Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Molly Mooching

Hello, I’m not dead after all, just not recently inspired to blog. Actually that’s not true (well the bit about being alive is), I often think of stuff I mean to have a ramble about, but by the time I happen to be back at a computer the thoughts have gone back to the places whence they came.

Molly mooching is an American term for the hunting of Molly Moochers and a Molly Moocher is of course a morel, be that Morchella elata, Morchella esculenta, Morchella vulgaris or any of the other ill defined sub-types. Yes it’s morel time again. Time to check my regular spot and spend fruitless hours searching hedges, woods and gardens in the vain hope of finding some further magic places. This year I’m psyched to have discovered a new magic place which I will now check every year. Strangely the moochers at this place grow on moss covered lumps of rock, which is something I’ve never heard of in books or seen any other fungus doing. The night after finding these I had a fevered dream in which I found hundreds of grotesquely mutated morels growing everywhere around me. With the previous days finds and my odd dream in mind I drove out to my main place the following day and was blown away to find 16, that’s right SIXTEEN big black morels. A dream come true indeed. Seriously good food was prepared with the majority of these and a few are sautéed and frozen for a rainy day.

Molly Moocher is now also the name of a new 7b-ish boulder problem I climbed on Sunday. I’ve got a few more fish to fry in the area so I’ll hold off on the full details. So far I’ve done five problems of substance in the area and a handful of decent warm-ups. Here’s a couple of pics from the story so far. I’ll post up the full details in the not too distant future.

Other than that I’ve been out climbing loads, nothing harder than font 7b+, mostly on the grit, plus a week in the County and a couple of sessions lime bouldering. I could wax lyrical about quite a few nice things done but time doesn’t allow. One thing which really stands out as worthy of special mention however is the supremely fine highball problem A Northern Soul at Hepburn. I had wanted to try this problem ever since seeing a photo in the original (log) Northumberland Boulder guide. The line, setting and rock quality are even better in real life than the photo suggests. This block feels like a corner of Fontainbleau forest teleported into an otherwise mediocre crag. A bit of a soft touch at 7a+ but still rather exciting as the crux is all about navigating a path up poor slopers at a thought provoking height (I’d have felt more comfortable had I not been sporting a badly sprained ankle at the time!). That said the landing is perfect and it’s not high compared to many modern highballs. The crag is not far from Bowden etc and I’d urge everyone to go do it next time they are up that way. This thing deserves more attention as it’s as good as anything else of the grade in the UK or even font for that matter!

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