Thursday, July 28, 2016

Eric Jones....The end of Tremadog's cafe society.

It was a tweet by Ed Douglas that alerted me to the fact that Welsh climbing legend Eric Jones was finally selling up his cafe/bunkhouse business and finally retiring. As if someone like Eric could ever retire! Incidentally, if you live in Wales or can get the ITV equivalent to iPlayer then there is a documentary ‘Never too old’ where Eric and his friend, the splendidly named Jeremy Trumper, climb The Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. (ITV Wales 8pm Monday August 1st) I watched this when it was first aired on the Welsh language channel, S4c a couple of years ago and it’s well worth a watch.

It’s some years actually since I’ve been in Eric’s caff or even climbed at Tremadog but it was always a great haunt. Even when the weather was too wet to climb, you could always fester and watch some brave souls having an epic on Valerie’s Rib as the rain washed down the slab.

Of course being situated right under the cliffs, it has become par for the course for Eric to be called to action in the event of an accident or emergency. Sadly, on the odd occasion an accident has resulted in fatal consequences, more often than not though, it has just been a crag fast climber who has pushed their limits and found themselves strung out in no man’s land, unable to advance or retreat. One amusing incident recalled a climber with his knee totally jammed in the crack on Shadrach. A pleasant if unconventional VS climb with three options to climb the first pitch. Possibly the worst being the aforementioned crack-tip do ‘The Brothers Start’ to the right,much more pleasant.

With the leader totally jammed and unable to extract his knee, one of the party ran back to Eric's to grab a bottle of Fairy Liquid which on his return, was liberally applied over the now battered and bruised limb resulting in an eventual extraction.

The caff and its genial host have been part of the Welsh climbing scene for as long as most can remember so it will be sad to see him go.

Let’s hope whoever takes over Eric's business keeps it as is and doesn’t decide to turn it into a fast food outlet or curry house. Although ‘Climb and a Curry’ does have a ring to it actually!


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