The plan was to head down to Portland in Dorset for the bank holiday weekend and get three days of Sport climbing under our belts. The weather was looking good and we had a free place to stay for the two nights. I couldn't wait to get going.
It has been a while since I've been on the ropes. I am predominantly a boulderer when it comes to climbing but I want to change that and get more on the ropes. For those that have not got a clue what I am on about I shall try to explain. Bouldering is a form of climbing that requires climbing shoes, some chalk to keep your hands dry and a crash pad, and thats pretty much it. The idea is you try to complete a 'boulder problem'. These problems will range in difficulty and are not that high above the ground. This form of climbing really pushes your technical ability having the comfort of your crash pad below. Really great fun and not much kit is needed. Sport climbing is a form lead climbing using ropes and a belayer for your safety. The routes have already been pre bolted to use your protection. Again, these routes range in difficulty level. You can click here for summary of all the types of rock climbing there are.
Portland is known for being a fantastic location for sport climbing so off we went to check it out. My two friends Zoli and Jo are with me for this trip. Zoli has a family member that owns a hut down on Portland itself and this wasn't going to cost us anything to stay there. Fantastic!
We left Saturday morning and the traffic was horrendous. It looked like the whole country was heading to the South West. Not cool. We still managed to get there though with enough time to get a couple of routes in and we had a bit of boulder in the evening just metres from the hut. This place is great. The countryside is stunning and the views from the coast line are incredible on a clear day. I imagine it to be very different in the middle of winter though.
Day two and the weather has changed a bit. It's a lot cooler with a slight hint of rain in the air. I am happier it's cooler. Yesterday was very very hot where we were. Even in just a pair of shorts I couldn't stop sweating. I am not very good working in the heat so today was great for me.
We had breakfast and set off to the East of the island today. Found a lovely little spot and started climbing. Having three people worked. It meant you could cycle through between climbing, belaying and a complete rest, which normally involved eating and drinking!
Today was good. We were climbing routes that were technically lower than we climb at but it was good to get refreshed on the rope work and enjoy the climbs. Blowing off the cobwebs you might say. As the day progressed so did the grades of climbs.
What a great day, to finish it off we hit the local pub for a surf and turf and a beer. The great finish however did get better. We got back to the hut and went for a walk to the lighthouse at Portland Bill. The sun was setting and it was fantastic to watch. After, we had a couple of beers and sat chatting before turning in for the night.
It's Monday now, the last day of the trip. We packed up the hut ready to hand back and loaded the car. Today though we headed off to the West of the Island. There was a little spot in the guide book that had a great selection of routes. There was a few people already in this spot by the time we got there but it's all good. We managed to get a good five climbs in before we had to leave to head back home. Finished off the day with a superb route which got me really fired up for the next trip.
So overall... Portland is a fantastic place for sport climbing. I would happily go here again and I really hope I do soon.
Have you been here? Where do you like to climb? I would love to hear from you. Happy climbing guys.