Winter already!

So once again the notion has taken me to update my blog, try not to get too excited!!

Since my last post I’ve been fairly busy working for various outdoor providers in some new areas around Ireland. I’ve also been spending more and more time hanging off buildings with vertical world, which has proved to be a welcome change, allowing me to focus more on the outdoor work I really enjoy, and giving me an opportunity to take a step back from the pay and play type work which can get repetitive after a while!

Window cleaning on the Boat building, Belfast.
Mountain leader training in the mournes for TNOC.

This summer I found myself spending a little less time on the crags and more time on the sea, with the highlight of my summer season being a 5 week trip to Norway, during which I was lucky enough to spend 3 weeks paddling 800 km along the Arctic Norway coastline, with Davy, Stevie and Neil, three other outdoor instructors from Ireland.

Leaving Bodo on our first night of paddling.

Our trip began in Bodo, with a plan to paddle to Nordkapp, the most northerly point in Europe. Unfortunately the weather was not to be on our side, and we were forced to turn back less than 100 km from our objective, a hard decision to make, but undoubtedly the right one. It was not a place any of us wanted to stick our necks out!

Coral beaches and horizons full of mountains, what a camp spot!

Getting to Nordkapp would have been a bonus, but we had a fantastic trip regardless, experiencing a huge variety of coastline, which was matched in variety by the weather, and the wildlife that we encountered along the way. From elk to otters, dolphins to reindeer, there was always something amazing to be glimpsed upon from day to day.

Early morning paddling through misty fjords.

The bad weather not only dashed our chances of getting around Nordkapp, but it also meant that our plans of rock climbing in the area as we travelled back south had to be put to bed. With no sign of the weather improving Neil and myself cut our loses and flew home, while Steve and Rebecca continued on south and eventually home.

One of my favourite campsites of the trip, a room with a view!

As I am writing now, I have just come to the end of the first week of my Scottish winter season, and Norway feels like a very long time ago! I’ve spent the last week out and about climbing some very snowy routes with Neil, Eamon and Ruaidhri, but that’s another story!

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