Geoff makes his first cliffhanger for us

image of man sitting in stretcher suspended from cliff

We’re delighted to welcome our new video content contributor Geoff Moore to the GTO team, and to present his first two items. Geoff has been out and about reporting on two cliffhanger stories!

Cliff Camping in Dorset

“When this company leaves its customers ‘hanging on’, believe me, they really mean it!” Geoff told us, on his return from a hair-raising afternoon.

Cliff camping is now a popular activity on the West cliffs at Portland Dorset.

Owner of Young’s Adventure Solutions, Eddy Young, is more than happy to leave you for the night strapped to a sheer cliff along the Dorset coast.

As a climber with 30 years of experience himself, his company has been promoting the joys of this type of high! He has identified a number of perpendicular locations along the Jurassic Coast where he can take his clients to enjoy a three hour experience or an over-night camp. He believes that his offer helps people to really get away from it all.

An overnight roost or front row views of sunset

The experience involves the thrill of climbing into a fabric covered metal frame and dangling from a vertical cliff, using a ‘portaledge’ suspended by numerous ropes. Each is secured to different bolts, anchor points or boulders and is then lowered with you on board over the edge of the cliff. The choices are either the whole night or the more popular three hour sunset experience. One of the best places for this is from the stone cliffs on the West coast of Portland in Dorset.

Watch the video to see what cliff camping is all about

Eddy also has a number of other spots around the Purbecks near the town of Swanage ideal for cliff camping. The over-nighters get a meal before they are tucked up until the morning, which can be newspaper-wrapped fish and chip style supper if that is your choice, or a meal from a local restaurant.

Watching the sun setting in the west over Lyme Bay is quite magical.

As well as keeping you hanging on around the Dorset coast, Eddy can offer mountaineering experiences in North Wales and winter skills courses in Glen Coe or Ben Nevis. Plus, he can also arrange for climbing experiences abroad too! Or you may prefer a wet and water experience so coasteering is on offer as well.

And that key question you may be asking – what are the toilet options? You have to use a poop tube. This is a plastic drainpipe type of tube to carry any waste during your camping experience. It’s the rule!

Extended Season for Lynton And Lynmouth Cliff Railway

A traditional tourist attraction is back in action in north Devon. The much-loved cliff railway linking Lynmouth with Lynton has returned after a Covid lockdown. Not only that, instead of closing in late October, the 125-year-old railway will operate during November and December for five days a week.

According to Ashley Clarke, Manager and Chief Engineer,

“Having had many months without the town’s funicular, the return seems to have gone down really well with visitors to the area. With social distancing being required, the public have adapted well to the new travelling arrangements.”.

The normal cosy journey up or down the 500 feet cliff has been adapted for social distancing with some seats taken out of service for the three-minute journey.

Watch Geoff’s video of the funicular in action

Built in Victorian times the cliff railway has been sweeping tourists up to Lynton since 1890. It returned to operation on July 18th and will now run until early in January 2021. However, those exact days have yet to be selected. Visitors should check on the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway website for updates.

Employing 11 full-time staff, in a normal year the cliff railway carries nearly half a million passengers.

Clever Victorian engineering

Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway remains the UK’s only fully water powered railway. It is one of only three examples left in the world – of which it is the steepest and highest. It is also one of the most environmental forms of transport in the world! Each car has an under-slung 700gallon tank which is filled with water from the West Lyn river. When the drivers have signalled to each other through a system of bells, the brakes are taken off.

The bottom car discharges enough water to make the top car heavier. Then the upper car starts to descend pulling the lighter car to the top using the cables threaded around a series of pulleys. The 862 feet of track vibrates as the cars trundle past each other, raising or lowering 500 feet on the journey each time.

Up top

Once at the top, the view over Lynmouth Bay and the Bristol Channel is exceptional. Passengers can enjoy a cuppa at the perfectly positioned Grade II listed Cliff Top Café. Certainly, one of the best places to enjoy a Devon cream tea, with views across to parts of Exmoor and the steep cliffs of Countisbury.

From Lynton there is a fairly level walk through the town, passing some shops and restaurants to get to the scenic Valley of The Rocks along the coast path beyond.

This coastal dry valley with wild goats also has stunning rock formations, which includes one in the shape of a witch!

The Valley of the Rocks

The English Switzerland

Lynmouth and Lynton are two Exmoor villages, with Lynmouth down by the sea harbour, beach lawns and river, and larger Lynton high above. They are linked by a very steep road and numerous footpaths through the streets or woods, as well as the funicular. Nestled between the hills in Exmoor, this is a lovely area to visit. It has good access to both long and short walks along the river, across Exmoor, or along the South West Coast path.

The area became known as the English Switzerland from the 1800s. The name arose when Romantic Poets such as Southey, Coleridge and Wordsworth discovered the delights of the area when unable to pursue their usual Continental jaunts during the Napoleonic wars. Coleridge was famously in the area, composing his poem Kubla Khan, when interrupted by a person from Porlock. The inspiration evaporated, and the poem remained unfinished. Porlock is another attractive village nearby, with a notoriously steep and windy road.

photo of Geoff Moore sitting at a pub table outside with GTO magazines in front of him
Geoff Moore

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