10 June 2012

Widdop lakeside boulders - A mini Adventure

Round about Christmas Widdop got itself on my list of places to go. It looked idyllic, a circuit of nice, rough boulders by a lake what could be finer? I was in the car by 8am on Sunday morning and an hour later I was in Trawden, out of signal for my phone's GPS and using a large scale road atlas to try and find the road that should lead up to the crag. I found it eventually once I excepted that it was that narrow. I don't usually grade a drive-in but I claim a V point for just getting to the car park.

The walk in was rather easier, just a plod across the dam and then your at the boulders maybe 10 minutes. Now I don't really do God but the Intelligent Design fraternity are missing a trick where Widdop Lakeside boulders are concerned. There is no way that mere universal forces can devise a bouldering venue this good. Maybe a dozen big boulders all with fantastic landings, loads of lawns for sitting around on and all in the beautiful setting of a lush open valley hemmed in by crags, with a lake nestling in the valley floor. Don't tell Richard Dawkins but the creationists could be on to a winner if they start using Widdop as proof of the existence of the Almighty. 

When I got there the ground was wet but the sun was thinking about coming out and best of all the rock seemed dry. I was like a kid in a sweet shop no-one else around and all yet to be done. I got to grips with the Red Edges Left and right and both around  V2'ish. I flashed the Right but had to spend a bit of time working out the Left. Both quality problems and totally different styles of climbing even though they share an arete.

Here's a video
Faffing around on Four Square for ages was winding me up, I got it in the end but my finish wandered off right and it needs another go. A vole then came out of its burrow for it's morning constitutional. It saw me and scarped back down its hole. Good job the Kestrel that was hovering overhead would have been quite happy with it for breakfast.

Get Shorty a nice crimpy wall, would have indeed got the short but I could reach from the crimps and Runnel for your Life was a fun rock over and jug pull number where my mat floated above the pool at its base like the worlds worst life raft, glad I didn't come off.

I had a look at Pickpocket  Wall which was well on my list but it was high and with no spotters and no phone signal. I was acutely aware that a 10 minute walk would be an hour long hobble on a sprained ankle and moved on, pity it looked like my thing.

I had come all this way to have a go at Splashdown a rounded arete which usually sports a huge puddle at its base today was no different. Some superficial civil engineering to make a runnel in the turf and some bailing and most of the water was gone. I have never had to bail out a problem before. I then spent ages leaping off an undercut trying to grab a sloper. Oh so nearly twice, but couldn't quite hold it and each go was wearing finger skin alarmingly quickly. I tried a different sequence leaping of my right foot and that was working better, well I was barn-dooring less and getting more hand on the sloper. 


I found a few more lovely bits and bobs to play on whilst I saved myself for a final go on Splashdown. On my last go I caught the sloper the best yet and thought that I had stuck it, but it still peeled. Not so bad though it was warm and damp it will go on a better day.

I had four bleeding finger ends by now and stupidly had bought no tape, so I was out. There are better, quieter, more atmospheric crags to boulder on I'm sure but I suspect not that many, recommended.
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