I love living in Bristol, but one massive downside is the fact that you're five hours drive from the best sport crags in the country. I'd always wanted to spend a good chunk of time in Yorkshire but had never had the opportunity. Whenever I'd gone travelling I'd always opted to go somewhere hot. I'd never heard of anyone going “travelling” to Yorkshire. But then I had one of my famous Eureka moments: I'd do just that!
It was too hot in Spain: Yorkshire was the perfect antidote: cool air, thankfully settled weather and dry rock.
|Tricia and Ciara hanging out in Haworth|
We found a little house to rent in the village of Haworth: bills all included for £600 a month. Now to us Bristolians this was a real bargain. When we arrived the house was definitely on the characterful side: in fact it was totally wonky tonky. But it was bright and had a big front room which Ciara could roll across til her heart's content. It also had bunk beds which made us feel like we had entered into the realms of “family accommodation”. Still somehow we managed to use the words “bunk-beds” to persuade our friends to come and visit.
|Ciara and me hanging out in the wonky tonky house|
My big goal was to climb an 8B+ or an 8C. I had True North in mind, but having spent only a couple of days at Kilnsey before, I thought it would be right at the limit of what I could achieve. Also Malham and Kilnsey have big reputations and legendary hard grades: I felt intimidated by the prospect of climbing 8C at either of these crags.
At the beginning of my trip I nearly onsighted Soft Option 8A and almost flashed Grooved Arete 8A+ so my confidence grew. I then jumped straight on True North. I found the bottom section (Full Tilt 8B) quite hard but a few days later realised that my sequence was rubbish. With the new easier way of climbing this section, I had enough power to do the whole route. Reaching the chains on True North I felt happy but knew I could climb harder.
|The impressive North Buttress at Kilnsey: |
here I'm on True North
I gave Northern Lights 9A a couple of gos. I could do most of the moves but felt I wouldn't have enough time to complete it during the trip...one to come back for?
I diverted my attention to ticking some of the other classics at Kilnsey including Ecstasy 8B, All Out 8B+ and Yorkshire Ripper 8B.
I found I still had some time left. I decided to try Northern Exposure 8B+ and found the style didn't suit me but I got a good look at the route to the right: Progress 8C+. I spoke to Steve Dunning about it. He has tried the route in the past and gave me some really good beta. This, excuse the pun, speeded my Progress and it was great to send the route after 6 days effort.
We met some great people in Yorkshire. After feeling intimidated about climbing at the great northern crags it was brilliant that the scene was actually really friendly.
Of course we had to have a calamity with our van: this time it was the handbrake failing on a steep hill. We felt we had got off lightly with a smashed bumper: fortunately the van had rolled into a wall rather than another car or the busy road below.