Tag Archives: Nick

Should have gone to Specsavers

2nd and 3rd September 2016

Swanage

Boulder Ruckle

Finale Groove – HVS 5a – Lead
Lightning Wall – HVS 5a – Second
Tatra – E1 5b – Alt Lead (Just)

Swanage, one of the sunniest locations in the UK. Or is it? Well the weather forecast seemed to suggest it would be, but the weather gods had other ideas in mind. So despite finding a sheltered spot in a great campsite  (Acton Field) at Langton Matravers,  we were doomed to have a pretty wet time of it.

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Our first foray was to Guillemot Ledge, a short walk from the campsite down lanes to the cliff. My first view of the coastline here revealed how shear and intimidating the area is. There are no escape routes as such, unless you climb out as the cliff wall is fairly unbroken. This means everything is reached by abseil.

Guillemot Ledge before the rain

Guillemot Ledge before the rain

So down we went and an hour later we were prussicing out after the unexpected rain came in. This lasted for the rest of the day, necessitating a trip to the local pub for a pasty and a beer.

Nick on Campaign. But he has a point...

Nick on Campaign. But he has a point…

Saturday started much better, although cool and very windy and we re-located to Boulder Ruckle an area with a number of outstanding climbs. I started on Finale Groove. This HVS just keeps on coming. Each time you think you are through the hardest part, another tricky move appears. It is absorbing climbing and keeps you on your toes to the end, particularly with the loose blocky finish. I dont think Nicks experience of the route was as enjoyable as mine as my belaying went south along with the good weather. So for much of the route I think Nick was on slack or very slack ropes. I need to remember to haul on them until it is clear I have taken all the slack in.

The traverse on Lightning Wall

The traverse on Lightning Wall

Our next route was Lightning Wall, where thanks to Nicks Lead we rescued another parties set of gear after they had been washed out on the previous day as well. This is quite a cruxy route, with the main difficulties in the moves onto and off the wall. But again the climbing is terrific.

Looking at our weather horizon

Looking at our weather horizon

Our final route with the weather closing in again, was an old HS now E1 called Tatra. This proved a step too far for me, although Nick made a good job of the lead on P1. This is pumpy and you need to move quickly to avoid the pump, something I failed to do rsulting in the usual wooden forearms and a couple of sits in the rope.

Unfortunately this did for me on Pitch 2 as well as the strenuous traverse proved too much for my now puny arms resulting in some not too graceful aiding through the 4b traverse pitch as my mental state unravelled along with my physical capabilities. This was just in time for the rain to arrive on the final pitch. Fortunately this remained reasonably protected for a while allowing Nick enough time to get through the bulge/overhang. A request to confirm the route in the guide was duly refused due to poor eyesight, although I could see enough of the picture to know we were on the right line.

Just before the traverse whilst I was still smiling

Just before the traverse whilst I was still smiling

A very soggy march back to the campsite  was followed by a decamp as I mentally wrote the remaining part of the weekend off as pants. Enough of the rain and so we headed home, via Bridport and an old man casualty who benefitted from the comfort of our sleping bags whilst he waited for an ambulance.

And so Swanage gave some glimpses of what it might deliver and given good weather I imagine this area would be a paradise of amazing trad limestone. As long as the sun shines…

Doing the Turkey (or something thereabouts)

6th August 2016

Hartland/ Blackchurch

Loose Women – E1 5b – Alt Lead (dgd)
Right of Spring – VS 4c – Lead
Notre Dame – VS 4b – Second

So here was the big day. Sacre Coeur here I come. Or maybe not… As a believer in ‘climb it when you feel it’, this proved not to be the day for pushing my grades. My general nerves seemed to tidy up a bit, thanks to some generous encouragement from Nick, but I never quite got into gear this time.

Blackchurch Main Cliff

Blackchurch Main Cliff

It didnt detract from an amazing adventure on Loose women though. What a climb. From the bottom it gives you a distinct feeling of ‘this will be quite out there!’ and it didnt fail to deliver. Nick led the bottom jamming pitch which is worth three stars in its own right. I got the harder and quite out there second pitch, but it is all there. Lots of pro, the holds you need and incredible airy climbing.

Looking up Loose Women P1

Looking up Loose Women P1

I think I talked myself out of cleaning this pitch, but once I worked it out, it went fairly straight forwardly. Its the exposure though that gets you. High above Blackchurch rock the views are breathtaking. It seems that the whole area has a bit of a Jurassic Park feel to it, with a stunning waterfall cascading onto the beach and jagged promontories everywhere.

Part way up Loose Women P1

Part way up Loose Women P1

Nick had the pleasure of the final pitch (if you could call it that). More like climbing a compost heap. Loose rock, grass, gorse for pro and a final ledge that was more likely to fall on you and kill you than be useful as a hold. I think Nick enjoyed it in a perverse way. It was definitely better on a second where you could admire the variety of plants and the interesting rock colours as they fell into the sea :-).

We moved over to the rock island for a lunch of proper cheese sarni’s and muffins, before Nick cunningly manouvered me into climbing Right of Spring. To be honest I wanted to have a go at it, although half way up with my muscles aching and a distinct lack of big gear remaining I wasnt thinking that way. The opening moves were very interesting. A move straight off the base would have resulted in grating a few layers of skin off and seeing as you couldnt see the rock for the molluscs, I came in from the right where an easy set of moves gets you above the nasty stuff. Placing the cam into the crack was tricky as my arms were 2 inches too short until I managed to move partway around.

Far too relaxed.

Far too relaxed.

Then it was off on a bridging fest, intermittently dispersed with laybacks and a few jams. I found it strenuous, but my chimney/corner climbing is probably not what it should be. But i have to say its a good route, full of character and with some excellent moves. A bailed left on the finla moves as the rock had the beautiful yellow moss on it. Great to look at, but not so great for friction. Nick of course made it look effortless the g#t. And he couldnt help posing for a profile picture either.

Our neat little campsite

Our neat little campsite

Of course it wouldnt be a day out with Nick if we didnt race the tide for at least a while. His accelerated ascent of Notre Dame went on as the tide washed over the normal belay ledge (I had climbed up onto the ridge which was eminently sensible). Finding gear on the underside of the climb was interesting, but it was run out in places and had a distinct airy feel to it. The final crack is poor though, full of veggies and not pleasant. It is great for the exposure but not the best the area has to offer.

The day was capped off by a swim around the rock, both ways for Nick, which revitalised an aching body for fairly long uphill walk out. We didnt see the Turkey’s (I think thats what they were) on the way out. Coming in there had been a large flock of them who had mindlessly kept running away from us instead of getting off the track. I think I might return to this area for the walking. Beautiful woodland, stunning coastal views and a slightly remote feeling make this a must visit area.

Route Baggying

5th August 2016

Baggy Point

Lost Horizon – VS 5a – Lead
Doors of Perception – E1 5b – Second

So what do you do when the drive up to the Culm delivers constant rain showers right up to when you pull into the quaint village of Hartland. The answer is to look North. Or at least it was on this occasion.

My main target of the weekend was Sacre Coeur, a three star E2 on Blackchurch Rock, but in my mind it had to be perfect conditions as I didnt want to ruin the whole experience. With Baggy Point only a short drive away (or shortish if you ignore trying to get through Broughton) it seemed churlish to not give it a go and at least recce some of the many starred routes it has to offer.

View across to The Long Rock

View across to The Long Rock

Of course at this time of year Croyde is in full swing, but I think it actually adds to the whole ambience of the area giving it an uplifting vibe. Baggy Point itself is impressive. Reminds me a little of Sharpnose, at least ‘The Long Rock’ area did. Its only after you make the dodgey descent onto the fin that you realise how impressive the slab is. And also how high it is. On Lost Horizon the route seemed to go on for a long time, which of course I was glad of as it is such an amazing route.

At the base of The Long Rock

At the base of The Long Rock

Now for some reason both days on the Culm were punctuated with me getting the Heebee Jeebees. Not sure why but something played with my mind and unsettled me. That said, even nerves could not mask how good the climbing was. Lost Horizon is a crack that just keeps going. For a lot of it, it is jammable, but there are a few tricky sections. It was interesting to see the two entirely different ways Nick and I tackled the route. I searched out edges and on the face and only jammed when I had to. Nick ‘Turkeyed’ up the route using impeccable technique imported from the USA. It was something I was trying to emulate the following day and does make crack climbing easier and more graceful (even if my foot still hurts).

Nick looking cool in his 'shirt' on Lost Horizon. I wish I'd brought mine :-(

Nick looking cool in his ‘shirt’ on Lost Horizon. I wish I’d brought mine 🙁

Nicks ‘finest hour’ was about to come around as we abbed back in again and set up for Doors of Perception. From the bottom the move up into the groove looks difficult and bold. When you actually reach it you discover that ‘Yes it is difficult and bold’. Nick unlocked it with a delicate traverse left to a crack with far better protection possibilities. A move I managed to blow resulting in some air time, before I tried again, this time making it.

But it’s not just about that move, although that is the memorable one. The climb keeps coming at you with a series of technical moves and finishing with a really fingery layback up the final ‘looser’ corner. A great climb and well led by Nick.

Top crack of Doors of Perception

Top crack of Doors of Perception

Despite our best efforts to get another route in (A potential Kinky Boots/Midnight Cowboy combo) we realised that time was not on our side and headed off for the campsite. A good call in fact as we arrived fairly late and after being unceremoniously turfed off our initial pitch, we grabbed a homemade curry and some excellent wine that Nick had brought along.

As an aside, Hartland and the campsite we were on are both really nice and I think I may well use it as a base if I come up this way again. Also good value at £7 a night.

This plan sucks!

8th July 2016

Lands End / Dingo Area

Blue – HS 4b – Lead (just…)

The header just about summed up my feelings as I started on the opening moves of Blue for the umpteenth time (8 or 9 attempts at least). A period of inactivity, too much good food and a liberal dose of wet rock was playing devestating games with my confidence.

OK, lets try not to break anything here....

OK, lets try not to break anything here….

A actually really like Lands End. There is something special about climbing on the tip of England and as usual the views are stunning. If there is a down side it would be the varying rock quality, which can feel insecure and crumbly. This is possibly due to lack of traffic, but the integrity of the rock does change.

Heading for a little sit down

Heading for a little sit down

Joe and Nick were definitely suffering from this over on Dr Syntax’s Head, finding some nasty HVS’s to occupy themselves on. Meanwhile Dave, me and Pete were wrestling with Blue. From below it looks reasonably inoccuous. But this hides the steepness and difficulty of the opening moves. It overhangs for a start and the holds are small.

Your a Bas#*rd Riddell

Your a Bas#*rd Riddell

Gear is OK but you make the difficult moves above it until you reach the first break. With wet holds I continually found myself slipping off until after one abortive attempt where I had to lower off, I managed to climb it clean. I was so stuffed by the end though. Absolutely drained in fact.

Dave looking very calm and collected

Dave looking very calm and collected

Its a great climb in fact, but not HS and harder than 4b. VS 4c probably, because of the opening moves and the top jam. The wet didnt help, but it was still hard.

"So anyway. As I was throwing for this dyno mono........"

“So anyway. As I was throwing for this dyno mono……..”

Good on Pete for a stirling effort after a long period of semi retirement. Good to see him back on it and no mishaps on this day. Dave, who is climbing better and better made short work of it. Many thanks for the patience they both showed in waiting for me to sort my head out.

Nick on some kind of Mare at DSH

Nick on some kind of Mare at DSH

I am going to return here and repeat this one in good conditions (and the tough and bold looking VS to its side), hopefully on the same day I bag Cormorants Bill. 🙂

David Blane… ‘eat your heart out’

3rd June 2016

Screda Point

Needle Direct – VS 4b – Lead
Seabreeze – HS 4a – Second
Tourist Trap – E1 5b – Lead (dnf) T/R

Neither Nick or I have any concept of how long it actually takes to get to the Culm. We were both 45 minutes late and arrived within a few minutes of each other. Doh!  Obviously tuned in on the same wavelength.

The view over towards Screda Point

The view over towards Screda Point

The drive up to Hartland is lovely and the lanes leading through the village and out to the quay were decked in purple rhododendron and vivid green trees showing their new leaves. Quite spectacular. Of course you then drop down to the quay itself which has its own splendor, this time with stark rock outcrops and prehistoric jagged runnals heading out to the sea.

The detached slab of Fohn

The detached slab of Fohn

Screda Point sits to the South and is only a short walk away. We decided to ab in so that our gear wasnt at the bottom (a good decision that one) and head straight out to the outer fin where an HS and VS lurked. Both turned out to be great routes. The Needle Direct was a well protected and tricky route up the centre of a slab. Fantastic climbing with a real out there feel because of the isolation of the fin. Nick’s HS also had a character of its own. Following the arete and then breaking out onto the slab it was a cool peer for the VS.

Casting a shadow on the great moves of Needle Direct

Casting a shadow on the great moves of Needle Direct

The tide was chasing all the way though and we left as the waves started surging up the runnals toward the main face. Just enough time for me to bag an E1 in order to get to the grassy saddle… or not???

Nick celebrating after Seabreeze

Nick celebrating after Seabreeze

The start of the E1 was fine but I soon found myself high up with just a micro and a difficult move. The combination was enough to stop me in my tracks and with the water lapping at Nicks feet we opted for a me to downclimb and both of us to shimmy up the ab rope on prussics. So it was a lower off to fetch the gear and then a climb out.

The prussic out.

The prussic out.

Of course I couldnt help but try to impress Nick with my magic tricks. David Blane makes planes disappear into nothingness. I make quickdraws and runners disappear into the sea in a blink of an eye. Impressive huh? The trick is to switch off your brain, use a bit of thuggery on a stuck nut and not bother attaching it to your rope. That way it cartwheels into the ocean and its possible to just stand there and look really stupid…

The fairly blank top wall

The fairly blank top wall

When will I learn. So with Nick safely up the route as well, we called it a day fairly early and so ended a brilliant session and a good return to ‘business as usual’ for me and Nick. Lets hope for loads more days like that in the near future.

 

Old Favorites

19th September 2015
Carn Barra

Super Crack – VS 4c – Alt Lead
Axis – VS 5a – Lead
Fourteen Fathoms – E2 5c – Second

I’ve been to Porthgwarra loads of times but never considered parking up nearer the junction to the l-bend. It is in fact a nicer walk in, if a little bit longer, down blackberry walled lanes and it brings you out in the Carn Les Boels area a bit further south. Ideal for Carn Barra and crags south of here.

Jamming

Jamming

I knew Nick had has eye on one of the E2’s at Carn Barra, but we started on the upper tier, on Super Crack. I remember this being really good the first time around and this time was just as much fun. Pitch 1 is a bit nervy on the top slab, but is good climbing with small holds and neat little moves. The top pitch is great, with more strenuous jamming and laybacking. A really top VS.

And so to Fourteen Fathoms. It has good climbing throughout and the bottom section (with the exception of the bold and bouldery lower face) is reasonably protected. Once onto the upper face, protection possibilities are there (the crux has some good gear) but the climbing becomes harder and the crux move is tough. It took Nick a while to figure it out (how he hangs around for so long I’ll never know) but in the end it is about strength and commitment.

Steep!! And hard....

Steep!! And hard….

On my turn I had just as many issues and probably made the move by the skin of my teeth. My arms by this time were shot so it was with relief that I moved up a bit for a rest before dropping back a few fet to get the remaining gear out. Really pleased to have done this though.

Nick on the crux of Fourteen Fathoms

Nick on the crux of Fourteen Fathoms

We finished on Axis, where Dave joined us. This was so that I could climb it throughout. My previous attemt had just been from the upper ledge. I made the lower moves, but I cant say I made a good fist of them. I grabbed the edge of the lower shelf with relief in the end. After this thought the route went easily for me, so I was pleased with this. The first time I remember it being a real struggle.

A good day at CB and nice to climb with Nick again. Must do this more often. Next ‘American Dream’ 🙂

 

How wide is your gatehole?

17th April 2015

Bosigran Ridge Area

Waltzing Matilda – HVS 5b – Alt Lead (Dogged)
Mandalay – HVS 5a – Second
Anzac Day – E1 5b – Lead
Imphal – E2 5c – Second (Dogged)

… is not a question you should be asking any of your friends!! This was the finale to a superb day at Bosi Ridge Area where I managed to put ticks in a load of climbs I had been eyeing up. Not sure where this conversation was going, but I’m glad Nick didnt know the answer to Toms question. 🙂

Ab

Ab

Joe, Tom, Nick and I were obviously hungry to get on some good routes and as there was nothing there easier than HVS 5a we had to up our game immediately. Joe and Tom went for the tough corner of Imphal and Nick and I ended up on Waltzing Matilda.

Me on P2 Waltzing Matilda

Me on P2 Waltzing Matilda

Wow, what a route. Two amazing pitches. The first with a hard short traverse to the Arete which Nick led with aplomb. Then a long traverse out across the upper wall of Galipolli. I got this one and was shocked at how hard it felt. I was going along great guns when instead of thinking through a section I committed in, and found myself sliding off and ending up down on Kohima. It made for an interesting return to the traverse and I cant say I wasnt disappointed. But more importantly I got to do a fantastic route. I must stop falling off stuff!!

Nick, P2 of Waltzing Matilda

Nick, P2 of Waltzing Matilda

Manadaly was a good ‘get your breath back’ route, although gear is tricky on the crux and its an exposed move on the crux. Nick made short work of it though.

Nick on P2 Anzac Day

Nick on P2 Anzac Day

So I decided on Anzac Day next. A very patient Nick stood silently while I went through the full range of Freudien self doubt, anxiety, bullishness, indecision, euphoria and any number of other mental states you can think of. Reasonably pathetic and not something I’m used to, but in the end I started again and did it in one. Really pleased I did because this was a terrific climb. Akward in the lower section and then great jug hauling through the overhang.

Joe on Imphal

Joe on Imphal

Meanwhile Joe was leading Galipoli, probably the choice of the crag. I knew he and Tom would like this one, and they did. Both making the hard move onto the face.

Joe on Imphal

Joe on Imphal

Nick was right on his game and I knew he wanted Imphal. It is not an easy climb. Lots of jamming and bridging and some precarious positions. Nick, with his ability to make a T shape seemed to be in balance all the way. I on the other hand was not quite so tuned in, although it was only one small slip that cost me the onsite. It was actually encouraging for me and an excellent tic for Nick. Both Joe and Tom who had been on it earlier, were in my category, although of course Joe had the added complications of leading it.

Dolphinarium and start of Waltzing Matilda

Dolphinarium and start of Waltzing Matilda

The walk out from sea-level with full packs is not a pleasant one, but when you are buzzing it doesnt really matter. The is the one remaining issue. Who of us will be the first on Dolphinarium, the E1 on the nose. Looks scary hard!

Scarred!

9th September 2014
Carn Gowla

Fine Line – V Diff – Second

The intention had been to find ‘Cave Wall Traverse’, described as isolated in the cc book. It turned out to be not just isolated but illusive as well.

Looking across at Indian Buttress - Line of Indian Country

Looking across at Indian Buttress – Line of Indian Country

Having been down to South C Walls on a previous occasion and experienced the nightmare of being caught out on an exposed , loose and very steep descent I fortunately knew about the hidden entry point to the gully. This is still a bit loose but considerably more amenable than the alternative.( Remember to head out towards the seaward face and then double back into the gully)

Nick and I stared at where the traverse should have been but it gradually became obvious that there has been a large landslip here. It’s hard to say from where we were stood, but the climbing looked considerably harder than HS (the guidebook grade). It lookslike there is a route there, but the description in the guidebook didnt match the face we were looking at. Because it was fairly late, neither of us fancied getting stuck in some hopeless position on the face and then being be-nighted.

A good line up to the shear

A good line up to the shear

The scar on the Traverse

The scar on the Traverse

So it was off around the corner to South C Walls. Its a great hidden area, with a useful platform and some good climbs. Nick chose Fine Line and it proved to be true. It looks good from below and the climbing is engaging and exposed. The rock as with the other routes here, is a bit suspect in places, but not enough to ruin a great outing.

With the good weather going on and on, you have to wonder how long we’ll get Gowla this year. At the moment its more likely to be light that stops play.

Please sir, can I have some more…

3rd August 2014

Pedn Kei / Carn Gloose / Zawn Duel

Fagin – HVS 5a – Lead
Astral Stroll – E1 5b – Alt Lead

The nerves started a couple of days earlier when Nick text me about climbing on the Sunday. For some reason I already knew that he was thinking of Astral Stroll. This is one of those climbs with a reputation for wildness and commitment. One that invokes excitement and intrepidation.

Carn Gloose and Zawn Duel

Carn Gloose and Zawn Duel

It boils down to the fact that the whole climb requires both buddies to commit into some startling climbing territory with no opportunity for escape (accept to climb out). We had heard that AS can be a bit greasey in the mornings so this gave us the chance to go and check out Pedn Kei first.

Nick's new helmet!

Nick’s new helmet!

As it turned out this gave rise to the most sketchy climbing of the day and this was just on the approach. This amounts to a slide (in my case) down grassy embankments until you reach a rock platform above the climbing area. I cant say I enjoyed it. I think next time a grab line might be in order. Something to remember for the future.

Nick on Fagin

Nick on Fagin

Abbing in, Pedn Kei reveals how much good climbing is available. We only did Fagin, a good and tricky HVS following the seaward corner. It looks like it will be damp and unpleasant but in fact its was dry and offered really good moves and pro. You start in the corner and move out onto the face at around 2/3 height with a cruxy finish.  I can thoroughly recommend it.

Nick on P1 Astral Stroll

Nick on P1 Astral Stroll

I wouldnt say the access description in the Climbers Club book is easy to follow but it did get us to the correct start for Astral Stroll. You end up in a recess on the point. A stunning place to start watching waves smash into the point and wash through the gaps below. Nick set off heading up diagonally which put him on the higher version of P1. Unknown to us this was a good choice as a rockfall now means that the lower version skips past the P1 belay point so you no longer need to down climb on the start of P2. I think this is probably the better option for the full AS experience.

First belay and The View

First belay and The View

OK spoiler alert. If you dont want to know about the climb dont read on……..

Pitch 1 is an exposed traverse across a slab to a corner and belay point. As you move around the initial corner you get a view into what is coming and it is astonishing. Its hard to believe a route at E1 can go through this kind of territory.

First moves of P3 under the roof.

First moves of P3 under the roof.

Pitch 2 has a difficult move down followed by a bold traverse and a final grunty move up under the roof. Its great but the belayer loses sight of you straight away and its hard to fully protect your second. That said a back rope helps take some of the potential swing out.

Looking back on belay of P3.

Looking back on belay of P3.

Pitch 3 is the best of all the pitches. Hard moves under the roof lead to a series of rock overs/pulls into niches and onto aretes. All whilst dangling above a drop into the ocean and with the roaring sea all around. One of the truly great pitches on any route I’ve done.

Final Moves

Final Moves

Pitch 4 starts with a strenuous pull over an overhang and onto a slab. Steep crimpy moves lead to the grassy alcove above and a feeling of having just been a part of something really special. It’s not worth doing another climb after this. You might as well head off to the pub and pat yourself on the back – which is exactly what we did.

What a day and many thanks have to go to Nick for sharing the experience and being the ‘competant partner’ the book says you need. And they’re right!

 

 

Getting your tactics right

28th July 2013

St Gova’ns Head and Stuntsman’s Buttress

Tactician – HVS 5a – Second
Big Sea Running – E1 5b – Second

Sometimes you just have to get on with things and take a chance. Today was one of those days. We woke to heavy rain rattling the tent; an unlikely start for a good days climbing. But once it stopped and we stocked up on breakfasts, the sun was out and everything was back on.

The platform at the base of Tactician

The platform at the base of Tactician

We dropped into St Govans at a different point this time. Aiming for a large ledge system at the base of Tactician. This climb seems innocuous enough from the bottom, but soon moves into tough territory. Despite being 5a, I found that the crux move was as hard as anything I did during the entire trip. Possibly I just didnt do it very well, but it was powerful and committing. V Good lead by Nick on this one.

Nick approaching the crux of Tactician

Nick approaching the crux of Tactician

Nick at the Crux

Nick at the Crux

We re located to Stuntsmans Buttress following this, watching a rescue going on off Stennis Head for an unlucky climber who’d taken a fall. By all accounts he was thankfully OK.

The spectacular Huntsmans Leap

The spectacular Huntsmans Leap

Nick’s enthusiasm for climbing never seems to wain. While I was admiring the spectacular Huntsmans Leap and keeping a close watch on the weather, Nick was contemplating having a go at an E1 near the mouth of the Leap. Passing by rather unusual litter in the form of a Starburst shell (This whole area is right next to a massive military range) we headed out onto Stuntsmans Buttress. My personal drive was on the ebb and the couple who’s ab rope we used to drop in on decided to sit it out and wait for the weather to improve.

Not the usual litter.

Not the usual litter.

This explained the disappearing rope once we had descended as they abandoned their climbing day. So we’re at the base of an E1 in the drizzle, with what looks like an approaching deluge. What could go wrong? Nothing as it happens. Nicks full on optimism came up trumps. The rain missed us, the climb dried out really quickly and the route turned out to be very entertaining.

Nick eyeing up the descent to Big Sea Running

Nick eyeing up the descent to Big Sea Running

The perfect end of a trip and proof that if you think positively you make the most of every situation. The drive back was a good chance for reflection on what had been a brilliant trip. My first experience of Pembroke will ensure that I return time and again. I feel another climbing trip coming on.