An eclectic mix of writing, covering climbing equipment, technique, life & death (and all the stuff inbetween).

Poem To Black Hair image Dark-Half  | Oct 29, 15

Poem To Black Hair

What I love As we walk On my shoulder your head gently rests,  Pressing close As if to lean As if to whisper As if by accident - and only for a moment You stay Hair thick against my neck  Bramble tangle and moor wild Wool warm and mint tingle Untamed Untameable Like you.(Drawing by Sandra Kay Strait from lifeimitatesdoodles)

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Sea of Dreams Q&A image Dark-Half  | Oct 29, 15

Sea of Dreams Q&A

I just came across this interview I did for Montane after I got back from soloing the Sea of Dreams. I’d forgotten I’d done it, but there are some interesting things in it so reposting it here:Spending fourteen days on a big wall must put major demands on your body, how do you prepare for such a climb?To be honest, before I set out a few people voiced concern that I looked a little out of shape for such a venture being a bit on the heavy side (my nickname in the Valley is ‘Big Andy’). ...

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Dyslexic Goodbye image Dark-Half  | Oct 24, 15

Dyslexic Goodbye

I’m sat in a Esso garage, one of those places you only ever want to pop in and out of quickly, a place of Ginsters pasties, low quality white trash food and staff who no doubt wonder where it all went wrong.  I’ve been sat here for over an hour wondering the same thing (as I often do), not because I can’t pay for my petrol (I’m one of the few people I know who doesn’t own a car), but because I’m meeting someone who does, but seems to have arrived an hour...

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The truth of your love image Dark-Half  | Oct 21, 15

The truth of your love

I saw something about ‘ghosting’ today, the modern phenomenon where a couple split up by one side just ending all communications, and just ‘ghosting out’, something incredibly cruel for the one left alive, wondering what they did wrong, their emotions going from confusion, to sorrow, then anger and bitterness.  The term seems to have caused quite a few pieces to appear online about modern relationships, and so I thought - seeing as of late I’ve become an alternative expert on dysfunctional relationships - I’d give mine.I guess ghosting was once called ‘being dumped’, well dumped before...

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Kicked to Death image Dark-Half  | Oct 20, 15

Kicked to Death

I’ve been dabbling of late with the strange game of poetry; reading the greats (as well as listening to them on Youtube), looking at how they do what they do, doing what I seem to be good at: dissecting something complex in the hope I may see some pattern in it. It’s how I do most things, not being one to ask for advice or education, but rather break it down bit by bit.  This is how I learnt to do websites, like this this one, not by paying someone else or going to school, but by...

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Poem to a son image Dark-Half  | Oct 14, 15

Poem to a son

Who are you My son Half-way-man. Riddle. Who goes there Knock-on-wood I do Fourteen times As into that head hard I try to see, Through soft greasy hair that over once Measuring jug Eyes battened down against the suds Water elbow hot I poured. Robbed from a long emptied bath, in a long emptied house in a life I could not sustain.Who are you My son Poor Boy, your affliction Me Cut cloth, chalk marks astray— distracted —Am I a riddle to you too Love me do ya I often wonder Do I love you I wonder if you...

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Random Notes for the Antarctic traveller image Climbing  | Oct 12, 15

Random Notes for the Antarctic traveller

I joked the other day, on seeing a tweet from an all-woman team planning on crossing Antarctica (1700km, 75 days, 6 British Army women, that they’d need to make some changes in order to improve their chances of success.  Now before people jump down my throat and say I’m being sexist I need to point out that being a woman isn’t the problem, no, the problem is they’re all in the British Army.  This may sound like an unfair or illogical argument, after all, the British army is one of the great fighting forces in the...

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Don’t go back to sleep image Dark-Half  | Oct 07, 15

Don’t go back to sleep

A friend of mine, the incredible adventurer Jon Turk, once told me a story that has long stuck in my head.  He was kayaking somewhere in the Pacific ocean (Jon had kayaked from Japan to Alaska, and won Nat Geo adventurer of the year for his Ellesmere circumnavigation), between some islands, eating eggs as he paddled over the swell, as he had for weeks and weeks.  The eggs were scavenged from nests as they hopped islands, but on this day he found a rotten one, and so tossed it into the dark sea.  The second the egg...

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The Boatman of Kinsale image Dark-Half  | Oct 05, 15

The Boatman of Kinsale

I visited the tiny Irish village of Kinsale yesterday, a sunny autumnal day,  one which feels as if it could be the last hurrah before the darkening Atlantic folds in over the land and the winter rains begin.  We walked along the coast path, holding hands, past ruined forts and boat yards,  secret coves and memorial benches, past fisherman working in their boats, hooking in pots of crab for someone else’s dinner.  Down a little cut we snuck, to a private spot, and tried our hand at skinny dipping in the weak sun, hoping the...

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