Whenever anyone mentions Gogarth it takes me right back to a small platform in the sea. The tide is due to come in and waves are booming against the sheer white cliff face that seems to tower above me. The only way out is to climb.
Gogarth is a sea cliff on Anglesey, Wales, and even as a relatively inexperienced climber I knew the climbing was legendary. Words used to describe Gogarth include beautiful, atmospheric, adventurous... serious...
True to its reputation, Gogarth asserted its dominance. As we climbed, the sound of the crashing waves drowned out our voices and wind pulled at the ropes.
The final route of the day involved a 50m abseil on a 50m rope off an overhanging cliff to an invisible platform below. Some time later, the waves were booming, the tide was due to come in, and the only way out was to climb.
With one eye on my partner and one eye on the tide, I wanted to start climbing but worried about the prospect of the hanging belay above. The first pitch was steep and juggy, as good as the three stars the guidebook promised.
At the belay I was tense, in such an improbable position, suspended between rock and sea. As my partner climbed out of view I had plenty of time to contemplate the tiny chips of metal attaching me to the wall. I was relieved when it was my turn to climb, and there was rope above me again.
The final pitch complete, we were hungry and coiled the ropes quickly. Turning our backs on the cliffs, we enjoyed the easy walk out, already looking forward to the pub and a pint. The sound of the sea faded and Gogarth released us from its grip... for now. It’s been around a long time, and knows that we’ll be back...