Two weeks into “lock-down” (in the UK that is, three weeks if you count our lock-down escapes in Spain and then France) and it’s the longest time that I haven’t touched rock since a broken wrist put me out of action for all of about a month more than ten years ago. For the foreseeable future it looks like “Rock-Around-The-World” is going to be replaced by “Run-Around-The-House”…

Not that I’m actually running around IN the house – though I’m full of admiration for the bloke who managed a marathon on his 20ft balcony (hrmmm – I wonder if the stair carpet would withstand an attempt at an indoor Joss Naylor…). However, my (almost) daily jogs (if you could be bothered to plot them) are beginning to merge into a giant wonky spiro-graph around home as I explore the possibilities of untravelled byways.

Having ticked off my usual loops around Cown Edge

… and Werneth Low

… I’ve stretched my boundaries as far as Kinder (and got snowed on for my troubles…)

From not having run for 3 months, to a 15 mile outing, in just a couple of weeks, I can feel a bit of fitness returning.

It’s been odd being out and interacting with other “users” of the outdoors (keeping a respectful 2m+ apart from the very occasional soul I encounter) as the lock-down has progressed. I’ve perhaps been more chatty than usual with passing strangers, and tried to make light of giving people enough space: “I reckon that’s a broom length, don’t you?” For the first week or so there was a real sense of camaraderie, “Blitz spirit” even, as people rejoiced in the fresh air whilst clearly taking responsibility for adhering to the social distancing measures. More recently I’ve been conscious of people taking more overt avoidance strategies with less of an accompanying smile. Is that the gravity of the situation sinking in, or just the passing of that brief glimpse of summer? There have also been a few encounters with people out walking for whom it’s clearly a new experience: “Do you know where this path goes?” from a “super-sized” couple and their similarly large offspring, and perhaps that will turn out to be a modest silver lining…

I’m also very aware of how lucky I am to have such a great running resource from the doorstep, though it also comes with the “you can look but you can’t touch” temptation of the many escoteric crags in view:

Anyway, it’s become apparent that I can’t expend all my RockAroundTheWorld energies running, or my knees will be shot by Christmas. Desperate times call for desperate measures and I’ve set about recommissioning our attic climbing wall (by which I mean finding all the big holds that Jake’s taken off and hidden, and screwing them back on) and dusting off the BeastMaker. I’ll either emerge super-strong or broken.

Meanwhile, for those of you missing the regular fix of RockAroundTheWorld pics and tales of far-flung cragging, I’ve uploaded a few more articles from past adventures and explorations (all of which have appeared in The Rucksack Club Journal in the last ten years or so), so have a browse here:

Plenty of lock-down reading there 🙂

Also, with a bit of time on my hands, I plan to assemble some “trip-planning” guides to some of our favourite venues, which hopefully will provide some inspiration for your next break, as soon as we’re on the other side, and entertainment in the meantime. Watch this space!

Meanwhile, stay safe and healthy… and at home or at least 2m away from anyone else 😉