Kings of the Wild Frontier (Zawn)

Mother Carey’s and the nearby Frontier Zawn are near Lydstep and completely outside the MoD firing range, as well as being largely unaffected by bird bans (apart from StarGate – once proclaimed as “only the best route in the world!”)

Another route in the area that’s been on my tick-list for about 25 years is Pan, which is tucked away in No Man’s Zawn – this branches off the entrance of Frontier Zawn and is VERY tidal, as well as being north facing. With more rain overnight and a grim start to the day we’d already missed the window by the time it was fit for climbing, and one look at the sombre black wall that Pan climbs was enough to put it back on the “one to come back to” list.

That left us with Frontier Zawn to explore and we picked The Gunner, a 2* E2 on the East-facing wall of the zawn.

This has a “4b” first pitch which, in the smeggy state it was in, was probably worth E2 in its own right!

Then Jake battled up the top pitch which proved to be rarely travelled, a bit dirty and really burley – a good lead!

By now, much procrastination had seen the day slip by and it was almost time for the evening range opening, so we sped back to St Govans and headed for Rusty Walls and Lucky Strike. I’d done this mega classic a few times, but Jake hadn’t, and so I found myself on a wave sprayed belay ledge as once again we managed to time our ascent for high tide.

What a fab route – it’s hard to think of a better and more improbable line of holds anywhere.

With dusk still an hour away we had just enough time to nip down to do Good Luck Mr Gronski, one of Dave’s routes and an underrated gem – steep juggy climbing on funky looking but mostly solid rock. Pulling through the final roof, my concentration was briefly interrupted by Jake announcing in slightly alarmed tones that a chance “Big One” had just broken over the belay ledge and soaked the ropes and his legs, and would I kindly consider getting a move on before another one came!

A great couple of routes to grab from the end of an unpromising day.

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