Driving down on Monday, the weather closed in, getting dark, damp, rainy and cold. We were all tired for various reasons so when we arrived spirits were low. But, when we woke up on Tuesday morning the sun was out, the air was mild and the birds were singing. Dorset was transformed and all our spirits rose! However it was rather windy and there were gusts of up to 50 miles an hour.
We packed up our climbing gear and headed out. We walked up hill through fields of new born lamb. I was tempted to take one home but managed to leave it where it was. We arrived at Headbury quarry and it was deserted but after 5mins a big school trip arrived. It was partially sheltered from the strong wind so Alice quickly lead the grade 1 climb, the easiest there, but it was hard for us. After months of climbing at the wall, being on rock was a tough transition. Alice and I both felt old fear re-emerge that we thought we had faced down. Mariam and Ari climbed part of the way too. They both felt scared which was exacerbated by the extra noise bombarding their senses from the wind and angry crashing sea only a few feet behind us. They both did really well and tried a few times, climbing higher each time, which was really good! Alice and I climbed ‘sea view’ which is a grade 3 climb. It the climb on the edge of the cliff, closet to the sea and exposed to the winds. As I tried to place the last quick draw to secure the rope at the top, the gusting wind kept on blowing me off! I ended up holding the quick draw to stay on the climb while secured the rope at the top. This is not my best climbing!!
At about 3pm we were all tired and walked back to the campsite. The wind was so strong that Ari and I were both blown off our feet. I was blown into a bog. We were all tried when we got back but a good sort of tired ness which comes from being in the fresh air. It was the first time Ari had trekked with a back pack so he did really well.
We set alarms for 6am to get the sun in Wednesday morning and we were on the march at 8am. The climbs were empty. We set up the grade 2 climb but the wind and waves were still very frisky which broke everyone’s concentration and increased the feelings of fear. Mariam and Ari climbed more than the day before which was a very good effort!
On Thursday we were all very tired indeed and the weather was rainy, so we all just pottered about and then went into Swanage for a look around.
The rain continued on Friday morning but stopped at 11am and the sun came out for an hour, so Alice and I went for a walk up to the cliffs behind Swanage in the South West Coast path. It was lovely to see the beautiful Dorset landscape in the sun before we headed home.
Specially thanks on this trip to Ari for a steady production of gorgeous loom bands which he made for us all.