Thursday, May 25, 2006


Rock And Knoll

The climb began. I had resisted for a while. A panic stricken schoolmaster had scaled half way up the rock so that from the relative safety of an alcove, he could hang out and give his wretched charges encouraging hoiks, like a Sergeant Major paratrooper in reverse go (up) go (up). I wasn't going to let him encouragingly hoik me, but from his position he might have found it difficult to resist. And I might have had difficulty in resisting telling him where to go, so I hung back. Good thinking I thought.

Once the rock was clear. I tip-toed like a drunk over the last few wobbly rocks soon found that as usual my route was at odds with everyone else's, on this occasion bringing me within spatter distance of the waterfall and the greened up slime face guaranteed to provide no purchase at all to amateur climbers like me.

I muttered an imprecation under my breath and gave thanks for the foresight that kept me back until all the other climbers (particularly the smart arse teens and their fussy master) had disappeared. Self knowledge is a wonderful thing, I have the world's worst sense of direction and almost topple over with the happy load of gratitude I have each day of my life I remember that I'm not an airline pilot or homing pigeon. So I knew I'd make a hash of the route in, and I did.

Once I had manoeuvred myself away from the slippery stuff with nothing worse than a boot full of water and slightly distorted specs I began the climb.

I remembered some of the tips I had been given when I climbed Jack's Rake last year: don't use your knees as there's less skin on the caps than there is on your skull, don't look down, test every hold - both foot and hand before applying weight, and don't stop until you get to the top.

And that was it. I reached the top without incident. I'm getting rather good at this climbing thing.

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