The sun had been shining for a week or so, the temperatures were warmer in October than they had been in August, and we had overloaded on indoor climbing through the week. We had to do the unthinkable...go bouldering outdoors in Cornwall.
The bouldering in Cornwall is actually pretty lovely, normally with glorious scenery and low people traffic. Unfortunately for us, it also demands a certain hardiness that climbing in France just doesn't seem to. With the beautiful views can come a level of fierce exposure, and it is sometimes more frictionous than benefits the fingers. We like to strike a careful balance, enjoying the potential of bouldering in such a lovely environment, whilst rarely taking the risk of chillblains and torn tips that goes with actually doing it.
So anyway, we found ourselves coerced into exploring the great British outdoors by our friend Jody, who is much braver than us, and took the surprisingly long road to Penberth where we were joined by another plastic junkie, Leigh. This tiny fishing hamlet is quaintly pretty in a windbleached sort of a way, nestling in an exposed cove near Land's End. On one side of the intruding sea is a series of stacked granite cliffs. The top one is bearded with sage green lichen, and it is prohibited to climb. Below this is a short, slabby chunk of golden, crystally rock that, along with the towering, blunt pillars to the right, forms a seldom frequented trad crag.
Luckily for us, who have only enough combined trad gear to climb one very small, very specific route, some of the lines are low enough that we could pretend they are highball boulders. Three crash pads provided enough psychological protection to give us a good afternoon's playtime with the odd sphincter clencher; best of the bunch were the bold, blunt, 10m arete Head-Rush (E1 5a), a cute, overhanging flake called Bums Rush (Severe) and WKD! (E3/E1 5b) that traverses a seam through undercuts.
When the allure of ankle fractures wore off for some of us, we hit up some of the surrounding boulders for some danger free (danger lowered, anyway) power moves, and made some (possible) first ascents. We did some short, bouncy variants on a mini overhang (6a-6b+?), then finished the day with a precarious route named (by us) I'm not Lichen this Prow (6c?).
The sun, which had played hide and seek all day demanding constant wardrobe changes and fear level adjustment (the grade difference caused by sweaty palms 7m up a shiny piece of granite is gargantuan...), sank behind the headland as Sam made our only ascent of his prow in a halo of last light; we were reminded that it was nearly winter, and cold, and we roared off home in Jody's pimpdaddy gold Merc...which was fucking rad!