Present: Bob (organiser), Rhoda, Paul and Tao, Maggie, Steve, Steve W and friends, Fiona and friends, Julie and family, Marion and Mark. And some more friends.

The trip started inauspiciously with Julie and family getting the inner of their Millennium Dome wet in a sudden downpour as they were erecting it, leading to emergency use of all their dry towels to mop the floor before the kids could be put into sleeping bags, and Paul, Maggie and Tao returning to their tent that evening to find that their front porch now opened directly onto a wonderful lake view.

Despite the initial soaking there were enough dry and sunny spells to allow some glorious days spent bouldering at various sites throughout this beautiful forest, with its fragrant pines and amazing white sand. Granted, some of that time was spent sheltering under rocky overhangs whilst sharing sandwiches, but not much. The rest was spent drinking hot chocolate in the local bar.

Bob led us to some areas undiscovered on earlier trips, always managing to locate great spots with a range of problems to suit all tastes and abilities and the usual scenes of quiet desperation when people discover that the only way down is the way they came up. Although this dilemma does not appear to apply to Steve W, the big show off.

Marion and Mark unfortunately were unable to stay for longer than the weekend but seemed suitably impressed with the ultimate climber’s playground. The rest of the group stuck it out for most of the week, with the odd visit to Disneyworld and/or Parc Asterix thrown in to keep the kids entertained. Not that they needed it really – some of them were better at this bouldering lark than the adults, with 6 year old Ed in particular ticking off yellow problems in his bare feet.

Special mention goes to Fiona’s friends for inventing the disposable-barbeque-under-seat heater for the chillier evenings, a nod to Rhoda for her “stable table”, a shout out to William for his crappy French disposable barbeque blower, and respect to Steve for wearing a cagoule identical to the 6 year old’s.

Julie Carlisle

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