Rain stopped climbing for most of July, we even resorted to the gym just to keep ticking over! I say stopped play… Alex still climbed everyday if not twice, and I joined him as much as I could. Really I guess the wet weather just made it impossible to plan any trips so it had to stay local. I’m not sure there are many things more frustrating than a rainy summer, I feel I’m being robbed.
But the last weekend in July was sunny at last, not that the forecasts predicted it. That Saturday we ventured into Glencoe, not climbing but hiking and swimming. It was a pretty thrilling day – Crux got sucked down a rapid trying to get a stick and on the way home we were crashed into by the angriest man on the planet. But apart from that, all good. Glencoe is still one of my favourite places in the world.
We also had our first car trouble, the filler neck rusted right through. If it happens to you, fear not. You can fix it with a welly boot.
That Sunday we returned to Limekilns so I could have another go at Velvet Glove. We’d been there a month or so previously, when Alex ‘warmed up’ with an E4 onsight which some might consider rude since my project is E4… Pretty awesome to watch though.
But just as I roped up for Velvet Glove the rain got HEAVY and the guy on it before me fell from the very top to the ground, so spirits and psyche levels weren’t too high. But our soon-to be-flat-mate James got up his first E2 in a while and Alex did his mega onsight, so it was a good day really.
This time however, as I stood beneath my route, the sun was shining, Alex was in a tree with a camera and my dad was belaying, so I knew I had to try hard (sorry for the f-bombs Dad). It was the first time I got on it and just went for it to see how far I could go.
But I didn’t make it and fell from the second last hold!! What a noob, just not fit enough. So I decided to go on a mission to get fitter: more running, more climbing, then I figured Velvet Glove would go easily.
So two weeks later we returned with more friends just getting their trad shoes on. I hadn’t been running or climbing much at all due to weather/work, but as I watched a guy bash his way up the route before me, hanging here there and everywhere, which I can sympathise with, in my mind I knew I could do every single move, so I hopped on it again just to see what happened.
Apart from much disco leg (shouldn’t have worn shorts – wobbly thighs) I have to say it went pretty smoothly. I had a little support team on the ground shouting encouragement which was nice, and as I moved off the rest point and stuck the move I fell from last time it crossed my mind that I might be about to top out, which is where the tides turned and I couldn’t find a foothold and I got pumped out of my brain and came off again. ALL I HAD TO DO WAS HIT THE TOP. I tend to do this on projects – eek them out. But now I know where to put my foot and next time, I promise Alex, I’ll do it and we can start going somewhere new!
We also ventured into London recently. Alex and I didn’t seem to fit in with the fast walking, suit wearing, skinny people down there, in fact I think we more or less just got in their way. We were down there to photograph my best friend’s wedding in Suffolk, and it was BEAUTIFUL, I spent most of my day crying at speeches and admiring my amazing friend in her wedding dress, and getting over seeing Alex in a suit. Being down there made me realise how much I can’t wait to move out of the city, and how much I miss my friend!
Final thought, I just realised today that it’s almost exactly a year since we got home from our mega-trip around Canada and the States. It’s a funny feeling, thinking how much life can change in one year. Last August we lived in a van with no money, miles from home, climbing everyday and swimming to get clean. Now we have a dog, I have a real life job, we’re doing up a flat, Alex is at university and it can be hard to find the time to go climbing. I’m definitely far from unhappy, but we know where our hearts are and can’t wait to get back xx