Saturday, August 30, 2008

Chill out climb at Stanage End

Saturday afternoon at Stanage is not the ideal time to climb at the popular end, particularly during the holiday season. On arrival we were not surprised to find the Popular End predictably busy. We decided to head over to the Hooks Car car park further along the road from the car park at the popular end. From here we headed up towards High Neb, walking further along the edge we found that Crow Chin was packed with a group from an outdoor centre. We carried onto Stanage End.

The normal approach to Stanage End is from the Manchester road (A57). Stanage end offers an excellent variety of climbs the first route was.

Twin Cracks

This was fairly short and a little awkward. The route was led in a traditional V.Dif jamming
style. The second used a layback approach to ascend the final crack this proved to be quite a neat and comfortable approach.

The Ariel

A really good leftward ascending route across the face of the first main slab on Stanage End.

Another Turn

This route ascends the left hand arete of the slab for the first half of the route there is no protection. I guess this adds to the fun! The climbing is very positive, excellent friction that you would expect from Millstone Grit. Higher up the arete has some fairly positive holds that are most welcome.

Prospero's Climb

This is yet another good route! Prosperos climb is on the next slab, if you are facing the corner of the first slab on Stanage end then it is on the right. The best feature on this route is about halfway up at which you have to gain a ledge this can be acheived quite neatly using a mantleshelf move. Or for those with sticky fingers a break higher up is useful for pulling up on.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sherwood Forest Farm Park

We decided to give Sherwood Forest Farm Park a try to today. On arrival, the place didnt really look like it was up to much but it was surprisingly enjoyable and a fantastic experience for toddlers like Keisha. We started the afternoon with a ride on the minature steam railway which we all enjoyed and for a £1 you get a ticket to have as many rides as you like during the day and it was valid for a month which is great value.

There was an opportunity to take part in an interactive animal cuddling session, an area with seating was set aside for the children to hold some guinea pigs and rabbits including some week old babies. Keisha found this really exciting and thoroughly enjoyed stroking and holding them, especially the week old guinea pig which was very vocal and squeaky. We were then invited to do some egg collecting. The toddlers gathered round the hens pens and the cardboard trays were lined up. Keisha proceeded to open up the different doors and collected a dozen eggs in total, she opened one door to find the hen in the process of laying so left that one well alone. It was great also to see that antibacterial rub was in plentiful supply everywhere and easy to access not always the case in places such as these.

There were some outdoor and indoor play areas which we spent some time in and thoroughly enjoyed. There was also a sand area.

We then had a look around the farm, they specialise in rare breeds and the highlight of our day was seeing so many baby piglets. We had lots of fun and here are some of our friends that we met.
Does this anglo-nubian goat remind you of jar jar binks? Keisha enjoyed stroking him, she thought he was very soft.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day, the only disappointing bit was having to leave and come home.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Epic at Millstone Edge

Millstone edge is an area of old quarries standing above Hathersage. Its my favourite edge as you drive out of Hathersage towards Sheffield it looks impressive. The routes are even better! It's one of the few areas in the Peak District where one gets a mountaineering feel for climbing route. This is due to the length of the routes and the fact that some of the routes are best done as two pitches.

We climbed two routes this evening. The first route was Covent Garden its graded VS4b which seems quite fair the climb is a good quality route to be recommended. Best done in two pitches the final pitch is quite exciting. There is a fairly delicate hold on the top arete which adds to the excitement. Near the top of the second pitch is a fairly wide and flaired horizontal break. Leon used an interesting arrangement of two hex's to place protection in this.

A friend turned up and followed us up Covent Garden by the time we had returned to start our second route, the leader on the first pitch of Covent Garden had difficulties and climbers on the adjacent route Bond Street dropped a rope to bring the leader onto the belay ledge.

As a second climb we tried Lambeth Chimney this is well worth doing for its leftward traverse into a groove near the top of the route this feels quite exposed. The second climbed in what appeared to be a good pair of trainers he was inexperienced by climbed with a lot of energy and seemed to enjoy the route. The third climber up the route breezed it as he is quite experienced. We're quite pleased with our evenings climbing. The sun is setting and our companions on Covent garden have still not started on the second pitch! We derig our belay and Leon moves quickly and sets up a belay at the top of Covent Garden to bring our friends up the top pitch.
We're told that this is not necessary so we derig and return to the bottom of the crag to collect our rucksacks and head off for pint.

Our friends have just started up the route! As it is getting dark we transport our companions rucksacks to the top of Covent Garden. At the top of Covent garden the leader is still half way up the second pitch it is now dark! We lower a torch and offer an additional rope. For the second the route is harder especially given the need to remove some gear some of which was left behind! The view of the street lights below was beautiful. We're lucky we make to the Millstone Inn for last orders and well deserved pint of ale.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Playing at Padley Gorge

Surprise View near Hathersage (Map ref: SK 251800) is an excellent place to start a walk or to go climbing. Today we headed from the car park to Burbage Brook. On the way we found excellent boulders for playing. We played "I'm the king of the castle"and we were encouraged to play buses our youngster telling us to sit astride a boulder.

The walk leads through to the Burbage Brook and this is a popular area for splashing around and playing rock hopping. I couldn't help playing this myself and Keisha soon came along and joine in the fun, she insisted on trying to jump from rock to rock herself.

At this point Burbage brook leads into the Padley gorge as well as being a beautiful walk it contains a number fo features of historic interest including padley chapel. This is where the padley martyrs were arrested. The full story about the Padley martyrs is given in one of the links below.

The Padley Martyrs
Grindelford Walk

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Visit to the Bakewell show

Thursday this week saw us visiting the Bakewell show. We arrived bright and early to beat the crowds, at 0845 the carpark was almost empty and we walked over to the showground. The showground was busy though on arrival. Highlights of the day included a visit to the sand tent, unfortunately this had been placed next to the children's fair ground rides so this caused a massive distraction and little sand castle building took place.
There was a great deal to see, Keisha was fascinated by all the dogs in the various dog shows and there was even a dog pushchair to be seen. She laid a couple of stones on the dry stone wall at the national trust stand.
The favourite was the rabbit tent, we got to see lots of rabbits but our favourite was the rex rabbit who was very soft and silky and we got to stroke it.
A good time was had by all.
of special note was the alpaca stand, the rugs were so soft.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bouldering at Birchen Edge

We've recently completed a fair amount of decorating and reorganizing of two rooms in our house. One of the results of these efforts was the accummulation of some unused items and waste packaging. Today we completed the task by reorganising the garage and taking some of the waste to the refuse site, for recycling! There was a fair amount of satisfaction in completing this job.

I had a quick trip to Birchen edge there is a good selection of routes enabling climbers to improve and maintain their skills. Classic routes like Trafalger wall are great for practising slab climbing. Just to the right of this is an outcrop called Stokers wall, this has a good number of routes for a practise session. I did nine routes on this session, I was unable to complete a couple of the problems and had to reverse off.

The routes on Trafalgar wall are upto 12m in length, use of a rope and appropriate climbing equipment is always advised. The routes on Stokers wall are around 6m in length, again, one should exercise a reasonable level of caution when attempting this. Safety equipment such as a helmet and bouldering mat are advised. Another guideline is that ideally one should be able to reverse any climbing moves.