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New Members Meets 6 and 8 May 2016

Thank you to all those who attended the session at Awesome Walls on Friday and Birchen Edge on Sunday. Temperatures have finally risen and the sun shone at the weekend. I was able to climb at both Awesome Walls and Birchen in a T shirt, something I have not been able to do inside or out this year.
There were, I think, 21 members plus a member’s dog, plus an ex-member at Birchen, a great turn out with a wide range of routes climbed. Those present included the usual suspects, new faces and some passage migrants. Even Chris Kell was in Sheffield long enough to climb several routes. By mid afternoon it was getting very hot and leaders were happy to sit on the top of the crag offering a rope to anyone who wanted one as they had a cooling breeze on their backs! Some even went off to the Robin Hood to avoid dehydration (as they claimed).
Hope fully we will get our share of similarly good days this summer – if the sun shines don’t miss the fun.

Harborough Meet Report – Sunday 17th April 2016

Well, who’d have thought it. After blizzards, hail and howling wind on Saturday we still managed a good day out at Harborough. Despite a chilly wind the sun shone and 8 of us made the most of it mainly snuggled in the sheltered Trident Buttress area. A nice friendly crag for the first time out for me this year, first time at Harborough for Nigel and the first time touching limestone for Janet since she’s been up t’North. Lovely to catch up with people again at the beginning of the season, it’s like coming out of climbing hibernation!
Three of us stayed till 5:00 bagging a decent 8 routes but I was so busy climbing I completely forgot to take photos. Sorry, will have to go back and do some more

Edale Skyline – Sun 17th April 2016, Report

Sunday turned out to be a cracking day out for the Skyline walk – lots of sun and blue sky with just enough cool breeze to make life comfortable. Seven of us set off from Hope at 9:30 with advance parties of two and one leaving 60 and 40 minutes earlier. We were on the summit of Win Hill 45 minutes later, enjoying the sunshine and views across to moorland covered with a light dusting of snow. Hope Cross came next and proved impossible to pass without pausing, as usual, for a brief coffee break and a longer discussion about its correct orientation – or lack of it.
The first section of Kinder’s southern edges was soon underfoot and was the scene for the first of several phone calls between Jennifer and Frank on the general theme of, ‘Where are you?’ Frank claimed, somewhat suspiciously, always to be at a point too far ahead to be seen so that we began to suspect that his early start was a subterfuge – was he really out there or was he sitting comfortably down below us enjoying a pot of tea, or a pint, or both?
We caught up with the first advance party of Andy and Rosy just as we all reached the top of Grindsbrook and a lunch break was taken before we set off to cross the muddiest section of the whole route through the ‘Woolpacks’ – or ‘Whipsnade’ as the old-timers used to call that jumbled mass of weirdly-shaped boulders which lie scattered across the moor thereabouts.
Despite the cloying peat we were soon through it and down to Edale Cross and up on to Brown Knoll via the spanking new slabbed path. Another call from Frank had him claiming to be on Mam Tor now, so near but still so far. More slabs and intermittent boggy patches led to Chapel Gate and the well-trodden track over Lord’s Seat and Rushup Edge. A very windy Mam Tor followed and then another call placed Frank on Back Tor – still cunningly out of sight although this time he said he would wait for us there.
The ascent of Back Tor, steep but mercifully short, took a toll on tired legs but the prospect of finally catching up with Frank drove us on – but he was nowhere to be seen! Another call elicited the information that we had woken him up and that he was comfortably ensconced on a grassy bank about 100 metres further along. This proved to be true but his route to that point remains a subject for some conjecture!
Now united, the party of ten reached the summit of Lose Hill and posed for the obligatory photographs. The views were still stunning all around us but there was a chill in the air as the sun lowered to the west. We reached Hope at 6:00pm – 8.5 hours and 19.4 miles from the start. The celebratory drink in the Cheshire Cheese was well-earned. A memorable day indeed.
Steve W


Airton Barn Weekend 9/10 April 2016

Sunny and blue skies greeted us most of the weekend although a rogue snow shower fell overnight on Saturday.
Airton Barn is a new venue for the Club and has been recently refurbished. It is located at a 17th century Quaker meeting house so comes with plenty of history and space.
Six of us stayed on Friday night. Some of us walked 1 1/2 miles to the pub for an evening meal and pint, along the Pennine Way by the River Aire. Sally, Francis and Eleanor joined us although they were caravanning near Settle.
On Saturday two cycling teams set off for a 40 mile hilly round, which took in the delights of various dales. One of the teams managed to fit in two cafe stops mainly because they cycled faster! Charles familiarised himself with the beautiful Malham scenery and also attended a classical cello recital at the Meeting House. So, we used our time to the full.
Saturday evening 8 people enjoyed a five course shared meal and plenty of liquid refreshment. Bedtime was early as we had to rest our weary limbs.
On Sunday Mary and Marian hadn’t cycled enough so set off again on their bikes. The rest of us walked with the rest of the tourists from Malham. We passed Janet’s Foss and scrambled up a wet and slippery Gordale Scar before returning to cars via the limestone pavements of Malham Cove. There, Francis tried to spot peregrines but we have yet to hear if any were sighted. The sun shone all day for us, ending a very enjoyable weekend.
Thank you to everyone who participated and for all the delicious food contributions.

Sunday Walk – 27th March 2016 – report

From our starting point we followed the Pennine Way up Jacob’s Ladder and until the footpath veered north. From here our route took us south then west along the paved moorland path until we reached South Head. The day was brightening, although in the cold wind we only lingered long enough for a summit photograph and to take in the views out towards Cheshire and the nearer edge of Kinder Scout, our return route for the afternoon.
A short descent and a gradual climb brought us to the delightful ridge of Mount Famine. At this point the rain arrived, but the summit rocks provided shelter for a coffee break and the opportunity to don waterproofs. On emerging back onto the ridge we were greeted with sunshine and blue sky. It was going to be one of those days. We paused in our descent to admire the views into the Sett Valley below us, and the plume of wind blown water from Kinder Downfall was clearly visible. Farm tracks led us through the hamlets of Hill Houses and Farlands before we skirted the wall of Kinder Reservoir. We dined in the sunshine overlooking the water.
Once past the reservoir we began the long steep climb to meet the Pennine Way along the edge of Kinder. On turning to admire the view we realised that the ominous black clouds over Manchester were quickly heading in our direction which led to a frantic scrabble for waterproofs. A loud roll of thunder heralded a heavy shower of hail and we gradually made our way to the Downfall with snow flurries, rain and low cloud to accompany us. Continuing along the edge we reached the trig point on Kinder Low and then descended to Jacob’s Ladder, with the Edale Valley in view below. As we reached the cars, the rain arrived again. Our party of 11 enjoyed a good Easter Sunday walk of 14.3 miles.

Mount Famine 27 March 2016

Mount Famine 27 March 2016

Navigation walk – 20 March 2016 – Report

In glorious sunshine and armed with maps and compasses, 6 of us paced and timed our way to a variety of paths, stream junctions, ponds and grouse butts in an effort to practice our navigation in the wilds of Bleaklow around the upper Alport valley. We were also lucky enough to see 2 mountain hares in their white winter coats, and only one person fell in a stream (I think without getting particularly wet fortunately).
Thanks to all who came, for your company and for willingly engaging in the challenges (especially the mental arithmetic) of the day. I hope our skills are now slightly less rusty!

The track of our walk (I did not record the first section through Lady Clough Plantation). Our coffee, lunch and tea stops are indicated where there is a red star. Andy.


Sean’s photos:




Macclesfield Forest Mountain Biking Sun 13th March 2016

Well we set out in T shirt weather on the “Screaming Cats route” around Macclesfield Forest, could have been a disaster as we had intended stopping at the Cat and Fiddle for refreshments but we stopped prior at friends house at Forest Chapel for tea/coffee crumpets and chocolate cake and discovered that the C & F is shut! good technical ride. Thanks to all participants.

Mountain Bike Meet Sunday 28th Feb 2016

On a fantastic morning 5 Castle bikers competed with the full face helmeted down hill crazed mountain bikers for car parking space at Wharncliffe and needless to say all Castle cars were in the car park. A lovely ride through Wharncliffe onto the Trans Pennine Trail ensued with only minor hiccups of lost GPSs and pushing of bikes over the very muddy terrain of the link bridleway to the snow road running parallel to the Woodhead. After a few -only minor – navigation errors we ended up very hungry at the Langsett Café. There meals eventually appeared although the fearsomeness of Leon meant that one employee not knowing the whereabouts of tomato ketcup flatly refused to ask anyone. Luckily another member of the group was offered a new bottle of tomato ketcup before the situation got too desperate. After a sunny afternoon cycling 33.5 miles we arrived back at Wharncliffe with a new fully fledged Castle mountain biker – welcome Marion! Thanks to all for a lovely day.

Patterdale Meet Report: 20-21 Feb 2016

25 people eventually arrived at the George Starkey hut in Patterdale on Friday evening. Whilst some were reminiscing about past meets, 60’s and 70’s bands in the ‘White Lion’ [and realising the memory banks are not what they were!] and enjoying a pint or two, others were battling the roadworks and traffic on a variety of motorways. However, all were reunited after the extortionate beer prices forced a retreat from the pub and an opening of various bottles and cans back at the hut.
As the forecast wasn’t looking good, there was no rush to bed from many, in fact the party girls and boys were up till 2.30 where much was discussed: the appearance of the ‘Quagmire of Mystery’ and tales of fork lift trucks were much admired, the ‘Cesspit of Gossip’ was opened and kept sipping vodka and demanding more, until finally bed called.
Saturday morning dawned sunny and bright……I’m sorry, I’ll read that again: Saturday morning dawned rainy and sh*te, nevertheless, the keen were up by 7am and out on the hills no later than 10am! Those under 5ft 6 were issued with aqualungs whilst the meet leader was steadfastly refusing to join in, not wanting, it appeared, to get wet! However, after the last of the stragglers had left, he eventually made his way out.
Rather than one big party, there were many small expeditions: 2 of which went along the side of Ullswater and up/down Boredale in opposite directions, [one of which looked so miserable they were asked by the local postie if they were injured!!] meeting in a café halfway round. An ascent of Sheffield Pike was made, Loughrigg was visited and various groups made it to Grisedale Tarn [and beyond].
It was obviously not a day to linger on the hills, so early finishes were mainly the order of the day, with 8-9 miles being the average. However one party of two, who have pleaded to be anonymous had a rather longer trek. Having passed Grisedale Tarn in appalling weather they took what they believed to be the route they wanted, not checking map or compass. On arriving at the road they noticed a pub where no pub should be. Being true mountaineers they passed by, wondering !! Some time later they realised they were not where intended, indeed, they were in Grasmere, tired, wet and cold and many miles from home. At this point, I should be telling the tale of a heroic trek back to the hut; unfortunately they succumbed to a bus pass, £6.50 in bus fares and a £30 taxi ride back to Patterdale, to be greeted with much teasing. During discussions about how it happened, many suggestions were put forth, including compass deviation due to new knee joints and total incompetence! Their names may be revealed at a later date.
Due to an early finish, several members took the traditional wet weather route of gear shopping, driving to Keswick. Mary had a need for new trousers, although professing to hate trying them on, returned with 2 pairs, a top and a lovely rucksack, total cost [due to Leon’s ‘encouragement’] into 3 figures. She was later horrified to learn that an aversion to trying on trousers is a characteristic she shares with a certain Mr J Clarkson!!
A mass migration to the pub for food was undertaken by the majority, where the beer prices hadn’t changed but the fish and chips were whale sized. Back in the hut, the strain of battling the elements along with the previous late night meant all was quiet by 11.30.
Sunday was also wet and horrible, only an intrepid few donned still wet boots and ventured out. Many spent the morning over breakfast, tea and coffee and tidying up before setting off for home, several managing to scatter their possessions around the hut to be collected later thanks to last minute rescue by the last to leave.
Despite the weather, it was a great weekend, to quote Mr Riley, ”it had the atmosphere of an old style Castle Meet”. Long may they continue.
No pictures yet, my phone drowned whilst taking snaps and hasn’t recovered yet. Anybody who has any, please send to Andy Smith for publishing.
Paul Gibson

“Saturday morning……….. An ascent of Sheffield Pike was made, Loughrigg was visited and various groups made it to Grisedale Tarn [and beyond].”
Place Fell and related tops were ascended also.
Can’t quite claim a ‘full mountain day’ for Sunday. Drove to the start of Gowbarrow Fell, but passed by (£5.00 NT parking) and headed to Great Mell Fell where there was no parking available. Finally came to rest below Little Mell Fell, which was ascended (0.5km 125m) and descended in a leisurely, though wet, 15 minutes. Then drove home!

Patterdale meet, Feb 2016. Photo by Dave Crowther

Patterdale meet, Feb 2016. Photo by Dave Crowther

Patterdale meet, Feb 2016. Photo by Dave Crowther

Patterdale meet, Feb 2016. Photo by Dave Crowther

Sunday walk report – 14th February 2016; Derwent Edge

In bright and breezy conditions a party of 10 left Cutthroat bridge and very soon arrived at Whinstone Lee Tor. Cameras appeared as the sun came out and we made our way along Derwent Edge to Back Tor for a short break and group photo. Views were extensive in all directions.
Continuing along the ridge for about 1k we then followed a faint path (yes there was) north westerly into Abbey Brook and joined the main path high above the river. A short climb up Abbey Bank brought us to our lunch stop, with superb views over Howden Reservoir with water spilling over the dam wall. A high level path then took us to Wellhead where we were joined by Frank for the final climb up Grindle Clough, and back onto the Edge before our descent to the cars.
An excellent day out. Sunny, breezy, a few flakes of snow and no rain. (12.8 mls)


Back Tor, Sunday 14th February 2016

Back Tor, Sunday 14th February 2016

Abbey Bank, Sunday 14th February 2016

Abbey Bank, Sunday 14th February 2016