Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Jen and Mark go to Green Castle

Chateauvert sounded like exactly what we needed: lots of routes in our grade range, a short walk from the car, in a pretty little valley.

So we stocked up on some food and prepared to move in - and discovered that there isn't anything, really, to dislike about Chateauvert!

Camping (or "parking up") isn't really allowed in the valley itself (despite the handy public toilets and rubbish bins at the climbers' carparks), and we thought that it would be best to humour the locals by ensuring we stayed on a quieter road or at the basic but cheap municipal campsite in the nearby town. Others just stayed in the climbers' carparks, and as it's fairly quiet at the moment, there's really no harm in doing so.

There's a local bakery in Corens is open all hours of the day, and stocks delicious breads and brioches, and is staffed by a lady so friendly that she insisted Jen wear a plastic bag on her head (!!!) as it happened to be lightly raining. Whether it was due to the bag or not, thankfully Jen was not noticably negatively affected by a bit of water. And for all other essentials, it was a 20minute drive to Brignoles nearby.

And the climbing? The routes are long single pitches, on vertical or overhanging limestone, overlooking a quiet river and local road, and surrounded by forest. Some of the popular ones show a little polish from wear - indeed, when the weekend and the school holidays hit, we saw how busy it can get - but for the most part, the routes listed with three stars in our guide were routes well worth climbing.

All in all, a great little spot. And if it wasn't for this rain, we'd still be at the crag ...

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