Meet Report Seasonal Stagger, 18 Dec 2016

After a slight delay while one member phoned in from Rivelein Valley Road for navigation instructions, seventeen members assembled on Uppergate Road on Sunday morning and set off for Worrall. The party included a number of members who have not been seen on meets for some time. We walked past Storrs and down a rather steep and muddy track (“seasonal slither” might have been a more appropriate name for the walk) to Stacey Bank in the bottom of the Loxley Valley. Then, passing by the Nags Head, it was up Back Lane to Holdworth where we joined the Sheffield Country Walk trail to Worrall. The President, evidently still in Thursday walk mode, requested a coffee break, which many people used to eat some sandwiches, and we arrived at the Blue Ball a bit behind schedule, to find the cycling party, plus Charles, already installed. We had missed the bacon butties, but carol-singers in the back room were in full voice, and the pub was quite crowded, so most people sat outside for refreshment. Certainly consumption levels on these staggers seem to be a lot less than when they were instituted in the late 1980s, and it was barely 2pm when we set off back to Stannington. This was a more direct line, apart from for some horses which were blocking access to a stile till Dave C did his horse-whisperer tricks to get them to move. We dropped down the edge of Loxley Common (several interesting fungi on the trees, identified by Francis) and though Loxley village to the river again. Then up through the Acorn Hill woods below Stanington Ruffs, that undiscovered gem of gritstone climbing, which has unaccountably been omitted from the meets list for the past quarter of a century. (I have lived within ten minutes walk of the Ruffs for 28 years, and have visited them with my rock boots only once – and that was once too often!) Here mud was again encountered in profusion, but we didn’t lose anybody, even on the steep bit, and returned to Uppergate Road to find that Charles and Dave P (from the cycling group) had already got the kettle on. Muddy boots were left in cars, and everyone enjoyed the cakes, mince pies, biscuits and other delights which had been contributed. A couple of other members turned up to enjoy the festivities, and the whole event was deemed a success. Not perhaps the most strenuous mountaineering expedition, but a pleasant seasonal excursion nonetheless. Merry Christmas to all!
John Barnard

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