printers next week (looking great) so I can get back on task!
We took a walk up a hill behind the village, as we figured the crags might be busying up with it being the week-end. It didn't look too far - but looks can be deceptive - knackered!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Way of Iron

Colin has popped over for a few days (he has been down in Spain helping with some DIY projects) and after more then 3 weeks of sunshine and warm weather, rain (and snow on high ground) was forecast. We though about trying to climb but went for the Via Ferrata at Goulier instead. It was interesting romp with the customary wobby bridge (see left) and a lot of traversing to avoid the easy crest. The rain duly arrived as expected but seeing as we were already halfway up, we kept on going. The upper sections were pretty skiddy and by the time we topped out it was well and truly hammering down. We wandered through the forest and back down the road, happy in the fact that we had made something of the day, the forecast for the rest of Colin's stay is much better - Rock On!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Ariegoise

Left: Sherri explores another castle

Almost three weeks in, no rain to speak of and very few people around either. The snow from the last big fall (which we just missed) has started to melt, at least low down, though the tops are still plastered. We had a ride up to Andorra to replace Sherri's lost camera, and it was -9C which was a shock for us in 'summer' clothes. We have done plenty of climbing and made a good start exploring the area.

Life at ChezArran has eased into a pleasant routine, with climbing, walking and work.

John and Anne are helping hugely with the new guide and it is striding forward, publication this year looks a real possibility.


Right: Yes, that says -5C!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Settling In

Almost a week in Ariege, and we awoke to a damp grey day after five hot blue ones (19C yesterday) - a chance to get sorted. It has been great to unwind after the last six weeks of frantic guide-book related chicanery, do a bit of climbing, explore the area, have a walk in the snow and generally take things a bit easier.


Above: Sherri at 6450' on the Plateau de Beile - with camera still attached.


Sherri has already adopted a couple of local cats, both parties seem more than happy with the arrangements!

The only down-side, Sherri lost her camera up on the slopes a couple of days ago, it dropped off her belt into the snow, we retraced our steps but it had gone - pity. On the plus side, we are only 30 miles from Andorra - apparently electronics (and petrol) are very cheap up there, we will have to go on a shopping trip!

Monday, 27 February 2012

A Change is as Good As...

Saturday; Water cum Jolly with Graham and Dan on a photo-shoot, it was freezing but they were as keen as ever and I managed to get a great set of shots of several of the routes down in the muddy dale. At least some will make it into Peak Limestone.

Left: Dan - happy as pig in plop!

Sunday: a lazy start and we trundled down to Portsmouth to catch the ferry to St Malo, the roads were quiet. As usual Sherri manage to charm an upgrade out of the staff on reception and the crossing was as smooth as silk. A beer in the piano bar then to bed.

Monday: on the road by 8:30 then it was the long haul - nine hours and 530 miles later (I love the French motorway network) we arrived at Chez Arran, amongst the snow plastered mountains. Within 10 minutes Sherri had a found a cat, don't tell Squeek!

Tuesday: hiked through the snow to tick six routes on perfect granite at Auzat - mint!

Wednesday: snow-shoed across the white Hell of the Plateau de Biele - 6,450 feet (we walked in our boots really).

Right: Sherri and White Cat (that's its name!)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Froggatteering

A glorious though cold Sunday saw most of the usual suspects gathered at Froggatt, Dan and Graham ticked some impressive hard routes, me and Steve had lower aspirations but still had a great day, ticking classics in the HS - HVS range.
Bizarrely, despite the magnificent conditions, there were few other climbers around, just lots of boulderers, ramblers and orienteerers there enjoying the bright crisp conditions. A UKC Photo-meet was also in evidence, they kept popping up in the most unexpected of places and cracking shots off - it will be interesting to see some of the results.
A couple of days ago we booked a ferry to St Malo for next weekend, it is time to head off to Ariege for a spring break - lets see what the weather brings, fingers crossed for a smooth crossing and snow-free roads.

Left: Steve on Green Gut

September Snows

View-point at 10,945'  We left the UK towards the end of August and the first 10 days were as expected, with everywhere being hot an...