Well, that's that, then. Summer is officially over. The kids are back at school and the nights are drawing in. It has even been snowing on the high peaks of Scotland this month. Not that there's been much of a Summer though. I have to admit that it's been pretty grim down here in Cornwall. In fact I think it's been the coldest and wettest summer I can remember and there's a lot of businesses that have suffered from the poor weather and the current economic climate. It hasn't stopped me climbing though, as I've always found something to do and I've had some smashing clients too. One of the best days was an outing to the lovely Bosigran with Mark, Dan and Vanessa. None of them had really done any climbing before, so we had to take things easy, especially Mark (Dan's Dad), who really doesn't like heights. A quick jaunt up a climb called Andrew was enough for him. Although Andrew is quite easy by today's standards, some of the situations on the last couple of pitches are quite 'exposed', causing Mark to announce that he had managed the climb by "climbing with my teeth" - definitely not a recommended way to climb! Deciding to sit the next route out and just take photos, Mark made himself comfortable while Dan, Vanessa and I headed over to Bosigran Ridge, perhaps the most celebrated climb in Cornwall, if not the South West. At nearly 700 feet long, the climb starts at sea level and follows a saw-toothed ridge to the top of the cliffs. With relatively easy climbing and dramatic situations, it quickly achieved 'classic' status since it's first ascent in 1902 and is very much on the 'tick list' of every visiting climber. One must be very careful, however, as the approach to the start is very serious if you get the tides and/or swell wrong as it would be very easy to be swept into the sea. Fortunately for us, the sea was flat calm and we made good time up the route and was back in time for tea!
And that's not all i've been up to this summer.....I've had a couple of great days teaching people how to Lead Climb (it's really thrilling to be part of someone's journey into the world of rock climbing, especially witnessing their successes), some coasteering, some surfing, some guidebook work (for The Climbers Club), some climbing(!) and I went to the wedding of my old climbing partner, Val, and his lovely lady, Jenny. Val and I go way back and have shared many climbing adventures, both here in the UK and abroad, most notably an ascent of the Bonatti Pillar on the Petit Dru, France and the Lotus Flower Tower in northern Canada. Jenny is a lovely lady and is a fine mountaineer herself and should be able to keep Val under control! It was also good to catch up with friends and climbing partners I haven't seen for nearly 20 years. We all agreed 20 years was far too long between climbing trips, so hopefully we will get together soon.
I have also been supporting my friend, Kelda Wood who swam the width of the English Channel (22 miles) in a swimming pool in aid of the charity Climbing Out. Kelda thought up the idea, did loads of training and finally completed her swim on the 1st September. To date she has raised nearly £4000, which helps Climbing Out run outdoor programmes for young people recovering from cancer etc. If you would like to donate to this very worthwhile cause, click here