Peak District

Present: Bob (organiser), Rhoda, Julie, Paul, Steve C, Nathan, Alex, Ian, Si, Ali, Cliff, Simon H, and friends Pam and Steve

Most arrived on the Friday night and proceeded to stay up far too late thanks to Pam’s camper van which allowed sitting up into the wee hours when the cold would normally have driven even the hardiest campers into their sleeping bags at a far more sensible time.

Julie therefore arrived early Saturday all ready and raring to go, only to be greeted by boggy-eyed climbers crawling out of tents and complaining about their heads.

“What better remedy, dear friends, than a greasy breakfast and pints of coffee at the Grindleford Station Caff?”

Some of us were introduced for the first time to this hallowed institution where a request for mushrooms often offends and a timid plea for a variation to the full breakfast could result in an instant ban. Thus fortified and unable to put it off any longer, we headed for Stanage in brilliant sunshine, meeting Cliff driving aimlessly round in his low key AA car in the hope of bumping into us. The sun shone just long enough for us to get all sweaty carrying the gear up to the base of the edge – and then the heavens opened. Paul’s poncho was amusing but practical as we tried to shelter under the rocks and failed miserably. We were laughing on the other side of our faces once we were wet through.

Start as you mean to go on.

Steve C on Green Gut.

Rhoda demonstrates belaying with parasol for the English Rose. (Julie)

What do climbers do when the weather is impecunious? Why, climb of course! And so the first leads were begun on wet rock with Bob, Julie, Steve C and Paul leading the others up to a bone freezing summit where the wind whipped our Amazon Cracks. It did get better though, and Si got his first trad lead in before we headed to the pub late in the day to drink real ale and afterwards back to camp for a BBQ. Here the wildly varying culinary aspirations of the various members of the group became apparent. Nathan and Alex had bought the cheapest sausages known to man which dripped their 95% fat content causing massive flames and eye watering amounts of smoke. Paul went for yet another of his “Let’s do things properly even if it does mean we get to eat at midnight” jobs (folks, you should have seen the size of his veggie kebabs!). The two “non meat eaters” opted for Linda McCartney’s cardboard – literally, cardboard! Not as late to bed this time, due to sheer exhaustion and too many to fit in the camper van.

Sunday was spent at Froggatt in glorious sunshine, and many personal achievements were recorded. Julie reassured herself that she hasn’t in fact gone completely off the boil (take note Andy Miles) by leading Heather Wall; Steve C led his first severe (Green Gut); and Paul took Steve out of his comfort zone on Valkyrie along with Si. Bob tackled Tody’s Wall with its ever-amusing first belly moves, followed by Steve, Rhoda and Pam. Rhoda also attempted to make parasols fashionable again whilst belaying, and Ali very obligingly repeatedly supplied Julie with a crucial piece of forgotten equipment, forgetting herself that she would need it if she was to follow up the route. Alex, who was on his first ever climbing trip, declared that he would be returning for more and Si and Ali will be amongst the leaders next time. Nathan stuck to bouldering (at least I think that’s why he carted that ruddy great bouldering mat all the way to the crag), Cliff stuck to gentle strolls, and Simon H opted to walk from the campsite to Froggatt. He hadn’t actually arrived by the time most of us had to leave, but I presume he was eventually located and is not still wandering around Calver. Top trip.

Julie Carlisle

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