Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Wettest SPA ever

Just spent three days observing/ working with John Diplock on an SPA training course. Spent a day at Cudleigh and it rained lots, then it rained some more. Day two was spent at Dewerstone in, you guessed it, the rain. Still i think it was a good course, John's enthusiasm is utterly infectious and back up with some sound hard earned knowledge. If anyone is interested in doing an SPA get in touch with him at

Sunday, 21 March 2010


Still can't do the cheesewring project. Stabilising two exacting geometry's then move between them. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh. SOON?

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Da Peak

Part three of Duchy’s AITP 5 week consolidation expedition. When in the peak you have to go climbing it would be rude not to hay. This part of the exped started with a weekend off, Yeah. So myself and Hannah went pulling hard, the weather wasn’t to good so we hid in Horseshoe quarry sampling peak sport climbing (this int Cheesewring sport climbing it’s to safe and the rock is of a poorer quality). Hannah has been on the go for 10 days straight so she went back to the hut for a sleep, so off a wondered down to Staden Quarry for a bit of soloing on quality limestone. Sunday started with a bit of Grit. “The best Grit in the peak is found in Staffordshire” How true the Roaches never fails to inspire even the most jaded of Grit junkies (Me). Ten or so routes later we wondered out to the limestone, The BMCs crag Aldery quarry a secluded little gem but possibly not what you came to the Peak for. After a couple of hours we where back to the hut, then of to Harpur Hill quarry, the instigator of the great “Peak Bolt Wars”. Bolted rubble will always appeal to a quarryman like myself, insecure climbing and loose so loose I pulled a hold off and took a little lob changing an insignificant 6c+ to the Peaks first 9b treat, back tomorrow muscles aching but the soul feels good.

Day one.
Castle Naze. What’s happened to the weather, it’s windy so windy, to windy to venture up the top of the crag. So the day was spent covering differing aspects of rope work, rigging top ropes, releasable abseils and how to tie a belay after leading. The group where working hard, this was a very good thing as it was the only way to keep warm, looking at the wind burnt faces poking out of numerous layers of clothing the decision was made to find shelter. Where to go what to do? Well bouldering on the lower tier of you guessed it the Roaches. This must rate as one of the best bouldering venues for novice to improvers. Not only was it sheltered but the sun set was stunning even Hannah was seen bouldering with a smile.

Day two.
Burbage North. Thou must lead 15 routes prior to attend the SPA training course. Quite a burden when all you want is for people to improve still plenty to go at, weathers getting better.

Day three.
Windgather. What a classic group crag. We had 10 students leading everything possible whilst sharing the crag with three other groups off about 20 small children under instruction and there was plenty of space for us all. Routes where going down, students confidence was going up, placing gear was getting much quicker. By the end of the day everyone had achieved the target number of 15, some had exceeded this number. Now we can concentrate on becoming climbers treat.

Day four.
Roaches. Today was about covering old ground anything the students wanted to recover. So there was lot of rigging going on, rescues and other SPA related subject prior to their training next week. Due to all this rigging of top ropes meant they dudes had a chance to top rope some desperates, dispelling the myths about hard grit routes. Then back down to the boulder fields for some more cranking. Back down to Cornwall tomorrow.

Lakes Scrambling

Lakeland scrambling

Part two of Duchy’s AITP 5 week consolidation expedition. The Lakes will always have a special place in my heart, much softer and greener than the angular harshness of North Wales. Last week the group completed their ML summer training, so the main intention of this week was to walk as little as possible and to go over the steep ground elements of the course. Obvious answer? Scrambling.

Day one. Sort out digs and orienteering down in Grisdale.

Day two. Things get interesting, Start at the New Dungeon Ghyll. Mill beck (grade 1/2) followed by Tarn Crags (Grade 1-3 dependent on line taken) then a short wonder round the tarn to Pavey Ark and an ascent of Jacks Rake. Perfect weather with the maximum of amount of rock under your feet provides a good day on perfect teaching ground.

Day Three. Another classic Lakeland scrambling day. Starting just outside of Coniston a short stroll leads to The Bell (Grade 1) a classic buttress of perfect rough rock. Lots of rope work skills, group management and other issues where covered. Then across to Lows Beck (Grade 1 ish) leading up to impressive Low Water Beck (Grade 3). The application of rope work and “Ninja spotting skills” calms the nerves whilst the groups ascend some steep serious ground. Leading to a well frozen Low Water Tarn.

Day four. After experiencing such a variety of Lakeland classics what do you do next? Well you get steep, very wet and go down. Down Stone croft Beck. Lots of slides, jumps and shoots all merge into an unforgettable trip. Wet suit some with dry suits helps to keep the cold out with a special motion to young Harry who just whore fleece lots of fleece. Good effort. Well this part of the exped is over off to the Peak tomorrow, it would be nice to spend more time in this special place but don’t panic we will be back.