A Lovely Hill

The other weekend I got reminded that a great walk doesn’t have to be up the highest peak, or to a famous summit that everyone wants to tick off their list.  I had a brilliant time walking up a hill that’s just lovely for being in a great location, a bit different, and with an interesting character.

One of the summits of Crook Hill.
The gritstone top of one of the two summits of Crook Hill, with the other summit in the distance.

Crook Hill is in the High Peak area of the Peak District. It sits at the bottom of the two arms of the Y-shaped Ladybower Reservoir, where the Woodlands Valley splits off from the Derwent Valley.  It’s a commanding location that makes it easy to imagine that Crook Hill was the once the site of a hill fort (although I’m not aware that it ever was).  Read more

Windy Kinder

Windy, wet and grey – last weekend had a lot in common with other weekends I’ve spent in the Peak District at this time of year.  It was still fun though, particularly as I set out to go to bits of the Peak District I’d not been to before.  This meant heading around the edge of the moors to the East of Kinder Scout on Saturday.

By Sunday the wind had become so strong that walking around the tops looked impractical (and certainly like a lot of hard work).   Read more

My Climbing 2018 in Pictures

With a knee injury (and resultant surgery) I didn’t get out as much as I would have liked in 2018.  But I still had some great days climbing and walking.  These photos give a sense of days.

Working on my Weaknesses

Rock climbers are advised to work on their weaknesses in order to get better.  The trouble is, since my injury, I’ve had quite a few weaknesses.

Me climbing the problem Wall End Slab Direct Start (V0 4c) at Stanage Plantation.

A piece of advice that I’ve read in lots of different places is that you should work at getting better at the things you are weak at if you want to become a better rock climber. The thinking behind this is that people tend to avoid the things they’re not very good at.  A lack of practice means that you don’t get better at the thing they’re shunning and so continue to avoid it.  In rock climbing, you could be avoiding something because you find it’s too physically hard and/or you cannot master the technique.  For the first few years after I started climbing my particular weakness was smearing.  It felt insecure, unnatural and unsafe.  So, I tried to climb routes using as little smearing as possible. This was a bit of a challenge as I was doing a lot of gritstone climbing at the time.  However, somewhere along the way I did enough smearing to get the hang of it.  It went from being unnerving, to being another useful way of getting up a climb, to being fun.  I now really enjoy smearing up a featureless gritstone slab. Read more