Mother Carey’s

Having had the crags to ourselves, and an almost deserted campsite, the hoards began to descend on Thursday night and by Friday morning the Bosherston camping field was transformed.

Plenty of like-minded souls and a nice vibe, even if the queue for one of the two toilets was a bit longer than usual.

Over the years we’ve observed that Mother Carey’s is a good bet for the first day of a Bank Holiday weekend, if you want to avoid the worst of the crowds – the rationale being that most punters will arrive late and want to get their eye in at the fleshpots of St Govans, Stennis or Saddle Head.

We were first to arrive…

… but didn’t have the place to ourselves for long, but the half dozen other teams who turned up were all very friendly and competent, which made for a very sociable gearing-up spot.

We headed down for a subterranean adventure on Threadneedle, a 3-pitch VS that starts at the back of the huge through-cave,

working its way up a somewhat damp chimney

… before traversing back out into the daylight (see Jim top right)…

and making a bid for the top via an easy crack. A fun route, and certainly one you’d want to have a grade or two in hand for.

I lead Tempest next, a 2* E2 that I hadn’t done before – starting up the right arete of the cave, joining a crack at the far left of Brazen Buttress and all being quite straightforward until the crack fizzles out just beneath the top. One tricky move and you’re done.

Back down…

and it’s Jim’s turn to lead – Joyous Gard; an excellent HVS (top end) that is perhaps unjustly overshadowed by its neighbours. Good steep fun with a memorable section through a fully enclosed cave / runnel.

Finished off with Wraith, E3, and it was even better than I remembered from the first time I did it (on that occasion expecting an E1 crack and unaware that due to a huge rockfall it was now an E3 Arête!) You can see the arete in the picture above, though you actually climb it on its left hand side. Simply awesome – gets my vote for the best mid Extreme at Scareys and a contender for the best E3 in Pembroke. Sustained, interesting climbing throughout with bomber gear and an imposing position – a couple of barn-doory moves near the top keep you on your toes right to the end.

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