Our first trip of the year was kind of a special one. We went to Portland. Now before you get all excited about artisan bakers/coffee houses/woodworkers/hipsters it wasn’t that Portland. We visited Portland, DORSET. The home of the famous lighthouse(s), cement and some of the best sport climbing and bouldering in the South of England.
We spent 4 days in the area and managed 3 days climbing as February happened and we kinda lost a day to rain. We still managed to get soaked having a good recce of the boulder fields, beaches and cliffs around the island that’s even smaller than the one we live on.
So on the Sunday we got an early ferry and headed down to Dorset. Our first stop was St Aldhelms Head for what promised to be an excellent variety of boulders with enough at the lower end of the grades for us to play on. After a 30 minute hike from the nearest car park and a rather committing (scary as hell) scramble down to the boulder field we set about playing on some of rather magnificent looking rocks before the rain came in and cut the day a little short.
We scrambled back up the cliff and back to the car and headed up towards Studland and the Agglestone where we played around on this massive lump until it was nearly dark.
Monday was wet and we went and had a little explore of the Cuttings Boulderfield just to orientate ourselves better for Tuesday. When Tuesday came around it was sunny and breezy and even by 9am on a damp February morning the rock was dry.
Once again, like on Dartmoor last year, the climbing was hard. But we struggled on. I was feeling overweight and out of practice having not really climbed all winter but I managed to get up a few problems, as did the boys but the biggest revelation was Lil, who having struggled in her trainers, kicked them off mid-problem and continued to finish the f4 traverse barefoot. A little later she was trying a sit start on a little route and she wouldn’t leave it until she had done it. I reckon she tried 30 times before she nailed it. I was so proud of her dedication and super impressed that she had again done it with no shoes at all!!
We spent the rest of Tuesday and most of Wednesday just climbing and laughing and smiling and having a blast. None of us wanted to come home but we did so with a resolve to really get climbing of any form into our routine at home again. Something must have clicked this time though because since we’ve been home (about 2 weeks now) Hazel has ordered some climbing shoes!!!
If you’re interested there’s a short video of Isaac climbing over on the Facebook page here. Cheers.