North London Network, composed largely of ex-Wild Wolf Explorers took 13 members climbing on the Jurassic Coast last weekend.
The idea for this climbing camp was born last year during indoor climbing sessions at the Castle and Scout Park when we realised there was a demand from the Networkers to get outdoors and do some more challenging climbing and some fun camping. Because none of us are very good at climbing (we make up for it with effort!) we chose Dancing Ledge as the location.
Dancing Ledge is a huge ledge of rock on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset (just south of Langton Matravers) and offers a lot of easy to moderate climbs on the surrounding cliffs. We camped at Tom’s Field Campsite (www.tomsfieldcamping.co.uk) which is a twenty minute walk from the cliffs and has excellent facilities.
Fortunately we also had a minibus for the weekend so we all jumped in on Friday evening and set off for Asda to pick up some shopping. We picked up Kamran from Wareham and we were at the campsite by 11pm. Tents pitched and plan made for the next day we turned in.
Saturday dawned bright and clear and the sun was soon warming us all up. We dished out the climbing hardware over breakfast, packed a lunch and set off by 9am. We spent the morning top-roping on the slabs to warm ourselves up and after lunch we split into three groups – some of us went for a hike, some went to Poole for a day trip and six of us walked to Guillemot Ledge for some harder climbs.
The approach to Guillemot Ledge was particularly exciting as it involved an overhanging abseil of about 20 meters, followed by a challenging climb back up. Definitely a challenge but totally worth it!
That evening Rachel arrived from London and over a dinner of chilli con carne and Lindt chocolate bunnies we made plans for Sunday. Some of us would head back to Dancing Ledge for their first taste of lead climbing and some would head to Brownsea Island for a Scouting pilgrimage and a chance to spot some red squirrels.
Camp over we packed up, bump-started the minibus (typical Scout bus!) and headed home. Our next climbing outing will be to the Roaches near Leek but our next Network camp is mountain biking in the Peak District in May.
Thanks all who came on North London Scout District’s first Network camp, hopefully the first of many!