First Trip of 2021, Part One

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post, in fact it’s been a while since I’ve done anything… like most of the country/world, we’ve been locked down! To be honest I’ve worked throughout, but social activities and sports have been limited to say the least. It’s not like Sussex is a renowned location for outdoor pursuits!

We have took this time to make some improvements and touch ups on the van, which was beginning to resemble a crack den inside. We’re not quite finished, but it is in a much better state! We have also enjoyed local bike rides and that’s about all the adventure we’ve had!

So it’s fair to say that when the opportunity arose for a week off climbing we were both looking forward to it. The week before our time off was one of the nicest weeks, pure sunshine, so I knew we were going to be lucky to get the same. Two weeks of sunshine in the UK is rarer than rocking horse shit, but I could hope!

We set off in the Vortex and made our way to Portland, via a friendly stopover with a firepit. We had no choice on what side to climb, as the 40mph winds said we were climbing on the west side. Once out of the wind though, it was suns out guns out! Unfortunately, being a couch climber for the better half of the year meant it was more flab’s out, but either way, I’m sure you get the point.

To my surprise, I could still climb. I was pumped on a 4, and struggled on a 5, but hey I was off the ground! Weirdly, the next climb was harder but easier, so progress was made on day one. We are getting somewhat lazy in our climbing, and three ten meter climbs was enough to call it a day! Whatever happened to smashing double digit single pitches in a day?

That evening we drove onto Plymouth, where we planned for a day of climbing on the way to Cornwall, as ever the wind was up in arms, but at a leisurely 30mph, we thought climbing was a go. The crag of the Dewerstone sits in a natural valley, with hills rising either side, it was a gamble but it paid off. When we got there, we had a quiet cragging day, with no disturbances from the wind.

As this was trad we started on the easy stuff and moved onto the easy stuff, before trying another easy climb… we enjoyed the day irrelevant of the grades we climbed. I also forgot just how beautiful this crag was. Once at the top of the climbs you can see across the tops of trees up the valley, whereas at the foot you can have your lunch next to the stream watching the water fall and crash through the rocks. We were joined by a butterfly and enjoyed a walk in through the forrest. Compared to being stuck in lockdown, this was ultimate freedom!

Although it was tempting to stay the night in the National Park, we pushed on again to Cornwall. Using the evenings to travel and taking advantage of the days. One of the many benefits of living in the van! Jess picked a random lay-by online, and it was a corker! We watched the sunset over one of the many bays in Cornwall. A great way to end the day!


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