Well it’s been a long time since I last blogged. I didn’t really feel like I’d done a great deal since my daughter Vanessa turned up 2 weeks early last August, scuppering my carefully laid plans. I was a nats whisker from completing ‘Monsterosity’ (an 8b at Water Cum Jolly Cornice) when Nessy cropped up prematurely. 6 months later, after the winter nappy/nocturnally wakeful season, I actually felt stronger on the route and finished it off in May. This was my 1st foray back into the world of red pointing for about 10 years having been more involved in on-sighting, mainly on the trad.

Above: Although it blows the onsight, the locals are always keen to watch.

Later in August we had a week’s trip to Lundy, a small island in the Bristol Channel with lots of granite cliffs. It was my 1st trip since 2003 when I completed Amygdala, an E8 1st ascent which took 4 years and numerous falls, up to 70ft. It was great to just tick loads of routes without the stress of having to save my energy in case the top crux hold on Amygdala was dry. I put to bed an amazing E6 6b, ‘Earth Sea Trilogy Part 3’ which I had failed on before due to the guide book describing the line in the wrong place. Felt ok when I actually went the right way.

Above: Nic on the final difficult moves of the stunning overhanging groove of Earth Sea Trilogy Part 3

Another fab route I managed to on-sight was ‘Price of Admission’ E6 6b. The bottom crux pitch was an exercise in general contortion with lots of back and footing and squirming, culminating in an all out lurch for a sloping shelf. Another E6 6a, ‘Brinkmans’s Ship’ completely had my pants down. No move harder than 6a but ridiculously pumpy. 2 falls off the last move had me a broken man.

Above: Price of Admission

After that it was back to the peak, to the other cornice in Cheedale to red point ‘Love amongst the Butterflies’ 8b which is pretty much plum vertical for it’s 20m. It’s worth doing just for its name. These types of vertical sport routes seem desperate when you work them, but then feel amenable on redpoint.

Above: The classic Lundy E4 6a Mal de Mer.

Next is ‘Bricktop’, a much punchier, more bouldery 8b further left on the crag. But will I get it done before the inevitable winter seepage calls a halt for another 6 months?

The silver lining to the UK winter is the grit season and there are loads of routes I fancy having a go at! There is also Plastikman Live on the 1st of December in Manchester!!

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