A change of campsite (to Tintagel) and a change of scene to the Culm Coast. Firstly, the campsite enjoys a tremendous position within sight of the Tintagel cliffs, and somehow we managed to snaffle the best pitch on the site 🙂
With Tintagel itself requiring an advanced written request to the owners for permission to climb (phew – that’ll leave Il Duce for a future visit) and having done the best of the routes (Darkinbad and Eroica) at neighbouring Pentire Head, we chose to head up to The Culm for the day.
Compass Point is a slightly odd spot – you park in downtown Bude, a stone’s-throw from the fabulous beach, (amongst the pedalos and ice-cream vendors)
… and stroll along the coast path to the eponymous Tower
… before plunging down a steep tottery path to the boulder beach, to approach the equally tottery crag.
It doesn’t bode well that two of the six routes described in Rockfax are marked down as “do not climb due to recent rockfall”, and we’d compounded the route limitations by leaving the CC guide in the truck.
Undeterred, we headed up Super Magnolia, HVS, which was good but needed a little care with some of its holds.
Tydomin, also HVS, is outstanding, starting up heavily pocketed “dinosaur skin” and then changing character above half height to give thin moves to finish.
Later review of the “alternative graded list” in the CC guide positions the route as Survival Factor 1 (“Survival of seconds possible – permanent incapacity certain”) which might be over-stating things, but a confident approach is called for.
Westerlation and The South Ridge are both very good, which exhausted our described options. With a number of reports of routes damaged by rockfall we were slightly reluctant to quest randomly up promising lines, but a whif of data enabled a check of UKC which suggested that news of the demise of Crimtyphon had been somewhat premature. Contrary to the Rockfax description, it remains one of the Culm Coast’s Enduring Classics, with exquisite and intricate climbing past a series of shallow “porthole” depressions on an otherwise featureless wall. The 4 pegs that mark the way look in reasonable nic (usual warnings apply…) and there’s enough additional gear to make it seem pretty reasonable at E2 5c.
Topping out you do appreciate the Jenga block nature of the top couple of metres of the cliff at this point, and much care and trepidation is required in setting up a belay.
When it does finally topple, hopefully it will over the back of the cliff leaving this great route intact.
You can make out the line of portholes right of the diagonal earth ramp in the middle of the picture below.
More scouring of our ancient guide (circa 1988) revealed a post-it tick-list of a similar vintage, and behold (at the bottom) the final route is Crimtyphon. Most of the rest have been ticked in the intervening years, but there are still a few I need to attend to!
… but no more at Compass Point
Back at the campsite, it’s time for a sundowner