I was out yesterday with Trystan from TYF, with the plan to climb a couple of Paul Donnithorne adventure routes in Range East. We headed off to the Stack Rocks car park and on to the Cauldron. This area is an incredible feature of rock, with a real atmosphere to it. A large abseil brought me to a small ledge a little higher than the stated start because of waves crashing in below. Trystan joined me and we awkwardly flaked our ropes. I set off on what seemed like an under-travelled Escapology, with crozzley, snappy footholds but good, solid gear. After an airy traverse out right to the arete and up a blocky flake I arrived at a good belay ledge with hard to find gear with the items on my harness I had left. Trystan followed and arrived at the belay with wide eyes. He then set off on the easier looking second pitch. This turned out to be harder and more serious than first appearances suggested, with much loose rock. He gained the top and took the ropes in. I started climbing and trundled as many of the loose blocks as I thought sensible, which all landed and exploded onto my previous belay ledge (well done Trystan for not doing the same when I was stood there!)
Next we headed over to Madman's Point and slid down another big abseil to the tidal boulder beach. I had been down there a couple of months before and climbed Mad Hatter's Tea Party and was keen to check out another route to it's right, called The Gong, as I had enjoyed MHTP so much. Great moulded, solid and steep rock, with fantastic protection led to a bizarre feature: a hollow shield of rock that rang when you knocked it. Someone with a sense of humour had attached a gong hammer on a lanyard and I happily beat the rock with as much musical rhythm as I could muster! Next the rock got even steeper but thankfully the holds and gear were as good as anyone could ask for. Trystan joined me on the belay after giving the gong a good go and whipped up the final short but lovely pitch up the left arete, in common with MHTP. We sat at the top in beautiful golden light and recalled some of the memorable moments from our day.
I am loving climbing these lesser visited routes and It is amazing how many of these have been put up by the Paul and Emma. You've certainly done some exploring guys!