Climbing at Tremadog

Oooops. No harness

Jez and I didn't climb yesterday because it was damp and we were both knackered from the week before. Today we climbed at Tremadog at the less popular crag of Craig Y Gesail. The day started with a breakfast in Eric's Cafe and we had some good plans until we arrived at the bottom of the route and I realised that I had forgotten my harness. I had to make a emergency one from some slings (very thin and uncomfortable ones) and seconded Jez up Princess VS 4b as I did not want to lead with my make shift safety device. This route has a vegetated bottom pitch but the top pitch is nice, a bit more traffic would clean it up nicely. Then it was off to Llanberis for ice cream and back in time for coffee and muffins. Not as planned but a good day anyway.

D of E Coasteering on Mull

This week I have been assessing a DofE Gold Coasteering Expedition around the Ross of Mull organised by Hebridean Pursuits. The two groups of girls from Kent started at Kintra and headed anti clockwise around the coast taking in the island of Erraid on the way. I spent the time paddling round spot checking and enjoying the coast. They had 2 days of nice friendly weather but day 3 was very windy, so windy in fact (about F 6/7)that I was unable to get out round the headland in my kayak to see them so I had to go via the land. A bit of a gale on the third night settled down for day four meaning a great day to finish on. This is the first DofE Coasteering expepdition that I have been involved with and it worked well thanks to the training and support given by Andy and Stevie from Hebridean Pursuits

New routes on Erraid, Mull

Unclimbed rock now with 4 new routes 

Me leading my new route

Today, I headed out with some friends to Erraid for some classic pink granite. On the way into our planned venue we spotted some rock that was not in the guidebook. Between the four of us we climbed 4 new routes (basically led one each) from VD to HS4b.

Having then reached our goal of New Slabs we climbed a number of existing routes with two of our team making another first ascent. This post was delayed until our new routes had been confirmed which they now have been. This means an email to the Scottish guidebook writers who keep lists. The route I chose and made the first ascent of I have graded Severe and called "Mull it over" as I had to think what to call it. About 35m in length I took it in 2 pitches to avoid rope drag but it could be done in one with care.

We were having a great day made better by the enforced wade on the way back through some lovely warm water where the tide had sneaked in around us.

Wet and High on Mull

This morning I started with a 21 km paddle round the Isle of Iona just off the Ross of Mull. I started on Mull, paddled over the sound and had a great anticlockwise lap enjoying some swell on the west side of the island. After getting back to Mull for lunch, I decided to climb Ben More 966m virtually from sea level. This made for a great afternoon. Tomorrow is hopefully a climbing day.

A long day at sea

Bye Dartmouth Castle 

Start Point 

The Mew Stone

Fort Bovisand, almost home

As I was not able to get to Salcombe yesterday I knew I had a long day ahead of me so started at 06:30 to catch the tide around Start Point. This all went very well averaging 6 knts from Dartmouth Castle to clearing Start. After that it was a relentless beat into the wind making about 1 mile in the direction I wanted for every 3 sailed. After a few hours of this I dropped sails and motored into the wind for a few hours on auto helm so I could take a break and have lunch. Then it was back to beating into the wind for the final leg up to the Yealm before I again succumbed and motored in arriving on my buoy at 17:00.  41 nautical miles done today so I am a bit tired.

Over the last 14 days I have been living on the boat and managed 9 days sailing in various conditions (some less than comfortable), covered nearly 200 nautical miles, visited some nice harbours and generally had a great two weeks. It is time to step ashore tomorrow morning and start sorting myself out for some work up north. I will no doubt suffer from land sickness for a while

Plan B

Wet, windy, choppy and just horrible at times 


Well, Plan A was to sail from Brixham to Salcombe today leaving me only a half day sail back to Torpoint tomorrow as I need to be packing to head north for some work.  Unfortunately I was fighting wind and tide for over 4 hours averaging just 2 knts just to get level with Dartmouth so rather than spend another 5 hours trying to push on to Salcombe I bailed into Dartmouth for the afternoon and will have a very early start tomorrow to try and get the tide round Start Point.

Torbay sailing

 Dartmouth Castle

 Some Goose Wing downwind sailing

 Berry Head

Cruising into Anstey's Cove

After breakfast on board at Dittisham, I headed east and rounded Berry Head before sailing over to one of my all time favourite play places, Anstey's Cove for lunch on anchor. I have now coasteered, climbed, dived, snorkelled, had a swim, kayaked and now sailed into Anstey's and I love it every time.

After lunch I sailed over to Brixham and anchored in Churston/Fishcombe Cove for a cup of coffee before heading in Brixham Marina for a night with power and more importantly a shower.

Breakfast in Salcombe, lunch in Dartmouth

Leaving Salcombe 

Heading into Dartmouth

Heading up river

At Dittisham

I left at 08:30 this morning to catch the tidal flow around Start Point and the plan was to have lunch in Dartmouth and push onto Brixham for the evening. What actually occurred was having entered Dartmouth at around 13:00 I headed up river to Dittisham for lunch. I then wandered up the hill to the shop which is pretty odd as basically the shop is the front room of the pub. I had heard about this but never been in there before. Then I couldn't really be bothered to go sailing again and chilled out on the yacht so will have another early start tomorrow to catch the tidal flow round Berry head.

Sunny in Salcombe

All morning I procrastinated and hid in the boat as heavy rain shower after heavy rain shower came through. Finally I decided to go anyway and slipped the ropes at 13:30. Well the first 3 hours of sailing were down right unpleasant and I got soaked. The second 3 hours however were fantastic, sun, slight sea, not quite enough wind but can't have everything and I cruised into a very sunny (and busy) Salcombe at around 18:30.

That was one windy trip

Can I out run this? 

Wind picking up, better clip on


Getting closer 

No, I can't out run the squall 

Almost back safely 

So the prospect of another day in Fowey was not great. I love it for an afternoon but after two days trapped there enough was enough. The Inshore forecast was not letting up and I realised my hopes of going further west to Falmouth or Penzance were in vain, so east it was. The other two boats moored next to me had the same opinion so we all left with 10 mins of each other but as I stopped to get fuel I never saw them again.

With force 6 - 7/8 today and moderate seas it would have been very hard work to go into wind. Only one choice, run away with the wind behind me. Coming out of Fowey was challenging straight into wind and taking 3m waves head on. but once I turned east I was making 6 knts on 2/3rds headsail and the ride was not so bad until the squall came in.

And then once safely into the shelter of Plymouth Sound I could relax until I got into the Torpoint wind tunnel where my buoy is. Certainly a challenge getting onto that on my own.

Probably my most challenging solo sail to date. I don't mind rough conditions but another pair of hands would certainly of helped.

So anyone want to come and crew, I am planning on Salcombe, Dartmouth, Brixham over the next few days starting on Weds if weather allows.