Despite a bad forecast for the Friday and Sunday, the meet was well attended by members from across the country. The weekend activities included walking, climbing, drinking and for a certain invididual Shopping! Apart from some bad weather, everyone seemed to have a good time.
But, the meet will be remembered most for the Meet Leader’s bad luck and misfortune. Having picked up the every-green Mr Toon senior, the meet leader set off on his jolly way to Buttermere at a steady pace, unfortunately at a too steady pace for the Cumbria Constabulary who promptly took a picture of him as he travelled through the Kentmere bypass. Whoops said the half awake Toon as he power napped after another gruelling day at the office “Did they get you” “certainly did” “Most unfortunate! Hope you remembered to smile!”
Never mind the show must go on, so foot down and back on course to Buttermere. Arriving at Sykes farm in good time, good time being before the pub closes of course! After another heavy downpour it was essential that a good, high dry pitch was obtained for the tent, in preparation for any flash flooding! Having sourced a great spot under the guidance and expertise of Mr Toon senior ( A Very Very Very Experienced Camper!), the meet leader began erecting his super high tech, all season, all weather tent, that would withstand the ultimate rain storm, only to snap a pole! Never mind, the meet leader, being an ex-scout had a repair kit in his tent peg bag, “always be prepared”, never leaves you! But, where’s the tent peg bag, it’s not in the tent bag, its not in the car, it’s in the loft at home! Do we bivi? Do we lodge with other residents! Do we just go home! We go to the pub and make an executive decision under the influence of some dam fine beer! So, a bivi in the car was chosen, Mr Toon senior as excited as ever, loves an epic! Never happier!
Well, Saturday came, the weather is fine, climbing to be done, so off we set on or merry way to High Crag to ascend some classic rock. But its damp, no it’s running! No one fancy putting the rope up! Not today gents! I’m off to Grey Crag, bit drier higher up boys. So off, we went following the very very very experienced climber Mr Toon Senior, who’s armed with his rock fax toppo of new routes recently put up on Grey Crag! As enthusiastic as ever, racing to the crag!
Having arrived at the crag, straws were drawn, the new routes selected for the two climbing parties, Wheale and Toon to attempt Harrow Rib (HS 4a) on Harrow Buttress, Tranquillity on Chockstone Buttress (E1 5b/5a) and Dexter Wall ( VS 4c) on Oxford and Cambridge Buttress. With the formidable climbing duo, Bond and Atkins to attempt Harrow Buttress ( D), Slabs Route West (HS 4a) on Chockstone Buttress and a second ascent of Tranquillity on Chockstone Buttress (E1 5b/5a).
Having located the lines, the climbers made slow progress in difficult conditions nothing quite grips the concentration like a simple 4a pitch, when its wet, slippery and covered in moss. It changes the whole grading system, men become mice, legs shake, nerves tingle and hearts flutter!
Success, all routes fell in cold, wet, windy conditions, but as a write I still couldn’t tell you which pitches, of which routes we did, as navigation was hard, but we had an adventurous day out, a fun time, in a great location and that, people, is what traditional climbing is all about! No bolts or bouldering mats required just steady nerves and good technique!
The meet also included three walking parties although I am not quite sure where they went but I am assured they had a good time. The reason I don’t know this information is due to heavy rain on the Saturday night, tents collapsed and walkers fled in the early hours! Hopefully, the parties concerned are alive and well. I will refrain from naming and shaming these cowards, but I will be at the annual dinner and can be easily bribed to keep quiet or talk!
But one individual who I will name and shame is Michelle Beech, the sole instigator of the deadly disease that has currently brought Lundy Island to a standstill. Having spread the illness far and wide, it was time to infect Keswick, disguising the operation as a shopping trip! Yes, the club has a very active shopping section. No experience is required, just a healthy Visa card and lots of enthusiasm. Michelle will then provide the appropriate training to max you’re your account! Apparently, the bus ride was very pleasant and lots of bargains to be bought! That included some tent pegs for the Meet Leader, very kind!
Sunday, well the rains came, and they still came, and as I write they are still coming, so when summer arrives and the sun re-appears, we’ll go to Buttermere again and camp once more! Only next year, I’ll take my tent pegs and avoid any police cameras!