Members attending: John Firmin – Steve Senior – Marcus Harvey – Roy Hibbert – Chris Comerie
I left Cumbria on the Friday morning for the arse numbing long ride down, pausing in Shropshire at Steve’s house for a bite and a brew. We both rode down to Bosherston together, however I should say that I rode down trailing in the wake of Steve, unable to match his riding skill’s and ability push on, all way outside my comfort zone. On arrival Marcus and John were already there, John had left London that morning and broken his journey by a mountain biking session on route. Trefalen Farm camp site is in a cracking location on the headland above the unspoilt beach of Broadhaven (South), a little lacking in facilities but very quiet and a nice level pitch.
Saturday dawned a beautiful still sunny day, our luck was in. I had for many years wanted to climb Rock Idol, situated in the stunning location of Mother Carey’s Kitchen at Lydstep Point, about a half hour drive east of Bosherston. By all accounts it’s supposed to be one of the best E1’s in the country. John decided to come with us, planning to walk back to the camp site during the course of the day. Being unfamiliar with the underlying cliff face we spent around two hours observing and discussing the correct line of the abseil, to enable us to locate the area in which the start of the route is situated. In the event we got it right and abseiled down the very steep face into the central fissure of Great Wall, to a comfortable stance above the high tide level.
Marcus took the first lead on one of the original Pembroke classics, The Strait Gate E2 5b, a steep line to the right of the fissure on superb rock with good protection, we were off to a great start. Then it was my turn to tackle Rock Idol E1 5b. Stood beneath the line whilst contemplating the forthcoming acrobatics is a very intimidating experience, a magnificent striking corner formed at the junction of the West Face and Great Wall, the sort of ground one would expect to cover climbing E5 !! Each overhang is bypassed using the wall to the right before cutting loose and taking the final roof direct. A truly magnificent climb, probably the best route I’ve ever climbed in my life. On appearing at the cliff top Marcus exclaimed that “three stars are simply not enough” whilst Steve came into view blabbering ecstatically. Steve led us up Crithmum a three star VS 5a, however the route has suffered from rock falls over the years and still appears unstable, there is a consensus of opinion that its now HVS/E1, any potential suiters be wary!
We partook our celebratory liquid refreshment in the St Governs Country Inn where we caught up with John and Roy, who had ridden down on his trusty Triumph. Steve announced that the day was a fitting stag do!!!
Sunday morning was in contrast overcast and windy; an earlier shower had moistened things up a little. John headed back to London, Roy and I started to ride back to the North whilst Marcus and Steve headed over to Mowing word to bag a route before leaving for home. This is what Marcus had to say;
We did Snozwanger (E1 5b), it takes the slab immediately left of Diedre Sud. The guidebook describes it as a two pitch route with the first pitch taking a diagonal line leftwards to a shared belay on the arête of Blowin’ in the Wind. We decided to do it in a single pitch sticking to the centre of the slab, this gave the route a more appealing line with a committing feel, certainly worth the two stars. As you’d expect the rock was perfect and, thankfully, there was no evidence of the rain that had fallen earlier in the morning.
As we were pulling up our abseil rope we were joined by the two climbers who we’d met the previous day at Mother Carey’s, maybe there really were only five people climbing in Pembroke that weekend!