Living in a van is great for low costs, a low carbon footprint and working in the mountains. My high top, long wheel base Transit has enough space for a sink, hob, kitchen utensils, food box, cool box, water tank, wood burning stove, wood store, double bed, personal kit and all the equipment for Mountain Magic courses – ice axes, crampons, harnesses, helmets, waterproofs, climbing hardware, ropes, tents, maps, guidebooks and so on. However, 600 CDs, CD decks, DJ mixer, amplifier, speakers, boxes of books, two bikes and a big bag of clothes are in need of a place to stay for this chapter in my life.
Thanks to some very kind friends, Lancaster cellars have been great since the spring but they are notoriously damp and winter is coming. So, last week I went on a mission to deposit my surplus belongings in my mother’s dry loft. Since she lives over 300 miles away in Dorset, it was great to spend a day with her and I was lucky to find some work on the way down south too. Setting and testing 24 new routes from French 4 to 7b at Big Rock in Milton Keynes, I wasn’t exactly climbing fit but my shoulder is a few more steps along the long road to recovery since I injured it in the summer.
It’s good to be back in the Lake District this week. Working with teenagers from Manchester and Oldham, we have been scrambling over limestone rocks by the sea, jumping over tidal channels in muddy Morecambe bay, exploring tunnels and caverns in old slate mines, climbing in teams on high ropes courses, developing excellent teamwork on a low ropes course and building a raft from rope, planks and barrels. After two great days of adventure education work at Castle Head Field Studies Centre, I have a day off tomorrow, the forecast looks good and we are going out to play in the mountains.