Thursday, 27 March 2014

Anston Wood

Someone liked a video on my Vimeo account the other day. It took me a fair while to work out which video it was. The video in question was one I had actually made.  It had remained hidden in a post in the now (mostly) redundant Raw Edge Days blog site that I used to contribute to. I watched it and realised that this video was worth posting again as the venue it captured has certainly been a major feature of my bouldering for a long time.

I had forgotten about Anston Wood, forgotten about the magnesium carbonate crags that populate the edges of this green slash through Rotherham's post industrial hinterland. I'd forgotten about the diversity of angles, hold types and problems that call this wood home; most importantly I'd forgotten how much I enjoy climbing here! Pound for pound Anston is probably the best limestone bouldering crag in the UK.  Big claim I know, but not many venues can boast this number of pure lines and link ups. It even has difficultly and suits those climbing in the high 7's and 8 rather than those looking for a big circuit day. The only thing that spoils this tranquil spot is the railway track that bisects it but, to be honest, the coal trains that use it are very rarely seen on a weekend.

I hadn't been to Anston Wood in a long time. My last visit pre-dated the publication of the area guide book and thus I hadn't been led around Anston's various buttresses by the written word.  I was there with Showtime; refugees from a typical wet Sunday over in the North West.  A quick look at the glossy guide reminded me that I had been visiting this spot for fourteen years (according to a photo in the history section anyway).  Even though it rained we climbed, even though I had been here a lot we discovered buttresses we had never climbed on, even though Anston Wood has a reputation for hard problems we climbed lots of quality below 7a.  The rediscovery of my Anston video reminded me how good this place is.  My visit with Showtime illustrated quite clearly that forgetting about a venue this good is more than just careless.

Watch the video below and judge Anston's quality with your own eyes. The climber featured in this short is the author of all that is good on magnesium carbonate limestone - M'adams himself. Enjoy!

Magnesium Bouldering Action from Owen McShane on Vimeo.

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