Friday, 22 April 2011


Hey everyone welcome to my first blog! I'm still in Spain right now with just over a week and a half to go out of my 5 week adventure! It´s been great fun despite taking a while to build up my confidence on rock (especially difficult with two pulley injuries!) but now I am really getting into the style of climbing here in Siurana and have started clipping some chains!

We started off in Santa Linya (Catalonia) where we spent a week climbing at crags such as Tres Ponts, Terradets and Santa Ana. Unfortunately I did not get the chance to climb at the famous Santa Linya cave but hopefully I´ll get the chance next trip! The first week I focussed mainly on building confidence on rock by doing easy mileage and enjoying the sun and amazing landscape that the region had to offer! Highlight of the stay has to be the "coca" (traditional thin Catalonian pizza-type bread) that Lynne and I made, despite the boys claiming that our "mistake" - the first bread we made which came out too thick - tasted nicer :(

Now I am in Siurana with the rest of the Ratho crew who are still out here - Robbie, Mgeek, Gary, Calum, Mark and Ross.  Life at the Siurana campsite is both relaxing but exciting at the same time - every day we can look forward to yet more fantastic climbing on a wide variety of routes, and at the end of the day chill out with the other campers in the communal cooking room or at the bar. We have managed to cook some "interesting" meals to say the least - the best(worst) being the obscenely dry chicken, onion and rice dish on the first night! To be fair, we desperately needed a supermarket trip and did the best we could! We still look at the German campers in envy as they put chicken, sausages and steaks on the barbeque and we have to settle for the usual staple of chickpeas, lentils and vegetables...

Despite our lack of gourmet meals, the climbing has certainly wet our appetite! The first few days were spent checking out crags for the kids who were taking part in the MCofS Coaching Week and working on our suntans - a great opportunity for us to get a feel for the technical nature of Siurana´s routes. After being inspired by the youngsters involved in the coaching holiday, we fitted in a few evening sessions after the day´s work where some serious chain-clippage went down - Robbie has now ticked 3 8b´s in the valley and has some other projects on the go - watch this space! Gaz ticked an 8a and 8a+, Mgeek completed an 8a and yesterday I sent my hardest redpoint grade so far - a 7c+ called Outback. I was so happy to have acheived this grade, especially with all the mental barriers that finger injuries have caused me to experience. In fact I was so concentrated and determined to complete it that I told Robbie to "shut up!" and stop encouraging me as I composed myself before a tricky top move...I didn´t mean it, honest! :P Through collecting mileage of routes from 7a - 7b+ I finally felt as though harder routes were a possibility for me I am now looking forward to trying some 8a´s and maybe a couple of 8b´s before we leave on the 4th May, as well as maybe taking a few trips to Margalef to pull on some pockets and steep roofs (although today on a rainy rest day we attempted to have a look around and got lost - mission unsuccessful!)

I have also become slightly addicted to thanks to Robbie, and have finally made myself a scorecard! I hope I can add some more high quality routes to the list over the next week and a bit, but for now it´s time for some food and our nightly dose of Father Ted...

Hasta la vista!

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