Having complained about doing no travelling for a few months, the stars turned in my favour and since January I seem to have done nothing but travel – so much in fact, that my feet have barely touched the ground!
My first trip was back out to Chamonix, in the French Alps, for a few weeks – my plan was to ice climb – I’ve been dying to get into ice climbing since I first tried winter climbing months ago and after a couple of failed attempts, because of Scottish weather, I was sure I was going to get third time lucky with perfect Alpine conditions – but it wasn’t to be, rising temperatures seen massive melts on most of the ice falls and I was left to spend my days on my skis instead.
Which of course, I’m not grumbling about – I can think of few better ways to spend my time and I did have the pleasure of bumping into one of the UK’s most talented young climbers, Calum Muskett, in Le Tour. Calum was perfecting his ski turns, having just completed a rare ascent of the classic Alpine route Divine Providence on the Grand Pilier d’Angle, Mont Blanc. He’s one very impressive young man!
A week or so later, I was whisked down to the National Mountain Centre in Wales to test some of the most amazing Gore Tex Pro Mountain Equipment shell jackets. The test came in the shape of the Fourteen Peaks Challenge, with our team of eight, from across Europe, attempting to summit all of Snowdonia’s 3000ft+ peaks in five days.
Little did we realise we’d be up to our waist in snow basking in glorious sun one day, while the next we would be bailing off Snowdon in a complete whiteout, while getting battered by 60mph gusting winds! It was a pretty epic week, and it got really serious at some points – we definitely didn’t expect to be dealing with some of the worst winter conditions for years.
That said, it was one of the best weeks of my life – I’ve been to some pretty cool places and done some amazing things, so that’s really saying something! Perhaps what really made the week so special was our guide, Dave Evans – he was described to me as one of the best guides in the country, and I can firmly second that statement!
My last little trip was actually a long overdue break – my boyfriend, Neil from SkiAscent, finally came home from the Alps and we had a nice chilled week in the Lake District with friends. Not chilled as in lounging around though – chilled as in, easy days in the mountains! I used to think the Lakes were for older people, but it’s really starting to turn into an awesome all round place – amazing little towns with everything you need and all the climbing is so accessible with great places to explore along the way.
We did a bunch of stuff – climbing at the Black Moss fairy pools, checked out a secret bothy – which is the most well disguised bothy I have ever come across, and I’m forbidden from disclosing it’s location – but if you are ever near Langstrath it’s well worth hunting out, we climbed Carm Crag Ridge and Belles Knottes, and climbed up a little waterfall – which was just perfect, it didn’t last anywhere near long enough!
Then we headed to Bristol for a couple of days and spent some time at the climbing wall there – Undercover Rock. Like lots of the climbing walls in the UK, its in an old church – but this one really impressed me, so much so that I thought it deserved a mention in my blog! It also really inspired me to try and get more bouldering fitted into my schedule – bouldering never really appealed to me before, but for anyone wanting to get into climbing although not sure where to start – I reckon this would be a really good place – just a thought!
And then, we went to London – just for a day, but it was so cool to be back there! I lived in London for about a year – many, many years ago – but it always feels like home for some weird reason. I remember trying to avoid central London like the plague on a Saturday but it was just class, there was so much going on and so much to see – I felt like a bit of a tourist to be honest!
After all the London excitement, I waved Neil off as he headed to catch a flight to Nepal, and I back to Dundee – where I’m planning to relax for a bit, and get caught up with real-life things – like work!