The Pass - by Duncan Bourne

Writer, cartoonist, poet - Duncan Bourne brings it all to bear on his love of climbing. This is 'The Pass' (or 'The Road that Winds its Way'), based on Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Mandalay’


By the Vaynol arms, Nant Peris in the early afternoon
There’s a bored young lass a-waitin’ for a lift arranged at noon
The sun is on the high crags, she is keen to be away
But ‘er partner’s stuck in traffic on the by-pass near Conwy
“I did ‘ope to climb today, 
on Craig Ddu just down the way
which I’m told is in condition
on this sunny summer’s day” 
On the road that winds its way, 
Through the cliffs where climbers play
An’ the traffic roars like thunder
Up the pass from far-away 

‘Er Gortex coat were yeller and ‘er flowin’ ‘air was wild
the time was getting’ on an’ she were gettin’ rilled
as she stood there with ‘er mobile a whackin out a text
you could tell from ‘er expression that she were mighty vexed! 
But she was out of signal range
Which really isn’t strange
‘cos it’s ‘ard to get a message through
this lofty mountain range
on the road that winds it’s way…. 

T’was arranged last week at North Face and confirmed again last night
They planned the details on the phone, the forecast were quite bright
She was in Llanberis an’ ‘e in Liverpool
‘E said it was an ‘ours drive, she thought “the bloody fool!” 
It’s an ‘oliday weekend
And it no use to pretend
That you can travel swiftly with caravans a’plenty
An’ road works on each bend! 
On the road that winds it’s way… 

“I am sick of wastin’ time on a partner far away
an’ a park’n’ride that doesn’t seem to work Bank ‘Oliday
I’ll find an ‘andy bunkhouse where I can ditch my kit
Then wander down to Cromlech and boulder for a bit” 
With that the young lass sigh’d
And fish’d out a dog-ear’d guide
And perused it as she calmly
Stuck ‘er thumb out for a ride
On the road that winds it’s way….. 

“Oh leave me in North Wales where one can climb all day
workin’ up a mighty ‘unger for a meal at Pete’s Café 
for the Vaynol Arms is callin’ me to sink another pint
and plan multi-pitch adventures beneath the star-fleck’d night
so no rain tonight I pray
on the rugged rocks so grey; 
for Craig Ddu is in condition
I ‘ear the local climbers say
On the road that winds it’s way
Through the cliffs where climbers play
And the traffic roars like thunder
Up the pass from far away