Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Lundy Stag

Arettica in Pembroke
Old Light on Lundy
The Dogs Bollocks

Thanks to McHaffie’s forthcoming wedding I’ve had the chance to pay a visit to Lundy Island again this year. I’ve had a few great trips here over the years, that have included watching Neil ‘Youth’ climb the unjustifiable and being blamed for bad weather by Bullock. This trip was organised by Wez, Caff’s best man, as Caff’s stag do. It was strong team of dubious character, and we were lucky to have a week of almost perfect climbing conditions.

My arms were feeling ‘pruned’ to begin with after having spent three days trying to keep up with Caff in Pemmers. Things had started badly after I made the appalling decision to warm up on Woeful, an E5 with a bit of a reputation, which was absolutely soaking for the first ten meters. This gave me a bit of a spanking that my arms, body and ego never quite recovered from. We did a load of good routes, especially in the area around the Cauldron which I had never visited before. The best being Dreaming Again (unrepeated until then, I think?) which is one of the best routes I’ve done at Pembroke. It has a good E5 pitch followed by a very physical E6 pitch on immaculate rock.

There was a lot of talk about climbing Freemasonry which climbs a crazy line around the corner form the Cauldron. It does a lot of traversing, down climbing, is 4 pitches long and is given E6. Caff had done it before and was droning on about how good it was and not too bad and we’d be fine. We being me, Pete and Maddy, as we were thinking of doing it as a four. This sounded like a great idea initially until some facts began to slip from Caff’s mouth… the first pitch is only a wet E5, Crispin Waddy had to abseil into the sea twice before making the first ascent and Charlie Woodburn and Neil Mawson got lost and had to reverse aid to escape. We decided to leave this one for the time being..

Monday night we had our first night off drinking for a few days, but we also spent it lying in a ditch next to the motorway and so I still felt fairly awful when we arrived on Lundy. I did the Cullinan again to get going, which felt harder than I remember, and Caff, not wasting any time, dispatched the Flying Dutchman. Whoa, what a route. Wez kindly seconded as I had it in my mind that I might give it a try later on in the week. Caff told me I’d be fine, off course, and that “the only way you could fall off is if all the holds broke”.  I did get on it, the holds didn’t break and I got a spanking - I put this down to a combination of low mojo and chronically pruned arms.

I was most pleased to do probably the second ascent of the Dogs Bollocks in Two-Legged Zawn, an E6 first climbed by Nick White and Dave Thomas. I think this route is probably rarely dry but we found it perfect condition and very clean. I was expecting a huge fight, but it turned out to be fairly steady and good gear. Caff declared it to be E4 and Adam Long, who did it a few days later, suggested it might be E4, 5 of them, stacked, with poor rests in between making it about E6.

The stripper cancelled last minute, Wez left the mankini at home and we couldn’t find any lampposts on Lundy, so we had a few beers on the last night instead. We drank some rum too and we bought Caff a few shots of absinthe after he’d been talking about how much he liked it earlier. He got very rowdy and started laying into us all, for about five minutes and then disappeared. Being good friends we chased him around for a while until he passed out in his tent and we thought we better call it a night. I think Ryan filmed it all and is planning on making a short film out of it.

Stag night...
...Caff the next day

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