Monday, 19 November 2012

A last good weekend in September

 29th September 2012 – Gower, 3 cliffs Bay
Thursday night pub….lets follow the weather, ok the Gower looks good for the weekend

Matt gets the van ready, Daymo packs the zebra trailer, Len gets the food and Deej provides the Saturday night curry… head own Friday night. Best site for 3 Cliffs is Nicholaston Farm http://www.nicholastonfarm.co.uk/, far less regulated than 3 Cliffs Bay. I drive down on Saturday morning, recon I can managed at least one night in a tent. M50 to M4, man the weathers looking good. Don’t you just hate it when you get sun all the way then at the one place you choose to stay it’s pissing down. Negative waves …..get behind me. Arrive on site perfect timing breakfast is ready; basically get the butty put in my hand.

Ok what’s the plan? Well the tides going out so we recon if we warm up on Little Tor first then Little Star Wall then move across to 3 Cliffs, see how the day goes. Good un

 

We head down the path from Nicolaston site and head right towards the sand runs down to the dunes, oh wow that first sight of Oxwich and the full rich Blue sea filling the horizon. Onto the beach and we circuit round Little tor. Nobody about except a guy walking his dog, we say hi, he says we’ve got a good day; he’s involved with the local cliff rescue and does a bit of climbing himself. Good to meet him, were assume we won’t be needing him later on. Little Tors got a few decent routes in the lower grades, but we don’t want to stay for a longish pitch just yet so move round to the gem of Little Star Wall, a perfect starter with Twin Crack Left & Right, a few easyish solo’s to warm up on. The rock is ok, dry enough, just a bit greasy at the very bottom but dam sharp higher up. Moving across to the left, Tom leads Stella VS 4c and Deej leads Scout Crack S 4a** Most of us follow up and play a few routes either side on a toppy. The tides is now easing off Great Tor, time to take the advantage and quickly pack the ropes. The edifice of Great tor is stunning, at night its silhouette is out of proportion, an echo of the black slab in 2001, not quite the precise ratio of a slightly leaning 1 : 4 : 9, or was it me! By day, the tide out stranded, its grand facets warp above you as you circumnavigate the rock pools.

Kind of like a rock magnet pulling… cummon you wanna climb me don’t, don’t you……..calm down. East ridge looks nice we’ll ava go at that later.

The wetted sand like a mirror as we make a direct line for 3 Cliffs, shoes off to cross the river. Only a few bods on the rock, mostly the easier East side with Joggled Wall and the like. The sun gets higher and warmer, Deej and Daymo kit up with the feverish relish of someone who’s spent to long studying the crag guide the night before. Deej either badly needs a wee or desperately wants to do Scavanger VS 4c*** feck dirk slow down, lemme get the camera out. Daymo wants Arch Slab 4c**, tip toeing over the rim of the cave Daymo moves onto sparse ground a few delicate moves and nice one, he’s onto the belay ledge. Deej meanwhile makes the pull round near the top of Scavenger, another sweet route. Matt follows Deej and Len follows Daymo. Not having been on the rock for a few months Andy & I timidly do Plumbline Diff, no real need for gear but worth a practice, keeping to the most difficult bits and moving off route to get a few pic’s of the others makes for a few nice moves. Still a great view. Quickly down to belay Daymo on Scavanger, I second followed by Andy. Deej does Arch Lab follow by Matt with some lovely cranking. Think Tom & Len then do Scavenger.

The days getting on, we need to start tinkin about the god tide. Come on lets move, we head back towards Great Tor. The tides lapping the base, so we scramble the shoreline trying not to drop kit in the water. We have a plan, we’ve got quite a bit of stuff so scramble up the gully and dump all but essentials at the top. Dropping a rope down the gully we quickly abb and then traverse across to the start of East Ridge Variations 73m HS,4b,4b *** Deej, Tom & Matt Head off first, Myself, Daymo, Len and Andy will follow, The first rope set are soon gone, I start the first pitch, by now the tides all in, Awww this is going to be a fun finish. The noise above suggests the others are avin a good time. Meanwhile Daymo leads the 2nd pitch he’s pretty knackered from the earlier days routes and is violently spat off the dam polished footholds, Schoolgirl error, I trap my thumb between the rope and the bug, flippin owww, he bravely continues, hurrahh. The key finger hold is right at the back of the crack and needs a two finger twist to pull on. Len’s follows me on pitch 2 and can’t get the nut out that daymo fell on never mind it’s one of Andy’s.

Ok 3rd pitch, Andy is also shot so I lead the beautifully exposed finish on the seaward face, certainly worth the 3 stars. On the way up I notice a newish looking well placed Hex, cheers chaps I use that, but err why didn’t the last man clean it out? This is a fantastic spot to top out, for a grand finish to a grand day. I start belaying the other 3 up the last pitch, Daymo cleans the route, but stops about half way, he’s having problems. Sorry mate, couldn’t get the bloody Hex out. I explain that it’s not ours; it’s apparently a bit of Cragfastswag……. ahhh there forever. Matt also led the last pitch, nice one…The suns sinking low, we head back, get the curry on.

 

A few beers later with a rich curry round a good fire……… Deej done good, dam tasty. Out comes some unusually pleasant Tequila and the Aldi Whisky.

The evening gets furry at the edges, at some point we decide to move the tarp, a simple task for one person becomes an extreme challenge, in which all parties involved consecutively can’t remember why they stood up and what they are supposed to be doing, essentially it’s a task to far. The back of my head starts hurting as I weep with laughter. Don’t put the guy rope over the fire either, that just asking for trouble.

The topic of conversation turns towards the little know phenomenon of the ‘Stourbridge hum’. Seeing as only me and Daymo who have been gifted to witnessed it, it’s a very difficult sound to describe to anyone who hasn’t heard it. Eer yeah, but we have a go…….” Hummmm….No no, it’s deeper than that, I mean it’s really deep like the deepest base note you’ve ever heard man, even deeper than that sub woofer bit on Tubular Bells” pause….. “What Sub Woofer bit” is the reply “oh bollocks have I got to explain that now as well”. The sounds emanating from the around the fire resembles a bad Tibetan prayer meeting.  OOOOOmmmmmm,, OOOmmmmm, “No deeper that that”  Oommmm oooommm, Nah that’s not right either, anyway its bloody deep. We think it’s something to do with underground power or water supply; I foolishly introduce info on the acoustic properties of the Bunter Sandstone anticline near Ludlow. Whaattt stop. All we now hear for the next half hour is Len sayin Ludlow, Ludlow, Ladlow, Laaad….low in overstressed Cockerney until it is eventually completely lost in translation.

 

The moons full and bright, taking a few supplies, a few of us wander back down to Oxwich bay, sitting in the sand watching the moonscape unfold in front of us, is enough to put the topping on the evening.

We need sleep, I’m shattered. During the night, half awake, it gets a bit noisy outside, pretty sure it’s a badger finishing off the curry, unfortunately not, the tarps broke loose.

Ahhhggh… a not so good morning, soreish head and the clags rolling in, don’t think we’ll be climbin today. Post breakfast decision is to head over to Worms head for a walk, this we do, blowin a gale now but we’re lucky enough to get the tide right and make the crossing over to the headland. A good Sunday walk and Tom gets to see his first seal, ‘still can’t believe that’.
 
Have used a few pics & topo’s, from the South Wales Mountaineering org website. Dam useful, and worth a look at if your heading that way http://www.southwalesmountaineering.org.uk/g_book/index.php/South_Wales_Mountaineering_Club_-_Guidebook_Wiki

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