Anglesey Exped 2017

Everyone arrived excited and prepared (with wetsuits, climbing gear and adventurous spirit) for the multi-activity expedition to Anglesey, having been on one a few years previously I couldn’t wait to get going. The group we went with this year was a great mix of old and new staff and a great way to all get to know each other. We set off with cars packed to the brim. The weather wasn’t great but we were hopeful as we put some tunes to sing along to.

After a fairly easy drive with no traffic and arriving to our home for the next few days, Anglesey Outdoors, it was nice this time to be sleeping in accommodation rather than a tent. The sun was shining and we sorted out rooms and Dean contacted our guide for the few days to meet us. As there was 10 of us, 5 guys and 5 girls and 3 rooms the girls jumped in all together, and they boys split between the other two. Only then did the girls go “Hang on!” we had a lot more stuff but laughed it off and very soon you couldn’t see the floor for clothes.

After a quick change, we met Dave and Sarah our guides for the few days who gave us some options and we quickly agreed on a bit of coaststeering. Grabbing some wetsuits and clothes we got back in the cars and set off to the start point.

Once we were changed into our wetsuits, BAs and helmets Dave introduced us to the sea. We jumped straight in and with the clouds rolling in I had forgotten how cold the sea was. We set off round the coast line, climbing, scrambling and swimming with few jumps added in between. The hardest part was getting out of the sea onto the barnacles to then jump off, but the team were great at helping each other to get up onto the ledges.

It was a great introduction with the jumps having lots of levels to challenge ourselves. A great way to remind us how the children feel when we encourage them. Leah was the one who achieved the most on the jumps wanting to push herself but needing to work up to the bigger jumps, she was braver than me at the last jump. Dean had been wanting to see a seal on our trip but missed one watching what we were doing as he jumped just as we saw it.

After we had made our way around the coast and back to the cars a quick change and back to Anglesey Outdoors. A quick chat and review with Dave about the day proved that everyone had enjoyed it and would be up for more. A few options for the next day were bounced around, climbing sea cliff or slate, maybe a gorge walk, but that would have to be up to the weather. We bid goodnight to Dave and Sarah unsure of what the next day brought. The night consisted of well-deserved showers, a few drinks and some great burgers at the Paddlers Return, the local bistro where we were very well looked after with the owner kicking some locals off a table so we could all site together; and not too much later everyone was getting into their beds exhausted.

We awoke in the morning to the news it had rained in Snowdonia and Anglesey overnight but not enough for a gorge so sea cliff climbing was decided. We made our way to Rhoscolyn on Holy Island to do some cliff climbing at Porth Saint Crag.

After a dull start to the day, on the walk in the sun started to come out. We started with Dave, Sarah and Dean setting up some top ropes on a few climbs so we could get used to climbing on the Quartz rock that is not like Yorkshire Gritstone! After a few normal style climbs including some people trying an interesting start with a very high leg (Dean left some of himself on the ledge); Dave started to set up some of the climbs over the sea edge.

These were different as first you had to descend to the sea line then climb back up. As a belayer you were sat at the edge and not using a belay device but an Italian hitch. This was one of my favourite parts of the trip as I love the sea cliff climbing, your goal is to get back up to the top and its very different to climbing locally to Todmorden. Sophie was enjoying her biscuits until a circling seagull decided to sneak up and steal them away, she chased down and got some of her biscuits back. We spent all day at the Crag doing lots of routes and at lunch time the sun came out so we could eat our lunch in the sun. During the climbing a seal was again seeing what we were doing and Dean managed to see it making the trip a good one.

Leah managed to do her first lead with the help of Dave showing her the skills needed but not on the sea cliff crag. Alec also managed to get some leading in learning the skills needed for different rock.

After a busy day that started dull but with the sun shining, we headed back to the site. Decided with Dave that hopefully tomorrow would be another coast steering day, weather dependant. As the sun was shining we all quick changed grabbed some drinks and food and headed to the beach for a BBQ.

As we arrived at the beach it felt like the middle of summer but the crowds were dying down and heading back to their own places, so the beach became quiet and peaceful. With food cooking and drink flowing I went paddling; some people, Anna, Jenny, Leah, Sophie and Dom went for a dip but the sea was too cold for me. After enjoying some great food and some drinks the beach games started Dom introduced us to Spike Ball, with a ball and trampoline like net were working in pairs you had to beat the opposite team. This was great fun even if the sand wasn’t so soft when diving for the ball. As the sun set we set up a fire and had music going around laughing and joking like we had all been friends forever.

The final day arrived, too quick for my liking. It was glorious sun and not too windy. We set off to do some more coaststeering at the beach we had been at the night before. After a short walk to a get in point, we set off able to explore some caves and coves with the sea being a vibrant blue and Dave encouraging us to jump in at every opportune moment. This was my favourite day; the sun was shining and everything was beautiful the waves were fun and we spent a good 3 hours jumping around floating and making our way back to the beach. The jumps on this one included a back flip from Andy. Once we were back at the beach a much-needed cupcake was had and we made our way back for the last time to Anglesey Outdoors who very kindly let us use the showers before our journey back. Ready to start the journey home. We said our thanks to Dave and Sarah for a great trip. It was so nice to have instructors who let us have a say on what we did and that made the trip even better.

We then stated the trip back to Todmorden thinking we would be a few hours with the sun shining. Only to encounter a whole load of standstill traffic on the North Wales expressway from Conwy to Chester. A quick map read and some expert directions meant the car we were in jumped ahead of the traffic, much to the confusion to Jenny, Leah and Sophie in the back who awoke to see us taking a detour through the famous Welsh B-roads, which meant we were back about an hour before the other car. But that did not shake the smiles from our faces. The trip had been great, so much stuff we hadn’t done before and a great opportunity to get to know others. I can’t wait to go on one again next year. Emma P