A lot of people are ‘climbing the walls’  with all these Covid19 isolation rules. I feel particular sympathy for those families living in cramped accommodation with maybe no open space to relax in. Having a garden is a great advantage, I’m blessed with mine.

Following my successful backpacking trip at Easter, I thought it was time for a bit of climbing particularly as the weather has been so good the rock will be in excellent condition. I’m lucky in having Craig Y Longridge just up the road and normally go bouldering there most days when I’m fit. It is a unique venue with over 300ft of overhanging rock in the main up to about 15 – 20 ft high.  There are over a hundred problems and many more variations to play on until your strength gives out. As everywhere else, due to the coronavirus, climbing is banned for the foreseeable future.  Social distancing is difficult and any accident there would place even more burden on our emergency services.

Craig Y Longridge on a rather poor day but you get the idea of how steep it is.

Better weather – struggling climber. Oct 2018.

Not to be deterred I’ve some walls at home. The walls of my stone-built house offer edges which replicate the holds found on natural gritstone. Most of the walls now have plants and shrubs close or growing up them. However, the sidewall adjacent to my drive is free to explore after a little trimming of the honeysuckle on the corner.

So out comes the bouldering mat and I catch the morning sun. There are several variations up this bit of wall and one can make it as easy or hard as necessary. To be honest I’ve done so much gardening these last weeks that my dodgy shoulder is playing up so I have to go careful. Still, it is good fun and gives me some exercise every morning. Note the right foot on the window ledge is cheating.

The bouldering mat below me should ensure that I don’t twist an ankle or worse and end up in casualty, I’m not actually getting far off the ground as you can see. I do get some funny looks from passers-by.


After a few weeks I should have worked out lots of ways up this bit of wall and may have to start on the other side of the house but that would require some extensive ‘gardening’ to remove the shrubs.

So yet more simple diversions to help pass the days and keep fit at the same time bringing some normality into my life.


PS. The news today is that Joe Brown the famous working-class Manchester climber has died, aged 89. He was a climbing legend and many of you will have heard of him.

Joe was a true pioneer of rock climbing particularly active in the 1950s and 1960s when he pushed standards. His ascents were as varied in style as they were in location and ranged from the gritstone outcrops of the Peak District, the mountains of Britain to 8000m peaks in the Himalaya. He achieved TV fame with live outside broadcasts and earned the nickname ‘the human fly‘.  The personality and talent he possessed only come along every few generations or so.

18 thoughts on “CLIMBING THE WALLS.


    Bravo! There must be different forms of motivation. It was only the other day you were telling me about your reluctance to go up a ladder. I am much relieved to have the excuse that the pebbledash on my house doesn’t lend itself to such escapades. I have been trogging round the Knott and have now completed 25 daily sets of 10 x stair ascents. I may be just imagining it but I seem to find myself descending some of the steep rocky paths with much more confidence and agility than I have had for some time.

    I was also sad to hear of Joe Brown’s passing. Also the other day, Stirling Moss. Both out and out legends that I have respected for more than fifty years.

    1. bowlandclimber

      I might have fallen from the ladder at a much greater height without a bouldering mat.
      That’s interesting about the steep descents, the balance part of your brain may be improving with all that high altitude stair climbing and descending.

  2. 5000milewalk

    Love the picture of climbing up the wall… fantastic! I live on the sixth floor of a modern apartment building now, so don’t think it would be a good idea to attempt something like that!
    Besides, I’m not so good with heights!

    1. bowlandclimber

      Yes I came into climbing just after Joe Brown’s era but he was always a hero. I still have a classic Brown’s Climbing helmet, as you may well know he went into equipment retail later in life.
      My friend and I had one summer going round the Peak District trying to climb Brown and Whillans routes, we got our a***s kicked more than once.
      History indeed.

    1. bowlandclimber

      I’m avoiding going into the village so anything that enlivens the day at home is a bonus. My street is a favourite walking route at the moment so I’m under close scrutiny.


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