President’s Update – Summer 2022

Hello to our lovely SCC members and welcome to my Summer 2022 update.

Before turning to the summer ahead, it falls upon me to share the heart-breaking news that we lost one of our own in May this year. As many of you know, Richard Dodds was the organisational powerhouse who, as first Club Secretary, set up many of the systems and policies we still use behind the scenes today.

Whilst it is my belief that the club would never have made it off the ground without the vision and determination of Chris, the club’s first President and Richard’s long-term partner - without Richard’s support and encouragement, positive outlook and record-keeping genius, the club may have stayed forever a dream. Therefore, each of us owe Richard a debt of gratitude for the existence of our wonderful club.

If you would like to honour Richard, Chris is running the London Marathon in his name, with sponsorship going towards Age Concern UK - a charity very close to Richard’s heart as a dedicated Geriatrician and researcher into age-related conditions. The Just Giving page can be found here

Turning to happier events, the summer has got off to a great start with the yearly Cornwall climbing extravaganza – the photos certainly paint a joyful picture of epic climbing, beach BBQs and cream teas. Check out the meet report here. If you couldn’t make it, we will be back next year, so I highly recommend putting some holiday aside now – you will not be disappointed!

A lucky few of you are gearing up to head off to the Peak District, where we've also got some expert training in “Declumsification” of your climbing - from the legend that is Mr Johnny Dawes. I look forward to seeing you show off your amazing footwork technique and hands-free climbing at the next meet ☺

Speaking of which, we have loads coming up – check out the Meets/Events page for a full list, and as always keep an eye on the website and members Facebook group for updates.

Southampton Climbing Club Multiwall Competition 2022 Flyer image

Although it was a couple of months ago now, I can’t not mention the huge success of our first ever multi-wall climbing competition. As well as being great fun for members & non-members alike, this also raised £235 in voluntary contributions, which went to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. Many thanks to everyone who took part and congratulations to our winners Lucy (Female 18+), Neil (Male 18+), Abbey (13-17 Female) and Zavi (13-17 male).

I am happy to announce this comp will run again next Spring, so keep tuned for dates. Huge thanks also to our Social Secretaries Sarah and Sophie for organising this excellent event, and to all the walls who supported us - Boulder Shack, Calshot, Golden Gekko, Parthian and Red Spider, you all set some great routes!

In committee news, unfortunately Matt has decided to step down as Meet Coordinator due to other commitments; I am sure you will all join us in saying a big thank you for all his hard work over the past couple of years!

In his stead, Jo will be doubling up on her Gear Sec role and taking over as interim Meet Coordinator, so she is the new point of contact for meet-related business. Thank you, Jo, for volunteering for this busy but exciting role!

If you want to take the bull by the horns and find out about arranging your own meet, get in touch with Jo to discuss your next moves. We've been working behind the scenes to figure out how to make the process of member-organised meets run smoothly, so keep your eyes peeled for further updates on that too.

Have a great summer everyone, hope to see you at the crag soon!


SCC President


Pembrokeshire Meet Report – June 2022

For the first time in a few years SCC headed to the iconic South coast of Pembroke rather than the slabby Northern area. This was met with enthusiasm by all as the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend was celebrated in climbing style with over 20 members of varying experience making the most of the weather and exquisite rock.

Blue skies and sun saw a range of grades being climbed. Some members still managed to find idyllic slabs with others heading to more serious venues such as Stennis Head and Saddle Head with ascents of various E grades being made.

Blue skies and sun saw a range of grades being climbed.

As with other recent meets various training was on offer and some stoic sport climbers even made their first trad leads. Intimidating classics, such as the 30m sea level travers of Riders on the Storm were tackled by multiple teams. When the sun became too much, well deserved ice cream and socialising at the campsite made a great end to a day.

Although the weather did not remain compliant for the whole trip, this was resolved by visiting as many of the local cafes as possible to sample the various wares which was a welcome change from the heat. A trip to the local pub in the evening was a pleasant ending to a fun filled meet.

Cornwall - Tin Mines

Cornwall Meet Report – July 2022

Kernow a'gas dynergh

Welcome to Cornwall!

Over thirty SCC members made the journey west for our annual Cornwall meet. Yet again we were rewarded with week-long sunshine, turquoise seas, golden granite, and ninja seagulls - we really do have the best luck!

One of the great things about climbing in Cornwall (apart from the cream teas) is the sheer variety on offer. Whilst the amazingly grippy granite is the predominant rock type, there is plenty of niche geology for those seeking a more crimpy experience - killas slate, amphibiolite, and greenstone are all superb. It’s possible to spend the entire day climbing one route, whether that’s enjoying the multi-pitch experiences of Commando Ridge and Lands End Long Climb, or headpointing E-grade testpieces. It’s all there, and more besides - and SCC like to make the most of it!

Over the course of the week we had everything from first trad leads; instructor-led training in multi-pitching and pushing the grade; E3 headpoints (and even an E4 onsight); sunset ascents of Commando Ridge; dawn raids for the cooler conditions; sweaty afternoon epics on Bosigran; big waves at Sennen; little waves at Lands End; and all around us friends and sunshine and seaside.

The water was definitely a welcome refreshment. Teams of swimmers headed out most days - exploring the secluded tidal rock-pools, doing laps at the beach, and jumping around in the surf. When the waves got going, the surfers were out doing their thing; and when the swell subsided an intrepid team of coasteerers journeyed around the cliffs and inlets - including surprising visitors when popping up near the beautiful Minack Theatre.

Of course, no holiday is complete without a good feast too! Cream teas featured high on the agenda, with the amazing Rosemergy’s tea rooms near Bosigran always a popular post-climb refreshment stop. Fish and chips on the beach became fish baps and onion rings after the Sennen chippy inexplicably developed a shortage, but nevertheless good times were had playing games and enjoying the spectacular sunset.

As became our tradition last year (even outside of Cornwall), our morning ‘pasty meet’ was a regular fixture - for some an excuse to actually eat pasties for breakfast! But more generally we've found it a good chance for everyone to share their plans for the day, team up for lift sharing to the crag and buddy up for climbing.
(n.b. although a remarkable number of pasties were consumed by SCC, a few lucky seagulls gave us a run for our money too - capitalising on open rucksacks and inattentive eaters... lessons were learned)

All in all, it was another fantastic week! With the hopeful return of the La Frowda festival in 2023 we will definitely be continuing our annual Cornwall pilgrimage.

Until next summer - Yeghes da!

Cornwall - Bosigran - Sunset
Landscape view of Lundy with the classic "Devil's Slide" on the left hand side of the image.

Spaces Available for Lundy 2022

📣 Spaces available for Lundy! 30th Aug - 6th Sept 📣

We have the luxurious ‘barn’ (hostel) booked on the spectacular island of Lundy - a world-class trad climbing destination. And we have a few spaces left for non-members to join us!

Lundy is an amazing place to climb with spectacular multipitch granite in a wild and unspoilt location. Adventures and good memories guaranteed.

It is not for the novice climber however - you should be happy to help carry gear, assist with abseil set up, abseil into the crag, make yourself safe at the bottom if required, belay competently with half ropes, and second from about VS upwards.

If you’d like to join please email us at

SCC Photo Competition 2021

For the keen-eyed snappers and shooters in our ranks we had a fun photo competition at our 2021 AGM and were both blown away and entertained by the breadth of entries we got from around the club.

So rather than just dropping the occasional photo in an event page or post, we thought we'd take the chance to show off a selection of the entries here in a dedicated post for all to enjoy!

These aren't all super recent photos, but given we haven't done one of these in a few years the criteria were left pretty wide open this time around. They are, however, all from some epic SCC meets and events we've had over the last couple of years. So hopefully they jog some memories for some of our members, and offer a little glimpse of some of the stuff we get up to for anyone thinking of joining.

Thanks to everyone who entered! If you want to feature in next year's gallery, make sure you join us on our adventures in 2022 🙂

Legal notice: All images used with permission, copyright retained by the original creator and all rights reserved

SCC Club Newsletter – Spring 2021

Welcome from the President

Hello lovely SCC people!

The sun is shining, the rules are lifting, and we are CLIMBING again! Happy times. I hope you are all doing well and feeling psyched for a soon-to-be summer of climbing adventures.

Before I go on, as this is the first newsletter of the year, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of our members into the fold, both new and old - it is great to see so many of you (re)joining SCC, despite the pandemic-style washout that was 2020!* Hopefully we will all get to know each other well over the next few weeks as we start revving up for a much improved 2021.

Whilst overnight stays are still not possible at present (roll on May 17th!) we have already had a great day meet of Sport-tastic fun at Hedbury quarry last weekend, and over the upcoming early May bank holiday weekend we will be setting our sights on the many trad options availabe in Swanage - exact crags TBC and depending on the wind direction (which, as I'm sure you have noticed, has been rather chilly of late)! Further in the future we have a weekend in North Devon planned for the late May bank holiday weekend (accommodation TBC) and several excellent training opportunities in the pipeline which are bound to prove very popular, so sign up asap to avoid disappointment! Keep an eye on the website and of course the members-only facebook group for updates in the coming weeks.

Of course we are not out of the woods yet, so please continue to observe social distancing rules, face-mask wearing and general hygiene considerations whenever you get out climbing, and do remember to keep on top of the ever-changing guidelines (the current BMC guidelines can be found via a link below). Lift-sharing is still not advised, so please be careful to plan your trips to crags where ample parking is available (or arrive early!).

A final note, it will not have escaped your attention that we have a brand new, shiny climbing wall in Southampton (Parthian)! Discussions are underway for a potential club night/discount for SCC members, so keep and eye on the FB group for updates over the next few of weeks.

*considering the restrictions that were in place, we did still manage to have some great meets - particular highlights for me were Cornwall, the Peak District and our first Southern Sandstone meet. I can't wait to revisit these amazing locations over the course of 2021!

~ Colette O'Neill, President.

COVID-19 Guidance

We kindly ask that all members follow our COVID-19 guidance when attending meets, training or socials.

As an affiliated club of the BMC we follow their COVID-19 guidance, full details can be found here.

Upcoming outdoor meets

Your meet secretaries are Kizzy and Matt.

Meet details can be found here

Upcoming training dates

Your training sec is Chris.

At SCC we want you to get the very best out of your climbing, so throughout the year we have a programme of training events to motivate and educate you!

See the training section for further details.

The BMC also have subsidised training courses available to BMC club members (that's you!). So why not take a look at what they can offer too:

Upcoming Socials

Your Social Sec is Sarah

  • Taskmaster Social - 7th May

Keep an eye out on the members Facebook group & website for more events and updates.

NEW Club Merchandise!

It's only been about 2 years, but we are so pleased to announce that we have some new club merchandise now available to order now! We have teamed up with Boulder Shack to help in providing on-demand printing on a range of high-quality garments.

More info and access to the shop available to members when logged into the website: SCC Club Merchandise

We have lots of ideas for what else we could do with this, but we'd love to hear your thoughts too!

Recent meets

Hedbury, Swanage

Club Gear

Your Gear Sec is Jo

Don't forget that the club has a stash of gear that members can borrow, not to mention all the guidebooks too in our club Library at Boulder Shack.

Club Gear

Club indoor sessions

As usual, here are the details of the club's weekly indoor sessions, great for socialising and getting a midweek climb in.

  • Tuesdays at Boulder Shack from approx. 7-9.30pm. Our discounted club night, followed by a trip to the local watering hole, usually The Book Shop (pizza available next door) or The Rockstone.
  • Thursdays at Calshot from approx 7pm onwards, again with a discount (which in fact is valid any time in Calshot) and a drink/food after in the bar. We'd recommend using the club's Facebook group to check who else is going and coordinate lifts, especially during the winter!

Social Media

Your Web Sec is Simon

All members of SCC have access to the Facebook members only-group. This is a great place to stay in touch with fellow club members, see updates and announcements about club activities, find climbing partners for a visit to the wall/crag/pub, or just share climbing-related news. Feel free to "pitch" in 🙂

If you're having any difficulty joining the group, please let us know by contacting the committee. You can also find us on Instagram, and we have a public Facebook page as well. Give us a follow and share with any mates you think may be interested!

SCC Members Facebook Group
SCC Instagram
SCC Public Facebook Page

As always, please get in touch if you have any feedback about the club or ideas for future activities.

With best wishes,

~ Your Committee

SCC 2021 New Member Signup is Open

It's that time of year again - the holidays are coming, Kendal Mountain Festival has been filling us with wanderlust & inspiration (psst - there's even some free content on their site here), we're getting stoked ready for the new outdoors season, and we're hoping you can join us too!

New Members

So the important news - Signups for new members for 2021 are live from today - join now and you'll receive membership all the way through to Jan 31st 2022. Simply visit our Membership Page to find out more and sign up.

Current/Returning Members

For our current members, we really hope you've felt like part of the family during this bizarre year. It's been great to see so many involved with the various club activities, and it's been a pretty busy one all things considered - some highlights shared at our AGM last month included:

  • 12 meets (in-between lockdowns)
  • 14 training sessions (5 in-person, 9 online)
  • 25+ online circuits sessions
  • A whole host of socials, both online & "in real life"
  • Our first ever(?) photo-of-the-year competition

Not bad for 2020, give yourselves a pat on the back everybody.

We'll have renewals open from 1st January for existing and returning members - details will go up on the Membership Page as normal in the New Year.

Lundy Meet Report – August 2020

15th Aug - 22nd 23rd Aug 2020

“I’m off for a climbing holiday on Lundy”, I would say.

“Where’s that?”, would invariably be the answer.

Good question!

Lundy map
Lundy Map - there it is!

Until recently, I thought Lundy was either somewhere near the Channel Islands or maybe in the vicinity of the Isle of Man. I also didn’t know that Lundy is one of the greatest climbing locations in the UK.

But I do now!

It's a little windswept island, just 3 miles long, sitting in the Bristol Channel between north Devon and Pembrokeshire. It has 1 pub, 1 shop, hundreds of shipwrecks, 3 lighthouses (see previous point!), a few holiday cottages, a camping field, some curious seals... and some truly world class granite sea cliffs.

The Approach

It’s an adventurous place to climb, even getting there on the MS Oldenburg feels like a mini-expedition. All six of us (me, Paul, Tom, Matt, Simon, and Mark) managed to pass the ‘Find-the-Quay’ Test in Ilfracombe in the torrential rain, and not miss the departure. Although apparently it was a bit tighter than I realised (SOS coffee and muffins were totally required).

We had a huge pile of luggage, the total amount of which bore little relation to the alleged weight limit per person. Tents, camping and cooking gear, racks, ropes - the pile got larger and larger, but all was aboard and we set sail in high spirits. The sun was shining somewhere, but not on us that was for sure and we all got a bit wind-blown and rain-washed during the crossing (which takes just under 2 hours). Our first glimpse of Lundy was of the eastern side, shrouded in low-lying fog. Sea cliffs and pinnacles of rock appeared out of the gloom, giving tantalising hints of the epics awaiting us on the wilder west side of the island.

Sea cliffs and pinnacles of rock appeared out of the gloom, giving tantalising hints of the epics awaiting us on the wilder west side of the island.


Our first day disappeared in fog and mist, so with little prospect of dry rock we went for a long amble around the island to get our bearings. Navigating around Lundy should be easy - there are only two main paths heading up/down the island, one on the east and one on the west. And as you walk you cross several drystone walls, conveniently named Quarter Wall, Halfway, and Three-quarter Wall. Should be simple right? Somehow it's surprisingly hard to remember how many you've actually crossed though, so there was plenty of debate as to where we were when all we had as ‘landmarks’ were horses, goats, and highland cattle. Pub dinner and an early night in a slightly soggy tent finished off our first day, but we were full of enthusiasm as a decent forecast promised plenty of dry granite to come.

SCC climbing at Flying Buttress, Lundy
A "banging" good day at Flying Buttress

Over the next few days we got to grips with the Lundy crag approaches - ‘descend the grassy gully’ often turned out to be guidebook code for ‘go up and down a few times and peer over lots of dodgy cliff edges and realise you’ve got totally the wrong place’. Our first taste of Lundy granite was at the aptly-named, super-classic Flying Buttress - a huge obelisk leaning drunkenly against the main cliff, forming a natural sea arch through which inquisitive seals were swimming. We had a great time ticking off some of the classics of the crag. Strong lines and gear-friendly cracks made it a fun first day, working up the grades to finish with Double Diamond - a Hard Rock tick and no pushover at HVS 5b. I got a bit stressed out on some overhanging slimy rock close to the shore-line, whilst Simon got a bit anxious eyeing up the incoming tide. All was well in the end! And the crag has some excellent ‘natural features’ for anchors at the top - great big cannons, used to signal danger when the lighthouse was ironically hidden in fog. Bomber!

We climbed all over the west side of the island, mostly managing to dodge the short, sharp showers that swept in across the Bristol Channel. The forecasts turned out to be mostly unhelpful - I definitely got sunburnt on days when apparently it was meant to be black clouds and heavy rain all day. With the weather being on the unpredictable side, we chose the best-looking day for a visit to the iconic Devil’s Slide. This is one of the showpieces of Lundy - an immaculate sweep of granite slab, rising straight out of the sea for 100 metres before steepening up like the crest of a huge wave. It is surprisingly lacking in major cracklines - on one side, the slab meets a side wall and creates the satisfying lay-back VS, Albion. On the other side, intersecting cracks form the super-classic HS, Devil’s Slide, which culminates in a run-out exercise in ‘smear-trusting’ on the final traverse under the crest of the granite wave

Side note: if you haven't seen Johnny Dawes' attempt at a hands-free ascent of this epic you really should!

In the middle of the slab, scanty thin cracks provide the ‘gear’ for the thought-provoking E1, Satan’s Slip. The guidebook describes the second pitch of this route as ‘a lonely lead’. It certainly wasn’t well-endowed with protection, and I muttered to myself “Just keep climbing” as I moved two, then four, then six-plus metres above my last dodgy placement. Fortunately granite is super-grippy - bizarrely, I felt more intimidated when I finally reached the safety of the Albion lay-back corner, mainly because I think I’d forgotten how to actually climb with holds and gear after 30 metres of smearing!

I muttered to myself “Just keep climbing” as I moved two, then four, then six-plus metres above my last dodgy placement.

SCC climbing at the Devil's Slide, Lundy
The Devil's Slide

We were definitely grateful for a sunny dry day to have our slab-climbing adventures. The weather kept building during our week on Lundy, culminating in several big storms with epic winds and wild seas. The MS Oldenburg was unable to sail, leaving many refugees stuck on the island. We were unbelievably lucky because we’d booked into the luxurious barn for the second half of the week - all the campers ended up escaping to the safety of the church and sleeping on the floor for the rest of their holiday, after several tents failed to survive the conditions. The big seas were truly amazing!

We had to pick and choose our crags, and sometimes plucking up the courage to abseil in above the huge waves crashing below us wasn’t easy! But we were always rewarded with brilliant experiences. When the weather finally got too windy, we explored some of the inland crags and the eastern side of the island. These were fun, and a pleasant escape from the intimidating sea conditions, although definitely the poor cousins compared to the big west-side sea cliffs.

SCC climbing above big seas at St Patrick's Buttress, Lundy
Big seas at St. Patrick's Buttress

The Return

We joined the band of Lundy refugees when our boat back was also cancelled by the weather, and we lucked out with an extra day of climbing and another night in our cosy accommodation. The barn usually sleeps 14, so we had plenty of room for the obligatory social-distancing, and it was a really lovely place to chill out with coffee, chocolate and games.

We used our bonus day to head to the far north of the island, visiting a fun little crag with plenty of excellent technical routes. The northern tip of Lundy has yet another lighthouse, this time accessed by little bridges and steep steps weaving through the cliffs. We got a great view of the big seas, whilst being pretty sheltered in our secluded crag. The biggest bonus of the day was the lift we managed to grab with the lighthouse engineers on the way back - bumping along the track, wedged in place with our climbing bags, we had fun chats all the way back down the island. Cheers!

The captain of the MS Oldenburg gave the all-clear for the sailing the following day so it was all-aboard and farewell to Lundy. Despite climbing every day, we felt like we had barely scratched the surface - there are so many brilliant adventures still to be had.

We will be back!

Lundy rainbox


Dorset Bouldering Meet Report – September 2020

12th Sept 2020

This was to be the club’s first official foray into a bouldering meet on home soil. We’ve had a small handful of trips to Fontainbleau in the past, but I was particularly keen to show members what we have on our doorstep, especially at our local crag, Swanage.

St Aldhelm’s Head has long been an esoteric place for the Swanage climber, with it’s loose foreboding steep cliffs jutting out of the headland like the bow of a ship, full of ‘trad horror shows’ that would make the average climber shudder at the sight of it. Thankfully, with the release of Dorset Bouldering the place has become a quiet mecca for the keen boulderer. With a calm wind and some sunshine it can be a most wonderful place to spend the day, and the steep cliffs make a marvellous backdrop in the end.

The day started in the car park with a COVID-19 safety briefing. Everyone had their hand gels at the ready, and there was to be no sharing of chalk bags or eating each others' lunch! 

We arrived at the crag, the sun was out, the sea was glistening and you could hear the faint sound of a cat meowing…. To our surprise Jo, Neil and Fade (aka adventure kitty) were sampling one of the ‘horror shows’ below us. It wasn’t long until they had both joined us at the top, by which time we were all spread across the crag, each solving our own little problems. We had experienced boulderers and some new, all keen to get stuck into some real rock. It wasn’t long though until we were all putting suncream on, we really had lucked out on the weather today. 

We had experienced boulderers and some new, all keen to get stuck into some real rock.

There are two main areas to the bouldering at St Aldhelm’s Head. First, you have the cliff top quarry which has a wide spread of grades to suit climbers of all abilities. Then you have the beach area, which involves a scramble down a steep scree slope (be careful of people above you knocking stones down!) to find a myriad of boulders of all shapes, sizes and quality spread out over a large area. The beach can be a really tranquil place, don’t be surprised to spot deer down there when it’s quiet.

After lunch, most of us headed down to the beach to use up whatever strength we had left in our arms. A lot of our time was spent on the Notley Boulder, which has a variety of massive jugs all the way along it to make a really fun, but not too hard (f5+) traverse line. Once you’re done with that, there are varying eliminates along the boulder with dynos and tricky pinches to keep you trying hard!!

As our arms gave way, it was time to climb back up the hill and head to the Square & Compass for some refreshment and a pasty, before we made our way home.

Thank you to everyone who came and made it such a wonderful day. It was great to see some new and enthusiastic faces too, and I look forward to climbing with everyone again soon.


SCC Peak District Meet Report – August 2020

As I sit in the car watching the rain lash against my windscreen in a very soggy Dartmoor (our replacement holiday after being blown away from North Wales by not one, but TWO storms last week), I am reminiscing about a contrastingly warm and somewhat midgey trip to the Roaches just a couple of weeks ago with SCC. This was our first official weekend meet following Lockdown, and we were a tiny bit apprehensive about how it would work out. Paul had the forsight to book the entire Hazelbarrow Farm campsite for the weekend, which included the use of the bunkhouse for socialising in the evening, in case of inclement weather. This lovely site is just a stone's throw from a plethora of climbing options at the Roaches, Newstones, Baldstones and at Ramshaw rocks - all within walking distance! Which is useful for an August trip with parking at a premium - apparently we weren't the only ones planning on a weekend escape to the Peak District.

The lovely walk-in (Photo credit: Sarah Whitehouse)

Chris and I arrived at around 9pm (after the usual, mad post-work dash) only to be met by legions of midges - the downside of a lovely still and sutlry summer's evening in the Peaks! After hastily erecting the tent we took refuge in the car, beer in hand, until the midges retired for the night. Not before they had feasted merrily on my accidentally exposed lower back whilst we put up the tent - lessons were learned! After a couple of beers with the others we headed to bed for a not-so-early night ahead of a days' climbing at the Roaches.

We woke to the pleasent pitter-patter of rain against the tent - only to realise once we were fully awake that this was in fact the sound of midges trying to get in for their breakfast! But with the heat of the morning sun producing the usual boil-in-the-bag effect familiar to those who habitually sleep in too long, we had to make a dash for it. On the count of three we fled to relative safety by the camp fire that Rob had already lit to keep our unwelcome visitors at bay. At about 8am we received a text from Jo and Steve to let us know they were on their way to the crag - whilst most of us were still in our PJs! Once breakfast was out of the way and we were finally left in peace by the midges we got on with our day.

En-masse, we ambled up to the Roaches upper tier (around 20 minutes on good paths) and went our separate ways up the rock. Chris took the lead up Heather Slab, a somewhat run-out but pleasent Severe 3c whilst I selflessly continued to feed the midges at the bottom whilst belaying. However, I was rewarded with a lovely breeze that chased my tormentors away once I'd followed him up - not to mention a spectacular view from the top.

The view from the top! (Photo credit: Sarah Whitehouse)

I then tottered up Maud's Garden (HVD 3c), a three-starred route I have looked at many times in the past but usually a queue of like-minded folk ahead of me has left me to find a less-popular line nearby. It was worth the wait, with a fairly bold start up the slab and a tricky chimney near the top (cue much dithering and grunting), both of which made the experience feel more severe than expected! But then, it has been a while since my last grit-stone adventure (thanks coronavirus!).

By this point George had joined us and was champing at the bit to get up something a little more challenging than I could follow him up, so I relinquished my climbing buddy and volunteered Chris for the job! I think he rather enjoyed Crenation, a bold E1 5a which both of them managed to make look much easier than it sounded. In turn, I borrowed Jon so I could tackle the very fun Fern Crack - which has a steep and juggy start with excellent gear (if you're strong enough to hold on whilst you place it - if not (like me) just keep going til you can put the weight back on your feet - you will be rewarded by a brilliant thread eventually!). This is followed by a slightly awkward rockover onto a rather green looking slab without much to cling to other than your hopes and prayers. Overall a very satisfying route that was over far too soon. Looking back I wish I'd squeezed in Black and Tans, another on my wish list that I think most of the other meet attendees managed to fit in, but it always seemed to have someone waiting for it when I looked over. So that was it for us - time to head back to the campsite for dinner. Jo and Steve's early start meant they managed at least 6 routes to our 3 that day and definitely earned their chippy tea; mine was less-well earned but just as much enjoyed.

Chippy tea at the campsite

Fortunately the wind picked up on Saturday evening and we were able to enjoy sitting outside without being eaten alive by the local wildlife. However, as the sun dipped below the horizon several of us retreated to the warmth of the bunkhouse for shelter from the increasingly chilly wind (there's no pleasing some!). A few beers were consumed and most of us headed to bed for a relatively early night in the hope of getting in a full day's climbing at Ramshaw Rocks on the Sunday.

With the wind building in strength throughout the night, plans were swiftly revised in the morning and we set our sights on a repeat visit to the Roaches instead. It's not like we were going to run out of top quality routes after just one day! As most of us were checking out of the campsite we drove to the crag - fortunately the cafe near the bottom of the Roaches had opened up a field for parking (at just £2 a day - so it amazed me that some people (not club members I hasten to add) still insisted on parking on the sides of roads and were duly rewarded with parking fines by the end of the day!).

On the Sunday Chris and I entertained ourselves with some of the shorter routes on the lower tier - Prow Cracks being a particularly enjoyable excursion! During a brief interlude I sat watching Tom squirm and thrutch his way into the squeeze of Sifta's Quid (a hillarious cross between caving and climbing that is probably more fun for the spectators than the climber! Seeing is believing, see piccie below), and Catherine rocketing up her second ever lead like a pro (whilst making some excellent shapes, also see below). I was busy capturing these two memorable events, when someone rudely got in the way of my photo - that someone turned out to be none other than Johnny Dawes! I said hello and had a quick chat about midges (which somehow lead to me telling him that he climbs pretty well for a midget - a compliment he seemed to take as it was intended!). He then offered his services to SCC in the form of training (which Chris is in the process of organising so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming info on that) and proceeded to give Chris a bit of an ad-hoc lesson in hands-free climbing (see pic below). All in all, a pretty memorable weekend!

Johnny Dawes discussing the finer points of hands-free climbing with Chris
Catherine (left) and Tom (right) getting stuck in!

I'm back in the car now having had a scramble about a very damp Dewerstone with Chris, gazing longingly at the glisteningly wet rock and hoping for a dry spell before heading home - in either event, I can't help but feel lucky that climbing draws us to visit such beautiful locations and allows us to see them from the unique perspective of the climber.

~Colette O'Neill