Friday, 26 January 2007


One thing I love about a new project is the contacts I can make and this attempt should allow me to speak to some really interesting people. My first phone call had to be to Ken Wilson himself just to let him know what we are up to, and also to pick his brains about who had already done it and if anyone had been mad enough to attempt it all in one go.

I called Geoff Birtles first who I have met a few times and told him our news, he chuckled. After chatting for a bit about his classic photo in the book (page 188) on ´Right Unconquerable` he passed on Kens number and wished me good luck.

After sending more emails and faffing about I picked up the phone and dialed Kens number.
Guess what? he chuckled too. I think we spoke for about an hour and he was really nice, helpful and supportive. He gave me a long list of people to call, mostly the first ascentists and also Stephen Reid from Needlesports who is one of only 2 known people that have completed all the routes.

The chat turned to cricket and then moved onto bolted climbing and how it was a scourge on the sport, I knew it was time to say "thanks and goodnight".

Stephen Reid was really helpful and after picking his brains a little bit I left it that the boys can call him nearer the time for any beta. The link above is to the main Needlesports website and then go to Features down the left hand side.

I then decided to post my first thread on the UKClimbing forum the font of all knowledge and home for many a sad climber. My first post was asking about the route´ The Scoop` on Harris, I think I was asked " you ticking Hard Rock then" within the first 10 mins. You cant pull the wool over these guys eyes.

The Scoop at Sron Ulladal on the beautiful island of Harris was mentioned as having a locked gate so contact was needed to get more information. I had a really helpful email from the Land Manager Duncan MacPherson who has offered much needed help. The Island has a great website, take a look at some of the stunny scenery. I wish we had longer to explore, but as Rich rightly says " at least we will know where we want to go back to!" North Harris Trust .

Another problem was going to be Cheddar Gorge and we need to be able to climb Coronation Street. Access issues are listed here on the new BMC climbing crag site. Basically we/you can not climb in the Gorge during July and August or Bank Holidays.
So my first port of call was Martin Crocker. I fired off an email and Martin was quick to reply and arranged a meeting with Hugh Cornwell of Cheddar Caves & Gorge. When we asked for his consent to climb his reply was very encouraging. The conditions are that we are to climb on a Friday as that is the least busy day during school holidays. Also they need maximum notice which means we may have a start date and place - FRIDAY the 13th!