High on Hawkswick

Not so many years ago, Hawkswick was a regular haunt of mine. Yet nearly two years has passed since I last visited the crag. Returning this evening was a little like being welcomed by an old friend. Familiar, yet somehow changed. The steep approach seemed steeper still. The twisted trees more sparsely spread, disease evident amongst twisted boughs. The deer remain and the curlews, just as I remember. There is a little more polish now. Nothing too noticeable, just enough that I know the routes are climbed more regularly than they were.
But I doubt it will ever get busy. No bolts. Overgrown crack lines and loose blocks. Limestone esoterica that will only ever appeal to the few. Those for whom 7a holds no greater allure than a modest VDiff. For whom a short solo on a warm evening in spring - only the deer, the curlews and sounds of the river below for company - means more than the pump of steep, bolted and polished horror shows further down the valley. On this short evening, three short routes - a Diff, Severe and HS - were enough.
And dropping through the trees as the sun set, it seemed no different to before - the subtle changes of time smoothed over, lost in relaxed re-acquaintance, pastel shades darkening over familiar ridge lines. And there are still lines I have yet to climb here, a direct start to classic VS and one which needs a little gardening work to reveal the holds. Projects for summer evenings to come.