Over half way there…..thank fuck cos if you’ve not gone already, i’m about to. However i’ve started this little thing so i may as well finish it.
Third on a list that carries no significant weight or authority comes, in my humble opinion, one of the best crags in Scotland……Bowden Doors (unfortunately i am obliged to ruin the joke, such as it was anyway, to say that i am fully aware that Bowden Doors isn’t in Scotland, so if you didn’t get the joke initially….maybe you’ve got it now? If not i recommend reading the hungry caterpillar instead of just looking at the pictures).
I stand by my statement that it never rains in Northumberland…ever. Every single time that i’ve been to ‘The County’, as they (up there) insist on calling it, there’s been nothing but bright blue skies, bright yellow sunshine and candyfloss growing on big money trees with happy elves dancing around waving at eachother from their magical pumpkin chariots whilst singing along to the endless Michael Jackson (King of Pop) tracks blaring out of daffodill speakers…..etc. Truthfully though, it never rains. It’s also never too hot, the conditions when i’ve been…and i’ve been quite a lot…are always excellent for climbing, good friction, dry and with a decent breeze.
The style is very similar to gritstone in the sense that you may as well solo the routes cos they’re pretty small and the climbing style is very specific….unlike gritstone the locals don’t whine on about how great it is, and how much better it is than any where else (that’s left to dick’s like me). They know it’s awesome and then just quietly go on with enjoying it. Simples.
If you rock up to Bowden with a couple of pads and some big friends (the hairy type not the springy type) you’ll be sorted. Of course you could stick a rope on a trad climb – like this sorry pair below – but when you get to the top with over half your gear left you’ll soon realise the folly.
There’s excellent micro-routes of all shapes and sizes with the uber-classic Child’s Play (a gift at E1 and 6a!), His Eminence (which is definitely not over till it’s over and you’re safely back in your car), Y-Front (proper HVS!!) and of course Dog Eat Dog (the hardest 6a in the world??). The place is so good even the hardcore elite go there….check out all the shit Moonie put up….he even chucks his toys out the pram on Stick It when he can’t do one for ages….hero! Convinced yet?? Flat landings (great for those freestyle falling competitions – as above), perfect weather, routes that are high enough to induce the perky’s but small enough to be safe-ish with pads, no fannying about with ropes and, on a weekday, deserted! Also it never rains. Wunderbar (pic below – okay it’s good, but is it THAT good??!)