Al, architect and onetime art director for Wallace and Grommett, reflecting on another quiet fun offshore logging session while the masses battled unfavorable winds elsewhere.
It's starting to be the season for finding the quiet corners out of the wind, for boots, more rubber and rather depressingly gloves and hoods before very much longer. With the dark evenings and winter storms, it's the time of year that my mind starts to focus on climbing (indoors) a little bit. Al is often on the other end of the rope as i dangle two storey's up desperate to clip the bolts before my finger strength gives up. Quite a position of trust if you think about it....... i must remember to stay on his good side!
It's quite refreshing to be able to pick a day and time to go do somthing and not have change plans for weather or tide at the last minute. We're pretty spoilt for choice around here for indoor climbing at the moment. The excellent bouldering room in Pilton school is getting about a third bigger as we speak, Barnstaple has walls in Petroc and an old church, the Mill near south molton is still open and exeter has the quay, reviewed in a previous post.
For those a little further along the coast, Bude just got a brand new bouldering facility, called the chalk house, in the kings industrial park on the edge of town. It's not been open that long and i went to check it out last week. It's a decent size, not as big as say the climbing academy in bristol but bigger than the bouldering areas at exeter or south molton. A lot of the wall is slab rather than overhang though they have plans to add a proper roof area soon they say. It's got a fairly lo-fi feel with ply rather than coated climbing wall surface and is obviously born out of a few peoples passion rather than a big investment by a business. On the day i went, they had just had a comp on so there were fewer routes than normal but there were still 50 routes up. They were ungraded but the majority weren't too hard, many of the steeper ones having fairly juggy holds, which i think is a good thing for a part time climber like me. One big difference compared with other places i've been is the height. The wall tops out at 4.5m which, although is regulation international contest height, feels a long way up when you're clinging horizontally on bad holds lunging for an uncertain grip!
All in all it's pretty cool and great to have another alternative if you're down that way and the surf forecast lied!