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Northumbrian Mountaineering Club Newsletter Summer 2006

Editorial The summer newsletter is always the hardest one to do. It’s the light nights, it’s so tempting to linger outside charging up the vitamin D ready for the oncoming autumn now that midsummer has come and gone. I’ve just come in from watching a barn owl hunting over the field behind the house, a fantastic sight. Talking of birds one of my late at work venues is Kepier Woods near Durham. If I’m trapped at work on a Wednesday night (sinful I know but sometimes unavoidable) and I need the fix I end up at that scruffy little crag situated on the River Wear. Scruffy it might be but you can still get a good hours work out. Anyway, what’s all this bird stuff I hear you say, well it was a few weeks back when at Kepier I took a break from my intensive training and looked towards the chuckling river. Standing on one of the rocks watching me was a heron and standing next to him on the same rock was a jackdaw (I kid you not). The heron turned to the jackdaw and said: ‘that’s one them long legged moonteneers’ the jackdaw replied ‘that’s nay moonteneer, that’s a climber’ that’s nay climber,

how do ya knaw that’s nay climber because he’s ………………….! At that point I fell off and landed in an indignant heap on my bouldering mat. It’s been the most fantastic summer so far despite the most blustery midsummer’s eve at Barker’s Crag near Scugdale, it was so windy I had 3 layers on and still didn’t warm up. What made it worse was we got down to the pub at 10.20pm to find we were welcomed by the lights being turned off. Talking of which our visit to a pub in Ridsdale after a good night at East Woodburn was welcomed by the lights already being off. We walked inside to find the landlady doing her ironing. This time we were given a warm Northumbrian welcome. This edition contains an obituary to Edward Judge one of the club’s Founder and Honorary Members. Our thoughts go to his wife Anthea, and family. Thanks to all for their contribution to this newsletter. Look forward to seeing you all on the crag over the rest of this fantastic summer. I never thought I would need to seek shade on Wednesday nights! Cheers Chris Cover: Kalymnos . Photo: Cliff Robson


Meet Report – Karn House, 17th to 19th March ‘06 Malcolm Rowe

I think I said something in the last Newsletter about the Winter, now it was over, hadn’t been up to much, well I was wrong. As is often the case, conditions got themselves sorted out late in the season and as all good Meet Leaders do, I got there early, two days early, just to be able to check things out. A walk in to Meggy on the Thursday was enough – I’ve never seen it looking so good, masses of ice all over the place. The following day and we were back in there and yeah, great stuff - Centrepost with a diversion onto the direct, magic. Teams arriving on the Friday night were many, so many in fact that I’ve forgotten exactly who was there – but never mind, I do remember Bryn and Tim having a good day on the Saturday, South Pipe Direct I think. Richard and John went to Hell’s Lum, Steve went snowboarding and Adrian and his mate (sorry, momentarily forgotten your name) went to the Northern Corries. Sunday was also very good, the Northern Corries being the place to go to on account of the shorter walk in and most folk having to go home, etc. We stayed on, to be joined by members of the NMC Old Guard – i.e.

Nigel Jamieson, Malcolm Lowerson, Jeff Breen and Roman Ivanec, who enjoyed, as they themselves described it – the best ski-ing conditions in Scotland for years. Malcolm

Obituary Edward Judge

1922- 2006

The death occurred in February of Edward (Teddy) Judge, aged 83, at his home in Barnard Castle. He had been suffering in later life from Parkinson’s Disease. Teddy was a founder member of the Northumberland Mountaineering Club in 1945 and did many climbs on the Wanneys and at Crag Lough and was proud to be invited to the NMC’s 50th anniversary meet in 1995. Further afield he climbed extensively in the Lake District, especially in the 1940s, and also in the Isle of Skye, where he was working in the early 1950s. During that period he also became a founder member of the Mountain Rescue

Team on the island. Later he had the good fortune to enjoy climbing holidays in the Alps and also the Himalaya. His work took him to Pakistan, and it was while he was living there that he was able to travel among and climb some of the mountains that he could see from his home. Sadly he had to cut short his trip to Fairy Meadow, the site of the base camp for Nanga Parbat, when one of his porters became ill and had to be accompanied back to lower levels. Teddy was an engineer and spent his life working on hydro electric schemes. In addition to Scotland and Pakistan as already mentioned, he also lived in Sri Lanka, Canada, Thailand, and Iran before working as a government adviser at the ODA (Overseas Development Administration) in the closing years of his career.

Photograph from ‘No Nobler County’, Edward Judge is on the far left. Courtesy of Muriel Sauer

In 1985 he retired to Bowes near Barnard Castle, where he found time to pursue his many interests. In addition to hill walking (in the Lakes, the Pennines, and the Scottish Highlands) he was an able amateur jazz guitarist and played from time to time at local festivals. His passion for Roman Britain led him to undertake the excavation of part of the Roman fort at Bowes, which lay within his back garden! He was also a great lover of books and his mountaineering collection in particular was extensive. Not content with just reading, he also wrote a number of articles and stories and his research into the settings of Maurice Walsh novels, for example, was published in the Scottish Literary Journal. He then compiled a collection of Walsh’s poetry and the book was published in 2003. Born and brought up in Sunderland, Teddy married Anthea Soulsby, also of Sunderland, in 1949 and they had two children. He is survived and much missed by Anthea, his children, and his five grandchildren. The NMC was represented at his funeral in Darlington on 2nd March by his friends and former climbing companions from the early days, Mrs Lily Sumner and Mrs Joan Todd.

Small Errors of Judgement Martin Cooper

In most sports the ability to make the right judgements are nearly as important as skill, strength, speed and stamina. In fast moving team sports errors and mistakes are frequently forced by the opponent’s superior ability. In tennis an individual’s mistake, when not a direct result of the opponent’s actions, is

deemed an “unforced error”. In the sports of rock climbing and mountaineering, however, individual mistakes or errors of judgement are almost exclusively an individual’s own fault, nearly always unforced. It is the necessity to rely one hundred per cent on one’s own decision making ability, and the knowledge of the consequences of getting it wrong, that are to a large extent the very attractions of climbing and mountaineering. We acknowledge the risks, but by the use our skills and our ability to make the right judgements, we attempt to overcome them. On April 8th this year I made a small error of judgement on a Scottish mountain with unexpected consequences: concussion, a broken wrist, damaged knee ligaments, four nights in hospital, five weeks off work and no climbing for probably the rest of the summer. I have nobody to blame but myself. I will not give you the story in all its detail.Some readers, I know, have had far worse accidents than mine. I will give you a brief summary. The beginning of April, you may remember, brought a huge amount of new snow to the Scottish Highlands. The whole season had arrived late and stayed longer than is normal these days. Saturday April 8th found my eldest son, Joe (25) and myself waiting at Fort William railway station for Joe’s friend Mike to arrive from Edinburgh. The train was a few minutes late which gave Joe and I a little longer to adjust the crampons that we were setting up for the boots Mike would wear. Joe has some experience of Scottish

winter mountaineering, Mike had none. (bear this in mind later). We would be getting a fairly late start but it would be light until at least eight. Contrary to the forecast, the weather was excellent – sunshine and a bright blue sky. Our chosen destination was a few miles east, the two Munros which rise directly to the west of Loch Treig, Stob Coire Easain and Stob a’ Choire Mheadhoin. We made the first mistake as we got out of the car at Fersit. Stob Coire Easain and Stob a’Choire Mhedhoin stand separate from any other nearby mountains and form a long SW to NE ridge which continues north west, to finish just north of the top end of Loch Treig. It was the end of this ridge that we needed to follow but failure to look carefully at the map and an inviting track in front of us leading towards Loch Treig took us well away from the start of the ridge. It didn’t seem to matter much; we could see straight away that there was so much new snow that any idea of finding paths or tracks higher up would be a non-starter. We were going to have to pick our own line. So it proved, as half an hour later we left the lochside and began ascending broad terraces buried deep under four feet of soft new snow. That took a while. We had set off at twelve thirty.By four fifteen we had made it to Coire Shomairle, still a kilometre short of the first summit. It was cold and windy and Joe had had enough.. Mike and I were still quite keen to reach the first summit for the view; it looked to

be only twenty minutes away. Joe set off down while we continued up. It was closer to an hour later when Mike and I reached a flat, narrow summit and decided that was far enough. The view was impressive, Craig Meaighdih to the east, the Grey Corries to the west, with the huge expanse of emptiness towards Ben Alder and Rannoch Moor opening up to the south. The more I explore the Highlands the more I realise just how much of it is almost untouched, a landscape of innumerable peaks and ridges, corries and outcrops, great tracts of lonely land known only to the stalker and moutaineer. It is wonderful and of course, that is the problem. You always want more. We were still a little way short of the summit of Stob Choire a’ Mheadhoin but, we deciced that we’d had a good day, it was after five o’clock and it was time to go down. The prospect of the deep drifts on the east side of the mountain was not appealing. Mike has numerous degrees from the University of Edinburgh Geography Department so when his assessment that there would be less new snow on the west or windward side of the mountain matched my own guesswork, I was quite pleased. But first, I suggested, why not have a look north, along the end of the narrow ridge we were now on, to see if we could take a more direct line. Here, sure enough were slopes holding far less drifted snow, but here also the older snow underneath was icy. Time for crampons, Mike’s first go at fitting the awkward straps and checking everything was secure. Now came the small error. For myself it was an error

of not immense proportions, or so it felt just then. For Mike, only strapping on crampons for the first time and with no experience of snow and ice slopes, it was a potential disaster. The slope I was proposing to descend was going to be tricky for me, if it was feasible at all. To take Mike down there was foolhardy in the extreme. I did at least realise that this might not be the best route and moving in front to assess the situation, began to carefully descend a steepish slope above a band of rock. At exactly the point where I told myself that we should probably go back and further round to the west, I fell. Gravity doesn’t give you much time. I fell about forty or fifty feet, steeply, down a snow slope, tumbling so fast I couldn’t tell what was happening, hitting my head more than once and landing in snow a good way below, and out of sight of Mike. I had come over the top of a small outcrop, I was dazed and there seemed to be a lot of blood coming from the top of my head. I had lost my hat. My wrist seemed very stiff inside my right glove –probably broken. Within seconds Mike called down, “Are you all right?” My answer,”Yes” was a lie. I thought I probably wasn’t but it could have been a lot worse. My right wrist was broken, probably caused by the impact with my ice axe, which I had attempted to use as a brake, and which had disappeared. My head injuries were superficial but I was quite badly concussed, for the next thirty minutes repeatedly asking where Joe was, which mountain were we on, how we had got up there,

where had we stayed the previous night, and so on. I was only aware of asking these things once. Mike says I asked them over and over again, impervious to any reply.My mountaineering brain, fortunately, was reasonably intact. I was aware that I had sustained a fairly serious fall at three thousand feet on a Scottish mountain, that my legs were OK and that it was late in the day and we needed to start going down. Unfortunately for my bank balance, Mike did not begin to lower me rope length after rope length. I did not fall into a deep and deathly crevasse. Mike did not cut any ropes. At no point in the ensuing struggle for my life did I begin to hear in my head the tune of ‘Brown Girl in the Ring’. However, having very little pride and no morals whatsoever, I am quite happy to embelish the details of this fairly minor mountain accident to any degree which will furnish both myself and my family (I have few friends) with a comfortable life style to the end of our days. (My phone number is in the NMC handbook) More seriously, my stupidity had put Mike in a pretty bad situation. He had put on crampons for the first time, high on a mountain, fairly late in the day. He had followed his companion, whom he trusted, down a dubious snow slope, had watched his companion fall, out of control, hitting his head on rocks on the way down and then out of sight. He then had the task of getting down that same slope to ascertain the extent of injuries, give first aid if needed and effect some kind of rescue. Later, as my head cleared, I felt pretty bad about all of that. I know Mike quite well

and we have rest of that him enough. Choose your don’t fall.

talked about it honestly since. For the evening, he was brilliant. I can’t thank Some things you learn the hard way. mountaineering partners carefully, and

The rest of the story is fairly mundane. We made contact with Joe who rang the police. A few minutes later the Lochaber MountainRescue Team rang us direct on the mountain and Mike assured them that we could walk off OK. That took two hours, I was exhausted and near the bottom I fell again, badly twisting my knee. I didn’t care. By then. I’d had enough. The rescue team met us at Fersit and took us to Belford Hospital in Fort William. My wrist fracture was complex. The next day I travelled by ambulance for an operation at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.The care and treatment at both hospitals was fantastic and I am very grateful for everything they did. Joe and Mike had looked after me so well on that Saturday afternoon and evening that I was almost pleased the whole thing had happened.(Yes, I am still a little concussed.) Joe had the sense not to ring home until I was safely in the examining room at Belford Hospital. Then he gave Mary the news that was to completely ruin her two week Easter holiday, not to mention the plans to re-landscape the back garden this summer. At least I got a bit of time off work. Seven weeks later my wrist has repaired itself amazingly well but I have nothing like full movement

and may not get it. A small plate and plenty of wire was needed to pull the joint back together. I can wash up, chop onions and sign cheques. Climbing is still some way off and I am not yet able to drive. I can return to work in a couple of weeks. I have missed it.(still badly concussed) Being a teacher, I am foolish enough to believe that you should treat most things in life as learning experiences. So what have I learned? To answer that properly I need more time for reflection. The obvious things, like taking nothing for granted, easily spring to mind. The Scottish mountains in winter conditions, even late in the season and on a perfect weather day, need a lot of respect, more than I gave them. That’s an obvious lesson too but I’ll think about it some more. I will go back. Who was to blame? Myself fifty per cent and the other fifty shared equally by Colin Prior and Visit Scotland .com. Near the beginning of this article I referred to “the first mistake,”missing the start of the ridge when we set off but that’s wrong. There was an earlier mistake. In my concussed state of mind as Mike and I set off down the mountain, I asked Mike if I was right in thinking that I’d been talking to some police officers the previous evening. I couldn’t remember where I’d spent that night. Mike didn’t know the answer.He had been at work in Edinburgh. Back, reunited with Joe down in the valley, Mike asked Joe for the answer.

“Was Martin talking to yesterday evening, Joe?”




“No, you daft pillock, dad,” Joe replied. “You were talking to the policeTODAY! They stopped you for speeding at Roy Bridge this morning. You got a £60 fine. Don’t you remember?” Yes, he was right. I did remember. 45mph in a 30mph limit Only a small error of judgement. As far as I know my ice axe( DMM three years old, in good condition) is still on the mountain. You will find it at NN325745, OS Explorer Sheet 392, Ben Nevis and Fort William. I don’t want it back.

Bowderstone Hut Working Meet Peter Flegg Before we go any further—please note in your diaries that the date of the next hut working meet has been and 10th brought forward a week (originally 9th nd September) to the weekend of the 2 and 3rd September, the date has been changed to accommodate a booking. Friday 24 March 2006 William Blyth and Teresa Bungay arrived a day before the rest of us, and spent their first day sanding and varnishing the bedroom floorboards—giving the room a much more modern, cleaner look. William also had to buy all the wood, nails, cement and felt for the roof work that was to be carried the next day.

Saturday 25 March 2006 The main task for the weekend was to remove the roof slates over the kitchen, replace the rotting boards and leaking felt and then relay the slates. Peter Bennett took on the onerous task of organizing and carrying out the work. He had a willing group of volunteers for the day including: Tom Shiell, Albert Ritson and Paul Sim. William was drafted in to search out some new slates to replace those broken. By the end of the day all the tiles were off, all the rotten boards and battens removed and burnt and new boards and felt relayed and sealed. Neil Cranston spent the day working on his own in the hermitage completing work he had started on the previous hut working meet—welding together a metal stand for the stove exhaust pipe, previously held temporarily in place by a broken (and empty!) fire extinguisher bottle.

Peter Bennet on the roof hard at work thinking! Sue and Teresa spent the day doing various jobs around the hut—including giving everything a thorough

cleaning, unblocking the showers and also getting someone from the electricity company to come by and sort out the meter reading confusion that has been an on-going saga for years now. William also fixed the heaters and replastered the wall around the fireplace. Kin Choi, Ross Freeman and myself firstly sanded, then washed down the walls, ceiling and woodwork in the living/dining room before finally painting it all. Ross then turned his attention to the shutters and managed to get them re-painted as well. Kin took photos of everyone hard at work, fixed the water butt and helped Neil clean up the hermitage. William meanwhile took me on a tour of the infamous hut water system—a future task I now have is to write an explanation (understandable by non-hydro geologists) of how to locate and re-established the syphon, this explanation will be left available in the hut to help visitors should they find themselves without running water. Finally William and I fixed the shower heater which had only been working at the minimum heat level—yes you can now have a shower at a decent temperature again. Doug Blackett arrived just as that day’s roof workers (Tom, Albert and Paul) set off for the drive back home. Doug was taking their place on the Sunday. By 8pm it was pouring with rain but there were, of course, a few hardy souls unable to kept back from sampling the delights of a pub meal and a beer or three. We walked down to the pub in the heavy rain astounded by the number of frogs on the road. In the pub William kept us entertained with hilarious stories like the one about the lorry driver in a frock??? On the walk back the rain was even heavier and we noticed that most of the frogs had been squashed flat by passing cars.

Sunday 26 March 2006 The bulk of those remaining (Peter Bennett, Neil Cranston, Ross Freeman, Doug Blackett and myself) spent the day firstly nailing down the battens to which the slates would be fastened and then relaying the slates. Although the day started cold it eventually turned out to be glorious weather: bright blue sky and hot sun— we should have been out climbing of course! William was sent out to buy more roof material and Sue was out buying stock for the hut and food for our lunch. Kin was still around and had wanted to get out in to the hills for the day but had to make do with entertaining passing walkers by climbing on axes up the underside of the Bowderstone steps. By mid-afternoon we had the lower half of the roof slates back in place. It was turning out to be impossible to finish the task that day but the felt was in place, which would keep the kitchen dry, and the felt was capable of withstanding a few weeks of ‘weather’ before we could get back to finish the job.

Kin, dry tooling on his new ladders route.

Footnote: The kitchen roof was finally completed one month later on the penultimate weekend of April. Peter Bennett and Malcolm Rowe spent Saturday and Sunday working. I joined them for the Sunday and Malcolm’s wife kept us supplied with tea and coffee all day.

Paradise Regained? Cliff Robson

What makes the perfect climbing trip? Situation? Routes? Cost? Company? Convenience? I have been to a lot of sports climbing destinations and however good they are there is usually some blemish. The place doesn’t live up to the hype, the guide’s very thick but maybe some of those dodgy crags could have been left out, finding them can turn into an epic, the routes are undergraded or the crag has been so popular that the starts are like polished glass. I’m sure you could all add to this list. I’ve never had a bad sports climbing trip but I’m not sure I’ve ever found climbing paradise either although I have been to Prades five times so it must be a close contender. So I guess it was a surprise to stumble across a climbing paradise –if you can stumble across somewhere that involves a four hour flight, an overnight doss and an early morning ferry.

I’d had the urge but not the opportunity to go to Kalymnos before so when around Christmas time plans for a two man Costa Blanca trip turned into a ten man Kalymnos trip I was pleasantly surprised. Previously, I had tried to get to Kalymnos and failed and now I wasn’t even trying and a trip there had fallen into my lap. After that obligatory overnight doss by the port in Kos, the early morning ferry, the scramble for taxis and a character forming ride through Kalymnos we were disgorged at our base in Massouri. Yes our fleet of taxis did cause a major traffic jam on Massouri’s narrow main street when we arrived but what seemed like mayhem suddenly evaporated when we were shown to our apartments and opened the balcony doors to see that wonderful Aegean blue. Even without any climbing it was looking pretty good especially as just opposite was the Glaros bar run by the legendary Scouse barman Steve. Above Steve’s bar was the great line of crags stretching into the distance and offering more routes than we could ever do in a week. Without any more messing around we were away, forgetting about our sleepless night, and off to Afternoon Crag to taste the first fruits of the island. We climbed till late afternoon, well it was Afternoon Crag, unaffected it would seem by lack of sleep and ticked a good handful of very pleasant routes. Then it was a walk down for what became the predictable routine: Steve’s Bar for a couple of beers, wash and brush up and then a stroll up or down the street to decide which restaurant would most likely welcome a

party of ten noisy bastards. The food in Massouri was very good and pretty cheap and restaurants were always pleased to see us arrive (and probably to leave) even though one of the party was especially good on PR and before long was almost a member of the family at Rita’s place. We had some great meals but I think the Michelin star went to the whole squid which landed on Richards’s plate staring up at him with two large pitiful eyes and unable to wave any of its many suckered tentacles. Delicious! The final part of the ritual was a coffee and brandy back at Steve’s or as it was a bit chilly for the more fragile members of the party hot chocolate! Such sessions were invariably accompanied by dryly told anecdotes from our Scouse host.

Like the answer to the question, Have you got a guitar Steve? I ad one once but I smashed it over a bloke’s head. Day 2 dawned with blue sky, blue sea and lots of rock beckoning. After a quick visit for supplies to the local shop run by a clinically obese, TV addicted narcoleptic (Greeks aren’t what they used to be) we hopped on the bus to Arhi and had a great day going back with a large bagful of great 6s. Next day was Odyssey. It’s a short walk for a great crag and a great day’s climbing with plenty of variety and interest especially the two adjacent but contrasting 6bs Atena and Circe and the fingery but very enjoyable (especially when someone is feeding you

the beta) Imias (6c). Odyssey was the only crag any of us went back to and that was only because of unfinished business. There is enough brilliant rock to climb somewhere different but excellent everyday. Castelli sits on the end of a promontory like a Castle as the name suggests. As you tick off a batch of very pleasant routes you look down on fishing boats chugging across the blue sea below and wonder what it would be like to have something like this on the Northumberland Coast. As it is we only have Cullernose Point. If you visit Castelli walk round to the other side of the headland to have a look at the tiny blue and white Greek church that nestles at the edge of the promontory. It has a well maintained confessional box in case you want to unload some sin!

Pillar of the Sea, 6a + Kastelli, Cliff Robson

On the last day two of us visited the infamous Grande Grotte and were well impressed by the huge cave hung with tufa. We had great fun but got well pumped on the tufa routes like Monahika Elia (6a+), Carpe Diem (6a+) and Panselinos (6b). Must go back for the legendary experience of Trella (6c+) next time. It was a great way to finish the trip. Then it was time to get down, pack up and get the bus to the port so that we could catch the ferry and make sure we didn’t get stranded on Kalymnos for another week. Of course had such a thing happened I guess we could have adjusted to the situation. Yes we had a rest day, sort of. It was probably the most varied rest day I’ve ever had. It began with a ferry to the small island opposite, Tellendos where we walked, sunbathed, swam (the hard ones did anyway) and drank coffee. Then back to Kalymnos for lunch at Steve’s while also negotiating scooter hire. Then the hell riders set off for the first of two photo shoots. Castelli was first. The ascent of Star of the Sea (6a+) provides a great shot for a photographer standing higher up from the climber who is then silhouetted against the arete with the sea in the background. Then it was back on the bikes and up to Palace for the ascent of Ballroom which gives that great shot through the ring of rock of the climber hanging in space with the sea in the background. Back on the bikes and up to Emporias for

a beer by the sea before eating at Harry’s Garden restaurant which does as its name suggest have a very lush and peaceful garden leading up to the restaurant. Fed and watered it was time for the hard bit-driving back along dark cratered roads in the dark. Suffice it to say we made it but I certainly felt relieved to see the lights of Massouri. I have forgotten now how rough I felt the day we got back to England after dossing at the airport and trying to sleep on the plane. All that remains is memories of a perfect trip. The island was wonderful, the crags were excellent, the company was great and everything went according to plan. We benefited from John Mountain and Ian Murray’s knowledge of the island from a previous trip and I benefited from climbing with Adam Spiller. You couldn’t wish for a better partner. John’s mates from Derbyshire provided a colourful addition to the island which will now be wondering why it’s gone so quiet. I’ll leave you with a warm farewell from Steve.

Bugger off you lot I wanna go ome. Cliff Robson

Peak District Weekend 19th – 21st May 2006 – ‘An Alternative Meet’ Richard Barnes

The third weekend of May 2006 was the time set for a particularly special meet to be held in

the Peak District. The venue was Ashbourne and attendance strictly by invitation only. It promised to be the social event of the year. Some made an early start on the Thursday in order to make the most of the weekend. Others started out early on Friday hoping to spend at least an afternoon on the rock before the ‘Main Event’ but when Ren and I left Newcastle after work it looked as though we had missed little. Grey skies and drizzle followed us south and by the time we reached the Peak it was raining hard. In fact the early birds had managed to touch rock but inclement weather restricted the choice of venue. Not that that matters when you are part of the ‘Coonty’s’ elite, have all the time in the world (i.e. retired) and still have an insatiable desire to climb. Any dry roof or tree sheltered crag is deemed acceptable. Saturday morning dawned dank and grey but the elite, their numbers swelled by equally elite from Yorkshire and the not so elite but nevertheless keen, set off in search of dry rock - to climb and be back in time for the ‘Main Event’. (They made it, just, but one or two wives were getting a bit edgy) By 2 o’clock the good and the great, the old (but no young – are there any?), the not-so-good and

the downright useless, wives, partners and general hangers-on of County climbing were assembled at Ashbourne town hall for the ‘Main Event’. Not to watch Andrew or Karin triumph yet again in some major competition, not even to see Bob and Tommy knighted for services to climbing but to witness Birtie’s wedding !!! Yes he has done the decent thing and got hitched to Sue, the lass he met while on a climbing trip on Kalymnos a couple of years ago. As I understand it he used, in the confines of Steve’s Bar, the age-old tactic of ‘you can look at mine if I can look at yours’. On this occasion the object to look at was a book in which Birtie had deftly left his home contact details, ostensibly for the return of the book but you know how these things work. On the face of it, it is not an obvious match. Sue is young (well, she is when compared to the rest of us) vivacious and pretty. On the other hand Andy is – well, you know, Andy! I am reliably informed however, by those who know these things, he has hidden attributes. And anyway, why would we have put up with him for all these years if he wasn’t so loveable. I’m not going to go into more details, it was a great do, lots of reminiscing on the past, some

planning for the future, much to eat and drink but not many embarrassing moments. One or two people had to be guided in the general direction of the hotel at the end of the night but, surprisingly, were up for a ‘full English’ the next morning. Thanks Andy and Sue for a good ‘do’ and Congratulations to you both. I trust it won’t be too long before we see you both in the County. Rick

Meet Report – Wasdale Camping 10th & 11th June ‘06 Malcolm Rowe

Simonside the Wednesday before the Meet and I was expecting many recruits for Wasdale – after all, the Weather was brilliant and forecast to continue. No doubt then, there’d be loads of NMC eager to get onto the great routes on Pillar, Scafell, Gable, etc. Not so. Ok, there was a bit of a watery response from a few, but no great shakes. Annoyance, I’m ashamed to say, got the better of me and I confronted a couple of NMC stalwarts, people whom I had previously regarded as mountaineers, friends even – “Wasdale this weekend then?” “Naw, going to Scugdale” “Scugdale, Jesus, I don’t believe it, bigger things than Scugdale fall off Scafell every year, what’s the

matter with you lot, what would O G Jones have to say?” “Maybe you’ll see him to ask him”

It was all to no avail. To be fair though, some people did make the effort – Graham and Trevor came across early on Saturday morning and climbed on Scafell on Saturday and Esk Buttress on Sunday. Bryn and Neil stretched the boundaries of Wasdale by climbing at Castle Rock on Saturday and Hare Crag in Eskdale on Sunday, they were, however, to be seen fleetingly in Wasdale early on Sunday morning and wished it to be known officially that they had been on the Meet – Ok, they were there, in fact I’ll regard anyone else who was anywhere near the Lakes that weekend as having been there, or for that matter, anyone who was at Crag Lough, Kyloe, Bowden or even bloody Scugdale, why not? And I’m proposing now that next Junes’ Camping Meet in the Lakes be held at Scugdale – I’ll be in Wasdale.

Waiting for Godot? Hedley Smith

I am told that waiting for Godot is a play by someone named Beckett. I have heard of him but always understood he was given a very hard time, in Canterbury Cathedral, many years ago by a bunch of hoodies. Maybe a different Beckett. What has this to do with the NMC, I hear you ask, or at least those of you who haven’t already turned the page. The

answer is that Godot never appears. Just like the NMC T shirts. At the last AGM the Secretary displayed considerable political skill by announcing that progress was being made, thus forestalling any questions. Next year he will probably say ‘ we are working together so we may move forward to a satisfactory resolution this question’ i.e. bullshit. It’s taking so long one would think that a government computer system was involved and, when they eventually appear, like the computer systems the shirts will be out of date, over budget and useless. Subtle questioning has produced a rumour that there is some dispute in the committee about the logo. Now I know a coil of hawser laid rope, alpenstock and nailed boots would not look too good these days, but can’t say our logo is up to much either. What on earth is it? Would it mean anything to the casual observer? I have carefully examined it with a magnifying glass which revealed something I last remember seeing in the 50’s. Then it was smeared down the side of a Norton International. Are we certain that a picture of a dead insect is what we want? I also note that my club sweatshirt says ‘Founded in 1945’ under the logo. We should replace this bit with ‘ the club with Bob Smith’ but that might scare people away!

Neither the logo nor the words give any indication that we are a climbing club. We might be the Northern Maniacs Club for all anyone can tell, although, come to think of it???? I hope this drivel has persuaded you all that you have no need of an NMC T shirt. It will save you pining after the unattainable. Hedley.

Ed. - as one of the guilty parties it just goes to show I’ll publish anything! The reality is that to meet the CDM regs we’re having trouble levering the logo for the partially sighted onto the T Shirt!

Dates for your Diary Evening Meets Date



26 July 2nd August 9th August 16th August 23rd August 30th August

Crag Lough Kyloe Out Wanneys Coe Crag Drakestone East Woodburn /Wolf Peel Crag Bowden Rothley Corby’s Shaftoe

Twice Brewed Black Swan Highlander Anglers Arms Turks Head Highlander


6th September 13th September 20th September 27th September 4th October

Twice Brewed Black Swan Dyke Neuk Anglers Arms Highlander

Weekend Meets Date

4 – 6th August 12 – 13th August 26 – 28th August 2nd – 3rd September



North Wales Yorks Limestone Bowderstone BBQ Bowderstone Working Meet

23rd September

Brimham Slipstones Scugdale Memebers MTB Meet

John Mountain Peter Bennett tbc S Bevan/W Blyth 0191 2621124 0191 5343608 Chris Davis 01207 520264 Jon Trafford 0191 2923618 Steve Nagy

8th October 21st



or New

October 17 – 19th November

Kendal Film Festival

3rd December

Presidents Walk

01665 570141 Carolyn Horrocks 0191 2660183 Malcolm Rowe 0191 2366648

Winter Meets 2007 Date



New Year


January date tbc


3rd – 4th February

Glencoe Blackrock Cottage Glencoe/Ben Nevis Area Muir of Inverey Braemar

Martin Cooper 0191 2525707 Jon Trafford 0191 2923618 Bryn Roberts 01207 270527 Tim Catterall 0120 7 509430 Malcolm Rowe 0191 2366648

24th–25th February 10th – 11th March

Further information on:

County climber summer 2006  
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