Well, it's nearly the end of 2012 and guess what? Yeap, the weather is shocking...again! It's not surprising that the Met Office has announced that 2012 has been the wettest year on record. I can't remember a year where the weather has been so bad. and it has definitely had an affect on the number of people venturing out on the cornish crags. Mind you, I have had some fun times over the past few months, with a number of keen clients, including Thom from Wadebridge and Rebecca from Germany. Rebecca was so taken by the beauty of the cornish coast and the style of climbing, that she happily agreed to accompany me while prospecting a number of new climbs. Ok, so the climbing was easy, but the thrill of venturing out on an unclimbed line, with no idea how hard the climbing is going to be or what the protection is going to be like, is just fantastic! There's still plenty of unclimbed rock in Cornwall, if you know where to look. I'm not going to tell you any more just yet, you'll just have to wait for the new West Cornwall guidebook to come out.
Talking of guidebooks, my work on the Chair Ladder section of the new West Cornwall guide is still ongoing. I still have lots to check, but yet again, the weather and sea conditions have hampered my plans. It's a good job everything runs at a slow pace down here in the South West! There has been the publication of a new cornish guidebook this year, however. Barnaby Carver and Sean Hawken have done an excellent job of revising the "Cheesewring and South East Cornwall" guide. There's plenty of crags and info on bouldering sites and would be a good buy for any local climbers and perhaps those holidaying east of Newquay, as it covers Roche Rock, Cheesewring Quarry and a number of lesser known, but delightful crags in and around Bodmin Moor.
In the run up to the Christmas holidays I have been working for a local outdoor centre (The Manor House Activity and Development Centre) on their Professional Instructor Development Program, teaching the finer arts of mountain navigation and climbing techniques. Fortunately, we always managed to get some climbing done, despite the iffy weather. We had lots of visits to my Sennen, Halldrine Cove and Hawks Tor offices AND a visit to the lovely little crag at Penberth when swells were pushing waves over the top of the crag at Sennen! I would like to say that the navigation days were peaceful and serene, HOWEVER, we did pick two of the windiest days of the year to go wandering across Bodmin Moor. Fortunately no-one got blown over (including me) therefore no broken bones. This is a good thing as it's now been over a year since I got blown over in Scotland and had to get helicoptered off the mountainside, with a knackered foot. It still isn't quite right, but I have been climbing on it since, without incident and hopefully it will continue to improve.
I also had a little 'raid' into North Devon with an old friend of mine who has moved to the South West from somewhere 'up North, youth'. We had a great day climbing on the big slabby walls of Baggy Point, and in spite of the day being a school holiday Saturday and having good weather and tide times, we had the place to ourselves! I've always enjoyed the climbing at Baggy. The majority of routes are on big slabby walls, involving lots of footwork and aching calf-muscles, but the position of the crags are fantastic and for the narsasistic amongst us will enjoy the adoring gasps from members of the public walking along the coast path.
Well, I expect most of you will be out celebrating the arrival of the New Year. I, however, have the opportunity to climb on New Year's Day, so I will be heading to bed early, as I dont want to spoil the day. So if you are out tonight, take care of yourselves. Reflect on what has passed and look forward to the opportunities of tomorrow. A BIG thank you to all my clients and friends who I climbed with in 2012. My year hasn't been the best, but you all have made me smile.