Well, it’s been very nearly a year since my last bit of writing. The reason is simple – I just stopped enjoying writing about climbing. I was in Catalunya last year, having just fallen from a route after finding that snails don’t aid friction, and my first thought on inspecting my bloodied fingers and knee was “Excellent! Blood, Sweat and Snails for the next diary entry”. Only I never did. I got home, thought about it, sat down, tried to write something, and just couldn’t get motivated. This is no reflection on the quality of the climbing and amount of fun that Sol & I had in Catalunya – which again was perfect. I was just bored of writing.
I did a reasonable amount of climbing last year. A nice day at The Wainstones, a fantastic high summer weekend on Portland and Swanage, and a trip to The Roaches that ended up in Wythenshawe A&E after Sol took a bit of a swinger from The Sloth and broke his ankle. That was the last time we climbed outdoors, back in September. The unusually cold winter and Sol’s ankle meant that we didn’t get any further trips up to the peak to make the most of the gritstone friction.
Indoors, I’ve had to curtail the number of visits down to Harlow, as it was just costing too much in petrol. But the trips I’ve had there have been great. I’ve also been heading off to the wall at Stowmarket a bit more often, which has also been a lot of fun. But while climbing indoors is OK, and better than sitting at home wondering what to do next, I have recently found myself doing exactly that. I guess it’s a form of cabin fever – I just need to get out and climb something. So, a plan was hatched for a return to Catalunya this spring. Only it didn’t happen. I spoke to Gee a couple of times, we never got around to confirming dates, and then I had a bill from The Taxman which I wasn’t really expecting. So a cheaper plan had to be hatched. And then, as if by magic, I noticed a post on the ukclimbing.com forums from Adrian Berry, asking if anyone would like to accompany him to the South of France to help out with his new guidebook. I jumped at the chance for several reasons:
- Firstly, and most importantly, because I have a huge amount of respect for Adrian, and have thoroughly enjoyed the days I’ve spent in his company so far.
- Secondly, it’s a trip to the South of France. I mean, what’s not to like about that?
- Thirdly, it’s cheaper than Catalunya.
- And, finally, having read Adrian’s guidebook to Haute Provence, it will be an absolute pleasure to help out with his next one if I can.
So, the plan is to get the train to France, drive overnight to the campsite, spend a long weekend climbing in the Gorge de la Jonte, and then drive back again. Yes, it will be tiring. Yes, it is a long way to go for a weekends climbing. But it’s going to be a bit of an adventure in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.