Sardinia – 17th to 25th October 2014

IMG_7102IMG_7107Friday 17 October

We had an early start, but the good thing about travelling at this time in the morning is the absence of other road users. All went smoothly with our Easyjet flight, and we arrived in Cagliari at approx. 10.30 am local time (Sardinia is 1 hour ahead of us). Hire cars were collected and we agreed to meet at Calamosca to do a few routes. The guide book I had didn’t have all the crags in it and we ended up climbing at a different area from the rest of the group. Having been used to temperatures in the low teens in the UK it was quite a shock to the system to be climbing in the low 30′s.

We left the crag at around 16.30, and after a refreshing cold drink and an ice cream in a cafe overlooking the bay, we set off for La Caletta, our base for the week. We arrived shortly after 20.30 and were soon installed in our room with a view over the harbour.

IMG_7071Saturday 18 October

Another very hot day. As we’d done quite a lot of driving yesterday the group opted for a local crag – Siniscola – and Julie and Lesley came to spectate. The limestone here, as with most of the crags we climbed, had excellent friction and everyone was happy with their day’s achievements.

Sunday 19 October

Once again everyone went to the same area – Cala Fuili area near Cala Gonone. I did a few routes overlooking the sea, but quite which ones I did I can’t be sure. My approach to the climbing was to choose a line which I liked the look of and go for it. It usually worked! In the evening  we went into Cala Gonone for dinner.

IMG_7154Monday 20 October

After breakfast most of the group headed North to Cala Spinosa. After a ‘bit of a search’ we found the crag which has some very unusual rock formations. It’s not a very extensive crag and I think I climbed all the routes available to me. Afterwards we all had a dip in the sea.

Tuesday 21 October

Most of the group went to Dorgali, but Jason and I had other ideas. Gole di Gorroppu was our destination and in particular a new route called “Lughe ‘e vida mia”. After an exciting approach along the gorge we eventually got to the bottom of the climb just before 14.00. It took us 4 hours to do the ten pitches and by the time we got back to our rucksacks it was getting dark. Fortunately I had brought my head torch – without it we would have been in deep trouble! We got back just after midnight. A great route and a great day – very tiring.

IMG_7092Wednesday 22 October

No car keys! With our climbing gear locked in the car Jason and I were grounded for the day. While the rest of the group went back to Dorgali we walked along the sandy beach to Santa Lucia.

Thursday 23 October

With the help of the hotelier who acted as my interpreter, I phoned the break down company – and they collected the car. At my request the hotelier tried to book us a taxi so that we could get to our local crag at Siniscola, but there were none available; so he took us in his car. He also arranged for his friend to collect us at 18.30. Although it was a ‘trying’ day we got some good routes done and I was particularly pleased to get up “Tempos Fugit” 6b.

IMG_7083Friday 24 October

Buchi Arta was our destination, and the others managed to squeeze us into their cars. The single track road leading to the crag hugged the mountain side above Cala Gonone, and road signs made it clear there was to be no overtaking! The climbing at Buchi Arta was excellent, but the guide book was next to useless so there was a lot of guess work when it came to identifying  the climbs we did.

Saturday 25 October

Our last day. We packed, and once again the others found space in their cars for us on our return journey to Cagliari. We had time to do a few routes and have a swim in the sea before heading to the airport. It was wonderful to see the flamingos in the salt lakes on our return to the airport.

The weather was perfect, and Sardinian rock hasn’t suffered from the polish that so many other areas have succumbed to. If you haven’t visited Sardinia then it’s definitely an area that should be on your hit list. If you’re planning on going let me know.

The players: Bob (organiser), Sophie, Iain, Julie, Wayne, Lesley, Alan, Abu, Alex, Cheryl, Gavin, James, Jason, Lydia.

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MK Meet 19th-21st September 2014 – Swanage

IMG_7038The first people to arrive were Alan and Cheryl, and once they had pitched their tents they walked down to Guillemot Ledge to climb Tensor 11. Back at the camp site (Tom’s Field) the rest of the group arrived. Over the course of the afternoon and evening the rest of the group appeared and set up their tents in Tom’s Field.

Saturday dawned dry, warm but misty, and after a leisurely start everyone set off for their chosen destinations. Alan, Cheryl, Jason, Ian and Anna went to Guillemot Ledge / Cormorant Ledge area; Bob, Sophie, Sam and Lydia drove to Winspit for a spot of sport climbing (training for Sardinia) and Sean went swimming / snorkelling.

IMG_7046Sunday was a little cooler to start with, but the day soon warmed up. Alan and Jason had unfinished business at Cormorant Ledge, Bob and his group wanted more sport climbing and headed for Dancing Ledges.

Ian and Anna headed for Boulder Ruckle and Cheryl went exploring Durlston Country Park and had some productive blackberry picking. Sean once again took to the water snorkelling.

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It was an ‘Indian summer’ weekend and everyone was careful not to get sunburnt. Adventures were had and everyone had a story to tell! Hopefully Swanage will become a regular destination for the club.

Alan Mountford (trip organiser), Cheryl White, Jason Smeeth, Ian Routledge, Anna Maykova, Bob Stones, Sophie Gibbens, Sean O’Brien, Sam Hardcastle, Lydia Farley-Hulse

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MKMC Meet – Lundy 9th August – 16th August 2014

lundy1A small group of dedicated MKMC members took part in this adventure. Alan, Jason, Stuart, Ian R and Anna were booked for the week; Gillian and Adam for 4 days. As one member of the team said: “It’s a trip for proper climbers that don’t shy away from placing their own gear. There are climbs of all grades, and the place does look pretty special!”

lundy2And so it was that seven keen rock climbers set sail from Ilfracombe on the MS Oldenburg (aka “Old and Buggered”) on Saturday morning. The party should have included Mark and Melissa, but circumstances conspired against them and they were unable to make it. The crossing was not without interest – a RAF helicopter rescue team did a practice rescue from the boat which was very exciting to watch. On shore there was a bit of a wait for luggage, but eventually it arrived, and once the tents were pitched on the island’s campsite, five of the group thought they’d get a climb in before supper.

lundy3The destination was Landing Craft Bay, and Shamrock (VS) looked like a good warm-up, so they abseiled in. The problem was that it was high tide and they couldn’t get to their chosen climb, so option two, Cow Pie (also VS) was selected. It was a lovely climb but with a sting in the tail. It finished over steep, loose soil and rocks, and coupled with the fact that it started to rain made the exit truly horrendous. Happily everyone made it out without incident, and reached  the camp-site well after sun-set.

For the rest of the week the pattern each day was very similar. After breakfast they would pop into the shop for supplies and then head off to their chosen crag. Finding the climbing area was often quite time consuming, and then they would set up an abseil and hope that they were in the right place. In the evening it was back to the camp-site or Marisco Tavern for dinner and a pint.

lundy 4On the last day Alan, Jason and Stuart went for a walk collecting ‘letter box’ stamps and searching out the flora and fauna. There are twenty five stamps in total hidden around the island. Alan and his team collect fifteen but were outshone by Gillian and Adam who collected twenty. Anna and Ian spent their last day at Devil’s Slide. Earlier in the week Anna had seconded this classic route and was keen to lead it – which she did in style. In the ocean the inquisitive grey seals were a joy to watch, and they would often appear from nowhere to study the climbers every move.

Alan’s footnote: It’s fifteen years since my last climbing trip to Lundy, but with so much still to do I won’t be leaving it quite so long before my next visit.

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MKMC 20th-22nd June Meet 2014 – Wye Valley

A glorious weekend of sunny weather was in store. First to arrive at around 10:00 on the Friday morning was Alan’s car with passengers Stuart and Jonathan. The campsite, Rushmere Farm, hasn’t been used by the club before, but it proved to be very acceptable with flat pitches and an excellent toilet block, all for £6 per night. They pitched, paid their dues, and then set off to Symonds Yat. A number of classic routes were climbed with lots of stars bagged. While Stuart had started the last route of the day, and Alan was belaying, a call was had to assist with an accident. A climber had fallen near the top of Golden Fleece and hit a ledge on the way down: a suspected shattered hip and possible broken back. Jonathan leapt into action and was helping the fire service and helicopter rescue teams. The injured climber was eventually air lifted to hospital.

Back at the campsite the rest of the group had turned up, and while some went to the local hostelry others sat around and chatted.

On Saturday morning the climbers headed to Staple Edge Quarry and enjoyed a fruitful day. The rock there is compact sandstone with a fair few pegs dotted around and lower off staples at the top of most routes, so although it is trad climbing, there is an element of sport climbing to be had. A bonus was that the quarry was shaded which helped save the climbers from being frazzled alive. Meanwhile, Steve and his party cycled to Symonds Yat for a spot of canoeing on the River Wye.

In the evening everyone dined at the Gamekeepers, although there was a very long wait before some of the party received their grub!

The final day saw everyone back at Symonds Yat, and Steve and his party came to watch before heading off on a cycle ride. The pinnacle was conquered and Sarah was so impressed that she has booked herself on a climbing course at Big Rock. Jonathan took “flight” while leading Flight (VS) and at the end of the afternoon some of the party attempted to top rope The Wasteland (E3 6a). As Alan’s car group were leaving they bumped into some of the rescuers from Friday evenings drama who were pleased to report that the patient hadn’t broken any bones, and apart from some severe bruising, he had been discharged from hospital the following day.

Another successful MKMC trip and once again, an excellent choice of venue by Emma.

People attending: Emma Choudhury (organiser), Alan Mountford, Stuart Phillips, Jonathan Gabris, Michael Bartlett, Tomasz George, Steve Scott, Bridgitte Scott, Geoff, Sarah, Roger.

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