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Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

Devon Delights

By Luke Tilley | 11, May, 2012

Sport climbing in the West Country

A week with the family in Devon to see our old neighbours was a beautiful trip, amazing food, amazing old friends, amazing family time and a small but amazing taste of some rock that I will definitely be returning to. I am realising the incredible luck I have with where my relatives live. From the outset I knew grand parents in Kilnsey was a blessing and probably forged my climbing career. I have later come to find the subtleties of locations such as Settle where my uncle and cousins live, directly below Castleberg, a small newly developed outcrop just 4 mins from their front door, closer to Malham than far away Kilnsey. The new find is my great Aunt and Uncle who live in Brixham, right on top of the prime sea cliff/ deep water solo venue, Berry Head and only 20 mins from some terrific sport climbing, this trips discovery.

A bitter afternoon at the beginning of the trip, a somewhat grey introduction to the beautiful orange of Ansteys cove. This is an incredible gem of costal rock, rivalling the quality of main land Europe. The main target was the classic Cider Soak, 8a but unfortunately with this getting blasted by cold sea wind we sheltered around the corner on a collection of stunning routes. The highlight was flashing Empire of the Sun an incredible 7b but the two 7c+ variations to the right were also incredible, the bowling ball face split with positive horizontal shallow breaks and the occasional perfect pocket made for stunning climbing reminiscent of climbs like Fem Blanche at Ceuse! 

A couple of days passed and this time my two sisters accompanied me out to a new destination, a secluded ancient quarry in dense woods. Torbryan quarry has some incredible rock texture, the top 3rd of the wall is covered in fine flow stone miniature smooth tufas. The vertical or slightly overhanging routes proved a perfect combination of technical and delicate sequences with some fridge hugging power. The wall is small but compact and packs in lots of routes. I ticked off all the 3 star routes all deserving of their stars, this was a fun day of onsights, 6c,7a+, 7c+ and a final 7a+. Flo my 14 year old sister took home her first 7a+/7b redpoint so all in all a great day out.

Looking forward to returning to the west country, a couple of super classic harder sport routes to challenge and then tons of incredible looking multi pitch trad and the potential of playing with deep water. The next trip will hopefully be after the bird ban ends in August.

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