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Catching up

A hectic month and a half of work is finally over. Every year I get appointed by the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) to work designing climbs for the World Cup series of climbing competitions. I've done it for a long time (the best part of 20 years), and the work is exciting and always interesting. This year I was contemplating retiring from this job, as it is a brutally physical task that requires fitness and strength levels that every year seem just that much harder to achieve than they used to! However, sucker that I am, I took on 2 competitions this year which were not only 2 weeks apart, but also on different sides of the world.

First was a trip to Vail, Colorado in the United States for 7 days of route setting work. Then, after a series of very delayed flights, I got 4 days back home in Derbyshire before flying off again to Mumbai in India. Another 8 days of route setting work in stifling humidity and heat, although the monsoon season brought the temperature down a little towards the end of my trip. Both competitions were great successes - as good as any I've worked on. The trips were very eye-opening, whizzing from the affluence of a posh ski resort in the Rocky mountains, to the poverty and pollution of a mega-city in the tropics that is home to 22 million people. Definitely feels like I've been to both ends of the travel spectrum! Below is a video of the Mumbai competition.

Once back from India, and recovered from the standard dodgy digestive system that folks often seem to get from large Indian cities, it was straight to work building the climbing wall for the Cliffhanger festival in Sheffield, which is used to host the British Bouldering Championships. This is the 10th year I've been asked to build this temporary wall, and every year it seems to get bigger and better. Its a long job though - 5 days to build the wall, then 4 days route setting, and then once its all finished another day of work taking the whole thing down again. The video below shows the finals of the event.

However, at last the six week block of stupid travel plans and living out of a bag is over and I concentrate on finally finishing some of the jobs that have been waiting whilst I've been off on my jollies. I have to say, the thought of spending a little time in the workshop, looking out at Lose Hill while finishing some projects doesn't seem like a bad option! I've just finished a bookcase (see photo below) and now its time to make some nice gates for our garden from some sweet chestnut that came out of our field a few months back. The wood for the gates will end up in use less than 250 metres from where it grew which I think is pretty cool. I will post pictures of the gates in my next blog.

Book case, shelf details - there was no need to carve a flower into the shelf, but that's the beauty of handmade furniture. The maker can do what they like. Nobody else in the world has a book case like this....

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