Discovering Newness in the Familiar
‘The climbing highlight of the trip was definitely Buoux, where we divided our time between the ancient West Face and a newly bolted secret cave. The two areas couldn't be more different, and both of them are world class in their own special ways,’ says Caroline. ‘The West Face is all about delicate technical climbing up amazing features, including some fantastically hard limestone friction slabs. Here you can climb hard routes with strong fingers and technical feet. The new cave, on the other hand, is full of steep and pumpy climbing on good holds in a spectacular position above the Aigue Brun River. Strong fingers always help, but it's your forearms that will take you to the chains here. Or, see you dangling on the end of your rope.’
It was for the climbing that Caroline and James set themselves up in the South of France. But their adventurous spirits always drew them to destinations that were foreign, strange, new and unexpected. What they weren’t expecting was to find foreign, strange, new and unexpected things so close to home.
‘We discovered windmills built in the early 1800s and a troglodytic village lived in until the mid 1500s. We got to climb at awesome cliffs like Buoux that we don't normally go to because they’re too far for a day trip, but not far enough for a holiday. And we meet up with friends along the way that we’ve not seen in far too long. Life slowed down and simplified. Problems were limited to fixing punctures, remembering to charge batteries and stocking up on diapers before riding into a valley without any shops.’