Spending the night 60m up in the Avon Gorge! Carrying on the ledge-end…
It’s 5pm on a Saturday. You’ve spent the whole week revising and slowly getting more and more miserable. You’re about to eat a whole pack of reduced sainsbury’s chocolate eclairs and then head back into the library for another soul-crushing revision session, when you get a text from your friend: “want to come bivvy with me on lunchtime ledge tonight?”
The whole bunch of Lunchtime Legends (Photo: Emily Grout)
Apart from being possibly the worst pick up line in history, at first thought it would seem like a stupid idea. Why would I spend the night hanging off a cliff face 60m above the bottom of the Avon gorge, sleeping on a pile of ropes, when I’ve got a perfectly comfortable bed at home? You really don’t know the appeal until you experience it, and so that’s exactly why I went back for more. (Check out our previous blog post here!)
Blearly eyed but eager, we met up at 9pm before heading down to the gorge. Duncan, Jono, Emily and Claire zipped up the arête (VD), with Alastair and Nathan opting for the more daring and sketchy Dexter (S), lit up by headtorches and with the beautiful view of the suspension bridge behind.
Alasdair after retrieving the runaway sleeping bag (Photo: Duncan Edgley)
Nathan looking forward to a great night’s sleep! (Photo: Duncan Edgley)
Not precarious at all… (Photo: Nathan Masters)
After a slightly concerning incident involving the dropping of a sleeping bag 60m to the bottom (which we then had to abseil down to retrieve) we all arrived safely on the ledge. For those of you who don’t know, Lunchtime ledge is a pretty big section of the gorge about 2/3 of the way up the cliff, big enough to walk around on not tied in without fear of falling: the perfect location for a nighttime bivvy.
After settling in, we all had varying qualities of nights’ sleep, with some of us forgetting to pack our sleeping mats, something I sorely regretted. Waking up several times throughout the night at an alarming angle, I finally decided to sling myself to a tree root at about 4am when waking up slowly sliding off the edge (just a little bit concerning…).
The view in the morning (Photo: Nathan Masters)
Waking up in the morning we enjoyed the wateriest (but satisfying) coffee I’ve ever had, generously provided by Jono, we belayed down to enjoy a full exciting day of climbing! (Well, all except me… some of us have degrees to finish…). Nathan and Alasdair did Gronk (VS), and we had Emily’s first lead of Sleepwalk (VD). Overall I highly recommend sleeping out on the ledge at some point in your time at Bristol. Pick a nice night, and you’re bound to have an experience you won’t forget!
In hindsight I should have probably picked a less exposed position… (Photo: Duncan Edgley)
Looking lively in the morning… (Photo: Duncan Edgley)
Alasdair and Nathan’s route up Gronk (VS) on Sunday, complete with unusual 3rd belay… (Photo: Nathan Masters)