It was an early start on a Monday morning but at least it was not raining. We left the house for the ferry terminal and got there in plenty of time and joined the queue. We were loaded on to the ferry pretty quickly and soon sitting looking out at Dublin harbour and the sea. We eventually set off for Hollyhead and the rain started, it was very heavy. The two girls went to explore and find the lads. They found Eamon and the two boys and we played cards while getting to know each other.
When we docked in Holyhead the rain was still very heavy. We had arranged to meet for something to eat in the first service station after Eamon collected his car but there wasn’t one, the best I could find was a burger van beside a petrol station. I text Eamon to say we would meet at the campsite. We were staying at Platt’s Farm Bunkhouse. When we got to the campsite it was still raining very hard so we sat in the wet weather shelter for over an hour, then there was a lull so we decided to pitch the tent before it started again. As we were pitching the rain was getting easier and by the time we finished it had stopped all together. Now everyone was starving it was time to get something to eat.
We were near Colwyn Bay so decide to go there, luckily enough it was beside a couple of crags so we decided we could go to Castle Inn Quarry after to have a look. We found a fish and chip shop that had a great special and it had mushy peas; I have had not had mushy peas for years and they were great. The food was gorgeous and we set off for the quarry, we found an Aldi on the way and stopped off to get some breakfast stuff for the next morning, we decided to call back the next morning for lunch stuff as we would be passing again. We got to the quarry to scope it out and there was a lot to see. The main face towers over the car park and is very impressive. We walked from Tiger Lily Wall to Bantam Wall looking at the climbs and there were a lot of climbs at all levels so we decided to start Fine View Wall the next day. It was too early to head back to the campsite and look at each other all night; Eamon remembered about a bouldering site he had visited once that was close called Parisella’s Cave so we set off for there.
Parisella’s Cave is not actually a cave but a big overhanging rock that was so low it looked like a cave. It kept us dry while we were climbing as the rain lashed. We worked a traverse in the right hand cave and it was difficult, for me anyway. Eamon got it no problem with Aoife getting to the last hold but kept missing it and Ciara got well over half way. Rossa, Oisin and I worked the start a bit longer. While the girls and Eamon tried a few other routes I kept on the traverse and got most of the way. There were a few tricky moves that I got and I was happy.
We woke up the next morning to a very dull overcast day. The rain had stopped but the weather forecast was for showers all day. We set off to Castle Inn Quarry to do some sports climbing. When we got to the car park a storm rolled in and the rain drops were the size golf ball that we all had to duck for cover from.
We started on Fine View Wall and Eamon lead Indian Summer (6a+) to set up a top rope, belayed by Aoife. As we waited Ciara wanted to try her first sport lead climb, so she racked up with extenders and tied in. We explained how to clip two extenders at the top so the top clips do not wear with our use. Looking at the two options Easy Peasy (3) was too easy so she decided to climb Comeback Kid (4a). Ciara climb it well with no problem clipping the extenders on the bolts and then the rope. The crux was a step out around the arête to the right and she made it look easy, to her it was. When she got to the top she just clipped the top anchor and was lowered off. Eamon topped Indian Summer and put two extenders on top for her. Well done Ciara.
Eamon lead As You Like It (6b+), belayed again by Aoife, and set it up as a top rope. For the rest of the afternoon we did the different routes on top rope, I tried Indian Summer and got it with difficulty but got it. Aoife then did her first sports lead on Comeback Kid that was striped for here. When Aoife finished she stripped it again and I got to do my first sports lead, again on Comeback Kid.
I was able to clip the bolts no problem and got the step over, but not as elegantly as the girls, and got to the anchors. I wanted to rethread the anchors to get the practice so clipped my sling into one of the anchors. I threaded a bite of the rope through both anchors, tied a figure of eight on the bite and clipped it to my harness. After I was happy the rope was clipped on to my harness and I was safe I untied the figure of eight on my harness, at this point I was off the rope and only connected to the anchor. I pulled the tail of the rope through the anchors and retied the rethreaded figure of eight on my harness. When I was happy with the knot I was able to unclip the figure of eight on the bite, put on in case I dropped the rope rethreading the main knot, and told the belayer to take in the slack. When I was happy my knot was tied correctly and supporting my weight I took off the sling on the anchor and was lowered.
After lunch, a late one, we looked at the main face and Ciara wanted to do another sports lead. Mogadishu (4c) is on the left side and looked a good option. She lead the climb and did fantastic with the top move, the crux, being the only one proving difficult but she tried a few different options and got it and clipped into the spring gates. Aoife then did it on top rope and did the crux differently but looked good as well. I got Aoife to strip the climb so I could lead it. I got the climb and ended up doing the crux move the same as Ciara, it must have been a lead move, and got the clips. I got to rethread the top again and got lowered off.
At this point the kids were tired so sat in the cars for a while and had a bit of laugh together. While they were doing this I belayed Eamon on a few climbs that he made look easy, Cakewalk Direct (6c+) was the first and he made it look like a cake walk; Route 3 (6c) came next and there were some delicate moves but no problem to him; Route 1 (5a) is a classic on the crag, a local climber told us earlier, so he did it to tick it off which proved no challenge to him. At this point we split so Ciara and I went back to the campsite to cook dinner and Eamon heading to Parisella’s Cave to finish a few projects. Ciara cooked an excellent bolognese that night.
The next morning we woke up and guess what – it was raining!!! The forecast for the day was not good so we had a long breakfast, in the wet weather shelter, and decided it would be good to do something different. We saw Bounce Below website before we travelled and decided it was a good day to do it. We got to Bounce Below but the next session we could do was not for another two and half hours. Eamon looked at the guides and saw RAC Boulders not too far away. We went to the boulders and saw there were a lot of climbs at all levels. Eamon and Aoife worked some of the harder problems on the first of the left bolder while I took the rest of the kids to work some easier problems. There was a lot of choice and Rossa decided to climb between two of the boulders on a chimney type climb, he didn’t top it and took the express decent route but was fine after a little rest. We did not have much time but did several climbs and went back to Bounce Below.
Bounce Below is a trampoline activity in a cavern. The cavern was formed by slate mining and is part of a working mine that also has an underground high ropes course and long over ground zip lines. The trampolines are netting attached to the sides with bungie cords and has three different levels. Each level is connected by a series of shoots and walk ways; you descend with shoots and ascent with walkways. Going down the shoot the first time was an experience but narrows after half way and slows you down enough. The walkways were steep but it was worth it to get to the top again. It was an hours session, didn’t sound much at the start but a lot of jumping and a good workout.
After that we went back to RAC Boulders to get a bit more climbing in and did a few more climbs. Again Eamon and Aoife stuck to the hard stuff, Ciara wasn’t feeling too adventurous so the rest of us stuck to the right boulder where there were a lot of climbs and a few traverses. Some of the climbs were slabby and you had to trust your feet. Other climbs were on arêtes and were simple enough but challenging. After the bouldering Eamon suggested Pete’s Eats in Llanberis for something to eat. We went to Llanberis and Pete’s Eats unfortunately was closed and we went to the Spice of Llanberis Indian Restaurant, the food was magnificent but the service!!!!!
On the final morning I woke up to sun shine on my tent and it was warm, this is what camping is supposed to be like. We knew it was going to be a long day so a nice hot breakfast was called for; I went to the co-operative and got sausage, rashers, eggs and muffins. It was a nice breakfast and we started taking down the tents. After we broke the camp we looked at the guide and decided the Penmaen Head would be worth a visit, it was the opposite direction than Holyhead by had enough different varieties of climbs. This was a fantastic venue and we looked at the different faces.
Eamon lead Calling All Wimps (6a) and The Green Bus (6c) and set up the top ropes. The girls wanted to climb The Long Run Home (6a) and Fathers for Justice (6c) so Eamon set top ropes on these as well so they could give them a go. The girls worked the climbs on Expressway Walls and the boys worked those on Red Wall. I tried Calling All Wimps on top rope and fell at the crux, it was a sequence of moves that I mastered and eventually topped, it was a tricky sequence though. The girls came up and of course got the climb no problem. I wanted to lead a Trad route for my SPA log so we looked at Colin Corner (S). I did the lead, see separate post for more detail. Eamon wanted to onsite a 7a and looked at Charlotte’s Goal, he topped it but not clean. He worked it hard and hopefully if we ever go back I am sure he will get it clean.
It was a race back to the ferry terminal but we made it in time and were boarded on the boat. We met up with Eamon and the boys and the kids kept themselves amused by exploring the boat and playing cards. We got home late and the girls were excited but we eventually got them to bed.
All in all it was a fantastic trip and everyone seems to enjoy themselves with some Sports, Bouldering and a little Trad climbing. I got to tick off a few things for myself that I was delighted with. I am already thinking when I can get back to do a few more climbs. We only visited a few crags but there were a lot of climbs. All were in a small area with a few more options available so definitely worth another visit sometime soon. See separate post for photos.