Thu 28th Apr - Mon 2nd May, 2011
Members Present: Dave Shotton, Dave Wylie, Mark Furness, Jo Sayers, Dave Dillon, Koi Ding, James Williams, Dave Garland, Gareth Williams, Lucie Crouch, Trish Cranston, Al Metelko.
Dave S had arrived at the campsite 10 minutes ahead of Dave W and I on the pleasant Tuesday afternoon. We managed to set up tents before the rain started but any climbing became out of the question so flip flops on anyway, it was shop, beach, campsite for a snack and then to the pub. Message back to interested parties in Manchester-plenty of room on the generously sized campsite pitches. The 27th was a baking hot day (when out of the wind), climbing at Porth Y Ffynon. A swim was in order including a couple of jumps following in the footsteps of the coasteerers we had shared the rocks with. Dave S used the water in St Non’s well to heal the haematoma he had developed caving. Dave W cast his mind back 3 years as we started to get generally orientated to the crags west of the campsite with a reccy of St. Non’s Bay and identification of Initiation slabs. Slightly further afield the next day, more sunny climbing at Porth Clais. The tide added to the challenge, since as well as making your first move, it became necessary to time it to miss the waves. A sunny evening saw Jo and Mark arrive, later Ding and Wavey showed up starlit and guided by fairy-lights. James was discovered in the next field in the morning.
So a bigger crowd headed for Initiation slabs, soon met by Dave Garland. A few routes were done including a well supported lead by me! When Dave W had soloed the first part of a climb to avoid the tide and there was no beach left from which to start, lunch was had and then a sidle over to the very nearby Square Bay where a few more easily accessible routes were climbed. Gareth and Lucie arrived that evening with an all weather camping stove and 3.9kg gas.
The next day the even larger group tried for Craig Caerfai, which was monopolised by Loughborough University Mountaineering Club, (also neighbours from the campsite) so we looked for Belly Buttress. Everyone studied the directing paragraph and sketch intently, Gareth and Wavey explored some “fierce” gorse for a path, steps and a belay spike, in vain. We all went round into Caerbwdi bay and back around the base of the cliff where the barnacles fought back and drew blood worthy of a photo. We found Belly Buttress but most weren’t impressed enough to climb although Dave S managed to stride across a zawn and traverse a VS. The group had a snack and decided to go back to the beach to meet Dave Garland. Dave S again showed most interest in the crags there but enough was enough and the group headed back for the breadth of Craig Caerfai, where Al and Trish showed up as planned. Loughborough retreated and we got busy on climbs which were generally quite pleasant with consistently cheeky tops to make their grade. I dragged the rope up the easiest climb there (White corner diff) and smelt a rosemary like plant on the flaky arête but escaped up the groove as route intended. That night some weird red flashing in the sky out to the west was witnessed from the campsite. Random timing, size and place lead to various conjectures on its cause generally settled on as sheet lightening. The sky had also revealed the international space station in orbit twice earlier in the week.
On the 1st of May, abandoned by their meet leader whose fingers and toes were demanding the respite of an explore along the coastal path, some went for a reccy of Carreg y Barcud later to join the others back at Square Bay. A fine time was had by all. Ding lead a Novitiate starting at a small square block which was also the start for about 6 others going in different directions. We met back at the campsite and celebrated Dave S’s birthday with cake while we braced the chill of another windy evening.
The last day started with rain and a brilliant sunrise, both were short lived and light clouds and heavy wind accompanied our walk out to Carreg y Barcud which took a more serious aspect than the other crags explored earlier. I was dragged up a VS by Dave W, which was thankfully at least out of the wind, Mark and Jo smeared their way up a similarly sheltered climb while Dave S Ding and Wavey hung from their fingertips to scramble down to the other side of the large buttress. For our finale Dave W and I abseiled the face and I lead another V diff to burgeoning sunshine. We met Dave S at the top and packed our gear for the last time that holiday, said our farewells and left Pembroke and the endless coastline to explore another time.
Please join me for seaside camping/climbing/wandering/swimming/paddling from Thursday 28th April, leaving Monday 2nd May. The literature promises extensive climbing opportunities of all grades even with the restrictions of the nesting season considered. I have booked 2 pitches at Glan-y-Mor campsite between St. Davids and Carfai Bay, grid ref 757247 (marked on ordnance survey North Pembrokeshire OL35). Each pitch is booked for 2 tents, 3 people and 1 car working out at £5.50 per person, which I have paid a 50% deposit for. Please get in touch if interested as the bank holiday might make it difficult to make variations nearer the time if necessary. Also as I have all that week off work (from 25th April), if there is interest in going for the week I could extend the meet.