Still s**t scared of sea cliffs…

Actually I’ve been back to Swanage since my epic, been climbing in Pembroke and North Wales in far scarier positions and made huge steps in the ‘head game’ stakes this summer…. But…

So on Saturday I needed to get to Portsmouth to pick up an oven for the van. This is a bit of a round trip and annoying until it is pointed out that we could continue to Swanage, camp and climb on Sunday! Much less annoying.

One Oven successfully claimed we headed on. Trepidation about a lack of gas and guidebook put to one side (I really need a new ‘just before we leave’ checklist) and our food haul (unnecessarily) topped up we found our way to a quiet car park, loaded on the packs and trundled off.

I’m not giving the location as we did a sneaky wild camp, which I’m not even a little guilty about. You would only know we had been there if you noticed that there was less rubbish than when we arrived. Also I don’t want everyone else cramping up a perfect spot! My fears of not being able to get in pegs/put up tent/cook food were allayed by a gorgeous steak dinner and a good nights sleep (though I  glad there wasn’t a storm, or much wind)…

A relaxed rise was followed by having to face the lack of gas/guidebook issue.

Not a bad morning view

This was resolved by forgoing coffee(?!) and climbing anyway. A climb Kane had done twice before so we could easily locate the first pitch and we knew we could get out easily. A free hanging abseil and sea top scramble later I felt nervous but OKimg_20161009_130438. Racked up and had a look at the first move, a slight lean back (6ft drop onto boulders) mini overhang, big step… couldn’t do it

I did 3 or 4 attempts, getting to the first high foot and second handhold before having to downclimb. And I could do the move but was so scared and so cross I couldn’t even think and completely shut down, having to sit down in frustration and nearly in tears I felt so let down… And then Kane did the best thing. There was no questioning or cajoling, no should or shouldn’t he just did the approach of ‘so what can we do to help you achieve this’. This involved in the end him putting in two cams so the first move was protected and giving me the time to try it, and from ground up complete the pitch, which is definitely one of the best I’ve led so far.

Any more climbing was out because surprisingly we’re both to sensible to go planking around unknown areas of a sea cliff without a guidebook. So a detour via a cool little camper store and some gas found us having first coffee of the day sitting on the roof of Kane’s van laughing at horses in the New Forest.


I don’t know whether you’d call this a step forward or a step back in the head game stakes. But it’s down on my list of ‘just the best’ as far as weekends go…

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