Most Irish climbers won’t have even heard of the North York Moors yet the bouldering there is now documented in ‘North York Moors and East Coast’ by Lee Robinson. The North York Moors are a compact area on the east coast of England, north of Leeds and south of Newcastle with over 2000 problems most of which are on sandstone through there are a few limestone areas. Some of the rock looks very much like gritstone and most areas are set in high moorland similar to that of the more famous edges of the Peak District.
I have met Lee Robinson, the author of the guide, a few times when he has come over to Ireland to check out some of our bouldering and have kept in touch with him ever since. Lee is one of the most most enthusiastic boulders I have ever met and like me he has a keen interest in exploring and developing new areas. He has been working on this guide for many years, and every-time he wasn’t almost finished he went and found more new areas that must be included. To be honest I was a little worried that the guide would never see the light of day such was the seemingly endless potential of Lee’s beloved Moors.
But one day just before Christmas a hefty package arrived. The guide is landscape format and runs to an impressive 380 pages. An initial flick reveals a very colourful guide with a massive number of full page photo topos and action photos. There isn’t much white space in this book.
As Lee published as well as authored the book he had total freedom to focus on the little details, laying out each page to fit the content, in fact I don’t think two pages share the same layout. I’m a big fan of the “nice shot of the crag/boulder with text in the sky” style and Lee uses it to great effect. The topos are great, it’s clear that Lee has gone to some effort to visit each crag on suitable days, not too sunny, not too dull to get the perfect shot.
The main advantage of photo topos is that they very clearly indicate the line of the problem but a secondary advantage is that they are also rather inspiring, it’s hard to get too excited over a dot and number on a black and white topo map.
Having never climbed in the area I can’t comment on the quality and the accuracy of the descriptions and directions but I’m sure they are spot on. I’m not going to do the standard review thing of mentioning a few very minor bad points just to add an illusion of balance. This a great guide and going out of my way to find some minor negative points would be totally unfair.
Check out this video for an interview with Lee, some bouldering action, samples pages and pasty eating.
So if you are looking to discover a new area then pick up a copy of Lee’s book and head to the Moors. Buy the guide from Betaguides.co.uk