Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bouldering in Cornwall

When planning a trip to Cornwall it was difficult figuring out where to climb.  Like Devon, Cornwall's climbing areas tend to be small and spread out and this is less than ideal for our little family.  While the bouldering in Cornwall seems to cater most to a motivated climber hoping to cherry-pick there seem to be a few "larger" areas you could spend a day with a family.

I of course had consulted some friends and on-line sources before the trip and one boulder in particular stuck out, The Dreamboat Boulder.  While not to be miss the Dreamboat Boulder has some complications as it is all by itself with a not so family friendly approach, and to top it all off you need to time your visit with the tides and it can still be wet.  I had seen some pictures of this boulder and despite the difficulties I stubbornly drug my family down a treacherous slope in hopes of doing one of the best problems in Cornwall.

Unfortunately due to the boulder being in the shade and a lack of wind the Dreamboat boulder was rather damp.  While I managed to get the holds "dryish" and do a couple other problems, the main line in the middle proved elusive.  In this picture I'm gearing up for the crux move of Wonderland, which I'd love to go back too.

Here is another angle on Wonderland.  That left crimp is a bit sharp but that still doesn't take away from the quality of this problem.  It you're going to do some bouldering in Cornwall this boulder is highly recommended,  just not ideal for the family.

While there are plenty of areas in Cornwall that aren't on the coast we only checked out those by the water.  That means timing is everything as twice a day the boulders are soaked by waves and all signs of climbing are washed away.  The bad news is that these areas are notoriously hard to get good conditions and some of the more tucked away problems are almost never dry.  On the flip side, without the tidal bombardment most of the rock would be total choss.  The coastal areas also tend to provide cool features and the skin friendly nature of the climbing is a welcome respite from the sharp granite of the interior.  With this in mind we decided to check out what I've been told is Cornwall's best tidal area, Godrevy.

Regardless of climbing, Godrevy is a sweet spot.  There is a nice long beach and apparently a sweet break as dozens of surfers crowded the water and lounged in a cafe by the parking.  The approach to the climbing is short and easy and a maze-like formations of the rock provided a perfect place to run around with kids.  

Lina climbing a problem in one of the the corridors of the "maze".  Once again there is no chalk to guide you as it is washed away twice a day and keeping your eye on the tide is important as you head down the beach.  I've heard plenty of stories of climbers getting cut-out by the tide with outcomes included waiting for hours, a terrifying choss scramble, or a return the vehicle soaking wet.

Another problem in the "maze".
To be honest I was unimpressed with Godrevy and it has nothing to do with the lack of chalk and most things being damp when we were there.  Don't get me wrong it was a sweet place worth checking out in it's own right but the climbing is very underwhelming.  While the rock may be fun to climb on there are very few natural lines as you tend to just pick a spot on a wall and climb up.  It also didn't help that many of the "classics" were drop-offs.  

Providence was one of the better lines at Godrevy but proved to hard for me despite a great spot from my son.  

A shot of the coast as the tide comes in.  Lots of rock and so few king-lines.

I did try one problem in Cornwall that wasn't effected by tides.  The Weapon is a single problem located off the coastal path that is easy to fit into the schedule as you don't need to run from the waves.  Cool compression moves lead to a committing top-out.

The Weapon.  In the end I was too scared to commit of the final move but if I ever make it back to Cornwall this one will get another visit.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Some photos from Cornwall

Apologies for the lack of action on the blog.  My computer decided to tank on me and everything else seems to be keeping me busy.  Such is life.

Anyway, just in case anyone still follows this blog and to get things up and rolling again I'll post some pictures from a recent trip we took down to Cornwall.  Hope you enjoy.

The coastline for much of Cornwall is pretty dramatic as rugged walls rise abruptly from the sea.  The battering of waves and fluctuations in tide has created some pretty awesome formations and plenty to explore.

While Cornwall's natural beauty attracts plenty of tourists there is no shortage of cool historical spots to check out, like Restormel Castle. 

The remnants of Cornwall's ancient tin mining industry are hard to miss as many old smokestacks remain.  It's also good to know that plenty of mineshafts are also left behind so be careful when exploring the ruins.

There is also no shortage of lighthouses along the Cornish coast.  I reckon a good number of seamen are extremely glad for this.

A Cornish sunset.

I'll post a bit about the climbing we did in Cornwall in the next couple days.......