Sat 14th May - Sun 15th May, 2005

Wye Valley Meet

The campsite is at Grid Ref 550 006. There are a number of ways to approach it. Bear in mind that there is a fiver toll to pay if you go across the bridge from the Bristol area. (Nothings easy!) So the other options might be more attractive: Maps show the A48(T) from Gloucester and the A466 from the A40(T) from Ross-on-Wye. I assume these are the 2 routes of choice. You're aiming to get on to the B4228 either way.

If approaching on the A466 you can cross the river at 538 012 or you can sneakily avoid getting on the wrong side of the river by straying onto the small yellow roads at Grid Ref: 540 052.

The campsite area is on Magnetts farm and is (hopefully still) signposted from the B4228 at the two junctions you could approach it from.

The main attractions for those who aren't in the know:

Wintours Leap (OS 542 961, 2 miles north of Chepstow). This massive, steep and partly overhaging crag is in contrast to the idyllic setting, situated on a bend in, "...Britains most beautiful river with tremendous views..." Its also in a nature reserve and SSSI. GO Wall (Great Overhanging - it certainly is) is worth a look even though most of us will only be able to look. Its not all steep though there are some excellent big easies, eg Central Rib Route III ***VD with 5* picnic ledges and countless variations of pitch combinations to suit your mood. There are big 4 pitch route-finding-missions as well as feisty single pitchers, plenty of star routes at all grades including a selection of **Hard Severes and **Severes. You may be tempted by a 4 pitch ***VS girdle or the ***E1s. Speaking for myself the easy decent route is highly amusing. The rock has partly been quarried a long time ago.

An even better venue, a local informed me, is Shorn Cliff (OS Ref 540 990) excellent well featured limestone with strong lines on natural features. A free pint* goes to anyone who does all three of the 3*** HVS's situated next to each other: The Bitter Battle Tears, The Laughing Cavaliers and No Musketeers. Alternatively you could have **HS Phoney War or any of the other reasonable grade routes. Its amazing these quality routes aren't too pollished. Get on them quick before everone knows about it! It's a good idea to wear a lid at Shorn Cliff as there's loose stuff on top.

What Symonds Yat (OS 558 153) lacks in grandeur it more than makes up for in character and beauty with short quaint routes on pocketed dolomitic limestone, fine views and ... nice riverside pubs! A route to do is HS girdle traverse of a whole pinnacle, starting at ground level, to gain height then end up where you start - no walk off. Again plenty of starred routes from VD up to E-whatever. Handholds can be a bit muddy but thats part of the charm! Watch out for goblins-i mean cavers and possible kiddie topropers.

If peace and quiet are what you are after there's an lesser known steep crag down by the river for bouldering, a local told me the whereabouts...

If it's going to rain I propose we go paddling on, "Britains most beautiful river....." we can hire canoes down where the nice pubs are. Bosh! Alternatively we could stop off at Hay-on-Wye on the way home, to pay respect to the shrine of books, tea and retail therapy. I'll try and get to the pub on the Thursdays before, otherwise see you there. As usual try and share cars.

Fiona Roy

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