Right now I am sitting in the departure gate of Southampton airport after having just returned to the mainland from an insanely muddy Isle of Wight. I had a great time and listened to some fantastic music and got really dirty, but more of that later.
Last time I blogged I told you I would soon be returning to Devon to attempt my project and guess what, I didn’t do it. With the way the internet is now-a-days you would most likely have known about me doing it before I even did, so I guess it must come as no surprise, that due to the radio silence, I failed again. Thankfully, this time was not as terrifying, or as painful as the last which unfortunately for you guys means it in not as exciting to read about. Oh well, I do try my best to keep you entertained one way or another but sometimes things just don’t work out how you had planned.
30+mph winds and heavy rain showers were what met me at the cliff so the chance of a lead attempt was looking thin from the start. I was joined by Nick and Katherine Sellars who were great company and their excitement on seeing the wall for the first time helped to keep my spirits high. In between the gusts and the rain, the rock felt great and I managed to climb all of the sections with relative ease. I still felt sick when I thought of being on the lead but I did my best to control this and by the end of day 1, I was praying for calmer weather the following day.
Unfortunately, after phoning around various people for a weather report all hopes were dashed as I found out the Bristol Channel was due to be blasted by a mega storm the following day. I said good bye to all my friends who had travelled hundreds of miles from all over the country to support me, and drove back to Exeter with the now familiar feeling of unavoidable disappointment. Next time.
I had one day left before Bestival and on the spur of the moment decided to join Nick and Katherine at Ansteys Cove for a spot of bolt clipping. We had no guide to follow and it was incredibly refreshing and enjoyable just climbing for climbing sake. No planning, no pressure. Just pick a route you like the look of, climb it, and pick another until you are too tired to do any more. It is all to easy to get sucked into “playing the game” when you are trying to make money from the sport you love and almost forget why you are doing it in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that to have this wonderful life I need to make sacrifices and earn my keep, but from time to I must remember to “just go climbing”.
Thursday came and Emily and I stuffed the car full of half out worldly possessions and headed east to the Isle of Wight. Bestival has run for the last 5 years and due to is late position in the festival calendar has always enjoyed glorious sunshine thanks to the slightly more stable September weather. Not this time...
It had rained a little on Thursday day and the mud was already thick and slippy for our arrival on Thursday night. Then the heavens opened and by morning the whole site was a quagmire, up to 30cm of sludge in some places.
I had planned on glorious sunshine and so had packed my “comfy” tent, a Trailhead 6, instead of anything a little more substantial. The wind roared and the rain continued to fall but as all other tents lay crumpled on the floor, the Trailhead stood strong and true. I was very, very impressed and stepped out each morning with a slight look of smugness and surveyed the carnage around me. Other people were obviously jealous of the mighty Trailhead as one morning I woke to find margarine had been thrown at it during the night, the miserable dirty bastards.
The rain continued to fall and there was talk of closing the festival but everyone persevered and had an amazing time. The highlights for me were listening to HotChip go off in front of 20,000 people on the main stage, and at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, going crazy to an intense, immense Roni Size after party in the tiny, grimy hidden disco.
6.15 am Monday morning came and my alarm screamed in my ear. We stumbled around and packed up camp whilst waiting for a friend who had gone missing the night before and was due to travel home with us. He eventually wandered into camp looking “slightly” worse for wear but in a very giggly mood and proceeded to giggle his way with us up the long muddy walk back to the bus stop.
A Bus, Ferry, Walk, TGI Fridays and Car brings us up to date and to where I will leave you for now. I had a fantastic time at Bestival which I owe in part to having decent kit that kept me warm, dry and smiling. Here’s to the next one, but for now it is on to pastures new.
Adios amigos, for now...