December's climbing trip was originally supposed to be Me, Steve, Joe and Nick going to Spain again,
but for various reasons, the other three had to pull out one after the other. (Perhaps they're not
telling me something).
Then when I tried to arrange it myself and started to contact people, I was invited by John Reed to join
him and his mate Robin on their Sardinian trip. Three is an awkward number in climbing and I soon
recruited Dario as the fourth member. He's keen to start climbing again.
He immediately had to pull out as Johnny Depp had requested the pleasure of his company in a five
star resort in the Caribbean for three weeks, shooting promo pics for the new film. Hard choice I
suppose. Dario was replaced by Trevor Wagland, also keen to get back into climbing and that's how the
line-up stayed until a week before the trip when I still hadn't heard from John about where we were
staying etc and he wasn't answering my phone calls, texts or emails. I finally emailed his mate to
see if he could shed any light and was told by a surprised Robin that John had broken his hand at
work two weeks previously and really should have got in touch to tell me that they'd both cancelled. Yes, he should.
So then there were two.
I got on the internet and booked flight, car parking, car hire and an apartment for about £200
We arrived at Cagliari airport early Saturday afternoon and picked up the car, which had become just
a little more expensive since I booked it online. No surprise there. We set off for Orosei and
arrived after only a couple of hours. Our host was phoned, she came out and showed us the way to the
apartment, which turned out to be miles from Orosei town in a village called Sos Alinos in an area
called Cala Liberotto. It was a short walk from a small secluded beach, with a bar a supermarket and
various hotels nearby. Quite nice all in all.
She spoke no English and we spoke no Italian which is
possible how the first mix-up had occurred. She had made us up one double bed. Luckily there were
two bedrooms and the problem was soon sorted out with her rushing round in an embarrassed flap.
OK, we'd arrived. Time for a celebratory drinků or ten.
I woke on Sunday feeling very rough and luckily Trev felt pretty much the same, so we had a walk
to the beach, did a bit of photography and drove out to look at some climbing areas.
Monday was the first climbing day and we went to Posada and did a few 5ish routes and a 6a. We also
watched a Peregrine Falcon terrorising a Kite. There's something you don't see every day.
Tuesday we went to Cala Fuili near Cala Gonone. This is on the beach and very pleasant. Imagine that
in the summer when it gets too hot to climb. Again, we did some 5s and a good 6a.
Wednesday we had seen the weather forecast, which said rain on Thursday. So we decided to go up to
Cala Spinosa in the North to climb the wind sculpted granite. We drove the hundred miles there and
found the Lighthouse as described in the Climbing Guide (Pietra Di Luna). It was at this point that
it became obvious just how crap the guide is. The vaguest directions you can imagine and not a map
reference anywhere in the book. (Nice pictures though). We spent about three hours trailing round
the coast carrying huge rucksacks looking for the climbing, but never found it. We then drove the
hundred miles back. We did have a nice cup of coffee in Arzachena though.
Thursday, as rain was forecast we set off for the Nuraghic settlemant of Tiscali, hidden in a cave
inside Tiscali mountain. Same story as the previous day. Different guide, but still the vaguest of
directions and no map references whatsoever. So we drove twenty miles of dirt tracks and walked
several miles up and down mountain sides (this time with only camera bags) and found nothing. On
the way back, in desperation, Trev suggested we stopped at a grotto as it was signposted. This was
a good idea. It turned out to be a dry cave in the mountainside, carved out by a river, It was
huge inside and went back much further than we were prepared to go without any illumination other
than flashguns. Above the entrance on the huge overhang were several bolted routes, obviously
someone's projects, which I would have liked to have a go at except that, as in many climbing
areas in Sardinia, they seemed to start around 8a.
On the way back, we stopped at Cala Fuili again and did a 5 and a 6a, so the day wasn't a waste.
The rain never arrived.
Friday was a bit on the windy side and rather than waste another day getting lost, we went to Fuili
again and climbed on the other side. Again, we did a couple of 5s and some pretty hard 6as.
Saturday was very cold. The only cold day, so we did some touristy sightseeing and photography.
Sunday we came back without incident apart from the bit where EasyJet wanted to charge us 135 Euros for
the weight of one extra bag. That would have been more than both our tickets had cost put together. So we
ditched some bottles and put all the heavy stuff in our hand luggage.
In conclusion, Sardinia was OK, but next year I think I'll go back to Spain where I know my way
around and if I do get lost, the road signs make sense.