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

Steve Orrell's Reports

Edition of 13/9/2004

Newsgroups: uk.rec.climbing
Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2004 5:32 PM
Subject: [TR] [photos] a short visit to the County

It was a climbing club meet, but I threw in a walk as well (well, ok, I approached the crag a slightly different way ;-)

The weather across the County last Wednesday was exquisite, with an unbelievably clear sky and just enough of a breeze to help you cool down. Climbing on the Roman Wall is always fun, whether because the vista or the look on touroid's faces on the top! ;-)

Because I wanted to take some panoramic photos of Peel and Crag Lough I, approached along the ridge (the field) just to the North (see Streetmap here:

Photos are here: (click on the small images to view larger versions)

Not to go on about the climbing too much, particularly since I made a complete pig's ear of Hadrian's Buttress, except to mention a potential new member, Rachel, who competed her first two climbs on rock that night.

Rachel had been in touch with JD about climbing, joining the club, etc., but had no experience at all. John's advice was to go on a course at a wall, that usually puts most people off (JD has that effect on people ;-) ...meeting us is another way, as Andy Wozzname (I'm great with names!) will atest! A couple of weeks later Rachel was back on the phone, "done that, what next?"; for the last three weeks Rachel's tried to get out and last Weds succeeded!

I think it was worth the trip :-)

PS Nice one Lesley: have you forgiven me yet? ;-)

PS feedback on the photos appreciated; especially the panos (I always seem to find composition tricky with panoramas)


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Newsgroups: uk.rec.climbing
Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2003 11:08 AM
Subject: Blindfold in the Coonty

A Tale of Noo Routes

Secret Squirrel is not a concept that sits easy with me, especially when it comes to new stuff, well, collar me over a beeyor and a Chinese Parliament will ensue!!

That notwithstanding it came to pass that I was dragged from me hoose, blind-folded and bundled into a car and carted of to destination unknown, deep in the Coonty. Negotiating field, clambering over dry-stone wall and fording stream whilst my vision remained restricted was not an easy thing to do but I remained silent; the proverbial "grey man" indeed.

And so it was, we hauled up at our destination for the afternoon.

Northumberland is a County that we each enjoy because of its myriad of panoramas and the view that met my blinking eyes as I adjusted to the bright light of day did nothing to disappoint!

But that was not the reason I had been so abruptly removed from the comfort of my own four walls and I was directed toward the numerous buttresses, walls, cracks and boulders that lay around.

An interesting place, defintely. Sizeable boulders for those that do. Buttresses abounding I found as I was gruffly man-handled toward what was explained as "my objective". Well, I 'spose its nice to know!

It was a wall. A rather nice looking wall with a superb runnel formation; I nick-named this the "Gargoyle's Tongue". As befits these environs it needed cleaning but, before that, my attention was brought to bear on a rather nice looking line that JD had already cleaned and needed leading to put it down as the first of the new routes in this area.

John's line produced a testy little MvS with a cheeky little mahamartharn at a little over head height, enough protection to do the job, tricky enough to give an aspiring leader at that grade a run for his money.

It was as I was belaying that I cast my eye over the ground John had suggested another route would go.. he later tells me that he thought of me for it because its essentially a solo to a break at about 5m where you can then get decent gear. To its left was a very nice looking rib, but more of that later. I seconded John, enjoying his route immensely.

So, we set about cleaning. First of all cleaning the top of the crag which was coated in dried lichen, the summer's heat had taken its toll here too. I then set about cleaning a secondary belay anchor to set up an ab and came up with a wonderful placement for a stonking #9 hex... good job I had one with me.

On abseil there wasn't that much to clean, apart from the piles of dust we'd released from the top and the whole wall looked inviting. A quick brush of the bottom of the wall, with an approved brush I hasten to add, a quick shout to John who was around the corner, and we were ready to rock and roll.

I directed John's attention toward the line I'd been looking at and he agreed it looked interesting. So we focussed on our objective and I set off... then set down again. this was harder than it looked! Hmmm. A quick clean of the shoes and I was away again; start at bottom of obvious double-runnel (The Gargoyles' Tongue!) traverse left acoss lip of undercut base to a small ledge, ascend rib to horizontal parallel crack line, finish the headwall direct: Blondie, was joined!! A first, my first new route.

From the bottom it had looked as if the line might be VS, on abseil it suggested that might be a slight under-estimate. At the top, we agreed it was E1 and probably 5c (may change with more introspection/cleaning/use of the top headwall). The first real gear is in the break(s) at ~5-6m, the placements here are good and provide the security you need, and the undercling needed for the top headwall to a flat finish.

New routes are familiar territory to quite a few folk, but there's always a first for everyone. This was mine and I have to say its a perplexing experience; E1 is at the top of my leading range at the moment and I would never have thought that I'd be able to put up a new route of that grade... let alone my first new route!! There's also the tech grade, at 5c I would feel nervous about setting off up such a route... ooh er !! Yet, its done. With hindsight... yes if I was to imagine myself standing at the bottom of it I'm nervous but on it, I was happy!!

Julie Tullis writes in her biography about the focus and fluidity that she notices flowing into her climbing from a particular time for her, particularly recognising this stage because of her concurrent martial arts training. Reading her text about how she felt the fluidity I recognised a little of what she was describing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting myself in the same ball-park as her, just recognising an empathy with the synergy she describes.

Blondie, E1 5c, 9m; coincidentally where a semblance of empathy was joined.


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From: Newsgroups: uk.rec.climbing
Sent: 04 September 2003 09:50
Subject: Peelye Cragge, September 3rd [TR]

Thought youarsies might like a wee snippet from those from the Frozen Wastes ;-) (originally posted in N Walkers and Climbers Forum)

Perhaps a fitting and symbolic end to this years' weekday outdoor season for the NMC; clear blue skies over an expanse of Northumbrian moor, warmth of the sun, light wind and no midges. There are other meets yet to come but last night was surely a fitting climax to a superb summer.

Peel Crag did us proud last night as she played host to more than twenty seasoned adventurers, keeping her arms wide open 'til the last of the evening's light. Bill Renshaw takes the honours for the final ascent of Sunset for the day, he was busily tying on when there was just enough light to see your feet, nice one Bill !! 8-)

JD, now there's a man in his second childhood!! Its a while since I've seen him looking so relaxed... and he looks the better for it... good to see him back into his rat-up-a-drainpipe mode, route "x", Certificate X and Sunset ahead of Bill in pretty much the time it took Bill to tie on! Re-envigorated is a phrase that springs to mind!

Bryn was comfortable atop whatever route he'd just completed :wink:, variously watching the bullocks having a head-butting contest in the field below, conversing, with Tim, about his lack of small wires for his just completed route and suggesting to me that I shouldn't mention to his second, Diego, that he was tied off to a sheep... such were the belays on the night!!

We managed to make it back to The Happy Landlord (yes another one, they're franchising :cry:) in Acomb without losing anyone, although Carolyn did, er, take the scenic route. Not such a bad move really because she, apparently, saw a family of badgers crossing the road and thus took her tally of seeing badgers from zero to four in one fell swoop. Various folk did pose the obvious question; "great, where was this?", to which the answer was a genuine "I don't know, somewhere along a road that was signposted Haydon Bridge". :-D

There were folk drawing up to the foot of the crag even as the shadows lengthened and arced a beckoning finger, encouraging the approaching dusk. A fitting close to the day from The Lady Beneath The Wall.


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