Country diary: boulderers make the most of the rocky terrain

Llanberis, Gwynedd: They felt at the initial holds, arms taking their weight, toes stabbing at edges and pockets that might afford some lift

Driving up the Llanberis Pass on a grey afternoon, my eye was caught by a group of young people gazing intently at one of the huge roadside boulders near Pont y Gromlech, and I pulled into a layby to watch them at their sport. They belonged to the rock-climbing sub-sect of “boulderers”, and were focused on a leaning wall of pocketed rock perhaps five metres high.

Clothed in T-shirts and loose trousers, with sticky rubber rock slippers on their feet, they had chalk bags strung round their waists, and thick foam crash mats laid out beneath the wall. Each in turn stepped to the base of the wall and went through a set of mimetic gestures anticipating the moves to be made above. They felt at the initial holds, arms taking their weight, toes stabbing at edges and pockets that might afford some lift, then flopped more or less elegantly back on to the mats beneath.

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