Cragfast :-/


Good morning folks

I trust you had a mightily tiptop weekend and that this finds you in superb form.
A busy old week, but a very positive one.

Some quality time with the two little ladies and some good mates.
Back training again (although knee feels jiggered), a trip to the beach and almost losing a finger!

Touching the Void  – Lima style…

I’m working on a project called “Doubtful Round”, it’s taking some linking together, but one day “it will go!”

I’d not yet been out in the fells proper this year, walking to work twice a day I gaze at them in the distance, and after a 4:30am start got snoozed to 5am, then after waiting for a combi for 30mins (& being slavered in sweat by a stinky punters armpit), I finally made it to the last stop of the line, “el 35″. 7am was cool but sweatier than a glassblower’s backside!
110% humidity, at least.

There are one or two obvious lines onto the ridge, but I was scouting out a new route (which always ends in tears, I never learn). These particular mountains aren’t that big, just over 3000ft and are made of sand and loose rock. I don’t know quite how they don’t all crumble and fall, but it barely/rarely rains here. (Although it had rained overnight, hence the extra-sweatiness).


A line led me into a series of outcrops, I’ve never been a boulderer, give me a rope-and-gear anytime. However the climbing was engaging and although extremely loose, it was progress.
I was of course climbing myself into a trap…

A bit higher it suddenly got trickier. I’m always keeping an eye on an escape route, but it got to a point where downwards was as tricky as upwards, so I blundered on blindly. I could see the top of the outcrop, but barring a 3ft “dyno” (jump) move onto a boulder of dubious stability. I stopped to ponder my options…

A fall here would be grim, broken leg at best. Getting cragfast is sometimes that usually happens to sheep in search of tasty grass. It was my stupidity that had got me to this point.

IMG_0471(Could have used this at this point! Spotted later on…)

My trusty Nokia brick is on a pay-as-you-go contract, but here you only have one month to use any credit before you have to top it up. My month had run out that morning. I’d left a note saying “Gone running in La Molina” (an area of about 40 square miles). I was above a concavely sloping ledge, above steep loose rock. Upwards wasn’t an option, downwards looked worse. There were no handholds so downclimbing was no good and a bumslide would go out of control!

(No mountain rescue to call, nor credit to call them….)

A sideways traverse? Possible…


Right led to even worse ground. Leftwards I could see a faint trail in the distance, but it required a few sketchy moves to get there. At one point I ended up on the wrong foot (and with feet as clown-sized as mine, that is not good). One good handhold saved my bacon and a slide down some sandy boulders got me onto better ground!


It had taken me almost an hour to do a mile, but I must have been wrapped up in the climbing for over half of that. I vowed to take the route I knew next time!


The rest of the route was tame in comparison, but I’m a while off linking it all up.
One day :-)

“En la playa”

My amigo Julian  and his family kindly invited us down to his place “in the beach” (as they say here).
Myself, the two ladies and another family (who I’d never met before).
I am a bit crap at sunbathing these days, I go red, then white again. I used to tan, but those days are gone. Plus I’d already picked up a rather fetching “vest tan” on Thursday, nice.


However, I didn’t expect rain and fog! Nobody did, but that is what we got.

2(When it cleared!)

It is the start of summer here and weather rarely fluctuates from hot and sweaty in summer (+ half of autumn/spring) and cooler and sweaty in winter (+ half of autumn/spring). The sweatiness is a bugger. I’d like to see them do a “Sure” tick test here! To rain in summer is unheard of here.

Anyroad, not to be deterred, Martin said he would cook “Paella”, (a non-Peruvian dish is a bold move here), I wouldn’t know where to start!

He did though, the “Mercado!”

Full of fish I’d never seen before, a score of headless chickens and a very sorry-looking pig’s head, with it’s tongue lopping out of the corner of it’s mouth. Not a place for the squeamish.


We got back and in no time at all, he had a gorgeous massive panful of Paella on the table.
I’m not massively into food. I miss pies, a lot, but I could happily pop a pill (or an everlasting gobstopper) if that was my meals for the day, much to the horror/disgust of my colleagues and the general food-loving Peruvian public.

Don’t get me wrong, the food here is good, but I could live on coffee, bananas and bread (not sure how long I’d actually live!)


A top day out with great people. (Martin trained as a chef in Valencia and cooked there for 18 years, before returning here to Peru. As much of an artist as a chef. Would put my supernoodles to shame!)


Tramites, tramites, tramites (Red Tape part #479)

It is that time of year again. Immigrations beckons as I have to renew my residency, which could be a straightforward task, but of course, it isn’t…

My good mate and Britanico Guru, James B, and his good lady popped over to help me, but I fell at the first hurdle, not having a printer. All the local internet cafes were closed, so I scribbled notes (I could have been a Doctor, barring a complete lack of medical knowledge).
Let’s see if I get it right this time after last year’s fiasco…


So, we sacked it off and went to the world’s biggest/busiest/nearest shopping centre, Jockey Plaza for some tucker. (Always remember the number of the spot where you park, that is my advice…)

Ring, ring…

Is it possible for a person’s fingers to get skinnier?
That is my question this week.

Out here, people wear their wedding ring on their right hand. My ring used to fit perfectly.
Back in Blighty of course, it swaps to the left hand.

One day on top of a hill in sunny Calderdale, I tried to stop a 16 stone centre by grabbing his collar, when the mighty British Library played against (got mauled by) Halifax Post Office, in the Civil Service cup. My finger went “ping” and bent right back, then stopped working.

A bizarre lack of pain and complete inability to move it. I left it a week and then 3 days before going on my jollies, I went to see my GP, who sent me straight to Jimmy’s A&E, with a letter.
I had an operation that night and woke up with a medium-sized scaffolding on my arm. I had snapped a tendon and with time it would have retracted completely. Keeping it out of the sun and not getting it wet was a tricky task in Greece and it was the end of a short and not-very-illustrious rugby league career!

All of this meant that my left wedding ring finger is even skinnier than my right.

Getting off a bus on Tuesday, (buses slow down but rarely actually stop at stops, it’s like a low-level skydive), I got my ring trapped on the door handle, for an awful split second images that I had seen on climbing forums (about not wearing rings when climbing) popped into my head, aaaaargh! (The bus had no cobrador/conductor, so punters had to open the door themselves).

Luckily for me, somebody else was getting on, so he did actually stop and I was able to unhook myself. Saved!

(It almost fell off in the sea on Sunday too. Think I need to get to the gym with my skinny digits!)

A switch has been flicked!

image(This seems a lot longer than just two years ago!)

I mentioned recently that I felt like something had changed here. I am happy!
I am no longer Mr. Radgie, nor looking longingly/jealously at any planes I see in the cloudy sky, (which could be going anywhere).

A new contract at work was the catalyst, without it I would have either gone barmy, left here at the end of this month, (I was looking at flights last year, in the dark days) or who knows what.

Poor old Lina copped for most of my terrible moods, (the Nipper doesn’t take any nonsense from anybody!) I apologise to her (but not the Witches of Eastwick on the bridge, they deserved my snappiness).

This week was the first week in two years that I actually started to think that things might just work out here, so it’s only taken me two years to settle!!

To both of my readers, I thank you, for your patience :-)


Onwards and upwards (but just not through those dusty, loose, chossy crags in La Molina, that is definitely not the way!)

And finally…

I stumbled across this fine little VIDEO.
It’s not Lima, but I am off there in June!

Lima gets a lot of bad press, most of it is true and just, but Peru is not just Lima.
Get yourself here and pop in for a cuppa (I’ll provide the biccies if you bring the teabags, I’m down to my final 17 Tetley’s…)

Here’s hoping that 2017 is an awesome year for everyone

Have a superb week :-)

Johnny, Lina & the Nipper







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