John Cox takes us on another sea cliff adventure. This time on the wonderful island of Lundy. In John's tales of adventure climbing something unexpected always happens, usually with catastrophic results...
"It had all happened completely without warning... ...then an almighty splash beside me, followed by some thrashing and watery grovelling... ...I had to guess, and quickly..."
Join John for a perfect sunny week on the granite encrusted gem of Lundy, with an added twist...
In reply to Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC: Jolly good stuff - but I've seen a Latvian make a similar but perhaps even better watery landing from about 25 foot up this cliff: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.php?id=22923 On emerging from the inky depths he had the presence of mind to create the perfect comedy moment by spitting a perfect jet of water - cartoon style - out.
In good Eastern European style he then apologised to all watching - "we are not so used to zis climbing with out ze bolts" before borrowing his mates shoes and chalk bag and dispatching the route in fine style.
It was one of the coolest things I have ever had the honour of seeing.
Rather than comment on how you could get off route at all on Stop Press, what/where is 'Zawndecker Finish'? Surely you were on the right Island (!) but its not made it into the new (2008) guide and it sounds like this experience is a good few years old (Letter to the Editor being 1987).
Please don't disappoint us and say it was fiction after all?
Yeah, it's strange: ZF used to be in the supplement, but it's been edited out in the guide itself. As I remember it was straight up where Stop Press moves back left over the roof.
I thought Letters to the Editor was 1994 (was Paul actually even the Editor in 1987?) - anyway this episode occurred in 1996. I must admit I met Paul many years later and reminisced about it and he denied that LTE was named after my partner's tirade, and of course he should know, but that's what we thought at the time.
A certain Mr. G. Gibson edited the guide in 1985 and also co-edited the '94 guide with Paul. The route Letters to the Editor is consistently written up in the historicals as having been ascended on 2nd August 1987 by Simon Cardy and Paul Harrison.
The new 2008 guide actually has a photo of Stop Press (p318)- having looked at the photo more closely and, yes, having done the route myself, I'm not certain the leader isn't drifting off route! But to take the roof direct and then lob off into the sea - Hmmmm! Amazing your 'leader' only lost his glasses.
Anyway, I managed to get out of my armshair long enough to find the 2003 supplement but no sign of ZF in there either.
I have however discovered another error in the lastest guide (already written one up in the Marisco Tavern logbook). Despite it still having its obelisk, 'Deadline' clearly finishes up the top pitch of Pawsher, not Stop Press as described. Which (coupled with the ZF omission) means, of course, that one of us might have to write a ......
Cheers John - have now read and enjoyed your other short stories published on UKC.
You're right about LTE. My memory really is going.
Oh well. The rest of it is more or less true, allowing for a bit of memory failure on the exact dialogue.
He did jump backwards rather a lot, and very sensibly so, as it turned out: I imagine that saved him. As it went it was a clean sixty or seventy feet into the sea, I should think, landing in the approved armchair position. Definitely a good thing the tide was in, though, otherwise it would have been messy and unpleasant.
I'm fairly sure the ZF was included in some on-line version or proof-reading version I saw at some time, but I could be wrong of course. I remember because it said that the name commemorated a jump into the sea from the halfway ledge, and I either did correct it or made a mental note to do so.