the adventure continues:- accountability, process and focus always reduce the fear…..

Well it was not such a good day for me. Climbing was a very tedious thing today. We have all had days where we feel anxious on route or we are scared of falling. It was that day for me and I have not felt like this for a long while. I have been on this trip for about five days now and the three days I have climbed, I have felt very anxious and insecure about my ability.

If I stop and think about it for a little while and really assess the situation clearly and without judgement, I come up with the following rational:

  1. I have a good skill set.
  2. I understand the risks involved and take accountability for my actions
  3. I have good focus and process
  4. I know when I am at my limit and am happy to push through this.
  5. I commit.

At this moment I am full of self-doubt and fear. This is not my normal way and I am hard on myself when I am like this; I am very hard on myself anyway.

Today I did not trust myself and my skill set to get me through the routes I was climbing. I did four easy routes as my anxiety was a little high this morning and I thought, just go have fun! There are certain things that cause us disappointment but the big one is our own expectations and living up to them. Before I even arrived I had resigned myself to a few days of easy climbing just to get into the swing of things. This I feel is what has thwarted me to this point.

I realise that I need to simply do what I do……….and that is not to take it easy, it’s just not how I do things. I have to be honest and say that it also gives me an excuse to not perform and excel at what I do. Knowing this and owning it are two very separate things and there is only one way to deal with it. Don’t get angry, don’t get intense, don’t get super serious…………just simply get ready to have fun and commit.

Pick a project for the next climbing day and go through the following in your mind.

  1. Visualise the route in your head. If you have looked at it before, try and remember the type of holds.
  2. Visualise yourself beginning to climb the route.
  3. Be honest about your ability climb through the crux and visualise the clean movement required.
  4. Assess the risks involved with climbing your project.
  5. Assess what you want to communicate to your belayer.
  6. Commit to yourself and to completing your project.

I would like to thank some people for the support throughout the day both at the crag and at home (as such). Thanks K for your absolute commitment to hearing my woes and being so incredibly positive and keeping the faith. Vincent for a great belay and vote of confidence and Tracey for her continued support and understanding. You are seriously “Good Humans”.

Climb hard, laugh lots and have fun 🙂

Advertisements

the adventure continues:- Geyikbayırı and Kezban’s are home for the next two weeks…………

As the rain comes down here in Geyikbayırı I sit here in Kezban’s Guest House and look up at the amazing array of routes that are literally 100 metres from the main dining room. This place is a mecca of limestone sportiness and stunning views. The mountains behind the guesthouse are simply beautiful to stare at while you sit on the rope trying to figure out your next moves and what you need to do to get up the route you are pursuing.

IMG_6107

The camp site is a field of pomegranate trees with fruit in various stages of decay as the birds attack and eat the fruit for the incredibly sweet cargo. The leaves are starting to change colour and the winter is coming as the nights grow colder as the days pass by on this, my first Turkish adventure.

IMG_6153

I arrived on Saturday around midnight feeling absolutely shattered and needed a day of rest straight up as travel days always manage to wipe me out. So I unpacked and went to bed and slept badly for about five hours. I think there was a little bit of anxiousness as I am only 600 kms from the Syrian border and lets be brutally honest; there is a lot of shit going on over here on a daily basis.

I decided to go for a wander around and scope out one of the climbing sectors that I could see from the river. The landscape is beautiful and rich with colour and the water looks very cold indeed.

IMG_6093

IMG_6092

IMG_6104

The rock formations are very unique. It looks like Kalymnos and its the same sort of rock, but it just feels so so different. The routes look stunning and they are long and some are very steep. This I acknowledge to myself is the inspiring part.

IMG_6109

IMG_6103

Tracey, Vincent, Anita and I climbed the next two days at Trebenna West, Trebenna West Extension and Sarkit. I was nice to be on rock again after such a long absence and I could feel my nervousness creeping up on my as I was on new ground and had different belayers. It does take time to build that trust you have with your regular partners and to get comfortable with the new feel of the rock. Not to worry, it’ll be ok in a few days time and I’ll be trying super hard yet again 🙂

IMG_6115

Technology has been a god send as I have been able to communicate well with my darling lady Karine and also stay in touch with my family. They are a little concerned about the political stability of the area, but they know I will get out if things go pear-shaped. I will run out if I have to.

IMG_6151

So on a lighter note, I have this very cute little bungalow as my home for my time here. its very cozy and peaceful and its just what I need right now. Its great to hide away in from the rain and the resting masses that fill the mess hall with watching movies without headphones and others music clashing altogether. I don’t cope well with that when I am tired LOL.

IMG_6082

I’d say from the way it is raining here right now that we might not be getting out climbing tomorrow either as the rain has really settle in and is very consistent. It is very cool and a little breezy right now.

Also, on the flight over I finally admitted to myself that I will need to get some reading glasses…….so pissed about this as the signs of age finally start to set in. I am not old, I just cant see the words on the page as clearly as I used to.

the adventure continues:- when the weather is shite…..train hard……right?!?!?!

As I prepare for the next trip into the mountains I have to say I would have like to have at least climbed outdoors once in Ireland. This unfortunately has not been an option as part of the last two to three weeks here. The weather has turned from beautiful cool days to windy, icy and wet everyday thanks to cyclone Barney. This abrasive weather front has caused me to rethink what I will do.

I decided to train a little harder and try something a little different. So off I went to Awesome Wall Dublin to test out my theories and concepts about getting fit quick. I already have a high level of base fitness and this approach would hopefully be icing on the cake.

IMG_6071

Here is the concept: Gain endurance, strength, work on technique (always) and learn to climb pumped senseless.

Week One and two: One day on, one day off (four days of training over 7 days) On rest days train core and stretch i.e. yoga or pilates.

Warm up on auto belay with 4 laps at 4 or 5 grades under your onsight grade, rest for 4 minutes and then 4 laps at 2 or 3 grades under your onsight grade, rest for 4 minutes and then 4 laps at your onsight grade and repeat the last set.

Week three: One day on, one day off (four days of training over 7 days) On rest days train core and stretch i.e. yoga or pilates.

Warm up on the auto belay with 4 laps at 4 or 5 grades under your onsight grade, rest for 4 minutes and then 4 laps at 1 or 2 grades under your onsight grade…….goal get very warm, a little pumped and add a level of endurance to boot.

Hit the bouldering walls and do 5×5’s. Select 5 problems at your onsight grade and do all of them once, then rest for 5 minutes. repeat this four more times. Once finished rest for ten minutes and find two or three projects one grade above your onsight. Climb them until you send them clean (or collapse from trying). When this fatigued I found I could still climb hard……..it was a great surprise. 🙂

IMG_6009

I have been doing this for almost three weeks now and am feeling fit, strong and ready for my next climbing trip. I will let you  all know if my methodology was successful once I return from my trip.

I hope this training method a bit interesting at least. If you like it let me know, if you don’t let me know anyways 🙂

 

the adventure continues:- Dublin Bay reveals unique treasures…..

I decided today to go for a walk around Dublin Bay. I was in need of some exercise on my “active” rest day and thought a walk would do the job. Not knowing what this walk entailed I set off to that start of the walk, on Dublin Bay beach.

IMG_6028

As I walked across the road and looked out to the headland I remembered Lottie telling me about the lighthouse and and how far the tide goes out in this place. The tide moves extremely fast in these waters and if you were a little unawares you  could get caught out there if you decided to walk across the sand.

IMG_6038

IMG_6033

IMG_6036

I decided to walk the path and stay well away from the water……LOL. Heading out and around the headland I saw the lighthouse off in the distance and thought “thats not that far, I’ll head out there and have a look”. As I walked I began to notice it wasn’t getting any closer and thats when I realised the lighthouse was in fact about 3kms from where the start of the walk was………oh well keep going Craig!

IMG_6046

IMG_6032

Along the way there were some wonderful moments and some very cool history that would sort of go unnoticed if you were just aimlessly wandering. I hope you enjoy the photos. They have been posted on Facebook, but I much prefer the quality here on the blog.

IMG_6039

IMG_6042

It was a great way to clear my head and see one of the local attractions in such a different light, both metaphorically and literally. 🙂

IMG_6047

the adventure continues:- Our last day on the Wild Atlantic Way……….The Burren.

It was a distinct advantage being back at Salthill as the rain tumbled down outside as we ate our breakfast and discussed today’s plan. Karine is so relaxed about where she wants to go, but when she knows she just lets me know very easily and we just get on with it. I suggested we head south for the day and then come back to Salthill again for an easy escape tomorrow morning back to Dublin so we could go climbing in the gym together; Karine’s idea……not mine. I didn’t fight her on it though. 🙂

As we headed south the weather decided to clear up and we smiled at each other cheerfully saying “can you believe how lucky we are?” Apparently this is the best weather in years in November. So we are going to soak it up and enjoy the ride. Our first real stop was Dungaurie Castle. This beautiful castle is on the outskirts of Kinvara and is the centre piece of a vista that is just absolutely impressive. The village itself is quaint and colourful with a harbour that should be in a Luc Besson film (check him out, he makes great flicks).

IMG_5953

We had lunch in the Strawberry Hedgehog Cafe in Kinvara and the food was a delight and the ambience was divine. We wandered around the harbour together just staring at the most beautiful things. Old fishing boats, yachts, the landscape and even some dingy dinghies that should have been removed as trash. The buildings were beautifully painted and the place was amazing. Well worth a visit and a meal.

IMG_5955

IMG_5962

IMG_5963

IMG_5966

Travelling further south we started to notice the hills were turning grey and getting a little strange looking. This was the Burren. The geological formations are just so incredibly unique. I have never seen anything like them. Large masses of granite that looks like its been sliced up like brownies in a tray. I saw a sign that said “Chocolatier” and that was it, we were off to the chocolate makers for a quick sample of some amazing truffles made on the premises from scratch.

IMG_5967

Stopping for chocolate was a great idea, as we spotted the ruins of an old abbey. The name escapes me now but the foundation stone was dated 1133 or something similar. How do you describe something thats nearly a thousand years old and looks like just another grey building in the granite landscape of the Burren. We walked around the grounds and inside the ruins for about twenty minutes photographing old headstones and the sky made a superb backdrop for the gothic vibe of the place.

IMG_5972

IMG_5976

IMG_5978

IMG_5979

Heading back to the coast a hiking trail sign appeared and we thought what the hell, lets do another hike. Not as far this time but the view was great and the wind was a cutting westerly as the sun began to sink low in the sky. We walked for about three kilometres in total but it was such a wonderful thing to do together and a great way to finish the day before heading back to Salthill.

IMG_5985

IMG_5993

IMG_5996

We decided to share a meal and a bottle of Pinot Grigio and head up to watch a movie. That would have been great if we had stayed awake to watch it. We were both out like a light before the movie was ten minutes in. We woke at 11pm and headed down to the bar for a night cap and then back up to sleep. This is the way to spend your days when its cold and wet outside.

I would like to say “un grande merci beaucoup” to Karine for coming over and doing this trip with me, it made it a truly wonderful experience and we are already planning our next adventure………….stay tuned 🙂

the adventure continues:- the Connemara Loop continuum, Diamond Hill and Clifden is calling…………..

Sitting watching the sunset at Kylemore Abbey by the loch was just stunning. The cloud cover was ominous and the blue peering through created this amazing colour sky. It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful this planet really is. The further you go, the further you want to go as the amazement continues. Sitting here in the cool dusk I ponder this thought and begin to speculate whats next on this fabulous journey.

IMG_5925

Dinner at Guy’s Bar in Clifden was great to say the least. Traditional hearty food with a sensational French red in a little booth. We talked about the day and what we wanted to do tomorrow, laughed and spoke French as much a possible with my very limited vocabulary. I have decided it is a good thing to learn another language and now the motivation is high 🙂

We were staying at a little B&B just a few minutes out of town called All the Twos. Maureen was truly lovely, the rooms are large and very reasonably priced. The beds are soooooo good, you could sleep for days.

IMG_5927

Breakfast the next morning was a huge affair with Karine and I both eating very large portions of porridge and then a full hot english breakfast each. We double checked our plans and we were off. We headed straight back up through Letterfrack and stopped at the Connemara National Park.

IMG_5930

IMG_5931

IMG_5932

The  weather was a little dubious to say the least so we decided to go for a walk…….this ended up being a sold 6.2 km hike to the summit of Diamond Hill and back. The views were again incredible. Sometimes finding the right words without sounding boring is sometimes difficult as this place is breathtaking.

IMG_5938

IMG_5939

IMG_5941

Now with a healthy appetite and the need to sit and relax we drove through a few little villages and stumbled across this great little pub. The food was like 1980’s pub food, there was no gastro-cuisine within 20 kms of this place. Deep fried carb loading worked to regenerate our energy and we were off again. The Smithwick’s beer helped a lot to by the way 🙂

IMG_5944

Deciding to head back to Salthill a little early was a wonderful choice as we were both a little tired and wanted to just sit for a while. Our trick was to head back to where we stayed, head into the bar for a drink and use their Wi-Fi to book a room for the night on www.bookings.com, and then walk into reception and check-in. It worked a charm for four nights and no we didn’t get caught out. We loved it……travel to the west of Ireland in the off season and accom is so so cheap its worth missing out on a few things being open.

the adventure continues:- 1000 kms of coastal roads and 1000 years of Gaelic history.

Recently I had the opportunity to travel across Ireland with a truly lovely person and spend five days driving around some of the most amazing countryside. It all started with an idea to ask Karine if she wanted to come to Dublin and head to Galway (a mere 2 hours and 35 minutes or so) in a hire car and see the Wild Atlantic Way. she said yes of course. This is in total 2500kms of coastal roads and approx.1000 years of glorious Gaelic history. Karine arrived in Dublin on Saturday and we headed off on Sunday after an incredibly good night with my friends and hosts Lottie and Steve at The Chophouse in Sandymount.

Travelling west on the motorway was particularly cool as we listened to and traded music tracks from three generations of rock, pop, jazz and country music (yeah I know). We just listened to everything we could and talked about what we were into and where we wanted to go on this journey through what I had heard was a rugged and beautiful place. The drive seemed to go very quickly as the company and the music was great. It makes a trip really easy and relaxed too.

IMG_5906

Arriving in Salthill, a little out of Galway and right on the coast, we decided to check in to our accommodation and go for a walk. The Salthill Hotel is where we stayed and they took excellent care of us on our first night. Once we had settled in and had a bite to eat at the Blackrock Bar, we headed out onto the promenade and headed right. Staring right at us was one of the most incredible sunsets I have ever seen…….and there has been a few on this journey so far. We just looked at it for ages, watching as the sun slowly sank from view while we walked “into the sunset”. I thought if this is what the start of this trip is going to be like, what the hell is the rest of it going to involve.

IMG_5841

After a great nights sleep and an early full breakfast we headed north. There are blue signs with white waves on them telling you where to go to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way. So we just drove and followed the signs. Karine was navigating and picking out spots with names we couldn’t pronounce and we were stopping when something took our fancy. A sign to a castle here, an abbey there and sometimes just a village with a tiny harbour with beautiful little fishing boats floating in the frigid waters of the Atlantic.

IMG_5848

I was stoked the weather had turned out for us for our first day in the west and we wandered around in t-shirts for the most and pulling on a jacket when the odd bit of cloud cover took the sun from our backs. We headed for Spiddal as we knew we had to turn right at the traffic lights there to head up to the Connemara. Spiddal harbour was gorgeous by the way. Not taking much notice we missed the lights, we missed the turn and headed on to Rossaveal, Casla and Kinvarra and just stayed on the one lane roads finding hidden gems along the way.

IMG_5849

IMG_5858

IMG_5858

As the day carried on we decided to head back to Salthill and stay the same place again. The food in the bar was great the wine list wonderful and the atmosphere relaxing. We decided to eat dinner at The Prom, the in-house restaurant and shared a beautiful bottle of French red that just complimented everything on the table. A truly wonderful evening in a great location.

After breakfast we were straight in the car and heading for Oughterard; a quaint little town with not much happening. We wandered around for a few minutes and then headed back down the road to check out Aughnanure Castle. It was just stunning, about 600 years old and very closed, so we couldn’t go in so we decided to move on. A few minutes up the road I spotted a park and decided to stop as the autumn leaves were simply beautiful and the stream was running rapidly.

IMG_5880

IMG_5874

This rugged old Irishman with his trusty hound walked across the little bridge that we had used to get further into the stream and we swapped pleasantries, he said “if ya wanta see dem jumpin’, theres a waterfall up a ways where they’re goin’ crazy.” I said thanks and headed up to the waterfall. Stopping and watching the water we noticed movement against the current and then all of a sudden this sea trout about 40 cms long launched itself out of the water with its little mate working hard beside it. It was migration time and we were right there witnessing it.

IMG_5885

IMG_5887

I never thought I would see this in the wild and here we were standing watch hundreds of trout trying to jump up the rapids of the falls desperate to reproduce. This was something truly special to see. Karine and I stood there for about forty minutes in amazement watching this spectacle.

IMG_5893

Trout migrating

We headed to Maamcross where we had lunch at Peacocks Hotel. It was fabulous and we had a beer each and decided to head up to Maum, Leenane and then out to Kylemore Abbey and finish our day at Letterfrack. Kylemore Abbey and the gothic cathedral reminded me of a scene from Downton Abbey (yes I have watched every episode). The scenery in this region is absolutely off the charts. You feel like you’re in a movie. I never thought it would look anywhere near as spectacular as it did.

IMG_5883

IMG_5882

IMG_5908

IMG_5910

The Connemara Loop definitely deserves another day. We will be back tomorrow. Heading to Clifden of the night seemed like a great thing to do.

IMG_5905