Sunday, 4 March 2012

Cairngorms, Chew Grit and Black Combe fell race

Been a busy week this week!

The week started up in the Cairngorms on a Winter Skills course run by Glenmore Lodge. Me and my friend Martin had booked onto this hoping to learn some winter skills to help progress our hill knowledge and push on with our climbing skills. Although there wasn't a lot of snow much fun was had and we managed to learn alot of new things, will be going back again to do something else in the future, i would highly recommend the place if you are interested in advancing your hill knowledge and they offer courses that would benefit anyone who gets out in the hills and mountains. This was the first time i'd been to the Cairngorms and i loved it, a really wild place, hope to head back up later this year for a proper look around.

College was cancelled on friday and the weather being good i decided to get out on the local rock and headed up to Dovestones Edge, the first time i've climbed outdoors since going to Thailand for christmas and new year in 2008! Alot of the routes were slimy and a bit wet but we managed to find some dryish ones in the lower grades, this being the first time Martin had climbed outside i hoped he wouldn't be too put off! We manged to get up three routes, Central tower (Vdiff) , Question Mark (HVD) and another route that looked dry but i wasn't sure what it was. Having been climbing indoors for the last few months it was great to get out and actually do some real climbing again! Hope to keep getting out regularly on the local grit and get out on some classic mountain routes in the Lakes and Snowdonia over the next few months to get a good grounding for the Alps.

On saturday i finally managed my first race of the year. Black Combe fell race (8 miles / 3400ft ascent) is a really tough early season race starting from the village of Silecroft on the Cumbrian coast. The route heads straight up towards Black Combe before skirting around the back and over onto White Combe before dropping down and reascending Black Combe again and then a great descent back to Silecroft to the finish. I felt good early on before fading somewhat on the hard second climb. Despite losing a few places on the final ascent and the descent i finished in 31st place out of 197, which i am quite pleased with early in the season, need more ascent in my legs though!