When you can't climb within the present moment you have one of two options: think towards the future and of routes you'd wish to climb, or look towards the past and reflect on routes you've done. Within this month's Crag Notes Rob Greenwood takes a slightly different angle by looking at other memorable aspects of visiting an area that means a lot to you.
Some friends gifted us a guidebook, a weekend stay in a B&B and some cash at Pembroke for our anniversary. We didn't know much about the place but after extending the trip to a week we were planning our next visit.
The dancing at the Rugby club to the local ska band was quite a night. You wouldn't think a place like St Davids would know how to party but turns out they know more about that than the city dwellers. Oh yes, the climbing, that was rather good too. Going to a place with no expectation can lead to great adventures.
I've heard nothing but good things about the St. Davids Rugby Club, although have to confess I've never been. Remember a few friends heading down there for New Year's Eve a fair few years ago and coming back saying it was the best night out they'd ever had.
We got lucky, the bloke in the B&B plays in the band and gave us free tickets when we told him it was our anniversary. I've never seen a dance floor at a live gig like it in all my life. So much love for Pembrokeshire.
Funnily enough I thought of you more than once whilst writing it.
I was trying to think of specific highlights and (perhaps weirdly) Mosaic Wall was one of them. We'd both spent a lot of time in Pembroke up to that point so were actively trying to go to cliffs nobody had heard of, so that when people asked "where are you going tomorrow?" our answer would be met by a blank stare.
I say 'weirdly' because we only did the one route on Mosaic Wall, and not even the one we'd intended to, as we got sidetracked over on the Thunder Walls, and we both remember how that went:
...the guidebook said to keep going left, and despite knowing it shouldn't go that way (it was clearly not the way to go) I went there anyway because that's what it said. I got committed, then committed some more, then was in a position where my gear was miles away and every one of the potatoes I was pulling on felt like they could snap off at any moment, which it eventually did and took the ride of a lifetime. I vaguely remember shouting something at you several times, but can't recall what it was (was it 'take' or something slightly more colourful?) - either way I remember it being funny, even more so after realising I wasn't going to die...
Perfectly captured Robbie. I remember being introduced to trad climbing in UK going to Pembroke back in 2004. Everyday finished with a visit to Ma Weston for a pot of tea and a £1 cheese or bean on toast, and being regaled by amazing stories by Ma Weston. She missed her husband terribly is seem to remember, he set up the tea shop. I think he died in the war? Not sure. But as a foreign climber, coming from places like Siurana or Margalef, being exposed to this I thought I just stepped into a magical world. I fell in love with Pembroke right there and that love never faded away. It's teh present that keeps on giving, there's always something exciting to do at whatever stage in your climbing career you are at. I hope to visit that place forever until I kick the bucket.