St David’s South – Carreg-y-Barcud and Velvet Wall

In stark contrast to the gabbro granite on St David’s Head itself

The climbing along the coastline to the south of the St David’s (the UK’s smallest city, if you didn’t already know) is mostly on sandstone slabs, of varying colours and angles, and characterised by crimpy and edgy smoothness, splintered with raggedy cracks.

Velvet Wall is a tiny outcrop in the area of Porth-y-Ffynnon; just a handful of routes but a couple of excellent ones. Shiraz and Chinon are both HVS/E1 ish, and really fun on juggy crozzly pockets – just a shame they’re over so soon.

That left time for a afternoon jaunt to Carreg-y-Barcud, though options were somewhat constrained by the high tide. The ledge on Grey Face stays dry in all seas

so we were able to do Ethos, which takes a soaring right-trending crack. Good gear and good holds but they’re always over to the side of where you want them!

We were finally rewarded by the the kind of evening you can sit out on and happily we’d moved campsite to a spectacular clifftop site just south of St David’s

We revisited Carreg-y-Barcud a couple of days later, with tides in a much more helpful state! We bumped into Pete and Flora, so here are a few shots of them rather than the usual “bum shots” of me and Helen.

We did a couple of the routes on the main face (foreground below), taking advantage of the low tide to add the final two ticks to complete the set with Be Brave (E1, which actually isn’t too scary) and Be Clever (E2, which requires thought on a very hard but well-protected crux)

Beyond the Azimuth is the mirror image of Ethos, book-ending the main climbing at the far right of the crag, and taking a left-trending crack. Significantly tougher with a couple of quite tenuous moves and well worth its E1.

Rapping in for a final route of the day, I got these couple of pics of Flora on the classic Metamorphosis

Meanwhile we finished off with The Fermenting Telescope, much closer to the no star E1 in the CC guide than the starred HVS suggested by Rockfax, though it might settle down with more traffic.

Moodier skies from the campsite transitioned into relentless drizzle overnight and into the next day, making it a fairly easy decision to head home before the Bank Holiday weekend crush – another fab couple of weeks, enjoying the full diversity of what Pembroke has to offer!

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