Monday, 27 April 2009


Alas, poor slate, I knew it well. Not very well, as an outsider and a relative youth, but intimately in my own way. I knew it as a fascinating and obscure medium, a venue of mystery and magic, of brilliant climbing amidst industrial wreckage, of climbing quality masked by the rainy day tag and the lure of the mountains, of eerieness and quietness and exploration and intrigue.

And now?? The rock is still there - if you can see it past the crowds and bolts - but the magic is going.

This may be due to retro / re / grid bolting and the seemingly determined attempts to turn it into the Portland of Snowdonia, but also due to fashion. Fashion and trends and crowd following and suddenly a once mystical area is swamped by hordes of braying Londoners and Brummies, gangs of students and beginners who can't resist the newly bolted 4+ slabs, girls who like crimpy bloody slabs, and vapid UKC sheep full of internet information and empty in soul and spirit, all queuing for routes and blethering on about their latest big ticks and big numbers, all overgraded and overbolted of course.

Why was I there? Convenience, guilty as charged for that, but also my partner's desire which I trust is an older and purer one than many. Still, I will keep coming back, with partners when they need to, and maybe the new guide will highlight some interesting options and spread the load...

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