Surfing on D-Day

I went for a surf today on Anglesey, full in the knowledge that 70 years ago today many peoples fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers, sons and uncles were poised to make one of the most audacious and dangerous pushes in the Second World War, when a multinational force attacked the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.

Whilst only a film, I still believe that the depiction of the initial landings in Save Private Ryan are probably as realistic as I want to ever witness. As today I stood on top of a sand dune looking out to sea and everything was in range of small arms fire. I can barely imagine what the devastation would have been for the invading force.

Yet 70 years ago, 150000 allied men attacked 50000 well entrenched and the loss of live was considerable. They did it so we didn’t have to live under the fear of being the next nation annexed by Hilter. Who was busy trying to instigate his ‘final solution‘. It is almost not worth thinking what could have happened if our men had given an inch in that battle.

I like to think that me getting out the house and doing something that celebrates our freedom was in a way, just that, a celebration. So this weekend get out and do something with the freedom that those soldier sacrificed everything for you to have.

I was also lucky enough to have the opportunity to write about one small part of that D-Day machine in this months Climber Magazine. When I look back at the Cliff Assault Wing of the Royal Marines, that were stood ready if required during the landing but were never deployed in anger. It was a real privilege to look into their history and tell a small part of their story.

More Dangerous Bolt: Plastic Soldiers

So I received an email from Ian Lloyd-Jones saying he had removed a ‘dangerous flake’ from Plastic Soldiers on the Skyline Buttress. Unfortunately he damaged the first 5 bolts of the routes in the process. He has since gone away with work so until he comes back or someone goes up there to replace them I would give the route a wide birth.

So avoid that route until it is sorted out, see the fixed gear report for the latest information. Although I doubt it will be sorted anytime soon.

Before you ask why I am not going up there with the drill, I have some work coming up and more importantly have arranged to do stuff like climb and surf for myself with some friend over the next few days. So I don’t have the time to drop everything and do it in the immediate future.

You’d also be amazed at how many people come up to me in the street and tell me ‘You need to replace this bolt’. It can kind of sound like they are putting me on the spot, like it is my personal responsibility to climbers to do the work now. I think I spent 12 days up the quarries in March/April replacing some lower off and replacing the odd bolt here and there.

A full list the work we have done and what needs doing can be found on this link on Bolt on the Slate.

So yes I do volunteer my time to replace bolts, I do it when I am not working, in my own time and on under my own terms.

I have trained up a few people in replacing bolts and I am more than willing to train more people up IF they are going to get involved with actually sorting out the lower offs in the quarries and replacing any dodgy bolts.

Climbing and Writing

I have had a great few days that has revolved around a bit of writing, taking some photos, posing for photos and of course some climbing as well.

It started with a day trip to the Lake District which was nice, although only did a little bit of Bouldering. It was a long day and I managed to get back for a few drinks in the evening. This meant that the next day when I met a friend I was feeling a little worse for wear.

Unfortunately just as I met him, I got a call from David Simmonite who wanted to grab some photos for an article I have written for Climber. We posed on around 5 or 6 routes during the day. So hopefully we got enough routes done.

I also chatted to Dave about the next addition of the magazine, one which I am really proud to be a part of. As there are a few things I have put together. First off there is a Cloggy Special, 16 pages of cloggy goodness. I have written an early history and Caff has written about all the latest going ons and hard routes. Jim Curran also interviews the legend that is Joe Brown about his exploits on Cloggy. Sounds great, and apparently I make it onto the cover, although like many covers I have been on, it is belaying someone else!

My other piece is going to be very topical given that this June it is a big anniversary of the D-Day landings. As I take a look back at the Royal Marines Cliff Assault Wing and look at how they affected the development of West Penwith in Cornwall. There might even be an Evolution of Climbing Gear article by me as well. Been really good fun putting these pieces together, with one eye on the climbing and another of the unique history of each. So keep an eye for next months magazine.

In between I have found time to climb, with a climbing wall session in  yesterdays rain and a couple of routes in the Oakover Area of Tremadog and then back via the Cromlech Boulders.