Saturday, 10 March 2012

By The Seaside

     There seems to have been a fair amount of bouldering development going on around the coast lately and as others were visiting one of these new(ish) coastal venues today I thought I'd join in and take a peek.  This may be the nearest bouldering to me, only a few miles from my house.  The only things nearer are perhaps Soapwell (there's a reason you've never heard of it) and Highcliff, plus it's only a ten minute walk-in.
     I generally avoid the coast, it always seems cold and windy and on top of that it's near the sea (I don't like the sea).  Coastal views certainly don't appeal to me as much as hilly ones and I have probably missed out on some fantastic climbing because of my aversion to large bodies of water.  Today was beautifully sunny and even though the wind was strong it certainly wasn't cold.
     The boulders themselves lie on a plateau with sheltered hollows, well above the sea and below a large but soft cliff.  It just goes to show that soft sandstone crags can be good for something.  They fall down!

                                                                                                                The rock here is incredibly variable and ranges from excellent to soft to conglomerate like choss but there seemed to be plenty of the good stuff to go round.  We started off on a nice easy slab which was a good size and had a decent sit start on it's left hand side, all good and solid.  A semi-arete around the other side of the same block had good rock for the hands with just one handhold which didn't feel 100% safe but this, along with a nice crossover move gave it a bit of spice.

     A little further south sits a lovely, photogenic pointy block just away from the main boulderfield.  As the soft rock on one side has weathered away it has left big chunks of hard rock slightly protruding.  Some good problems could be worked out on here missing out the bigger holds but the sit start up the centre was decent regardless and the arete to the left has nice crozzly holds and is interesting.  Further round the block, the slab (without the arete) is mostly on the feet and has a great couple of moves.

     Some pretty good problems and these were on just two of a great many boulders here.  If the nice weather stays with us I may be back to explore further.

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