In the weekend, the usual messages started pinging in my phone about climbing on the Monday. And soon a plan was formed: with four people we would go to a crag I had never heard of, in the Gwydir forest. I was going to share a ride with my friend Charlotte. She picked me up from home and we were off. We had to wait for a bit as the two men seemed that bit late. At some point I got a text from one of them; he said he was at the designated meeting place. He clearly wasn't! We were. When he said where he was neither Charlotte nor I recognised the place. We told him to come to us. And it turned out that we had been at the designated meeting place, but that he had actually been where we would go from there! Some slight confusion. Fortunately nothing too serious. We loaded up the kit (it was a trad crag) and walked down the path. It wasn't far, and suddenly saw the crag. There wasn't an obvious paths to it. This didn't look like a busy crag! Glyn basically hacked us a way with his walking pole. And then we could start! The idea was that Charlotte would lead the easiest route on the crag in Glyn would lead the rest. I thought I would just clamber around a bit on the side of the crag until the ropes were up. It turned out I was actually on a route… That one was clearly fine for people who were not confident in their trad leading.
Soon Glyn had a rope up, and I could follow. It was a fun route! And quite doable. It was hard on the hands, though, as the rock was pointy and unforgiving, and the holds were often so far from each other I had to step and reach, and could not take my time finding the most comfortable way of grabbing hold of them. The evening progressed, Charlotte led her route, and Glyn led two more, and I seconded both. One I did twice, as the first time I did it in a rather ugly way. Glyn wasn't having it. But by then I was ready to call it a day. The midges were out, and my hands felt like they didn't have any skin any more.
I had also interrogated Eifion about his career. He was using his retirement to develop his own company! He is a resourceful man any had a varied past. I like hearing stories like that. But we packed our stuff and made our way back to the cars. It had been a good evening!
|The crag: Cae Hydgyll|
|Glyn coaching Charlotte|
|Eifion in action|
|Progress on the difficult route|
|Glyn on a route that made us nervous; the first gear could only be placed rather high...|
|Me interrogating Eifion while he is belaying Glyn|