"A word on the spot is worth a cartload of recollections"
James Maggs, Southwold diarist 1797-1890

Sunday, 12 September 2010


The Isle of Portland isn't a pretty place. As Nick remarked during our trip there this weekend, it's character is dominated by quarries, prisons and council estates. But it is an interesting place. It has been quarried for centuries for the white-grey limestone, "Portland Stone", which was used to build the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, The Bank of England, the National Gallery and Buckingham Palace and (according to Wiki) the stone has been exported widely and was used in building the United Nations HQ in New York.

The climbing there is all bolted - not my favourite kind of climbing. The bolted protection removes most of the risks associated with traditional ("trad") climbing. Probably as a result, I can remember in detail only one or two of all the bolted sports routes I've ever climbed. Keen sports climbers say that the fixed protection allows them to enjoy better the simple physical pleasure of climbing without the distraction associated with having to protect the climb yourself. I imagine this is true if you are fit and strong enough to climb harder sports routes (good example here) but I'm too weak for that so I maintain that trad climbing offers far more complex rewards...

Anyway, we had a lot of fun climbing the cliffs above the sea.