8 September 2014

Down by the river

Work had cause to be taking up and down the A1, and I figured I could make the most of my lunch break by getting a sneaky climb in. Thanks to further examination of my car-boot sale guidebook, I had found out there was a crag that claimed to be 5 minutes walk from a car park just off the A1/A690 Durham junction- Kepier Wall.

It sounded to good to be true, but I turned off the A690 to find, sure enough, a tidy little parking area, with a path leading off it. A quick change of shoes and I ventured off down into the woods, past creeping roots and a rising hillside of old quarries and streams. 

The noise of the traffic quickly faded away to be replaced by the babbling of the river and soon found myself at the crag, slap bang on the path. It felt nice and sheltered down in the valley with pleasant views out across the Wear, and I soon found the thoughts of speeding cars and work fading away. And the crag itself? Well, in its defence I only had 30 minutes to get to know it, kind of a speed date, so it might be unfair to cast judgement. It didn't look like it gets much traffic, but it clearly does get a lot of dust and dirt. The smooth sandstone is a slippery customer at the best of times, and this definitely didn't inspire my faith in smearing on it. Add to that a top that seemed to be largely soil and tree, and I found myself struggling to get much done above head height on the main wall. A good brush and it looks there are some good problems to get to grips with. The left hand end, however, was a bit more gentle, and had bonus gnarly root holds to swing off, so I at least managed to tick something.


Time was also ticking unfortunately, and so it was that within about 10 minutes I found myself back in a stream of 70 mph traffic, heading south. Kepier's certainly somewhere I'd return to, largely due to it's convenience, but also for being a beautiful, quiet little spot.



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