So, I’ve now been in Sheffield for basically 2 months. Yep, that seems slightly surreal to type, let alone think about. Life has been moving rather fast over the last 2 months and I have been rather poor in relaying my unsolicited thoughts and adventures on this here website. There has really been 2 major talking points of this last 8 weeks, reality check and climbing.
I’ll begin with the dour sounding topic of ‘reality check’ first, because that seems like the climactic thing to do.
I have began work as a supply teacher around the ‘burbs of Sheffield and have been really enjoying riding my bike up all the hills to get to the schools, which all seem to be on top of the hills… Though, as good as the morning commute has been for my legs, the work has been consistent and enjoyable. I have fallen in a 2 day a week permanent position at Watercliffe Meadow, teaching Prep and autistic nursery kids, which is a huge challenge, but incredible rewarding gig. Otherwise, the rest of the week is responding to schools that are in need, which there seems to be no shortage of! But if work is not there, just go climbing.
The joy of Sheffield is its close proximity to the Peak District. The climbing in the Peak is magnificent fun, with the aurora of the grit not lacking any of what was hoped, wacky grades, run outs and eliminates! I’ve slowly wrapped my head around the intricate british grading system, and can now confidently look at the guide and understand the likely hood of decking relative to the number of E it is, compared to the tech grade which tells me how hard it is… I think. I do miss the simplicity of a number grade and the longer pitches of home, but the grit holds fantastic movement, trust in footwork and a complete mental workout – which has improved my trad climbing game completely.
Climbing the well positioned Gargole Flake (Very Severe). Photo by David
Calling it a day on the Flying Butress, Stanage.
In the past 2 months I have also visited Fontainebleau in France, which lived up to all the hype, and then some! Staying in the free camp ground at Bouronne-Marlotte (please don’t ask me to pronounce it), with its spiffy amenities of a hole in the ground for a toilet and the occasionally working tap for water, I was surrounded by Germans of Freiburg over a 10 day stay in the Forest. Thankfully, 2 of the Germans were known to me, and we began our onslaught through the maze of thousands of boulders. I think I would have climbed over 200 problems during my visit, and would have fallen off 200 more, as is the nature of the climbing in Fontainebleau. It was a whirlwind trip, but a fantastic one, with already the idea of heading back beginning to grow in my head – maybe the cheese and wine has something to do with it?
On one of the most pretty and beautiful 6A’s I’ve ever done, Fontainebleau is amazing. (Photo by Gwen)