Right, let’s go. I plan to blog like I’ve never blogged before. This won’t be hard as I’ve never blogged before.
Expect wild adventures, mythical monsters, extravagant characters and lots of laughs. Now stop expecting them, because this blog is about bouldering. It’s about the making of a guidebook (did you know you can pre-order…), the discovering of rock and the bashing of the head of the frustration of the move of the ultimate impossibility. I looked in the dictionary, but although the English language has the largest lexicon in the world, there is no word for that.
So, bouldering in Lancashire. Lots of you have heard of it. Some of you have tried it. Some of you have run away from it. In the last two years more has been developed than ever before. It turns out quite a lot of the bouldering in Lancashire is on natural grit, on crags that the trad climbers never bothered with. Some of this is in the vast expanse of Bowland, and the rest is in the east, scattered on the hills around Todmorden and Littleborough.
I’m sure many people will buy this guide just for the moors; the big wild views, the untravelled rocks, the places that Yorkshiremen and Peakies never believed could exist in Lancashire. But there is another side to Red Rose County – the side that your mother warned you about. Yes, the Quarries.
This post is about a quarry called Cadshaw. It’s one of the first new places I looked at back in the day. Sometimes it’s crap, the midges are multitudinous, the rock is damp. But sometimes it lets you win, just briefly. I went back yesterday and despite the hail there were dry bits. Rick Ginns had spotted the possibility of an arete on the Red Wall, Gareth Wallis had tried it a bit, and yesterday I got lucky when I found a different sequence (it probably would have been quite a bit harder the way it was originally concieved.)
So here’s a little video. There’s also some footage of a possible direct start – a nails crux move to stick a small LH edge. And a short film of Oliver Müller making the FA of a lowball boulder nearby. I predict people will struggle with this one!
There’s more to do at Cadshaw. There’s a highball leaning wall hidden up near the river. There’s a series of thin sidepulls in the woods. There are other things too, things born of darkness and old magic. Shh! I will not speak more, because I’m probably confusing Cadshaw with Middle Earth. An easy mistake to make. Those projects won’t get done for the guidebook, but the lines are all described so you can seek them out if you hanker for harder challenges.
Anyway, here are some videos of established problems. Firstly, may I present Gareth Wallis, Cadshaw devotee. His unrepeated problem Rivers Of Blood is likely 7C/7C+ for anyone shorter than a basketball player. For Cadshaw footage, skip to 1.55.
And on the riverblocks, there is a strange waterside world where the best problem is probably Naiad, a toe-hooking special on a boulder in the middle of the river. I didn’t get that on film, so here are a few others on a next-door wall.
Lastly, but not leastly, if lower grade fun floats your metaphorical boat (on the waters of psyche and to the shores of kinaesthetic joy) then Cadshaw Small Quarry has oodles of sunny saunters, and it’s possible to climb all of them in less than 2min., if you have taken some sort of drug…
(Video made by Danny Mason. I just found it on youtube. I like it.)
That’s all for now. Merry Christmas one and all!