The Hungry Sea

4th August 2011
The Lizard – Coastguard Cliff – The Holywood Walls
Limelight – HVS 5a – Lead

Weather plays a huge part in life in Cornwall. We are very much at the mercy of Atlantic weather fronts and on occasions like today you can only hope that the squalls and showers miss you.

Coastguard Cliff was probably not the best place to go on a day when it was grey and windy, but I’d had my eye on an HVS called Limelight for a while. The top of the cliffs were blowy but after dropping down onto the gearing up ledge things settled a bit and at the base it was actually sheltered. The descent route is a little intimidating, with a steep narrow ramp the main acess to the base of the cliffs. They are though essentially non tidal, so even with a roaring sea we were well above the sets.

Holywood Walls

For Joe, who hadnt been climbing outside for a while it was a real senses fest. Wind, noise from the sea, damp conditions and a tough HVS. Not for the faint hearted! However it was not the climb which took centre stage but the patch of sea below us which during the coarse of the day claimed two of my ‘Rocks’ (nearly a third but Pete rescued it) and my Rockfax climbing guide which slipped out of Pete’s pocket when he was partaking in acrobatics on the opening moves.

Holywood Walls

This brings me into the climb. It has a thuggy start with a pull up a diagonal rising crack to get established on the main face. It didnt help that part of the crack was wet and to be fair it is a bit scary as you haul yourself up. Still once through this I found things settled down and good climbing led to the upper groove. This is really the crux, not the bottom part as I had thought.


There is gear, but you leave it below you as you move through a really technical section. It is brilliant climbing; really testing and it makes you think your moves out carefully. Loved it. The final top wall is atmospheric and provides a suitable climax to what is a solid HVS.

Pete struggled with the opening moves and having lost the book I dont think his heart was in it. Joe tackled it with his usual gusto, although by his own admission it was a scary return to the rock. That didnt seem to wipe the smile off his face though.

As the rain came in and we called it a day we tried to get a cup of coffee. The local cafe at The Lizard turned out to have a scary women and we were not flavour of the month when we queue jumped and grabbed the only remaining table, so we retreated before things got ugly. Chips at Pete’s turned out to provide a suitable end to a good days climbing.

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