It’s been a funny (peculiar) year or two, but here we are, Winter 2021, and as keen as ever to keep on climbing and socialising. So many of you have come back with a fresh enthusiasm, and so many new climbers too –  we hope we don’t disappoint.  Not to be deterred by pandemic and lockdowns – well not for too long, anyway – plenty of progress has still been made in Beacon this year.  Here’s a short list of what’s happened:

  • The back bouldering had a makeover, with new friction panels and a new angle, and a nice light colour.
  • The front bouldering had a matching paint job and brand new crash matting.
  • A rig and extra kit was added to the gym by the back bouldering.
  • The tall blue columns in the main lead area were removed, and new lead walls built to join the walls on the left to the walls on the right, all the way across the back wall (see photo).  Loads more routes!  It feels so light and spacious. Wall angles on the new section range from -2 degrees (steep slab) to +2 degrees (slightly overhanging).
  • Autobelays added.
  • All new rubber crumb flooring laid in the lead and top rope areas.
  • We have bought a HUGE number of new climbing holds – beautiful!

As if that isn’t enough, there’s some more work in progress which will hopefully all be complete well before Christmas. In a ‘secret’ room behind the upper bouldering, we’ve been busy bees creating yet another new lead wall with 11 lines and an abseil platform, plus more autobelays. The ‘Upper Tier’ will be open to everyone, but particularly suitable for novices, groups, instructor training and young climbers under supervision. When complete, this space will also have plenty of traversing, and facilities for practising outdoor skills such as jumaring, setting up belays, and rescues.  We hope to have a partial opening of that area this month (November 2021), and we will post further developments on social media.

Again this winter we have the ever popular aggregates – bouldering and leading. The winter has started with a fantastic set of routes and problems, all credit due to our super-creative in-house setting team who know how to keep you excited!  With the new addition to the main lead area, plenty of easier angled but equally interesting routes await you. Less thuggery and more thought!

We’ve paid attention to the café too – Caffi Barcud – which now has plenty of fixed, comfy bench seating and new flooring.  Sit with your friends in comfort, and watch the climbing. The coffee is so good….

Now to the other bit – the pandemic.  Wales is still at Alert Level Zero.  This does not mean totally relax!  It means remain vigilant, and please continue to wear your mask on arrival at the centre, and when moving around (not compulsory when climbing, nor for children 11 years and under). We are playing our part by aiming to keep the centre as well ventilated as possible, by keeping doors and windows open and monitoring CO2. All climbers must check in, then also check out to keep the widget numbers accurate, so you can decide before you leave home whether you want to climb in peace or join many more enthusiasts. Non climbing visitors to Caffi Barcud must sign in there.

Onwards and upwards!