Sunny skies were forecasted all week and with a two year hiatus due to covid, it was safe to say the stoats were stoked for some sea cliff climbing down in South Wales. Indeed, as the academic hellscape of exams came to a close, psyche for the much awaited Pembroke summer trip began to build. Finally, on the 12th of June, 32 keen beans clad in colorful tie dye met bright and early, ready for departure! But as per usual, the faff had already begun...
The reason for all the faff? One of our trusty old gits (and driver on the trip) had had too good a time at yesterday's ValeFest and in his hungover state would not be expected to leave Birmingham anytime before noon. Undeterred, and with impressive bag packing tetris skills, the slightly-more-squished-than-expected stoats managed to squeeze their belongings into cars and hit the road shortly thereafter, leaving behind only 2 boulder pads (obviously the trad gear had preference!).
By early afternoon, we had arrived in Pembroke! After some speedy tent pitching and acquaintance of the ginger campsite cat (and one buzz cut for a hot and flustered Jon), most stoats ventured out for some evening climbing at Saddle Head, whilst others chose to go for a swim at the nearby beach.
We were met with glorious weather on Monday! All stoats headed out to one of three northern crags: Porthclais, Porth y Ffynnon or Craig Caerfai. By the evening, many of us returned looking a couple shades closer to the colour of a lobster and with some interesting tan lines on display.
Tuesday brought more good weather, and a successful day of climbing for all - but the main event of the day was a beach swim and BBQ in the evening. Although lacking in cutlery and plates, the designated barbeque dads did a fantastic job feeding the ravenous stoats. A game of rounders ensued, followed by a wonderful fire poi performance and some very acrobatic party tricks under the glow of a very orange full moon. Numbers dwindled down as people returned to their tents for the night (and probably dreamt of climbing).
The warm weather on Wednesday tempted some of us to go for a morning swim. However, sightings of a small shark (no, seriously!) a purple jellyfish and an aqua poo quickly put people off swimming, and climbing activities resumed.
By Thursday the combination of hot weather and sleepless camping nights had taken a toll on some of us, who opted instead to take a rest day visiting Pembroke Castle. For others, Thursday was their undesired departure date, heading for more adventures in Chamonix or Grad Ball. The remaining stoats had a lie-in and headed for some climbing in the afternoon at some new crags including the highly tidal Becks Bay and Initiation Slabs.
Unfortunately, the weather looked like it would be taking a turn for the worst over the upcoming weekend, so we decided to make Friday our last day of climbing. Albeit fun, climbing had become a tiring affair for those with hay fever, sunburns, or tight climbing shoes (the majority of us falling under one of those categories by now...). With one last sea swim on Friday night and the beginnings of a grey, drizzly sky as incentive, we left on Saturday - with a traditional stop at Maccies for the long car ride back to Birmingham.
With many stoats taking their first steps in trad over the week, some good craic and raincoats tucked away unused till the end of the trip, Pembroke provided a terrific summer trip this year!