Since the disastrous summer of 2012 I have become a dedicated weather watcher. When I have free time on my hands I check the weather forecast and convince a buddy to go climbing where the sun is shining. Pembroke was the destination on this occasion. The beautiful coastline is a mecca for sea cliff trad climbing. Carreg-y-Barcud near St.David’s offers climbs of all grades that are accessed by abseil onto a non tidal ledge. The climbing is interesting and varied, with knobs, cracks, edges, slabs, overhangs and bold stuff. Tony and I rinsed a few routes. Boom (for the uninitiated this is the latest technical climbing jargon – Coolio). All classics in their own right – First Corner Direct VS 4c, Fermenting Telescope HVS 5a – quite tough for the grade, Ethos HVS 5a and Sinecure E1 5b – a little soft for the grade.
We stayed at the Climbers Club Hut – May Cottage – near Pembroke, a comfortable and practical base for Monsterclimbs trad lead courses. At Mother Carey’s Kitchen a dead cow – Fresian – greeted us at the base of the crag, swollen with methane and ready to burst – sweet! All the routes were very adventurous and long, including the abseil and approach to the base of the crag. The tide was going out but Ali was still doused by a freak wave as she crossed a break in the ledge. The routes were awesome and committing including the warm-up route -The Meridian VS 4c. The Strait Gate given E1/2 5b had the most technical moves, but it was leading Rock Idol El 5a that Ali found the most exhilerating – a 140 foot overhanging crag, strenuous but very well protected. Tony finished the day leading Joyous Gard HVS 5a. A most pleasant trip and good for the trad head. Ali Taylor