Finally the morning came that Freddie and I were going to go climbing in Railay. We’d arranged it the night before, so we got up super early and popped to a local restraurant for an omelette breakfast. It really hit the spot, so we scurried over to the climbing hut to begin our day of fun.

Then my hangover kicked in. It was horrific. Like a gargantuan foggy wave I was overwhelmed, my balance lost and my stomach out of control. This was the worst possible timing.

The climbing leader for the day gathered us together and introduced himself. The group we had consisted of 3 others as well as Freddie and I. Then he took us all on a boat ride to a decent wall to begin on.

I couldn’t speak. Pretty much all my faculties had gone. The journey to the wall consisted of me looking at the floor and refusing to interact with anything. But after an age we reached the wall, the challenge of all eternity.

One of the other lads in the group went first. I lay down on the grass in the shade, rolling around in discomfort. But I was next up. “Let’s do this”, I thought.

I tied up my rope as quickly as I could, then with the urgency of a bomb disposal unit disarming a device I pelted it up the wall as fast as possible. Back down I came, gave the climb leader a little smile, untied my rope, then ran around the corner to throw up my breakfast. This is how my day went for a number of hours. Lying in the grass as the world spiralled in front of me until I was called on to climb. Climbing as quick as I could then getting horizontal as soon as I hit the ground. I’ll be honest the climbing in Railay was one of the things I was most looking forward to on my 4 month travelling trip, and this was not what I expected.

I can guarantee I’ll be back one day though, as the walls and routes were incredible. There were climbs for every difficulty, from absolute beginner to unbelievably extreme. The community is fantastic too, with everyone willing to help each other and give friendly advice when needed. The area is not overwhelmed with tourists, and the prices in Tonsai are very reasonable. I will definitely be back.

But sadly this wasn’t my time. I spent 4 hours wishing my climb was over. And then the point came, we’d made it. I’d attempted every climb, and hadn’t given up like I thought I would. We rushed back to the bungalow as fast as we could, and watched Gladiator for the rest of that day.

Shadows and Dust.

Freddie on the wall at Railay