It's finally here! Amazingly the hot, sunny weather has coincided with the school holidays and it's bedlam in Cornwall right now, with families and tourists arriving by the bucket load. It's a far cry from the conditions at the beginning of last week, when I was encased in warm clothes and waterproofs while teaching a couple of guys how to 'lead climb'. One of the best crags for this is Halldrine Cove, which is situated just behind the main cliff at Bosigran, and it's well worth a visit for a lazy day of easy climbing, sun bathing and swimming (when conditions allow!) The guys did great and led their first climbs using 'trad' gear (slings, wires and cams), which they really enjoyed . Yes the weather didn't make for a great day on the rock, but we had fun, which I believe to be a very important part of climbing and learning.
Tuesday was drier, so we headed to Bosigran, where the guys got to grips with multipitch climbing, again, another fun day. It was interesting that, even though they climbed routes of 6A difficulty indoors, they found it very difficult to make the transition to climbing at a similar standard on real rock. 6A roughly equates to E1 5b, gradewise, but both struggled to follow me on a climb which was of a lower standard. I do get this quite a bit with clients who have started their climbing career on indoor climbing walls. It must have something to do with being out in the open and having to cope with the exposure, not having a line of coloured holds to follow and having to place your own protection (a specific skill, requiring knowledge, experience AND the confidence to climb above it). Anyway, having had a couple of good days, the guys went out on their own on the Thursday. I got a text message asking whether I thought they were capable of climbing the famous Bosigran Ridge. I gave them some advice and pointers, then wished them 'good luck' and to let me know that they were 'OK' once they had finished, otherwise I would be calling the Coastguard! After a long day, I finally received a call around 7pm - they had done it and were full of the elation and excitement that always follows a fabulous days climbing. They recounted the whole day and what happened on the route, who led what pitch, the views and situations etc. Like a proud father watching his son score his first goal, or catching his first wave, I was grinning from ear to ear...good on ya guys, I knew you would do it and I'm glad you had a great time and are safe!
I was at Roche Rock later in the week and the weather was steadily improving. This little crag has become more popular, thanks to it's inclusion in the West Country Climbs Rockfax and it's use by commercial groups and it's now beginning to show quite a bit of erosion, particularly at the base of the 'Lord Falmouth' slab. If you are thinking of going to this unique crag, please take away any rubbish and consider using bouldering mats at the base of the climb (to protect the soil).
Anyway, whether you are a local, or down here on holiday, make the most of this beautiful weather - it probably won't last long!