Report on Sunday 3rd January 2021 walk from Bolsterstone in South YorkshireYorkshire

The roads leading to Bolsterstone had been completely clear that morning, but sitting in my car waiting for the others to arrive, it started snowing quite heavily, causing some anxiety – would we end up getting stuck here? But as the group set off from Bolsterstone, heading north across fields towards the outskirts of Stocksbridge, the weather gradually improved, with the low mist clearing [and by lunchtime at Underbank reservoir patches of blue sky were appearing]. The way through the housing estate was successfully navigated [often a challenge with an un-recce’d walk] leading to easy walking along straight-forward paths and quiet lanes to the reservoir [with the biggest outflow we all agreed we’d ever seen]. At the currently closed Outdoor Activity Centre, with its climbing wall and high aerial wire and trapeze, we left the reservoir and headed south, gradually climbing to Wind Hill Knoll with views out to wild moorland. Gemma’s dog Lance was allowed to indulge his favourite activity – energetically digging mole hills [no moles were hurt in this exercise!] Another brief bit of road-walking, with the unexpected hazard of a whizzing grit-spreader, but the reward of dramatic and clear views over the Ewden valley, and a signpost reassuringly informing us of our way back towards Bolsterstone. After a brief stop for drinks in a particularly beautiful wood, we joined the track leading to Heads Lane, with a minor diversion to a somewhat anatomically inaccurate snow-woman [!] and then a trig point, as a cold sleety wind started blowing, so a good time to complete this 7 mile walk.
Thank you all for your excellent company, and I’m sure this less well-known area will be visited again soon [it was less than 1/2 hour drive from my house in Sheffield],
Vanda Boyd

Report on Sunday 20th Dec 2020 walk in South Yorkshire

A very civilised way to start a walk for the leader – from their own house. So joined by Chris, Mike, Geoff and Hugh, we set off through the nearby allotments, and then houses of Bents Green, to quickly access the nearby fields on the outskirts of Sheffield. The weather was mild if damp, so there were lots of people out already, including two Santas on bicycles and later, a group of four cyclists dressed as Santa, a snowman and elves. Unusually for me, I’d actually recce’d part of the walk the day before, so I felt rather too confident about not going wrong. There was also the challenge of finding paths that neither of the two Sheffielders, Mike and Geoff, had walked before. So on through the wet woods above the Limb valley towards Long Line and Mike said ‘This is a path I haven’t been on before’. Then some road walking, and deep in conversation with Mike, I completely missed and over-shot the stile I’d wanted, which required a bit of back-tracking. The path after the stile was not very obvious, so I think we followed animal tracks [which I presume were new to Geoff] with great views behind us to the east, to reach Houndkirk road. Skirting north of Canning’s Plantation, we stopped for lunch in the shelter of the trees, before crossing Ringinglow road onto Hallam Moors and then looped back towards the top of Porter Clough. Mulled wine had been mentioned as a possibility on this walk, so the choice was made to detour to the Norfolk Arms, but unfortunately the queue for drinks was rather too long, so the offer of mulled wine was ‘cancelled’ and instead we headed down the ski slope and returned via some very muddy paths back to High Storrs Road.
Thank you everyone for your excellent company, and Happy Christmas to everyone else. We look forward to meeting up with you all next year, hopefully after not too long a time.
Vanda .

Sunday Walk 13th Dec 2020 S Yorks-Report

4 of us met in the rain at Low Bradfield.
As we set off the rain had become quite light.Half way up the hillside it had stopped.So the traverse along the ridge top from Cliffe House Farm to High Bradfield was completed with commanding views.Passing through the churchyard we stopped at the flood grave of the Tricksett family.
We then passed the ancient Bailey Hill and traversed below the Agden Rocher crags before descending Agden Side to the edge of Agden Reservoir.From here we climbed to Wilkin Hill where we found a dead mole!Arriving at the path below Mortimer Road the decision was taken to stay high and cross Bradfield Moors to Thornseats Plantation and the Wentworth Fitzwilliam Forest.
By now the rain was steady and heavy with a strengthening wind-but shelter was at hand once in the woods with less mud too.
Emerging from the woods by the path down to Brogging we found a dead hare lying by the parked cars which Geoff deftly threw into the adjacent field.
Once past Brogging we crossed the Strines overflow and stopped for lunch by the trees above.
From here it was an easy walk along fields above Dale Dike,through the adjacent wood and back to Low Bradfield.
Not the best of days,but with variable rather than constant rain and misty views it was nevertheless worth the effort.
Thanks to those who came and your company.
Mike D

Sun 6th December 2020 S Yorks walk meet report

11 people gathered (eventually) in 2 groups on a dank morning in a lay by just outside Sheffield. A most unpromising start was made by the first group with Vanda following some 15 mins behind with the second group when the Rotherham representative eventually arrived.
Setting off up a little used path we reached a ridge, passing en route a small stone shelter where we waited to ensure Vanda hadn’t got lost. Eventually reaching the end of the Houndkirk track we crossed the road to reach the start of the Totley Moor path which was followed for a good distance (including coffee stop) eventually rising to the trig point. Various feats of athleticism were witnessed in the gloom.
Leaving the trig point we headed towards the Owler Bar road which was crossed and lunch taken.
Continuing on and up, passing Lady’s Cross, interestingly described by Mr Warwick. Like being back in the classroom!! Shortly descending past White Edge Lodge we followed a path previously untrodden by Mr Milne, also spotting two red deer stags hiding in the trees.
On reaching the white gate, we crossed into Longshaw, passing a number of well constructed snow persons near the wooden pole. Down past the Fox House, sadly closed, crossing the moor and onwards down through Blackamoor Nature Reserve and back to the cars.
10.5 miles, not many views but no heavy rain. Thanks to all who attended.
Chris has put some pics on Facebook, there may be more later.
Paul Gibson

Sunday Walk 1st November 2020 -Report

The car park at Redmires was virtually full at,but 4 of the 6 members who attended managed to get in with the remaining 2 parking nearby.
So all present & parked,we set of in windy ,but dry conditions.We descended the moorland path past the turn off for the Headstone continuing to the valley floor and onward to the A57.An ascent to Crawshaw Lodge followed with a seriously boggy section in the middle ( must have merited full marks on Martin’s mudness scale!).
After Crawshore we continued over the ridge above and then descended past Crawshaw Farm to Royd’s Clough.Sadly the main part of the wood in the Clough has recently been felled without any attempt to clear the area by the path,so it is now not quite the gem it once was. Perhaps I should persuade my co Friends of the Porter Valley to take on a bit more of a challenge up here!
Safely through the Clough we descended through fields to Corker Lane, stopping to admire the drop below the bridge in the lane with cascading water rushing into an impressive gauge.Shortly afterwards we stopped on 3 conveniently place benches enabling us to sit socially distanced ,2 on each bench ,while savoring the view of Damflask reservoir over coffee.
After coffee we continued onwards and eventually upwards with views behind to High Bradfield & Agden Rocher.Climbing through Hall Bank wood and over the fields beyond we reached the collection of houses beyond Cow Gap.
After a rather wet and boggy track below Bent’s Farm we descended Brookside Bank to cross an unusual bridge formed by a single slab of rock.Over the bridge and through the woods on the opposite bank we stopped for lunch below a wall next to the rather dilapidated Hill Farm-getting what shelter we could from the strong gusty wind.Whilst sat there we were treated to a rainbow the other side of the valley forming a perfect arc with each end fading into and out of view with changing colours.
Lunch over we continued up to the main ridge leading west from Stannington.Then passing Moorcroft we headed through the fields to Townfield Head Farm and its collection of chickens-one seen heading off at speed over the sky-line!Another area of “mudness” had to be crossed before we reached the Moorwood Farmyard.
After Moorwood we were soon across the field and onto Moorwood Lane and then down Onskley Lane,where we passed 2 life size Zombies sat by the roadside with other Halloween paraphernalia.
A short stint along the side of the A57 (on a footpath) then led to Wyming Brook Drive,Reddicar Clough and the return to Redmires.
Despite our efforts to beat it,the forecasted rain caught us with half an hour to go before the end!.
Not enough, though, to spoil a great day’s walking in an area beyond the club’s usual stomping ground.Thanks to those who came and for your company-but commiserations to the President who was forced to cancel in order to attend a meeting arranged by his employer to discuss the latest Covid restrictions.
Mike D

Sunday Walk Report 25 October 2020 Tier 3

Two groups set off in opposite directions from Langsett Barn car park at an earlier meet up time of 9.00 to overcome clock changes. It seems the rest of South Yorkshire had the same idea. However we were soon away from cars and people as we circled around Midhope and Langsett Reservoirs. Blue sky, far-reaching views and a blustery wind accompanied us most of the day. White horses galloped across the top of the water and we found new paths and pockets of woodland. Stops were made on a rickety bench for coffee and later a waterside retreat for lunch, where the only Castle Dipper was the dog. We visited the ruins of North America and had a history lesson when considering its name origin. A foray onto the moors took us onto Mickleden Edge and then back to the shoreline before the last section back to the cars. How the two groups never crossed I don’t know. The sub-group leader assures me he followed the route as instructed. Successful walk and clocked in at 9-10 miles – a little under estimation this week. Thank you all for the company.

Covid Update

Message from the Chairman:

With the recent changes to the Government’s Covid advice, the Committee have reviewed how the Club meets are organised to make sure we can keep the Club active and comply with the new Covid three tier system.

1. The rule of six will apply to all official walks.
2. Tier 1 & 2 (high risk) and Tier 3( very high risk) are unable to mix or cross borders, so we will try to organise walks for each group. This will depend on if walk leaders come forward to lead each group. This applies for Thursday and Sunday walks – volunteers welcome.
3. If you live in a Tier 1 or 2 area you must only walk in this group. This also applies to members who live in the Tier 3 area. This follows advice about travel in and out of each area.
4. The booking system will be active for each walk on the website and the meet leader will confirm how they want contacting after you have booked.
5. Cycle meets and climbing meets will be still be informal and arranged through WhatsApp and must follow the same rules.

The Government will review the Three Tier System and we have arranged a committee meeting in line with this in case there are any changes, so we can review them and amend any rules for Club meets.

Thanks and stay safe.

Chris Lunn


Sunday Walk Report 18th October 2020

Five gathered at Endcliffe Park to set off on the Sheffield Round Walk. It was a busy morning with joggers, bikers and dogs on extended leads, so a cracking pace was set to escape the crowds. I was hoping that the walking speed may even out but alas it did not! First point of interest was the WWII war memorial for the B-17 Flying Fortress known as MI Amigo. Following the River Porter through various sections of park we met Mike at Forge Dam, as arranged, and continued to the head of the valley. The round continued via Limb Valley and numerous stretches of woodland and green space on the south-west side of the city. After Graves Park we descended via the Gleadless Valley -passing Bishops House and in to the Sheaf Valley for a more urbanised return to the start. Plenty of trees and colours but perhaps missing that magical bit of sunshine to appreciate them in their full glory. Billed as 13 miles was a major underestimation. All of the gizmos ticking away clocked up over 16 miles. Twelve feet were certainly feeling it too. Well done team! Enjoyed the chat – I certainly know a lot about van conversions now. Must admit I went home to tea, white wine, hot bath and comfort food dinner but not in that order. Next week’s walk is as billed and not some wild mileage guestimate!!

Sunday Walk Report 27/09/20

Blue skies and a blustery wind welcomed the two groups of five walkers at Redmires Road. The journey began through the woodland of Fox Hagg, with short pauses for fungi photos and an exploration of a hidden culvert. After Rivelin dams and a babbling brook, we ascended to the Headstone. Here, Chris and Hugh summited via two separate routes. Traversing the moorlang above Oaking Clough, one group made good use of a shooting bluff for coffee, whilst the others strode on. We joined the far end of the Conduit, after passing some old military training trenches. At the small header reservoir one group stopped for lunch whilst the other investigated the now derelict Stanage Lodge. Onward from here we followed an unmapped but well trodden path to High Neb. The Stanage shelter-come- bus stop provided a useful location for a second lunch. Walking along the top of Stanage we admired the views and noted how many trees were changing colour. Next came Stanage Pole, the Roman road and Redmires. Here, the groups diverged in routes. One went over White Stones moor, whilst the other followed the reservoir shoreline – mainly due to a case of blisters. Back at cars, official mileage: group 1 = 10 miles, group 2 = 11.5 miles. A welcome refreshment outside The Sportsman before home. A day of “cat and mouse” or “hare and tortoise”, depending on perception. Great route, weather and company!

11,000 routes – WhiTicker’s Almanac!

So Linda spilled the beans on the WhatsApp group, and my little secret is out! I have been “persuaded” to write a bit about it!

Those of you that were around the CMC in 2015 will recall that I climbed my 10,000th different rock climb in July of that year, whilst on holiday in France. Since then, the majority of the next 1,000 ticks seem to have been acquired on trips to Europe, so when Covid turned up, I started to worry that the 37 remaining routes I needed to reach 11,000 might be harder to achieve than anticipated. The problem being, I have climbed extensively in the U.K. over the years, and there are very few options at an easy enough grade that I haven’t climbed already.

When we were finally released from lockdown, even climbing things I had done umpteen times before was hard work, but I did find 3 Diffs and an HVDiff at Castle Naze that had previously escaped me, and so began the chipping away at the 37. A trip to Back Forest (near The Roaches) was very discouraging, as I found that someone had cranked up the angle of the crag since I had last been there, as well as filling all the routes I hadn’t done with vegetation, and coating their finishes in green slime. After that, I struck gritstone off the list, and was pleased to get a really good Severe tick at Pleasley Vale (limestone). 28 to go!

A new strategy was needed, so we booked a campsite near Frodsham, for 4 nights, and headed over there in our trusty VW campervan. Cheshire might not seem a very obvious destination, but it was chosen for the reason that I had a copy of Cheshire & Merseyside Sandstone that I had never used. It contained a delightful-sounding quarry at Irby, in The Wirral – clean, quick-drying, south-facing sunny slabs, with the majority of the 27 routes in the Diff to VS range. Also there was Helsby – I had climbed here twice in 1975, but as we didn’t have a guidebook, I still don’t know what routes I did, so they haven’t been counted.

We duly arrived at Irby Quarry, and were mildly discouraged by a damp-looking west-facing wall, and some fairly extensive growth of gorse bushes at the top of the crag. However, the first section of the south slabs was clean and dry, and the top of the crag clear, so we set to, working our way up from Diff to VS, and thoroughly enjoying the slabby, technical climbing, with just adequate protection. A final Severe on the West Wall proved to be the greatest test of the day. I came away feeling quite pleased with progress, especially as I had managed a couple of VSs. 22 to go!

The south-facing slab at Irby Quarry

2020-09-08ImgMar0002 – the south-facing slab at Irby Quarry.

Helsby is the major crag in Cheshire, and is well seen from the M56 as you head to or from North Wales. My advice is – keep going! The crag faces north to northwest, so doesn’t get much sun until mid-afternoon. The sandstone rock is mostly black (or green with slime!), and mostly very steep to alarmingly overhanging. Just to help matters, it had rained during the night, and was very windy when we inspected the routes. Even getting around at the foot of the West Buttress was hard work, and we didn’t see a single route that attracted us enough to get the gear out. Instead, we flogged up to the top of Helsby Hill, where there was a superb view, and a sunny meadow with sheltering bushes where we had lunch. Suitably fortified, and with the sun now reaching the southern end of the Upper Tier, we finally got the gear out for a pleasant-looking 7 metre long VDiff called CB Crack. Appearances can be deceptive – this was the VDiff from hell! It latched on to you the moment you left the ground, and didn’t relent until you hauled out at the top – thank goodness those final holds were HUGE! Pat put in a valiant effort to remove my runners, but had no strength left for the remaining moves. We returned to camp to lick our wounds. 21 to go, but if they were all going to be like that, I would need the rest of the year!

Horrorshow at Helsby!

2020-09-09ImgMar0007 – the Horrorshow at Helsby! – CB Crack is the overhanging flake in the centre.

Back to Irby next day, where we managed to find a few more routes that could be climbed without getting ripped to shreds by gorse on the finishing moves. Someone needs to go there with full body armour and some long clippers, because it deserves to be climbed on more often. 16 to go!

Friday saw us parked at the foot of Hellsby (sic!), but in a quandary. Conditions were similar to Wednesday, i.e. windy and grey, with hints of rain around. There was one other option – drive 38 miles in the wrong direction to get to Dyserth – Dyserth Castle Slab had some nice-sounding sport routes, and 3 of them might even be easy enough for the likes of us. The drive there was rapid, and the weather better there than at Helsby. Unfortunately it took us some time to find the crag, but I won’t go into that! It was well worth it, though, and I had soon ticked three more lovely routes, and we could return to Sheffield with only 13 more needed!

Despite my drubbing at Helsby, I didn’t feel I was climbing too badly, so a few days later we headed up to North Lancashire, to a campsite at Crooklands, on the southeastern end of the Lake District. En route we stopped off at Warton Small Quarry, but unfortunately it had sprouted an inordinate amount of vegetation, as well as getting steeper, since my last visit, in 2001. Working on the basis that these days sports crags get more traffic, we quickly adjourned to Barrow Scout Cove, where the easy routes were still quite hard, and the rest were for wall-rats. 11 to go!

We have been to Hutton Roof crag on several occasions in the past, but despite this, there were still a number of routes to “tick”. We had a lovely day up there, climbing the superb juggy limestone, but got rather more ticks than we bargained for, and these little bloodsuckers had to be removed with a specialist tool! Despite these attentions, we finished the day with only 2 more needed.

So, the great day was to be spent at Farleton Upper crag – quite a long walk-in at 20-25 minutes guidebook time, so longer than that for us. The routes were also a bit longer than the norm around here, and didn’t come into the sun until the afternoon. This provided the perfect excuse for a leisurely walk-in, and lunch before we got our climbing gear on. Route 10,999 was called Hurricane (VDiff), and turned out to be a superb and memorable climb – one helluva vdiff! Unfortunately, Pat strained something in her foot while seconding it, so sat out number 11,000. This was Typhoon (VDiff), which was also excellent, but not quite as fine as Hurricane. I abseiled for the gear, and then decided I might as well do Head Wind (Severe), just to get me on my way to 12,000! Back in camp, a nice bottle of Cremant d’Alsace provided a celebratory accompaniment to our Thursday night curry.

Farleton Upper crag

2020-09-17ImgMar0006 – Farleton Upper crag, with the lines of Head Wind, Typhoon and Hurricane in the centre of the photo.

My first recorded climb was in June 1970 (The Turnpike, Diff, on Alport Stone, solo up and down!), though I didn’t do the second until November 1971. I didn’t set out to count the routes I climbed, but recorded the names, grades, who I climbed with, etc and put a number beside it, starting naturally with one. If I was repeating a route, it didn’t get a number. So that it how I know how many routes I have climbed!

Those of you that saw my Desert Island climbs presentation on Zoom earlier this year will know that I found it extremely difficult to select 8 (or was it 9?) of my favourite climbs. As for favourite gritstone climbs, often the ones that I have enjoyed the most have been the ones that I would never want to do again – The Unprintable and Flying Buttress Overhang, at Stanage, come immediately to mind. Puppet Crack at Chatsworth was satisfying because I had failed on it previously. Wuthering at Stanage, Great North Road at Millstone, and Moyer’s Buttress at Gardoms are examples of great routes that I have been happy to repeat (though not too often!). At the end of the day, we climb to enjoy ourselves, and I got as much out of those three routes at Farleton as I ever did out of any Extreme routes that I climbed when I was younger and fitter.

See you on the crags!

Martin Whitaker.