Overview - Sarah's (Cider Nut) first Churnet valley picnic was more of a quick bouldering session to get things going. A good warm evening on some very odd rock (like most of the Churnet), but probably the only Churnet crag I've previously been to. Not much to report - I eventually ticked almost every problem there but retreating to the pub. Most of the problems, the range font3-6b+ (eng 4c-6b), are reasonably easy with two moves up the front wall and a rounded finish. The wall on the right is a veritable playground, and dynos / long / short moves can be invented as you go. Nice.
Worked - Use the vague arete and a great heel-hook to gain the runnel with your left hand. Body tension is needed to reach up to the horribly sloping pocket, it's neighbour, and a few ledges. Now, this may be bouldering with a nice mat under you, but the next move still feels stupidly tenuous until you final do it - no real holds, just a reasonable (until you're looking at from above) smear for your foot, and flat grit ledges for hands. Yeh... that's grit.
Worked - I really think they've got the grades of these two backwards. Obvious move to, and passed, the runnel with your right hand end up being very frustrating unless you're very used to standing on polished pebbles with your body at a nasty angle. Various useful pebbles are available for hands and feet, so no height limits apply, and the top out is far more friendly than Sapling. Good problem, just harder than Sapling.