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The Gower weekend

3rd - 5th July 2015

Joe Priest

On Friday morning a whole host of WBMC members made their way down to South Wales for a weekend of walking, climbing and body boarding on the beautiful Gower peninsula. Not wanting to break from tradition and alarm anyone by arriving at the time we said we would, the Priest family turned up around 9pm or so. There was a little light rain just after we’d pitched the tent, but no sign of the storm that was forecast. That evening was spent catching up around the outdoor fire and talking about our plans for tomorrow.

Saturday morning started with a quick climbers meeting to confirm our plans; we had heard about a recently developed sport climbing crag in Rhossili Bay called Shipwreck Cove and decided that’s where we would be climbing today, partly out of a curiosity to try out the new crag, but mainly to save carrying all our trad gear down to the beach. This is quite a departure for our Ken, who has climbed almost exclusively on trad in all the years I’ve known him. No complaints here though, as the rucksack felt considerably lighter as a result. Sam drove our rucksacks down to the National Trust carpark in his newly outfitted climbing van, we met him there and walked down to the beach.

The tide was still just too high to get over to the rocks, so while Ken, Neil and Mel went to have a recce from afar, the rest of us decided to pass the time by getting some practice in on the body boards. When the tide had receded enough (and we had dried out in the sun) we headed over to the climbs, lifting our trousers up to keep them dry - or just not changing out of our beach shorts.

In the short time it took us to reach the foot of the crag there were already a few keen climbers half way up, with more and more starting to arrive; clearly this had already become a popular area! We each had a go at a few good little routes, with very grippy rock providing sure footholds.

Once the sea had travelled further out we moved around the corner. Here we were greeted with a long wall filled with fantastic climbs of all grades.

A few hours later we met the walkers, who had walked over the top to the campsite and back –a good 8 or 9 miles. With the tide starting to make its way back to us, we all returned to exchange the climbing gear and walking boots for wetsuits and body boards. The waves weren’t the best they’ve been, but Ade as always outshone us all and managed to catch a few good waves all the way to shore. A long slog back up the hill took us to the Worm’s Head for a well-earned pint with cracking views over Rhossili bay.

Just before we left the pub, we placed quite possibly the largest order local chip shop Chips Ahoy had seen since the club last came here a year ago. Saves cooking for 20! After dinner we passed the evening chatting, sitting around the fire, and playing Absolute Balderdash, a board game that we discovered works much better if everyone involved has a different interpretation of the rules…

Sunday morning started out bright and clear so we took our time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast, some of the group nursing sunburn while the previous day’s more sensible members watched on smugly. Talk turned to our plans for the day and a return trip to Rhossili Bay was on the cards, but as the morning went on the dark clouds began to draw in. Before too long it was absolutely pouring down, meaning that all hopes of a second day at the beach were dashed. So we packed everything into our cars, said our goodbyes, and headed home.

As is always the case on a WBMC meet the company was excellent. So much so that there is already talk of booking the bunkhouse for the same time next year! It’ll be a significant birthday for Ade’s (I won’t say how significant) so lots of people will be going – get in touch with Jo Cheung if you’d like to join us. Thanks to everyone who came, see you next time!

This article was written by Joe Priest and published on this website on the 8th July 2015