Rock Climbing / September 10, 2008

Mallorca here I come

Right now I am sitting in the departure gate of Southampton airport
after having just returned to the mainland from an insanely muddy Isle
of Wight. I had a great time and listened to some fantastic music and
got really dirty, but more of that later.

Last
time I blogged I told you I would soon be returning to Devon to attempt
my project and guess what, I didn’t do it. With the way the internet is
now-a-days you would most likely have known about me doing it before I
even did, so I guess it must come as no surprise, that due to the radio
silence, I failed again. Thankfully, this time was not as terrifying,
or as painful as the last which unfortunately for you guys means it in
not as exciting to read about. Oh well, I do try my best to keep you
entertained one way or another but sometimes things just don’t work out
how you had planned.

30+mph winds and heavy rain showers were
what met me at the cliff so the chance of a lead attempt was looking
thin from the start. I was joined by Nick and Katherine Sellars who
were great company and their excitement on seeing the wall for the
first time helped to keep my spirits high. In between the gusts and the
rain, the rock felt great and I managed to climb all of the sections
with relative ease. I still felt sick when I thought of being on the
lead but I did my best to control this and by the end of day 1, I was
praying for calmer weather the following day.

Unfortunately,
after phoning around various people for a weather report all hopes were
dashed as I found out the Bristol Channel was due to be blasted by a
mega storm the following day. I said good bye to all my friends who had
travelled hundreds of miles from all over the country to support me,
and drove back to Exeter with the now familiar feeling of unavoidable
disappointment. Next time.

I had one day left before Bestival
and on the spur of the moment decided to join Nick and Katherine at
Ansteys Cove for a spot of bolt clipping. We had no guide to follow and
it was incredibly refreshing and enjoyable just climbing for climbing
sake. No planning, no pressure. Just pick a route you like the look of,
climb it, and pick another until you are too tired to do any more. It
is all to easy to get sucked into “playing the game” when you are
trying to make money from the sport you love and almost forget why you
are doing it in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that
to have this wonderful life I need to make sacrifices and earn my keep,
but from time to I must remember to “just go climbing”.

Thursday
came and Emily and I stuffed the car full of half out worldly
possessions and headed east to the Isle of Wight. Bestival has run for
the last 5 years and due to is late position in the festival calendar
has always enjoyed glorious sunshine thanks to the slightly more stable
September weather. Not this time…

It
had rained a little on Thursday day and the mud was already thick and
slippy for our arrival on Thursday night. Then the heavens opened and
by morning the whole site was a quagmire, up to 30cm of sludge in some
places.

I
had planned on glorious sunshine and so had packed my “comfy” tent, a
Trailhead 6, instead of anything a little more substantial. The wind
roared and the rain continued to fall but as all other tents lay
crumpled on the floor, the Trailhead stood strong and true. I was very,
very impressed and stepped out each morning with a slight look of
smugness and surveyed the carnage around me. Other people were
obviously jealous of the mighty Trailhead as one morning I woke to find
margarine had been thrown at it during the night, the miserable dirty
bastards.

The
rain continued to fall and there was talk of closing the festival but
everyone persevered and had an amazing time. The highlights for me were
listening to HotChip go off in front of 20,000 people on the main
stage, and at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, going crazy to
an intense, immense Roni Size after party in the tiny, grimy hidden
disco.

6.15
am Monday morning came and my alarm screamed in my ear. We stumbled
around and packed up camp whilst waiting for a friend who had gone
missing the night before and was due to travel home with us. He
eventually wandered into camp looking “slightly” worse for wear but in
a very giggly mood and proceeded to giggle his way with us up the long
muddy walk back to the bus stop.

A
Bus, Ferry, Walk, TGI Fridays and Car brings us up to date and to where
I will leave you for now. I had a fantastic time at Bestival which I
owe in part to having decent kit that kept me warm, dry and smiling.
Here’s to the next one, but for now it is on to pastures new.
Adios amigos, for now…

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