"Scrambling is the New Climbing," says Dave Birkett

by Mick Ryan don´t click on this – scary! You´d think that with all the copy in Trail, TGO magazine and Outdoors Magic dot com that millions upon millions had taken up scrambling, or at least had bought the gear or were thinking of buying the gear (what gear?) to do it. It´s all about perception right? Often touted as way to make the transition to rock climbing from hill walking, in reality scrambling is often far more dangerous and is good training for alpine rock, where you must not fall or else you die, and is usually practiced after you´ve learnt to climb with a rope and have the confidence to move smoothly and safely over easy, but exposed ground, unroped. But now it has the official seal of approval from an E10 leader, Dave Birkett of Little Langdale, who announced this morning in Ambleside that,”Scrambling is the New Climbing,” as he was loitering outside a Lakeland Climber in Ambleside with his Peruvian pipe-playing-all-dancing wife, Mary Jenner (herself an E7 leader) who was clearly embarrassed (see photo here) at being seen in general public with a Scrambling guidebook to the English Lakes District. Yes, due to an occluded front that brought cloudy but warm weather, with just a chance of rain, scrambling was the order of the day for the Birkett-Jenners. Dave even admitted to going scrambling every Monday night and this author was invited. “Can I bring a rope, just in case?” I replied.”You a top roper or a sheep? No difference I suppose, either way I´ll rescue you if you get all wobbly,” was his reply. ” I use the John Sparks and Judith Brown guide, published by Grey Stone Books.” “That´s fighting talk, the only guide to use is the Brian Evans published by Cicerone. I have both Volume 1, South Lakes and Volume 2, North Lakes.” An E10 leader, offering an opinion on guidebooks. “I thought he knew the Lakes,” offered the once-famous Chris Plant who was off proper climbing with a bouldering mat (see photo here) Dave and Mary sped off in a fast car to some undisclosed gill. I wouldn´t be surprised if Dave Macleodwas at that very moment working one of Birkett´s E11 projects in the Lakes whilst Dave B was grappling with butterwort and devil´s bit scabious up some water-worn volcanic scrambling course.