Steve Pardoe's uk.rec.climbing Trip Report Archive Pages

Simon Caldwell's Reports

Edition of 9/8/2004


----- Original Message -----
From: "Simon Caldwell"
Newsgroups: uk.rec.climbing
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 7:26 PM
Subject: TR: A trip to Northumberland

With a good forecast for the weekend we were making our plans for the club trip to Northumberland. Henholes on one day, a good walk in for that Alpine training, some nice long routes, sounded ideal.

On Saturday morning it was cold, grey, and windy with drizzle in the air, so we went to Kyloe instead. The rain held off until late afternoon and we managed a full day's climbing. No sign of the fabled tough Northumberland grades either. Parity (HS 4c) seemed easy for the grade, likewise St Ivel (VS 4c). Trinity (VS 4c) was tougher but no worse than many Yorkshire VSs. Other highlights of the day included Flake Crack (S 4b), Deception Crack (HS 4b, the deception presumably being that it looks desperate but is actually quite easy), Wilfred Prickles (VS 5a), Slab and Wall (VS 4c, tough but still fair at the grade). My personal favourite was Chris's Arete (HS 4b but more like MVS 4b - strenuous and quite bold).

The next day was supposed to be wet, but it didn't seem too bad so we went in search of Kyloe in the Wood, since the guidebook said it dried quickly. As is apparently traditional, we got lost in the forest, and it took between 60 and 90 minutes for the 2 groups of us to find the crag, which was green, dripping wet, and looked horrible. No matter, it was raining anyway.

So after a quick brew, we left and went to have a look at Bowden Doors instead. By this time, the sun was coming out so we decided to try some climbing.

It soon became apparent where Northumberland got its reputation for harsh-but-random grading! Retreats were duly made off The Scoop (VS 4b) and Exhibition Crack (S 4c), while I led Banana Wall (MVS 4c). I thought from the grade that it should be well protected, but it turned out to be a 4c/5a start, followed by unprotected 4b climbing - great fun in retrospect, distinctly worrying at the time! Other routes done include Castle Crack (one of the best VDiffs I've done anywhere), Russet Groove (the hardest Diff in the world!), Black and Tan (S 4b, would be MVS 4b in the Peak) Grovel Groove (MS and overgraded) and Flake Crack (S 4b, felt like HS 4c). Oh, and I soloed Introductory Staircase (Mod) and Second Staircase (Diff, but easier than I.S.!)

A great weekend, and loads go back for, including that abandoned trip to Henholes.

Some photos here:
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/simon.caldwell/Northumberland/index.htm

S.


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