Thursday, 17 July 2008

City Break South Yorkshire Style

The eagle-eyed of those following this blog will have noted that I'm no longer a resident of the city of steel (Sheffield), and as such, my visit at the weekend was technically a holiday

And with the drudgery associated with everyday life slowly shifting its focus to Bristol, I had a handsome time up north.

My visit coincided with two important events in the climbing calendar.
The first being the carnival of crushing that is the British Bouldering Championships (BBC), and the second being Gib's birthday. Two contrasting events it has to be said. One's a wholesome celebration of the pinnacle of achievement in British strength and power, while the other's a bouldering comp in a big fuck off tent.

The birthday was a typical Sheffield affair. Lescar then Slate Street. This once legendary party house is once again finding its feet thanks to the efforts of an enthusiastic Rob Clifton. Even Pickles, the perennial reluctant housemate, is failing to temper this man's mission to piss off his neighbours every single weekend. So mad props to him for that.

On Sunday I only hung around for a bit of the comp before the call of soloing Parker's Eliminate became too strong, and I gave the still-pissed Enigma a lift home via the mighty Hobson Moor. And then back off to Bristol for another week at the grindstone. Which as it happens, is nearly over already. Get in.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Lats Babes and Bouldering

For those of you who read my first post and wondered what the hell I was on about, hopefully this will work:

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Literary Hero and a New Motor

Last night I met one of the major heroes of my adolescence. Irvine Welsh.
He was in Bristol signing copies of his new book Crime, so off I went to see him.
Reading Trainspotting as a 14-year-old absolutely blew me away. A lot of people, swayed by the media outrage from the usually reserved British media, decided it was an appalling work devoid of any merit and should be banished immediately, lest the Nation's youth all started injecting heroin before the credits had rolled as far as Robert Carlyle's name.
Now I won't attempt a ham-fisted review here but, suffice to say, the dark and savage humour impressed me hugely. And nearly 12 years on I've still got pristine veins in my inner elbow. Go figure.
Last night he read a passage from his new book, quite nervously I thought. But then again he's an author not an acTOR, so probably doesn't read to audiences on a day-to-day basis. I was hoping he would field some questions afterwards, but unfortunately he went straight to the book signing.
It was a bit disappointing there were no questions, but at the end of the day at least I shook the hand which created Francis Begbie.
To be honest, the best bit of the evening was shoplifting the book he signed for me. And it was called Crime. Ho ho.

In other news, I've furnished myself with a new car and will hopefully be driving it to the North of England this weekend. Is anyone going to be around for some lower grade crushing etc?

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Weak Too

Well I've been in Bristol nigh on a fortnight and am slowly becoming a fan of the city's environs and the climbing. Which is a Godsend because the people are arseholes.
That, of course, was a joke. The people I have met so far have been friendly, welcoming and generous as I have, looking wide-eyed and lost, attempted to adjust to my new life.
Bristol's a really nice place. It's quite astonishing how different it looks from Sheffield and northern towns. The houses tend to be flat topped and pastel coloured, and the whole place seems to have a continental air of sun and spaciousness. However I'm sure the novelty, or summer, will soon wear off.
Anyway, I appreciate most of the people who read this are climbers, so I'll get down to the nitty gritty. Crags I have visited so far are:
Cheddar - Looks like a bigger version of Stoney, climbs like a much less polished Malham. Really rather good. Crushed a couple of routes of unknown name and grade. They felt about 7aish but I really wouldn't be surprised if they were 6bs (for more grading woes see Avon).
Oxwich Bay, dans la Gower - A friend had to go to get a caution from the Swansea Police for possession of a trifling amount of MDMA so we went to the Gower (quote of the week from plod: 'Although not many people actually die from taking ecstasy, we do hear of a lot of reports of people feeling a bit sick.'). If any of you have been to Ferocity Wall at Anstey's, it's like that but much less steep and a deeper shade of orange. In fact it's almost red.
Ring Road Boulder - Decent sandstone venue just outside the city. Some really good problems here. I'd put it on a par with Bell Hagg. Unfortunately ten minutes extra driving lands you in the flat lands of South Gloucestershire, rather than Stanage. Say La Vie.
Sea Walls, Avon Gorge - This place is well brown. Doesn't look much, but I'd say it's some of the best Limestone I've climbed on. Really 3D climbing that makes you think.
Tried a good looking highball which was abslolutely desperate. The first move alone took over half an hour to work out and I left convinced it was at least V7. However a peruse of the guidebook today revealed it to be an E2 6a. Oh. Dear.
Anyway I'm shit faced so am going to stop typing.

Here's a message from my sponsor:
If any of you monkeys want to cum to the city where the streets are paved with golden opportunities you're very welcome. Talking of welcome, and overdue, a beer from Tetler would be very welcome. And overdue.
Southern correspondent clocking out.