The sixth annual BMC Gower Climbing Festival was held over the weekend of 13-14 September, as a celebration of the climbing opportunities on offer in the UK’s first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Festival organiser Matt Everett reports on a great weekend.
The main organiser of the previous five festivals, Stuart Llewellyn, had decided it was time to hand over the responsibility of organising the festival, and to ensure he couldn’t get roped in, had disappeared on a round-the-world trip! I volunteered to take over the reins and ensure the continuity of what has become a staple in the BMC event calendar.
With good weather forecast, climbers began arriving thick and fast at Pitton Cross campsite, the regular festival HQ; there was a mix of local crews and climbers from further afield including Weston-Super-Mare, Reading and Coventry. Overall there must have been about 100 climbers at the festival, made up of 40 campers and 60 day trippers.
Campers were fuelled up for the day on bacon and egg butties from the breakfast bar, which generated over £50 for the BMC Access & Conservation Trust.
Day trippers joined the campers to make plans for the day and headed off to do some climbing. Crags visited include the Gower’s new sport climbing mega venue, Shipwreck Cove, which saw a huge number of visitors over the weekend. The Rhossilli crags, King Wall and Lewes Castle (a popular venue for trad enthusiasts) were also visited, and crags as far away as Foxhole Cove and Three Cliffs Bay were graced with the presence of festivalgoers.
Saturday evening saw the festival’s first open air pub quiz at the campsite with prizes donated by the BMC for the winning team. The quiz was well received by all; only a small amount of ‘controversial discussion’ took place! The excitement of the day’s climbing adventures was relived and people made plans for the following day.
Sunday was again blessed with good weather and climbers left the campsite post-breakfast to enjoy a final day on the cliffs. Juniper Wall saw some action as did Shipwreck Cove (again).
A great time was had by all, thank you to all those who attended and helped out. The festival will continue again next year – watch Facebook feeds and BMC news for details!
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