Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Great British Washout...

Through the open window in my temporary home, I can hear the sound of rain falling. This seems to happen with alarming regularity right now in North Wales, and seemingly across the UK with my Gran even booking a last minute holiday abroad to escape Devon's wetness!!

The forecast is very unreliable, and a dry spell can appear or disappear from day to day. You start dreaming of doing a certain route at a certain place in the next window of opportunity, and then the window closes and your route gets a bucket of water thrown at it.

The mountains of North Wales are a complete write-off, I never got much of a chance to climb in the mountains as a student, as I tended to be revising or gone when the best weather struck. Consequently, I was psyched for the Pass this summer, but as always, fate has other plans for you...

I feel frustrated. VERY frustrated. In addition to this, I am in my third house in as many weeks. First, I was given less than 24 hours to vacate my student house, I moved into Jess' student house for a few days before I had to vacate that, and now I'm in a friends house but only for another 6 days. This, combined with having no job, bad weather and a girlfriend in the Peak District makes Dunky an unhappy chappy. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is just proverbially.

I have secured myself a convenient job. This is conveniently located between Vivian Slate Quarry and Llanberis. I am to be rising to the heady heights of becoming a "High Ropes Course Instructor"... after they've checked me out to ensure I'm not a total punter... I'm not am I?? This is great as the pay is pretty good and the work exceedingly flexible, and I'm eating into my savings at the minute, which isn't great...

In addition to this, it seems as though we may have found a house, in Llanberis, that is affordable if not quite the sort of quality we would have liked. Well, it is a toss up between this house and a nicer one in Llanrug which is further out of Llanberis, the heart of the North Wales climbing 'scene'. I think we are going to pursue the former.

Since Pabbay, I have managed to get out a bit, but not all that much! First few days back were good. though I didn't make the most of them. An afternoon climbing at Yellow Walls with fellow Devonian Sam Farnsworth was great and I managed to tick a route I have wanted to for a long time; The Sind (E3 5b/c) and Creeping Lemma (E2/3 5c). Both very good but very differing routes. The Sind (Sand in Cymraeg) was as the name suggested, sandy shuffley udging up an overhanging corner/slab, very awkward with a little emotional terror thrown in to make it memorable... The Creeping Lemma on the otherhand was wacky and wild! Offering unconventional moves on the middle pitch and strenuous, well-protected awkwardness on the final pitch.

*Warning* I recently heard that the final easy corner section of Creeping Lemma has recently fallen down due to extreme Welsh weather... proceed with caution it's bloody pissing it down out there...

Al Mason on the lower, dustier section of The Sind (E3 5b/c)
(c) Mikey Goldthorp
Next up, I made steps to break down my mental barrier with the Cromlech by climbing Memory Lane (E3 5c). It's good that I can get up top-end bold E3's when my psyche is lacking! Afterwards I seconded Ballsford up Foil, a brilliant effort and the opposite of Memory Lane, with hard climbing for E3, but more runners than you can shake a stick at.

James Gray taking a trip up Memory Lane (E3 5c)
(c) Mikey Goldthorp
An afternoon at Craig Doris with aspirant Alpine Guide Tom Grant almost made me shit my pants when I got on a wet E1 5a going on E2/3 5b! 'Votes for Dogs' involved loose rock, wet rock and dirty rock, in multiple combinations. The final steep crux finale was fairly damp too though luckily I finally got in more than one piece of gear that was definitely bomber. Still wouldn't be a nice fall though...

Craig Doris... it just wants to fall down!
(c) Tom Ripley

Owain on the lower section of Votes for Dogs (E1-3 5a/b)
(c) Tom Ripley
The next day we headed to Gogarth and hoped to get a route in on Main Cliff, unfortunately the waves were smashing the bottom of the crag so we did a few nice multipitches on the Upper Tier including; Park Lane/Doomsville (E2 5b), Fifth avenue (E1 5c), and Fail Safe (E2 5b). A great little day.

Hopefully the weather will improve once I have been home for a bit! Otherwise, it looks as though I'll be trying to save some money to get abroad over the winter... In the meantime, here is a video of our trip to Pabbay and Mingulay, made by Callum;

Pabbay and Mingulay 2012

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