Gower Peninsula

My wife and I were visiting friends in South Wales this weekend, and on Saturday we enjoyed a glorious day in the sun on Oxwich Bay beach below Penmaen.

The Gower reminded me of childhood holidays to Wales – secluded walks to beaches between high hedgerows of brambles, the smell of bracken in the air and sand in between the toes. It was a great day to be outside and my soul was well rested as a result.

What a day, then, for a spot of climbing! Nick, a friend from Red Rock International, helped me with the basics of belay setup, and then there was nothing for it, but to get on the rock. I completed my first lead climb ever, placing my own protection, and then setting up a belay to second Nick’s son, Matthew.

Although the climb (Twin Crack Left – to be verified) was only a ‘Very Difficult’ (or VDiff) in climbing terms, it felt more tricky because I placed my own protection as I climbed, rather than being secured from above, as in the past. Indeed, my attraction to climbing is peculiar – shear rock both intimidates and intrigues me – and the prominent prow of Great Tor that overlooks the bay to the East captured my gaze.

The day was not complete without a barbeque and fire, after which we returned home – although rather reluctantly in my case.

However, plans are already coming together for the next trip in November when Jon and I are venturing to Snowdonia for further adventures and camaraderie. I’m looking forward to consolidating my skills from the ML Training course that I will have completed by then.

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