Due to work commitments, I was unable to go to Dorset for the full duration of the trip, but had a great time over the three days I was able to attend.
I arrived on site at 10.00 at Tom’s Field in Dorset. It was barely above freezing, and was greeted by all who were on their way out to Swanage. I stayed behind to set up my Tent, and familiarise myself with the area. (This included a walk to Dancing Ledge). When all returned back to site, early afternoon, we got together, (and as the “newbie”), I was introduced to all. (Namely Tony, Buster, Becci, Alice, Tracy, Rachael, Ellie, Ivy, Harry & Dan). Due to the bad / cold conditions & weather forecast, it was decided it was not possible to do any Climbing. A group decision was made to go to Tyneham. The village is situated northeast of Worbarrow Bay on the Jurassic Coast, about 6 kilometers south of Wareham. The story is that villagers were told to leave their homes in order that the Army could take over the land for the duration of the war. They were promised their homes back at such time as the war ended, but in the event, they never got to live in their homes again. It is still to this day M.O.D. land as indeed it is all around the area. Access to Tyneham is only when the M.O.D. allow, mainly at weekends, when there is no practice firing on the ranges. After a circular walk around here, down to the Beach and then back to the Car Park – in a blizzard – it was decided we would warm up with a Curry at a Restaurant. We called it a night on our return, in readiness and hope for a better day in the morning,
Although a cold night was had under canvas, the forecast for the day looked good / perfect for Climbing. It was agreed that we would make our way to Portland. We arrived mid morning, and commenced our day at The New Cuttings – the Bonsai Area. This was where I experienced my first Climb, “Eat, Stick & Die” – 2. (This was after I had to learn the ropes – to pardon the pun). I gained knowledge and experience of the figure of eight, together with the lock off knot. I struggled, but was constantly told by my colleagues that due to being a very popular lower-grade route, the rocks were getting very polished. I then attempted the following Climbs – and gained some confidence: “We’re Only Placing Bolts for Nigel” – 3 and “Cheese & Pickle” – 4+, although I had to take an unscheduled break to prevent anyone else using these climbs for the day when I began to bleed all over the place! I was given the opportunity to try out “belaying”, and although closely monitored and protected, I can confirm that I enjoyed every minute of this.
The second half of the day we moved down and round the corner to the Bower Topo, (Cuttings).
Craggers Dorset Trip – Saturday 30th March to Saturday 6th April 2013 – continued…………..
Here, we had the following Climbs available to us : The Whispering Galleries, Queen of the New Year, Suntrap, The Bumper Fun Book, Tinkerbell, Far from the Madding Crowd, Six Finger Exercise, Godbeams & Project.
I attempted the first three Climbs, (and didn’t fair too bad – I will say), and then built myself up for “Project”. This involved a daunting climb out, (which for a novice, is easier said than done), followed by a climb up………….I tried a few times, but unfortunately had to call it a day after many attempts.
It was a great and enjoyable day – but I was shattered !
We left Portland at 6pm and headed back to Tom’s Field. I decided after a MRE, I would call it a day and take in what I had done.
Although Saturday was to be our last day, (with everyone travelling back), we discussed and agreed that we would “utilise” the good weather, (forecast was another sunny day), with an early pack up start.
Saturday Morning 07/04/13
It was a good call for an early start. Due to the good “crisp” morning, (had to scrape the ice off my tent !), we got all our gear together and packed up. The plan was to make our way to the “Winspit” area for a further Climbing day.
We arrived at a busy “Winspit West Quarry”, and enjoyed watching the Climbers, (already set up), making it look so easy as they climbed all around us.
We studied the Climbing ‘Bible’, and it was decided that we would move around to the Winspit Quarrymans Wall – facing the Sea. This was great and a super experience. I had a few Climbs, and then again watched in awe as our other Team members made various climbs – with no apparent effort.
Unfortunately, I then had to make my way back home, while I left the others to continue with their day and Climbs.
In summary, I had a brilliant experience. Everybody was terrific, and I appreciated everyone’s patience and assistance with me and my initial Climbing experience during this period of time.