Category Archives: Environmental

May 14th: Spring Collection – the best route ever, Garage, green stuff and yoga…

So, as spring slips away and we flip over to summer it’s a good time to reflect on what we’ve achieved thus far – and then to enviably project forwards! I think that spring is perhaps the most uplifting time of the year; winter’s over and suddenly everything starts to rejuvenate as though by magic. Green shoots emerge all over the place and a cornucopia of flowers follow soon after. Spring is a time to start over; leave the comfort of the climbing wall, and go and get acclimatised to slick, slopey (non-coloured) footfolds on new climbs as well as to try a few new activities. As a photog, it’s a great time to capture new photo opportunities…

Riglos_000_low resAs springs go, 2014 has been pretty dandy for me I’d say. It’s been a time to get back into climbing slowly so that old injuries are carefully managed. It seems to be going OK at the moment and although it’s been a slow and careful progression just before Easter I pulled in what I think might just be the best route I’ve ever done – ever! And given I’ve been climbing a shade over 40 years, it must be good – right? What’s that you say – what’s the route? OK, if you really wanna know, and obviously you do, it La Fiesta de los Biceps at Riglos. I’m holding back on this one but I’ll give you a taster right now.

Meanwhile, back on planet home, Garage Buttress at Stoney has been a great venue and one which just keep on giving! Easy access, virtually perma-dry and some great climbing – though not (thankfully) to everyone’s taste! Oh yes, and there’s some selfies I shot whilst doing a rock shoe review; a piece of cake using the intevalometer which is in-built in the D800. Non-climbing subjects have featured a fair bit of super-rich and season flora, such as bluebells and wild garlic, with some family-based biking shots and even a yoga shoot thrown in for good measure!

Photographically it’s been interesting too. Not though for what I’ve been shooting, more for what I’ve been shooting on. When I’m looking for the absolute max my go-to camera is my D800. However, if ‘light is right’, then it’s the Sony RX100 without a question. I’ve lugged my D800 up routes before and it ain’t fun! Amazingly though, and like most folks these days, I’m anyway packing a camera even it’s the 8mg camera on my Samsung Galaxy. It doesn’t hold a candle to either of the other two if the chips (sic!) are  down, but it’s a whole load better than nothing and for on-line consumption it holds up pretty OK. Horses for courses you might say!

Here’s my spring collection then for you – shot on any one from the D800, the RX100 or the Galaxy…

It's tough, but someone has to test rock shoes! The new Pinks from 5.10 hanging out off Hampers Hang, StanageClimbing archioligists take note; an early 'nut' recovered from the ivy on Garage Buttress, StoneyKristian on his new super-crimpy F8a  at GarageRuth putting Jill through her yoga pacesYoga's fun too - honestVibrant Spring colours are beautifulBrinciffe Edge Wood bursting into lifeFornby Beach, Liverpool, won't you believe!More scouse bluebells!And yet more bluebellsYorkshire wild garlic flowers #1Yorkshire wild garlic flowers #2Yorkshire wild garlic flowers #3Yorkshire wild garlic flowers #4Chelsea Park, Sheffield #1Chelsea Park, Sheffield #2The Beach - yeah, really @ Easter!Trail ridingThe drive to Riglos, SpainThe view out the back of the refugio, Riglos, SpainRiglos TowersFiesta Tower - and yep, it's nearly 1000 foot tall!La Fiesta de los Biceps, the cruz. Quite probably, the best route in the world!la bateria F7a  on El Sendero, Santa Ana

Also posted in Climbing

Nov 17th: For Peat’s Sake…

Anyone out and about in the Peak District recently might well have noticed some rather strange activity going on. Never in the 35+ years that I’ve lived close-by and visited the Peak do I recall seeing anything quite like it…

I’m talking about the excavators and dozens of monster white ‘lifting bags’ scattered like confetti on some of the Dark Peak moors. The latest locale I’ve seen them is on Burbage and Houndkirk Moor just east of Burbage North. A couple of weeks back they were on Big Moor just by the Barbrook Reservoir west of Owler Bar. On occasion, you even see a helicopter buzzing about lifting the bags to a collection point.

So just what is going on? Turns out, according to the sign nailed to an adjacent fencepost, its environmental works which is transplanting heather from the lush lowland moors (sic…) to the bleakness that is Kinder. The work, which is sponsored by United Utilities, Natural England and the National Trust, is aiming to help stabilise eroding areas up on Kinder. The idea is that the heather brash will be spread over the bare peat and will act as a mulch to allow grasses to grow. Seeds from the cut heather will help re-establish heather. Paradoxically, the donor moors will also benefit given that the diversity will be increased as young heathers grow which will benefit the wildlife; a so-called win-win.

So does the end justify the means? Well I guess that depends on you viewpoint. For sure it looks pretty odd seeing big excavators sat in the midst of the moor and hundreds of white bags everywhere but at least we know what is going on and that there’s a good cause behind it all…

Burbage and Hondkirk Moor Heather Works #01Burbage and Hondkirk Moor Heather Works #02

Also posted in General