May half term and a welcome week off work from Plas-y-Brenin. Me and Jake plan to head along the coastline of Cornwall, following the good weather and tides enjoying single and multi pitch climbing, surfing and the wonders of wild camping. Day 1 – We drove down on Tuesday morning and parked up outside the old tin mining chimneys at Bosigran. Bosigran is a classic British crag in West Penwith, it hosts some classic climbs like Alisons Rib and Doorpost. The main cliff sits above the tide and is easily accessible, its huge walls of solid and featured granite is considered some of the best! We spent the afternoon getting to grips with subtleties of climbing on granite and spent the night nestled in the grassy slopes above the crag. We watched a beautiful sunset and awoke to eerie mist covering the zawn.
Day 2 – Was spent seeking out another Cornish classic, Right Angle at St Gurnards Head, although the day was not to go entirely to plan. We awoke early and scoffed wheatabix and hot chocolate, parked outside the luminous hotel and after 3 tries found the right footpath to the top of the crag. We sat on top of the crag for 15 minutes eying up the line in its dark, dank and wave washed state. The sea was not being kind and the sun was not yet on the climb which meant a horrendous layer of sea mist and moistness was covering the 3 pitches. We decided to go for a walk around the promontory to the let the sun come around the corner and warm the climb, when we returned we found 5 Germans in the same predicament…not quite wanting to climb on slimy granite. We made the decision to head back to the car after realising the sun would take too long and the climb was now busy. We quickly looked at Lands End and started the engine. After parking outside the theme park parking, we easily found the correct descent path and racked up ready for another Cornish classic, Lands End Long Climb, at Lands End funnily enough, 8 short pitches of wonderful cracks and chimneys. After racking up I found that I had no rock shoes and committed to climbing the route in a pair of trainers, shouldn’t be too hard on VDiff, although Jake helpfully told me that people think it deserves a much higher grade. What an awesome route! Wonderful granite, which did as Jake said feel harder than VDiff…Pitch 2, the elbow crack, a slightly polished and fairly awkward pitch possibly made easier by the approach shoes! Pitch 5, a fantastic wide chimney and a great exercise in bridging and chimney-ing. Pitch 6…the guidebook either says a huge jump across the gap, or an awkward shimmy around a bulge, neither seemed appealing and after much deliberation I found a way to climb down into the zawn and out the other side rather than making the gargantuan jump across. We topped out and headed back to the car. The evening was spent finding a new camping spot. We headed towards Porthcurno Beach and sipped cuppa soup while enjoying the sun setting and a dull ache on our fingertips before heading back to cook up dinner and dessert. We chatted about the wonders of wild camping and how god it feels, while cooking up a dinner of pasta, carrot and onion is tomato sauce and dessert of custard and cake. We drifted off into settled sleep only to be woken by dogs barking and the sun shining through the tents.
Day 3 – We packed down out tents and ate our wheatabix while perusing the guidebooks. We had decided the evening before that Chair Ladder was our next mission. We had a text through the evening before with the tide times and worked out we needed to be at the bottom by 8am to be climbing out of the cliff as the tide chased us. We abseiled in and immediately knew we wouldn’t be able to get around the corner to the base of the climbs, the lack of sunshine and large swell meant the bottom of the climbs where wave washed and the slippery polished granite was too dangerous to consider scrambling down to dash around the corner to a certain soaking. We knew there where climbs starting from the slightly higher ledges at the bottom of the abseil and decided we should try Pendulum Chimney, another classic. We suddenly realised we had bought the wrong book, doh, but remembered just enough to weave a meandering way across chair ladder, using the first pitch of the VS South Face Direct and then making an unmarked traverse across into the bottom of chimney pitches of Pendulum chimney. It was defiantly a test of nerve, climbing into the unknown, but we where well rewarded with a fantastic climb and topped out feeling chuffed and it was only 11am! We consulted the guidebook walked along the cliffs to Carn Barra, a semi tidal single pitch crag. We sat on the top of cliffs and enjoyed a lunch of quiche and biscuits nursing tired arms and sore fingers. We abseiled in and climbed 2 fantastic climbs before giving up to the burning sensation in our hands. We strided back along the cliff tops and spent the afternoon lazing, eating, reading and sleeping on the sunny and wind swept beach of Porthgwarra. We headed back to our previous campsite and again enjoyed soup on the beach before cooking up a dinner of ham, olives and noodles.
Day 4 – We again awoke to barking dogs but this time overcast skies and a nip in the air. We had planned knowing that the day was supposed to be poor weather wise to go surfing at Sennen. When we rocked up in the car park however the rain and poor messy surf left us unenthusiastic to leave the warmth of the car and don our wetsuits. We instead opted for a cliff top walk to Looe Bar, a strip of sand that separates the sea from an inland lake before driving home to Devon.
An awesome 3 day introduction to the wonders of Cornish granite. There is so much to offer just about every climber and at every grade and type. The beauty of the landscape is captivating, the only downside is that some of the climbs are too short. I wish classics like Peel Crack at Carn Barra where 5 pitches long rather than the 16m of beauty it is. we had kind weather and it being so close to my home county of Devon I shall be back!