Sunday, 13 August 2017

In the shadow of Arthur Dolphin

It was under very sad circumstances that we headed South to England this last weekend to attend the funeral of Liz, a vibrant and amazing Yorkshire lass who sadly passed away at age 39. Her funeral was extremely emotive and poignant to the hundreds of people in attendance. She will not be forgotten that is for sure.

In the evening I headed over to the Lakes to stay with Shaw and Judith and after curry, beer, wine and a few whisky's a plan was hatched to head over to Yorkshire the following morning to get some climbing in.

The weather looked better in the East, but the decision was also partly formed because Shaw is seeking out Arthur Dolphin routes to climb, and has signed up to the complete Arthur Dolphin ticklish on UKC.

Ilkley Cow and Calf
Dolphin was born in 1925, sadly dying in the Alpes in 1953 aged 28. I didn't know much about him and what he accomplished in his short life, but I was aware that he completed the first ascent of Kipling Groove on Gimmer Crag, in my opinion the finest HVS there is (and I've climbed a few!).

Protest table (back left) and wedding party!

BBQ time
With a sore head we arrived at Ilkley, which was very busy, with a constant audience for the climbers,  a wedding party appeared in sports cars for wedding photo's, there was a anti bloodsports protest.... and at one point we joined a group of men from Bradford for a BBQ on top of the crag - quite a circus!

Being a Derbyshire lad I wasn't sure how these grit climbs would compare to the Peak, but wow the quality was amazing. As we moved around Ilkley climbing some of the Dolphin routes it quickly became apparent that he was quite an 'ard' climber putting up some fierce routes.

heel hook on Walewska!
Walewska (not a Dolphin route) is probably the best VS single pitch route in the UK that I have ever climbed. The 4 Dolphin routes we did, were also very high quality climbs (and a little green on a couple ;-)   ) with Beeline (HVS) and Somersault (VS) being particularly memorable (battles.....).

Shaw on Beeline - HVS
So now I'm a convert and have signed up to the compete Arthur Dolphin ticklish (probably isn't that sensible living in the highlands of Scotland)... maybe you should too..!?

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