Lundy, September 2010

The Dirty Dozen (less one) or The Magnificent Seven (plus four) Do Lundy!

Click here for the trip photo gallery and here for the trip comic!

In 2005 Lundy was named as Britain’s tenth greatest natural wonder and having now been there I can quite see why that might be. Why the powers that be let our motley crew go there is questionable however and surely puts this accolade in some jeopardy?

Well anyway they did deem that we could stay and early September saw us gather on the quayside in Ilfracombe ready for the trip. The anticipation was tangible as were the sausage sandwiches and our voyage was only interrupted by the local Helicopter Rescue Service practicing dropping a crew member on our boat. Now Im not sure he paid for his part of the journey but my request for a free sandwich for the inconvenience fell on deaf ears. It was pretty exciting though and made for an interesting start to the trip.

The weather was good and the walk up to the camp site uneventful and before long the stunning landscape was dotted with our homes for the next few days. Actually the camp site itself isn’t that stunning but I am just trying to big up our arrival!!  A nice toilet block though and thats important lets face it. It even had sockets to charge up your phones and wi fi access so the facilities are better than most 4 star hotels on the mainland.

After a quick erection of our facilities we couldn’t wait to get climbing so we swiftly moved to one of the closer crags to the campsite. This was at a place called The Battery or similar and had some very pleasant introductory climbing routes and some nice places for Jeannie to fall asleep which she promptly did. So we gingerly stepped over her, located our preferred routes and practised  ready for an assault on The Devils Slide in a few days time. A very enjoyable introduction to this simply stunning little island.

Meanwhile Kim was off searching out the hidden treasure trove items hidden by the locals as part of a perverse game to wear the searchers out and annoy them to fever pitch if they cant find all of the items. Much marching around the island is necessary to achieve this target and over the time away we all entered discussions around where these items where located , how many had Kim found, studying the stamp record book, what if she didnt find them all etc. Just goes to show what a bloody strange lot we all are and that the Lundy Tourist Board is probably strapped for cash.

The highlight of the trip and any journey to Lundy to go climbing has to be The Devils slide and we were ready! Simon was on fire and after doing the relatively straight forward route with me (I thought it was quite tricky!) he wanted to go for the E1 Satans Slip. I found a range of excuses that seemed to work and plucky Jenny stepped in. Only a matter of time before women rule the world I reckon. Another team of Monty and Jennie having woken up also tackled and succeeded on this rather daunting E1. Hats off to them I say.

We all had a good day on the Slide with Albion and various other variations all falling to our highly skilled climbing teams. Sorry went off into fantasy there for a minute!

Flushed with success the weather closed in over the next couple of days and the group split into various smaller teams to explore the island. It is wetter on Lundy than any place in the world I believe but pretty much the whole island was covered and every bay, building and outcrop examined, explored and photographed. Kim also dug most of them up as well in her ongoing search.

We did spend a whole day in the pub from breakfast through to evening meal on one particular day. Books were read, journals written up and board games played and overall not unpleasant albeit slightly frustrating as we were all gagging to climb some more of Lundy’s delights. Thats not a euphemism in case your wondering.

The final day came all too quickly and as John S had a delayed start to his Lundy experience, and fewer climbs than most, we had two parties do some tricky double abseiling stuff to finish off the trip on a high. We had to make sure we finished in time so when I heard Dick shout “Im off” I thought time was getting away from us and he was going to the ferry! Not quite the case as Dick came hurtling past Jenny and I amongst large lumps of debris and ended upside down about 20 feet away from us. Thankfully Jeannie was awake and leading above us managed to stay in touch with the rock whilst we encouraged Dick back to terra firma. Have to say this little episode scared the crap out of me but in Dicks inimitable style he seemed to take it all in his stride and despite nursing some fairly ugly looking scrapes on his back we all made it back in one piece.

Brilliant sunshine escorted us home to Ilfracombe and the cheeky bloke on the helicopter landed on our ferry again and still no compensation in the form of free sausage sarnies sadly.

All this rubbish I talk about aside I judge the trip to be a huge success with some good climbing, good company and notwithstanding the rain a very very enjoyable break. Thanks everyone for a great holiday!!

Glyn Williams (Honorary HR&F member for a few days)

Sorry I awarded myself this short free membership and as ever have got above myself.

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