100 climbs in a day – 2nd year failing

Failing to climb 100 climbs in a day is becoming an annul event

This year on 26/Sep made it to 54 (down on last years 63)

Started at Burbage and made our way along edge then climbed a bit at Stanage.

First climb: Endste

Last climb: Black Chimney

Exhausting and massively midge-tastic but fun all the same.

Maybe next year we’ll make it to 100.


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kids and adventures getting bigger

— This post was going to contain a bunch more stuff that happened last year but I never got round to writing it so thinking it is better to publish it as is then not at all, especially as new adventures are getting ready to happen this year —

So times flies and I realised that my last blog post was over one year ago, since then outside of work teaching at Manchester and Sheffield Universities, the kids have taken up most of my time but I have managed to have some adventures without them as well. I don’t have time to write everything up properly so what follows is more a series of galleries of photos, but a picture tells a thousand words and all that.

Hanging in the park with the kids:

Not always as relaxed as the pictures make out but a great time all the same, I it great that the weather is starting to get warm enough that we can soon hang in the park all day once more.


Freda’s first outdoor rock climb

Outdoors with Freda for the first time at Windgather in the Peaks.


Other non-family adventures for me

Attempted to climb 100 easy climbs (up to VDiff) in a day: actually only managed 65 but happy with that. Feet hurt like hell by the end. Need to buy more comfy rock boots.

Climbed my first multipitch: Pulpit Route/Ivy Chimney. lead 2 pitches. Coming out the top of the the chimney, through hole and over the top felt terrifying and it started to rain.

Both events with Tom Butlin.




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adventure and its norms

The theory:

2013-11-17 14.53.30Over at :{theory → praxis → theory}: – a reading group including many of the prambling ʞrew – we have been chewing on Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle. One of its prominent ideas is that the apparent value of things/practices is determined by the needs of the economic system rather than their actual usefulness for us. Well maybe, but maybe there is some wiggle room; room to create our own values by playing our own games.

I guess I’d like to see these little experiments, detailed below, in getting all the family out on embryonic adventures as part of the tradition of breaking with the norms of toil & consume; a tradition that has a long and venerable history i.e. I’d like to see walking/climbing as a kind of counter-spectacle.

The following song sums the thought up better than I can: “I may be a wage slave on Monday, but I am a freeman on Sunday

[note: the counter-argument {that the desire for countryside escape is, and has always been, part and parcel of oiling of the system} is also worth pondering]

The practice:

Prambling no. 4 – Stanage plantation

Breaking the wonderful run of super sunny days out, the brooding weather looked like it could go either way. In the end, though black black clouds threatened, the rain held off. We slightly (by which I mean massively) misjudged the steepness of the terrain  and ended up carrying the buggy up a ridiculously step track – but in the end Sol didn’t even sleep in it! Still there where great views at the top.

Prambling no. 5 – Dovestone reservoir 

After deciding to go clockwise round the lake, leaving the bouldering for the end of the walk, we found a great step little slope that Tom lead the kids up Rattenfänger von Hameln styley. When we reached where we thought the boulders would be we couldn’t find them … but then we did.

Prambling no. 6 – Return to Trowbarrow Quarry

Quite a bit colder (i.e. a LOT) than when we came last time. Little Sol not been sleeping well so quite a push – by which I mean a HUMUNGOUS push – to get out. Kids wrapped up well against the cold, cobwebs blown and great to see Lindsey and Alex and kids who joined for their first pramble.

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Some excuses but mainly some Prambling

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Stomping down Green Drive

Excuse one:

The problem with being slack about blogging (a failing many initially enthusiastic bloggers seem doomed to succumb to) is that the things which you think/hope might be worth a write up start to mount up.

The planned task of actually getting it all down on electronic paper thus becomes more onerous. Which tends to make you put it off for longer. More things mount up. It becomes even more onerous. You put it further off … etc. etc.

Excuse two:

My life is crazy busy: A PhD nailbitingly close to submission (which I also fail to blog about, over in my other world @ pluralsubject.wordpress.com) and two mad little humans, one of whom is not all that fond of sleep.


Absolution done with & least the loop of stuffincreasing/stuffputtingoff spin any more out of control, let me get on with getting down to what’s been on adventurewise. [Edit: post writing this bit, I did succumb to more letting it slide; despite determination to write this post before prambling no. 3, prambling no.4 is now only a few days away!]

The meat and bones:

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Freda, Misha and Seren on tiny baby boulder

In the ongoing effort to pull a synthesis out of the kids/ADVENTURE ↔ thesis/antithesis, most of my adventuring has been of the prambling sort.

As you all no doubt know to pramble (prmbl) is to:

engage in family friendly stomping; usually in the countryside; always with minor diversions from the path offering chances for ADVENTURE.

Prambling no. 1

So this day almost turned to disaster; I nearly lost the plot over one car key lost in house & the other ceasing to work. Thankfully the ever fox like Kim saved the day by using her cunning to buying a new battery.

Sadly, whilst keen adventure beans Val, Andy & lil’ Seren successfully weathered my mini break down, it nudged Kim’s less interested in the wilderness sister, and her entirely uninterested boyf/now spouse Aigar, towards heading on their long drive home a little early. We will tempt them to pramble one day!

Frank climbing rock

Frank climbing rock, from the olden days

Anyway, it was a beautiful sunny day and we headed out on the windy road to Burbage edge. Somewhere that I first visited with cos’ Frank, Fionia and their crew.

This time we got there late (post key fiasco) and the rest of theʍǝɹʞ ƃuıqɯılʞ had picnic under the actually unwoobly boulder problem that goes by the name of Wooble Rock.

From there we set off down the big wide track, that is suitable for push chairs, though a bit of a pain by the middle bit where it gets a tad rocky-er if they don’t have big wheels (as Justyna and Piotrec’ and found out, and Kate to a lesser extent) After a fun stomp down the hill (see pic at top of the page) we then had a bit of trouble finding boulders from the guide book but eventually came across the Burbage South Boulders, finding the first one ‘The Brick‘ (by asking someone) and then orientated to find rest.

All brilliant fun, though I was brought crashing down to earth by the difficulty of transition from indoor positive plastic to outdoor rounded peak grit! From indoors being able to do V4 problems to struggling on a what the guidebook said where V0s!

The kids, well the older ones at any rate, had a great time gullying in-between small rocks and (with help) getting on top of some big ones as well. The babies where largely oblivious to their beautiful surroundings (but I expect subconsciously absorbing it).

Prambling no. 2

A bit of a drive was needed for the second Prambing outing, thus time up in the Lakes but I was determined not to be late. In the end after missing the motorway exit and then driving to slightly the wrong place, I was late again. C’est la vie.

Once we arrived and stomped up the approach path we found that the scenery at Trowbarrow was once again superb, the weather looked a bit ropey at first as we where surrounded by slightly drizzly fog but the sun fought back and shone through, leading to a very sunny afternoon.

What with chasing the kids about, I didn’t actually get that much climbing in but did try seconding up a trad route, led by Carl. Struggled mightley just before the first crux couldn’t get gear out, used up all my energy (that’s my excuse anyway!) and had to rest on the rope a few times to make it up. After me and Tom had not quite made it, the valiant Piotric romped up and saved all the gear (you can see him looking small on the big slab of rock in the pic below).

Prambling no. 3

A bit closer to home this time, out in the Peaks @ Windgather. The sunny weather motif played on for this beautiful spot, known for a sometimes ill wind. In fact, the day was some relief from the mini heatwave we’ve been having in Manchester as there was a nicely refreshing breeze to take the edge off the crazy sun – which coupled with some shade tents made it just about work for the kids.

Freda got super enthusiastic about this being an activity called ‘rock climbing’ (and has been shouting ‘rock climbing’ every time she sees a piece of rock or someone climbing anything since).

Highlght of the day was that I did my first trad lead! Corner Crack. Under the über competent tutelage of Justyna I breezed up. It was an easy climb, one I wouldn’t have felt worried about soloing, but nonetheless placed two pieces of gear and got the trad ball rolling. While the climb wasn’t stress full I found remembering how to set up the belay point at the top a lot harder than the actual climb.

All fun fun fun. Looking forward to the next pramble in two days (Sunday). Hopping for more good weather. Its looking a bit more knife edge this time.

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p.s. in case you where wondering, it turned out the lost key that we turned the house upside down looking for was behind the sofa all along.

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Forward towards a prambling future

In the last post I said that I was counting down to the explosion of new life … well … 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 …. 1 … BOOOOM!!

SOLOMON ELI SEMBATYA is now very much a reality.

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But (I hear you cry with faux angst) this isn’t supposed to be a blog about babies: what’s been going down ADVENTURE wise?

Answer = yes you guessed it; the most full on pursuit I have been wrestling with recently is just trying to achieve cogent thought beyond the basest base level at any point in the day. All power to my partner Kim she is facing all the hardcore barely-any-sleep and constant-demanding-ball-of-want hard stuff with amazing strength and fortitude.

gettingpastitshoesI have managed to do a lil’ bit of climbing indoors, mostly @ Awesome Walls in Stockport with Tom. We are pushing hard (or at least a bit hard) at our overhanging skills; a weakness for both of us. I blame my well worn nontechnical rock shoes – but Tom (perhaps more wisely) thinks we need to work on our technique.

Pleased to say that new recruits to the ʍǝɹʞ ƃuıqɯılʞ cult, Val and Andy, seem to be getting nice and hooked. My evil plan is to utilise their having a kid same age as Freda as a cantilever to support bringing into existence a European climbing mega adventure holiday @ some future point.

We did manage to escape the confines of the indoor environment on one occasion – though not quite to escape the confines of our urban landscape; crimping our way up the side of an old stone building in Manchester suburb – kids in tow.

Talking about kids being in tow: the next thing in the pipeline is me plan to go prambling. For those not up to speed prambling is defined (so far manly just by me) as:

A family friendly stomp in the countryside with minor diversions from the – ideally big wheeled buggy friendly – path offering chances for scrambling/bouldering/climbing/unspecified-ADVENTURE.

2013-04-27 12.32.09Planing has so far involved: breaking my Facebook productivity-enhancing self-ban to pan for ideas amongst the krew, buying book All terrain pushchair walks: The Peak District & the website behind that book www.pushchairwalks.co.uk for some inspiration.

The book, though it does contain some nice looking ambles suitable for prams, or at least suitable for ATBs (All Terrain Buggies don’t you know – i.e. ones with big phat wheels), doesn’t have any walks that I could identify as easily linked to ADVENTURE deviations – at least not climbing deviations.

After much roooomination decided upon, imageCarl’s suggestion, Burbage as location for our romantic (in the revolt-against-the-rationalization-of-nature sense of the word) escapade. I went top-roping there a couple of years back with cousin Frank, and his krew, and it has great epic aesthetic. It appears to be a safe bet for a route that would be buggy friendly, though I think after all me and Kim will put the kids in carriers because Sol = prob too young for to much bouncing (in pushchair) on uneven ground (the website above recommends no rough ground before 4 months) and also looks to have some very good bouldering.

The bouldering guide book I recently bought and have been pouring over (in the same way busy gluttons, who haven’t time for baking, spend ages reading cake porn) – Peak District Bouldering – says:

“A climber who is tired of Burbage is a climber who is tired of climbing”

So that sounds good.

Plotted walk on google earth and it appears to be an easily do-able 2&half miles. Part of the route – Green Drive; the former private drive of the Duke of Rutland – is listed in a Peak District leaflet as even being wheelchair accessible (http://www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk/sites/default/files/Your%20Welcome%20Booklet.pdf)

burbage pramble route


p.s. other news, of little note, is that I have changed the name of this blog from NotWalkingNotEvilJoe to NotRestingJoe.

Simple reason: the original name came about because this started off as a page to blog about my training for a marathon (hence the ‘not walking‘ bit – though unfortunately I did end up walking a bit on the day after going doolaley with hypothermia – see: the end that’s been and gone) – but now this is meant to be a *general* ADVENTURE blog – if I ever get round to having some proba adventures –  it seems unfair to rule out the possibility of a walking ADVENTURE – say walking across the desert of such like.

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On plans for Prambling and getting back on the bike

ImageHmmm… still failing to blog any blogs on this blog … as I said last time Life Gets In The Way (with the caveat that life is a massive adventure in its glorious entirety and all that)

So what have I got to blog about?

Well, not been doing a huge amount of adventurous things. Mainly counting down for the explosion of new life (and new levels of exhaustion) that will be baby number two – ETA = only a week away!

I did have a day walking up a snowy hill in Snowdonia planed with my regular climbing companion Tom (up Moel Siabod) but alas Freda was ill so it didn’t happen.

Have introduced a couple more friends to climbing and at least one of them seems to be catching the bug & (double bonus points) they have little kid same age as Freda – fingers crossed this might help set things up for big group toddler/baby friendly adventures in the Peak District this summer. One idea being the newly coined (from our collective minds while we was zipping up the indoor walls @ Awesome walls in Stockport):


Prambling – i.e. pushchair (with big wheels) friendly walks with minor diversions from path offering chances for scrambling/bouldering. If we dream it, it will happen!

In other news: the following a some stuff I wrote a bit ago and then forgot to post up on to the blog (a cardinal sin no less) about getting back on me bike.

Not quite adventure but defiantly exertion

My poor neglected bike, that was left outside in the rain @ our last house (for want of indoor space) now has a nice dry accommodation @ our new place – in the shed. To celebrate this, and to restore the bikes purpose in life I resolved to start using it again (after a loooooong hiatus)Image

Today = second day of commuting Manchester Uni to library – where I have been engaged in the heroically unadventurous (or at least heroically unADVENTURous but that is not to say unherculean) task of trying to finish writing my thesis – it makes sense as bus costs £3.90! And Car is bad as – even if it wasn’t environmentally bad – I have to park 15 mins walk away.

I don’t seem to be all that good at cycling – or at least not as good as I remember. Today was easier than last time – thanks to 1) pumped the tiers up a bit more & 2) thought about getting in the right gears a bit more. But it was freezing cold! Why have I chosen to start cycling again in the depths of winter?

The eventual plan is to one of those baby seat things so I can take Freda to nursery on it (though maybe if its raining I’ll still use the car) – there seem to be a number of different options so tips = appreciated.

Though I’m not doing much real exercise at the moment (just climbing once a week, no running) I think my general fitness levels = good but think I need to improve my cycle fitness & probably work on more efficient cycling (though I don’t think I’ll go down the whole full lycra hardcore route) – had one tip off of kindly soul on twitter to raise my seat higher – more appreciated.

All this cycling talk reminds me of a past proper ADVENTURE adventure – going out mountin biking in the Wicklow Mountains with my old skhool krew associate Jack and assorted others – that really was exhilarating. Jack & his partner Marie recently also went down the old adventure killing [edit: though see caveat above] baby path so I don’t know how much biking he is doing now but I’d really like to get back out there and try it again some time.

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Life gets in the way


I’m sitting in bed with a sore throat, dreaming of ADVENTURE – ADVENTURE would be great – life gets in the way.

Of course [cliché] all of life is an adventure in it’s own way [/cliché], particularly bringing up lil’ Freda – currently pushing 1 & ½.

Rather than write another post dwelling on the fact that I’ve not done all that much ADVENTURING, or dwelling on that fact that any mini ADVENTURES I have had have remained unblogged (e.g. there is a ½ finished post sitting in the draft box of this blog about the one trip out sport lead climbing I managed this wet wet summer), I thought I just write a brief ramble on life as an adventure.

The wildness of nurturing a toddler isn’t just the battling through her tantrums – it’s the marvelling at the wide eyed fascination with which she takes in the world.

Flipping the perspective: note that for Freda a flight of stairs is a mountain ridge, a stairgate is an uncrossable barrier (though always worth testing). Not only is the park and it’s slides & swings her wild place, even the urban tarmaced streets, which lead to that park, is a guided safari.

As for Freda & the proper outdoors: We’ve done a few walks in the Peaks, powered by my legs with her sitting pretty in a carrier on my back. We even reached the top of a reasonably high hill summit near Ladybower reservoir. I’m not sure what she made of it. I wonder how the rural landscape will meet her wide eyes once they have tamed her domestic urban locale?

I hope there are many ADVENTURES to come & I know that there are many adventures to come (lower case not meaning that they will be any the less epic)



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