So it has become a rather entertaining tradition over the past few years for Tony and myself to use new years eve as some vague excuse to go on an adventure, living in England means that these news years eve trips end up being pretty cold, wet and miserable, but thats all part of the adventure. 2 years ago we climbed Tryfan in North Wales in the driving rain and were home in time for the countdown, Last year Tony went for an icy cold surf whilst I hobbled down the beach on crutches to watch. This year we set our slightly deluded sights on the rolling peaks of dartmoor, a place famous for its tropical climate…
All started with our usual style, a late start due to a nice lie in! After packing what we thought was all of our gear we hit the road in Tonys car and headed west. After making the 3 hour drive with a brief healthy lunch stop at everyones favourite fast food house we made it onto the moors, and the sun was already going down! With no time to waste we organised some camera gear, my climbing shoes and some warm clothes and slowly wandered our way up the grassy hill to Hound tor.
I was glad to be back at crag having not climbed outdoors in well over a year. As tony set up his drone to get some aerial shots I slipped on my shoes and stared up at the familiar pile of rock that stood in front of me, blowing on my cold chalked hands in hopes of warming them to be able to feel the rounded holds on the wall. I started up the first route and felt calm and controlled as I move up the weaknesses in the rock, before I knew it I was stood atop the crag with a grin from ear to ear. After down climbing the rather polished chimney route I climbed 3 more pitches on the main face, included a pretty technical slab with I haven’t climbed before. With the flexibility of my right ankle still being pretty minimal I had to use some interesting footwork on the slab crux but felt fluid all the way up. I still am not quite sure whats going wrong in my head that causes me to be so nervous bouldering indoors but allows me to switch of those fears and free solo routes with a much higher risk factor. I think that a part of me knows that when I am soloing I’m not going to fall off, but when you climb above a boulder mat your brain knows thats there to fall of onto, And falling isn’t something that excites me that much still. Once I had had my fill of climbing and the light had faded too much to get any good footage we decided to head down to the car to cook dinner.
You remember when I said earlier that we had packed what we thought was all our gear. Well for a start we had forgotten matches for the cooker, and Tony had forgotten his sleeping bag. So after an impromptu trip to a local Tescos just outside of the national park we had all we needed for the night, except a comfy hotel bed!
After brewing up some hot chocolates, cooking some beans and drinking a couple of bottles of cider we thought it may be a good plan to sort out the bed for the night. This simply involved pilling all our possessions on the front seats and trying to fit a double airbed in to what can only be described as a boot that is just too small for a double airbed. Once our rather undulating mattress was in place we decided to to chill out in the car for a couple of hours and wait for nearer midnight to walk up the misty path to Haytor. The hours past by as we laid out in the back of the car chatting about past adventures and those to come, we also watched more and more like minded people arrive in the car park full of energy and good spirits to ring in the new year!
As midnight came closer we suited up in plenty of warm layers and waterproofs, we were not taking chances this time. A short walk up the hill followed by a pretty wet and slippy scramble up to the summit of Haytor and we were ready for 2017 to hit us with all its got! Having arrive got to the top a little early we sat and chatted as the clouds whipped past us, leaving visibility to just a few metres, but luckily for us the crowds of adventurous people on the hill had good time keeping and suddenly the countdown was upon us 5,4,3,2,1 and 2016 was over. Fireworks were lit, hands were high fived and prosecco was drunk.
2016 definitely didn’t have as many adventures as we had hoped for, but it sure was nice to see out the year with one last adventure, and to start 2017 off the way we will carry on!
Hope everyone is looking forward to 365 days of opportunities and adventures this year!
Roll on 2017!