Friday, 19 September 2014

Rock Climbing

You may have picked up, if you read my blog regularly, that I really like the outdoors and being quite active – although I do less than I used to, and far far less than I would like to!

One of my favourite outdoors activities is rock climbing. I have been a climber since I was about 15, when the father of a boy from my school suggested it to me as an activity I would enjoy. He wasn’t wrong! I absolutely loved it, and my local climbing club was a very friendly and supportive bunch, who I thoroughly enjoyed going out with.

I climbed regularly and frequently for a few years, before I sort of drifted away from it while completing a full-time college course (while working a 6-day-week at the same time!) in order to get into university.

I no longer climb as much as I would like, mostly because I am not able to lead (that’s the job of going up first, placing all of your protective gear, and then setting up the belay point for the next person. You’re in charge of all the safety bits and the ropework etc, so if you can’t do it properly then you shouldn’t do it at all!) so I am reliant on having someone else to take me climbing, and I don’t know that many people nearby who can do that!

So last weekend, when my brother and his wife came to visit, I jumped at the chance of an outdoorsy day with good company :)

First of all we went surfing at a local beach. The waves were too big for me to be able to take the camera out as well – all of my attention needed to be on the task at hand, as I am not the greatest surfer… While my brother was ‘out back’ catching the big, proper waves, his wife and I were further in towards the beach. The waves are messier here, but I find them easier to manage than the proper waves. Something I need to improve if I want to be half decent!

Coming out of the water, we caught up with various people we knew who had all come to the beach for the waves that day. We had lunch at the beachside pub, and then moved on to St David’s, in order to go rock climbing on the coastal cliffs at Porthclais.

The winter’s storms had affected this part of the coast too, and some climbing routes are gone forever as huge sections of rock have tumbled to the sea.

A new gap in the cliff!

The newly exposed rock behind might give up new climbing routes though, once all of the unstable bits have fallen away, and only more secure rock is left behind.

You can see the colour change, where the previously unexposed rock is now out in the open

Look at those jagged rocks with their fresh sharp edges! You wouldn't want one of those landing on your head!

My brother was the lead climber for us, setting up the equipment. His wife went up second so that I was around below to shout any advice if it was needed - it wasn't needed in the end as she did really well, but she is fairly new to climbing and is not too comfortable with heights, so it was nice to have the reassurance anyway!

Me climbing, with my brother belaying

I love climbing by the sea, I love the noise of the water, the views, the fresh sea air. 

My sister-in-law climbing - she's removing the lead protection in this shot

After she got to the top, my brother threw the rope back down so that I could climb up too. Good job he can be trusted! lol

You'll have to forgive the sunglasses - I need to keep my new scar protected from the sunlight!

You often get to watch a lot of wildlife as well like sea birds and seals – the seals are great, as they seem so curious about you too and lie back in the water watching your antics! We didn’t see any today though, only this hairy bear caterpillar (although the internet tells me it’s a woolly bear) which I think might be a Tiger Moth caterpillar.

With aching arms from battling the big waves earlier on, we only did a couple of routes before calling it a day and heading back to my mum’s house. It was great though to get out and spend the whole day enjoying the outdoors, something I wish I had done more of over the last few years. At least I have the reminder of how much I enjoy it, so that I can make more of an effort from now on :)

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