|Bryce and Wendy Martin in their cafe/gear shop/bunkhouse|
We set off to find Bryces, we’d heard a lot about him, and for those of you who know Eric Jones in Tremadoc he’s the NZ equivalent! He owns a café come climbing gear shop, and we heard can be really gruff, now I don’t think that’s strictly true, but when I compared him to Eric and said “he doesn’t suffer fools gladly” he smiled and seemed really pleased with that description! He and Wendy, his wife are wonderful, we picked their brains, and off we went (after an iced coffee) to Froggat Edge, no, we didn’t believe it either, but apparently it really is the name of the guy who owns the land! (for non-climbers, Froggat Edge is a very popular crag in the Peak District, UK) He’d described it as an outdoor climbing wall, and it was, good for those who like the plastic and like it steep. It was all little pockets, some more positive than others, but all jolly painful on the toes that had forgotten how uncomfortable rock boots are anyway!
|The van parked at the foot of main wall. Note the crowds (not)!|
The setting was fab, the walk-in was hell – a minute? And the climbing I really enjoyed, it did feel hard, but we haven’t touched rock (or plastic) for a couple of months, a long time when we used to climb twice a week! We did 3 routes yesterday, a 15, 16 and 17 and went back today and did a 14 and two 16’s top roping an 18 and a 19 in-between, nothing really hard, not really, but they felt hard enough! I really enjoyed it, though I’m not sure the same can be said for B whose head wasn’t quite there, he didn’t lead all that I did, but made me feel very good about myself!
|Jackie abseiling off 'Bonne Anne' a very bold grade 16. Brian went up on the 'top rope!'|
We spent the night at the school, well Bryces only has cabins, but right next door is the school and for $4 each payable at the café you can stay, no power for the van, but a toilet, a cooking shelter and in theory a washing up sink, but I think the ‘youth’ from Auckland Uni had bunged it up with hot fat! Oh yes, and the school swimming pool, with instructions how to take the cover off and everything! (you just wouldn’t get that at home!) It was lovely, and a 5 min drive from the crag! We were joined at 2130 by another couple who we later met at the crag, but up until then we’d had it to ourselves.
We are back in slightly more civilisation tonight – well we both needed a shower! Not that it sounds like it, we are camped next to a kiwi and native bird park, and the strange noises that are coming through the fence are amazing! I thought we were going to go to an area Bryce recommended (assuming we get an email back with the owners permission) tomorrow, but apparently we may have to go and look at the birds first, which along with the internet housekeeping and shopping could take a while.