Just in time for the July heatwave to reach British shores, the MMC decided to head to sunny Portland and make their home for the weekend at Rosewall campsite.
Rise and shine like the sun was the motto for the day. Waking up to (unfamiliar) blue skies and sunshine, moods were just as sunny as the weather as plans were made for the day.
The climbers decided to seek out the morning shade at Blacknor – a trip down memory lane for some. This is where Oli climbed his first-ever Sport route at the MMC Portland Meet in August 2019 – Slings Shot (5a), so he thought it would be a nice touch to be able to put this route up two years later for new members of the club to enjoy in turn. However, he clearly didn’t remember it all that well as he accidently put up Crocadilia (6a) next to it, instead. A common mistake, seemingly repeated every meet, as Joe can attest. Luckily it still seemed to be enjoyed by multiple climbers, old and new. Cake Walk (6a+) was next, where more wonderful flowstone action was to be had. This route was first enjoyed by Joe, Stef and Alistair (M), who were both disappointed by the lack of actual cake at the crag. Not to be discouraged, they worked their way to Blacknor South before the heat got the better of them. The climbing action was dutifully supervised by crag dog in chief, Ellie.
With the sun now relentlessly beating down and the Reptile Smile area getting busy, Katherine and Oli made their way down the cliff in search of shade and other climbs. They only succeeded in one of these – finding Go With The Flow (6a) and Pregnant Pause (6a+) before returning to where they started to cool off in a naturally air-conditioned cave before heading up Apfel Strudel (6a) and finally saying enough was enough… time for ice cream.
The rest of the gang decided the water was a better option to cool off. Cool it was indeed – their shrieks could be heard across Portland.
Elsewhere the walkers enjoyed the variety of beaches in the area, with plenty of ice cream to be had. Definitely the smarter choice given the weather!
Another glorious day at the Jurassic Coast was awaiting the MMC.
Chuck, Damien, Darren and Oli headed to the Coastguard South cliffs, which would be in the shade until early afternoon. They parked at the very tip of the island – Portland Bill – next to the famous Grade II Listed lighthouse. Having checked the tides, they made their way along the shoreline to Xavier’s Wall which was said to host a collection of some of the best lower sixes on the island. Venimus, Vidimus, Vicimus… Xavier’s Wall fell, with both Top 50 and all three 2 Star 6a / 6a+ routes being ticked off in succession. Damien also put in a Herculean effort to get up the 6c+, though none were brave enough to follow. With the tide still in and preventing escape, there was only one reasonable course of action – a dip and swim in the sea whilst they waited.
At Battleship Back Cliff, Marie established a new record, leading a 10a. A second ascentist has yet to confirm the grade.
Katherine, Vicky, Alistair, Joe and Stef chose the short approach option and (re)visited some much-loved routes in the Cuttings area. As the crag was facing the sun full on, the biggest perk was the proximity to Church Ope Cove, where a dip in the sea would offer a break from the heat.
At the end, hardly anyone could resist the call of one beach or another, with a quick paddle being the preferred way to end the trip. A great weekend all around.