The recent run of furious storms that have barrelled in from the Atlantic have wreaked havoc at Porth Ysgo, gouging out hillsides, causing land slumps and shifting huge boulders around.
NWB editor, Si Panton reports:
“I was down at the Rhiw crags the previous weekend but only nipped into the Made in Heaven bay (Porth ?) late in the afternoon. There was evidence here of significant damage; large boulders shifted right up the beach and many smashed and broken through impact (including the ‘chair stone’ which featured on the front cover of the first Northern Soul fanzine in 1998). As mentioned in the previous news report, the landing underneath the School for the Gifted block had been swept out, greatly improving it in the process. However, talking to people who had visited the main Ysgo boulder field that day, it became evident that some serious damage had occurred.
“Returning on Sunday this weekend I was greeted by some extraordinary sights. I’ve been a regular visitor to Ysgo since ’97, and occasionally I have seen shifts in the boulder field, but never have I have seen the widespread changes that have occurred in the last month. Some of it is quite shocking, and one can only guess at the wildness and power of the sea when it was in full destructive spate. I decided to make a survey of the main boulders to see what problems were affected. There are some significant losses, but on the plus side some gains. See the list below for a breakdown of the key changes.”
The landing below the Super Cheers block has been gouged out and the boulders by the left aręte have been swept away. This is an improvement and potentially opens the way for some new problems and traverses (which I would have done had it not started raining).
The landing below Si’s Aręte has been gouged out. The sds will be harder and lower now, and perhaps better.
The landing below Truth has filled in a bit but could easily be cleared, with a bit of brawn.
The sds to Dolly Rocker has been compromised by a large block which has slid in from the right. Could still be possible with a new left hand sequence?
Higginson Scar Righthand – sadly this is no longer possible as the adjacent block, which had slowly been sliding leftwards, is now far too close for passage. A large land slump behind has pushed the boulder forward. There is no God is also defunct. The land slump has also fallen down the other side of the boulder where a mud flow can be seen – luckily this doesn’t seem to have affected any of the existing problems, at least not in a negative way.
Joystick sds has been filled in a bit but nothing that couldn’t be shifted.
Van Guff block – quiet gouged out, which improves the problems on the near side. The landing just right of VG Central could do with some restorative patio work, but otherwise okay.
A large boulder has become lodged at the bottom of Jim’ll Fix It (now known at the FA’s request as The Yewtree Investigation). The first couple moves are blocked but the rest of the problem is okay
The original super low sds to Lo Lo (i.e. hands matched on the low undercut) is now possible, although it still looks very bunched and desperate.
The Fast Cars landing has collapsed a bit but is still okay.
Popcorn Party is quite filled in but still good.
The right hand sds to Jawbreaker has been buried, but could be freed with a bit of effort.
In general a bit of minor patio building is required on most landings so please do your bit next time you go. Some things might require a crow bar, or possibly a car jack to sort them out. It is also possible that in time the sea will return some of the lower tidal landings to their original state.