The weather was ominous on Friday and intimidated a few softies who decided to postpone their departure to Saturday morning to avoid pitching their tents under the rain. A few well-seasoned mountaineers braved the conditions and set off under the torrential rain. Andy Furnell spent a lonely evening in his tent and met nobody until Saturday as John, Mike and Petra arrived around midnight and Guillaume and Philippe decided to stay dry and sleep in their car (positive spin for ‘we forgot we didn’t have a tent and the £15 Argos one purchased the very afternoon seemed rather flimsy to resist the weather’).
Due to the reduced numbers Saturday’s usual faff lasted only about 15 mins while John and Andy sorted out a route. They set off from the campsite to Swyre Head via an inland route, returning on the Costal Path. Mike and Petra joined them as far as Kingston, before heading inland to explore Corfe Castle. Jason and Jeremy set off early on Saturday morning but weren’t able to climb much due to morning showers. Meanwhile Lena, Will and Simon M-C made their way from London and arrived just as the clouds were clearing up to be rewarded with some fantastic climbing at Dancing Ledge. The group managed a good number of routes including Borra Ring 5+, Carol’s little injection 6a, The War of the wardens 5+ and Kohn Cravens Willy Warmer 5+. Later in the afternoon Andy and John joined the group and decided to curtail their coastal walk at 14 miles in order to offer jibes, instructions and general peer pressure to Jeremy, Jason and Simon as they attempted an (allegedly) overgraded 6A (Negative Creep 6b+). After much effort and little style they managed to finish the route only for Guillaume to show them how it should be done in one very elegant go.
A suspicious van was spotted at the car park and after much deliberation it was agreed it was Shane’s and a prank was to be had. Conveniently, Simon had a 3 month old receipt from ‘La Musardiere’ that he keeps in his car for that very purpose and was ‘anonymously’ left on the window screen.
The day ended with everyone going to the Ship Inn for generous helpings of food and a few drinks.
On Sunday Jeremy and Jason set off early to do some proper manly trad. Andy took it easy and as a good son went home for father’s day to indulge in mum’s cooking. Lena, Simon and Will opted for more sport climbing, this time in Portland. The group knocked off a few familiar classics in the Reptile Smile area of Blacknor before going down to Fallen Slab so Will could get some leads in, in the believe that table tides are overrated and today’s tide in Portland shouldn’t be very different from yesterday’s in Swanage. It turned out to be 3 hours off but they still managed to climb the Bolt factory on the interesting and very course limestone before the incoming tide chased them all back up to higher ground.
Shane’s first words to Simon on Tuesday at the West Way were ‘Bonsoir Monsieur’.
The weather proved to be very pleasant and a lot of climbing got done. Morality: ‘Don’t be deterred by the weather, just go mañana!’