Last Friday I rushed from work straight to Euston station to catch a train to Swansea. After a >3h trip I was met by Tadas who currently lives there with his girlfriend Anna. Both of them are doing their PhD’s in geography, enjoying Wales and living a life that I am totally jealous about.
After some tea drinking, chatting, guidebook exploration and weekend decision making we went to sleep. Pembroke was our choice for Saturday. The next morning after proper Welsh breakfast we packed our gear and headed West. In Bosherston we just couldn’t resist a visit to the famous Olde Worlde Cafe to have second breakfast (if you don’t thing it’s legit to have second breakfast, watch Winnie Pooh and he’ll explain).
It was a very windy, though very beautiful day. Anna started a day leading Army Dreamers - her first VHS. Congrats Anna! I seconded this one. My UK trad debut was The Arrow - E1 5b. It was not hard but very different form sport, maybe more emotional, but not scary enough for my imagination about what trad is. Anna and Tadas seconded. Then it was Tadas’ turn to lead and so he chose Hangover ‘77 - E1 5b. Anna and me followed and even though it was graded the same as The Arrow, for me it seemed more scary, more tradish.
E2 was the next logical grade for me to try so I did Deranged - E2 5b. This gave me a happy portion of excitement and made me think “No E3 for you today :)”. So Tadas led Test Case - E3 5c. And when following I couldn’t think anything but “Oh gosh, it was such a nice decision to not lead this”. It was a very good route, I like it a lot. By Gedas’ scale it was probably super mellow but in my scale it was super pumpy.
After a short excursion around the nearby sectors we headed home. And by home I mean REAL home, not a dorm or a 2x2 room in a shared flat like I’m used to. A fireplace!, Anna’s brilliant lasagne and some red wine made a day even better. Oh and they have a cat. Real home, isn’t it!
As Sunday was going to be even windier in Pembroke, we decided to go for sport climbing in Gowers. We started in Southgate - a very well hidden sector which has some beautiful long routes. One of them is Kestrel, 7c+/8a. Guess who bolted it?
We didn’t do Kestrel. That one is not for the soft ones like me, but we did The Raven, 7a+ - a very misleading route at first but amazing when you know the holds.
After that we went to Foxhole where we did lots of different routes. For me the killer was Pioneers of the Hypnotic Groove - a very steep and beautiful route. Couldn’t do it but felt happy even trying it. Apart from this, we did loads of other nice ones as well. It’s definitely a sector to visit if you’re somewhere nearby!
Huge thanks for Anna and Tadas for hosting me, giving beta, preparing good food, taking pictures and spending time with me! Hope we’ll climb again soon!