So…with my birthday approaching, it was time to decide what I wanted to do for it. I could do the usual night out round the corner from work, which would have no doubt been a good night, but I thought, with a weekend off, we should do something more fun. So a weekend on Portland it was, and what a good weekend it turned out to be!
After a day of being spoilt on my birthday, Cailean and I made our way down to Wey-hey-mouth (as our friend Paul likes to call it!) and set up camp late on the Friday night. As much as I love camping, the early wake up call from the sun came all too soon…but that did mean one thing, it wasn’t raining!! We got out of the tent to find the most perfect conditions (in my opinion) for a day of climbing, the sun was shining and there was not a cloud in sight! Perfection. We headed to the Blue Fish for breakfast, where we met James, Gav and Lisa, and decided that the days destination was to be the Battleship sector. I was happy as I had a long list of routes I wanted to try there. First of all, we got on a route called ‘The Ghost of Saturday Night’, a fun 5+. My first attempt was appalling. After having not climbed on real rock for well over a month, it felt very weird. I couldn’t get my head around it at all, but after coming down and having a word with myself I got back on and got to the top no problem. It was a good fun route and nice to have made it to the top to get out of the shade, even if only for a few minutes!! We then got on a 6b to the right called ‘Borstal Breakout’. I decided to go for the flash after Cailean saying it was quite straightforward. The majority of the climb was, and I got to the last clip fairly quickly. But from there, you had to traverse out to the left and do, what was probably the crux, which I managed to do, and reverse, about 10 times. I was to scared to commit to the very last move, which was to a jug next to the lower off. After all the attempts, I gave up, one move away from what would have been a flash. Very annoyed, I came down and had a go on top rope, the move was quite simple, but just a bit run out, nevermind, there were plenty more routes to go at!
We then moved along to try ‘Bouys will be Bouys’, a top 50 6b+ on top rope. I got on it feeling quite overwhelmed by its height, slightly higher than I’m used to finding in Britain, but the climbing was amazing, some amazing moves, none particularly hard, just quite pumpy and sustained. I got to around 3/4 of the way up and got to the crux section, which I puzzled over for a few minutes, but couldn’t work out what I was to do, so came down. It was beginning to get late, so I decided that it could be a long term project, and we headed to Chesil Beach for a BBQ.
On Sunday, after 3 breakfast, we headed to Blacknor North, Cailean wanted to try a route called ‘Freaky Ralph’, and I was too full to even think about climbing. After being at the crag for about 3 hours, I decided to try ‘Monsoon Malabar’, a fun looking climb up an arete. It wasn’t fun, not after a few metres of climbing. I got myself into a right pickle as I was too scared to commit to a move, that was slightly above the clip, so stupid. After a couple of tears, I decided that I didn’t want to be down on such a nice weekend, so backed off the route and headed in search of something more fun! And that I did. I got on ‘Very Sleepy River’ on top rope, a route which Gav claimed to be the best 6b on the island. The first half of the route consisted entirely of laybacking up a massive crack, something I thought I didn’t like, but on this route it seemed to be a lot of fun! At half height, there is a massive break where you can have a good rest, and then it goes into some amazing flowstone features. It took me a bit of work to find out where all the good holds were in amongst all of the flowstone tufas. I got the route clean second go on top rope, and was super psyched, possibly the best climb I’ve ever done? I thought I should have a go at leading it, but the bolts were around 3 – 4 metres apart, and so I decided maybe not, best to end the weekend on a high rather than feeling miserable after failing to lead it – I was happy with that!
So we headed home after a lovely weekend in the sunshine with some good friends, with an even bigger list of climbs to do than we went with…always the way!!