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My Blog

Climbing Again

It's been a while since I wrote anything on here, so here's whats been going on......
 
I had my final 'official' physio session at hospital last week.  My physio has been impressed with how things are progressing and how I have been coping with everything.  Despite all that, I was subjected to exercises in the Torture Room (gym), involving parallel bars, trampettes and those step things that are used in Step aerobics......needless to say, my foot was sore for the rest of the day...apparently that's a good thing.  We've agreed to keep in touch by email and I can drop in, if I am passing and I am having any issues.  Isn't that brilliant service from the NHS?  Although I have a sneaky suspicion that as my injury is unusual, the medical people find it interesting.  I, however, find it to be a pain in the arse!  I just hate being inactive.  And to top it all off, I met the girls from Salt Air Adventures who were on their way to Scotland for a couple of weeks of playing in the snow.  They wanted to borrow a pair of ice axes, and were super-amped to be going North, just as a spell of cold, settled weather rolled in.  I was supposed to be meeting them up there, but...best laid plans of mice and men and all that.....
 
Climbing Rope SpaghettiI've had some work at Duchy College this week.  I was worried that not being able to move around quickly would be a problem, however, as I wasn't the one doing any climbing, and would just be instructing and supervising, it turned out to be ok.  Monday was cold and wet and, in typical form, the students wanted to go to the indoor climbing wall....."Nay!" says I, "It's real climbing for you, and just because it's cold and wet doesn't mean we always run away to the wall".  Moans and groans followed but you can't learn about gear placements and belay building indoors...I think the guys and girls actually enjoyed going out, despite the cold and having to untangle a rope that had turned into spaghetti.
 
The temperature continued to drop throughout the week, due to a dominant High Pressure weather system, that brought clear skies and light winds from the East.  Up in Scotland conditions on the hills have been all time and mates kept sending me pictures of the hills and ice... but back in Cornwall, these conditions usually mean small, clean surf.  On a day off, I hobbled into Newquay to see what was going down.  Not much wave-wise, but those who ventured out into the sea would have been blessed with some little, fun waves and 'icecream headaches'.  I decided to test out my physio's idea that walking on the beach would be good for my ankle/foot, as the soft sand would mean good at strengthening ligaments and tendons, while the cold water would help to keep the swelling to a minimum. Check out my first attempt at making a video clip, using my phone...
 
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Physio.wmv
A physio session in beautiful cornwall
All that walking on the beach and around Newquay meant that I was hobbling more than normal the following day, but what a day! It was beautiful, so as I had another Duchy College group that were keen do do some climbing, we headed off onto Dartmoor, and the delightful (and hopefully sheltered from a biting easterly wind) Bench Tor, near Venford Reservoir.  Driving onto the moor was a delight , as the air was crisp and dry and the higher tors were covered in a generous coating of snow.  When parked up, Bench Tor isn't immediately obvious, but a brisk 10 minute walk (or a 20 minute hobble) brings the tor into sight.  Beautifully located  and secluded high above the East Dart river, Bench Tor is one of those hidden gems, that is an absolute delight to climb on and is blessed with a classic VDiff of Oak Tree Zigzag and a Pat Littlejohn E2, Hostile Witness.  Definitely worth a visit, if you've never been.
 
Climbing at Bench Tor, Dartmoor
The students had fun setting up top and bottom rope systems, and one of the guys led Oak Tree Zigzag under my supervision.  Not wanting to miss the opportunity, I tied in on the bottom end of the rope and seconded the climb. I found it quite difficult as my right foot is still quite weak, and even wearing mountaineering boots, with their extra support, I didn't feel comfortable standing on the big holds.  I had to use my arms more than I would have liked and this brought on frozen fingers and mild hot aches.  But at least I'd managed to climb at last!
 
The forecast for the weekend was for 4 inches(10 cm) of snow, but as I sit here, watching the Scotland/England rugby game, it's raining outside.  My boys are disappointed as they wanted to build a snowman in the morning...oh well, at least now I will get a lie-in.

7 Comments to Climbing Again:

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Heavy Whalley on 08 February 2012 17:15
Great stuff Pete, magic to get out again glad you are on the road, take it easy though mate slowly, slowly!
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