A Weekday Weekend in Portland!

We’ve had another week off, and it’s another staycation in the van. This time we went to sunny Portland! We planned on a trip to North Wales and continue our search for a place to live in the UK, but the weather looked pants, so we decided to stay more local.

A mere 3 hours later we were in Portland living the van life dream, parked on an industrial estate. It’s funny, not funny, that the longer you own a van the less and less places there are to park. Everywhere has signs or barriers, or is just straight up blocked off to everyone. If your not paying for parking you can’t park. Let’s not mention there’s only 10 spaces in the car park anyway! 

The first day we parked in the estate near the cliffs (sorry locals), and headed to blacknor beach. I wasn’t too fused where we climbed, so was happy anywhere. It was busy everywhere though. We went to the furthest climbs at diamond slabs and had some fun on easier routes. The grade 5 up the centre is the best route, good fun. 

This area is surrounded by fossils, being the Jurrasic coast it should be obvious, but it’s still cool to have a look around between belays. We found some cool rocks lying around.

We moved to the fallen slab area, again scrambling over the boulders. Here we proceeded to climb on the slab face and arete as we had done before. It was ok, but I wanted to climb the other face but it was too busy. When it was finally free, my calves had given up and I called it a day.

That night we parked in the same estate but in a different location. The next morning we had an impromptu meeting with a friend who lived locally. We met the newest member of his family and chatted about changes and plans that had occurred in the two years since we’d last seen each other. With the morning almost done we set out to climb.

This time we went to the other side of the island. It was a cracking day of sunshine, and in twenty minutes or so if arriving the tide was going out and the sun had rounded the island to leave us in the shade. Still, this meant we could crack on with climbing without sweating too much! 

We started on a really easy route, that was harder than it should have been, but was still great fun. 

This was followed by a classic 5 that I’d always fancied. All the way up it was on grade, and then the headwall?? Wtf? Jess couldn’t do it. I went up and couldn’t do it. This was in my humble opinion way above the grade of the rest of the climb and grade. I don’t think I’ve ever fell on a grade 5? In the end I aided on the bolt, and clipped the next two. Only to come down and fail the headwall again on what was essentially a top rope. It’s fair to say I’ve climbed a lot, and a lot of those climbs are at this grade, and this headwall was way above the grade!

We left Godnor crag and made our way to the main cliff, where I dogged up a steep 6a. The difference being that I could climb it, compared to the ‘5’ that we’d just been on. It was a good way to end the day!

We went over to the beach as the sun was setting, and jumped into the water. My god was it cold. I only swam a couple of lengths before getting out. Jess, bring a little more sensible got in and then immediately got out. It was coooold!!

We had another surprise that night when our friends we met in the Dolomites said they were in the area climbing. We eventually agreed to meet up and again spent the morning drinking coffee. This day however was overcast, so the motivation to climb was low. 

Eventually we found some motivation and again headed to Cheyne Wears. This time we stayed on the main cliff and climbed as a four. Jess was out of action as she hurt her back completing the perilous task of putting the rubbish in the bin. 

Recently, due to injury and ailments I’ve not been the most enthusiastic climber. However, this day it fell into place a little. I had a really good day and felt good on the rock. I wasn’t pushing the grade, but I wasn’t cruising either. 

The rain threatened to stop play, but in a short spread of time we managed to climb three routes, before calling it a day. I was even eying up a 6b next door, maybe next time hey? 

Do that’s it, three days and done. The weather looks a bit pants for the next week, although hopefully will be diving at the weekend to test our kit. As it’s been over a year since we were in the water, and we have plans to dive with seals in a couple of weeks! Let’s see if the weather and Covid let us play or not??

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