On the weekend of 7-8th October 2017, 15 unknowing Freshers, 22 returners and several Ex-BUMS (previous members who have graduated) embarked on the BUMS Annual Freshers Climbing Trip to Portland in Dorset.
With 0 deaths and 0 emergency helicopters, I think we can all agree the trip was a success!
We met at the minibus at the undesirable hour of 6.15am (this hour actually exists??) to head to Portland for a weekend of climbing (and drinking) ((not together)).
The journey was long, but we all entertained ourselves with a range of activities including belting out Disney songs, sleeping, and even having political debates.
We did our usual supermarket shop at a mega Tesco in Portland, where we stocked up on lunch and snacks for the trip, along with the essential bevs for the evening of games.
Unfortunately, when we arrived the weather obviously had not got the memo that we wanted to go climbing outdoors, and thus decided to piss with rain (not cool sky, not cool). We therefore had to go to plan B: an indoor bouldering gym called The Project in Poole.
After a slightly hectic queue, all 37 of us swarmed into The Project; the poor regulars were bewildered as to why it was so busy! With a range of routes and no obvious grading system in place, we all had a great time working out routes and helping each other out. Perhaps one of the best features of the Project was a SLIDE you got to go down when you finished a route! Safe to say we all felt like giant children and got a bit too excited about it.
We spent the whole day at the wall, and were pretty knackered on our return. Some members branched out from climbing; making use of the slackline, hula hoops and gym mats that were also at the gym. Poor Tyler was devastated he couldn’t master hula hooping, so instead looked forlornly out to space as he stood on the cross-trainer 😉
We left The Project at 5pm, and headed to The Portland Bunkhouse for an evening of drinking and games. Before we started with the games, we were all desperate for some much needed food after the tiring day of bouldering. Some of our lovely committee cooked a wonderful dinner of fajitas (Thanks Harry and Kat, our RAG Officer and Secretary, for leading the cooking!), which we ate as we drank and chatted in the big communal area in the bunkhouse.
As per BUMS traditions, we made sure to incorporate climbing equipment into the games; which included 2 people standing on a breezeblock and trying to get 5 clipped-together quickdraws round the both of them without falling off. The cereal box game, the table game and several card games were also played, alongside some dancing later on in the evening.
Our Portland Spotify Playlist
After a wonderful cooked breakfast of bacon and egg baps, we made the short drive to a nearby carpark to get to the crag we’d be spending the day at: The Cuttings. The weather was on our side today, and at the hottest point in the day people were climbing shirtless/ in sports bras! Not what you expect from October in England, but hey, we’re not complaining!
We got to the crag around 10am and stayed till 5pm, before heading back to Uni in the evening. We enjoyed our picnic lunches we bought at the supermarket yesterday (ranging from the usual suspects of sandwiches and crisps, to the weirder choices such as a full roast chicken ??), and there was a great atmosphere at the crag as people climbed and chatted away.
It was really great to see lots of the returners climbing with the Freshers, which I’m sure really added to their experience climbing outdoors; many for the first time. From the beginning of the weekend to the end, you could really see how people had got to know each other, regardless of what year they were in or whether they’d climbed before. That’s got to be one of the best bits about climbing- as long as you know the basics, you can climb with people of different abilities, so whatever level you are there’ll always be someone to climb in.
Cheesy bit aside- we all got in lots of climbs (apart from Alex who slept the day away… which we were all painfully aware of, considering the volume of his snoring!), and from the feedback we received it sounded like everyone had a great time (I certainly did!).