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Windgather 22/5/2022 Report

12 castle members, 2 dogs and 3 potential new members gathered at Windgather on Sunday. Although a little chilly and windy early on, the Sun soon made an appearance to make for some pleasant climbing. Many routes were climbed with several members enjoying the friendly nature of the crag to start leading outdoors. Thanks to everyone that turned up. Kial. Photos by Gemma:

Sunday walk Report 15 May 2022

Four of us set off from Pym Chair car park, including new member Simeon. A blustery walk along Shining Tor flag stones led us to the trig point, fine views of Shuttlingsloe, Jodrell Bank and the Cheshire plains. Next we descended into Todd Brook Valley and had a stop at some long abandoned farmstead ruins. Further down the valley, we explored the remote Jenkin Chapel built in 1773 for a local landowner. The second part of the valley offered quite a contrast to the higher moors – both in terms of temperature and scenery – with tropical sunshine,j babbling brooks, working and derelict farms, and endless green pastures. We made a brief skirt around the village of Kettleshulme , before a sharp pull up to Taxal Edge. A detour through some woods gave way to Windgather rocks, where only a few people were climbing.(Good news, maybe for the forthcoming visit!) A further 30 minutes along the edge took us to the cars. Total distance of distance of 10.5 miles (16.9km), arriving just before the weather began to deteriorate. A varied, undulating walk with plenty of interest and great company chat.

Roaches Meet Report 30 April – 2 May 2022

How to turn one day into 3!
Five of us arrived on Friday at the campsite and were treated to an excellent sunset and for some a lovely warm wood stove, courtesy of Gemma & Kial.
The weather for Sunday looked a bit ropey so the Castle Challenge was extended to the Saturday. An excellent sunny climbing day, the five campers were joined by five other members and one dog. The CMC challenge list of 30 climbs on the Upper & Lower Roaches was presented and many took part. Some friendly competition followed with most members opting to climb on the Upper roaches. Many new routes were climbed and repeats for some, though not since the 1980’s! As the day lengthened, scores were totted up, with the most climbs being 8 by one pair. This pair shall not be named at risk of the competition being considered rigged. We didn’t make the overall challenge to climb all 30 routes as a club, though we managed to squeeze in a lot of routes between us!
Sunday was a wet start as anticipated so an alternative walk. Several members had colds at varying stages so opted for home, or a shorter walk en route leaving four (one vaguely healthy!) to complete the total 13.5 mile round from the campsite. The route took us north from the campsite, through farmers’ fields, farmyards (both deliberately and accidentally!) and alongside a wide array of animals. An old working piano took Geoff’s interest though sadly no concerto. Shortly after the meet leader was escorted out of a field by a rather intimidating sheep. Following an eventful morning we made it to Upper Hulme where a trip to the tearoom was in order. Refuelled we made our way alongside Tittesworth reservoir before looping into the outskirts of Leek and the gradual climb back up the ridge to the campsite.
Monday saw us climbing again, with 4 members joining for the day. Most climbed at the Upper & Lower roaches on various routes. A small group split off to boulder in the afternoon. A very sociable time with some delicate and bold moves on the boulders.
Thanks all for a great weekend! Photos to be added to the Facebook page. Matthew.
Gemma’s photos:

Sunday Walk Report 24 April 2022

Seven of us set off from Clough House car park, near Macclesfield Forest, on a bright but fresh morning. Ascending through fields and quiet lanes, we detoured very slightly to visit the simple church, near Chapel House Farm. A short distance further on, a forest clearing, with ready cut tree stump seats provided our coffee stop, where we admired the valley below . A welcome descent led us to to Ridgegate Reservoir and lunch – where fishing cormorants were spotted. More attractive leafy paths routed us to Trentabank reservoir, a mini sculpture trail and some outdoor singers at the visitor centre. Next came the main objective of the day – Shuttlingsloe (known as the Cheshire Matterhorn), A superb short and steep burst of open hillside took us to a windy 506m summit with full circle views of the Roaches, Jodrell Bank, the Cheshire Plains and in the far reaching distance, the Wrekin. Several group photos later, we set off on a two tier descent (sedate to jogging) back down to the valley and cars. An attractive and varied 8.5 mileish round in this less visited part of the Peak for the Club. Thanks for the chat and company.

Tremadog meet report 15-18 April 2022

Fourteen members met at the Tremadog hut, owned by Redditch and Broomsgrove Mountaineering club, for the 15th – 18th April. Great weather allowed for lots of climbing on the Moelwyns and Tremadog. So good that by midday Monday most of us were climbed out, and had moved on to the ice cream phase of the meet, or took the early ride home. Popular routes included: at Tremadog; Valerie’s Rib and Christmas Curry; and at the Moelwyns; Africa Rib, Kirkus Direct, Slick and Chic. The hut is immediately below the Tremadog cliffs, so you can gear up and walk round the corner to routes. Other activities included walking and viewing local ospreys. Welcome to Ian, Andy and Eden for their first away meet. For Andy and Eden this was also an introduction to multi-pitch routes. The Moelwyns are ideal for this with a lot of 3 and 4 pitch routes, at an easy grade and with good stances. Thanks to all who led the communal meals, and to the Redditch and Broomsgrove club for running the hut. The hut’s location would make it a good venue for another meet and it does not seem to be used as much as it should be. Rosie is organising the pictures which will appear on social media. Thanks to all for your company. Geoff Nichols

Birchens “3 Ships” Bouldering Meet Report (20th April 2022)

The inaugural outdoor bouldering meet at Birchens “3 Ships” was enjoyed by nine humans and a sheepdog. The older generation set the early pace on the Victory boulder. The highlight was a rising traverse which everyone climbed in a different way but all agreed was more awkward than it looked. Club members from the newer generation then arrived bringing an enthusiasm for sit starts. Henceforth a sit start had to be attempted for every route – even if it was not included in the guidebook description. We moved on to the Defiance boulder and whilst chipped holds are generally to be deplored we discovered that the letter C carved in the rock provided a useful foothold when topping out. We finished the evening by attempting a massive overhang at the back of Defiance. Only Matt managed to get over it but valiant efforts were made by all especially Eden who was only prevented from success by a burst of premature congratulations from his spotters. Paul Embley.

Cornwall camping meet – Easter weekend April 2022

What a great meet! There was good weather, convivial company, an upgraded Trevaylor campsite at Botallack with new owners [hot showers now free] a friendly pub close by with delicious food, and the three extensive climbing areas of Bosigran, Sennen and Chair Ladder within easy reach by car. Although a regular club venue in earlier years, Paul and I hadn’t climbed here since 2016, so we started at Bosigran with its friendly non-tidal approach, and then the following day went to Sennen where we were joined by Gordon and Julian [who were offered the use of an abseil rope which we’d missed, allowing them to avoid the long scramble round as the tide was coming in, and doing more climbing than we managed to do]. Then drinks outside in the sunshine looking at the Sennen lifeboat station having its roof repaired after Storm Eunice had ripped it off in February. Hugh and Leon arrived that evening to join us for a group get-together in the nearby Botallack pub, together with Nathan and Sarah who were visiting local tourist sites.
On Saturday, six of us decided that Bosigran was the place to go to, and Paul and I drove there before breakfast to secure a parking place for our motorhome in the convenient layby. Then various routes were successfully climbed, and gear was retrieved by a friendly stranger on the one that proved too hard. I joined up with Hugh and Leon to do a 4 pitch V Diff, but due to slight confusion with the route description, Leon wandered off-route thinking the ‘top end of grade’ chimney was definitely more challenging than expected, to be told that he was now on a VS. Time was passing, and I was beginning to wonder whether a benightment was on the cards, and started looking for possible abseil points/escape routes. But the Dowling brothers showed their true grit, got us back on route, eventually hoiking me up the correct chimney, and after the ‘delightfully exposed’ [ie scary] trough we arrived safely at the top. After retrieving rucksacks and some accidently dropped gear we walked back to the vehicles at 7pm – a proper ‘right full mountain day’. That evening we had ‘open house’ in the motorhome, with much reminiscing about previous Castle adventures and members.
On Sunday Paul and I drove back to Sheffield, ostensibly to avoid bank holiday traffic [but really also because we were completely knackered] leaving Leon and Hugh heading for Sennen, and Gordon and Julian setting their sites on Commando Ridge, hoping that the thick sea fret would keep others away [I learnt later that they had only one couple ahead of them, and ended up successfully completing this 660 foot climb in warm sunshine].
So thank you Gordon, Julian, Hugh, Leon, Nathan and Sarah for making this such an enjoyable and wonderful meet.
Vanda [and Paul]
Paul’s pictures:

Climbing at Harborough Rocks – Sunday 10th April 2022 – Report

An excellent turnout today, with 15 members and 3 guests enjoying some early season climbing at Harborough Rocks, which were bathed in sunshine warming the initially rather cold limestone. Many routes of varying grades were successfully completed; for some it was the first climbing excursion outside this year. And very good to see some members we haven’t seen for a while.
Hopefully the start of a great climbing year.
Vanda Boyd

Meet Report Sun 27/03/22

5 of us set out from Crowden heading for Oaken Brook. Pretty green but a good ascent and then headed over to the Chew reservoir where we descended Chew Brook – well led by Kial, to the bottom of Wilderness Gully West. A very pleasant scramble took us to the top and then a lovely walk back to Crowden with lots of sun. Good day out and thanks to the 4 for their excellent company.

Abseil Skills Session : 20th March 2022

An enthusiastic group of 12 club members and a couple of spectators met at Lawrencefield yesterday for the abseiling session, The aim was to practice abseiling skills in a controlled situation which could then be transferred to situations encountered in the mountains or at sea cliffs. After an initial practice session using trees at the base of the quarry we then did lots of abseiling down Red Wall – which luckily proved unattractive to climbers wanting to do the excellent routes there.
We set up two ropes. Rope 1 was fairly steady whilst Rope 2, set up by Hugh, was a more adventurous affair. In fact it was the abseiling equivalent of “Oblivion” and made the other rope seem like the “Tea Cup Ride”! By the end of the day we were all abseiling like Clint Eastwood’s stunt double in Where Eagles Dare.
An enjoyable day which allowed less experienced members to learn about basic safe practice and veterans to experiment with different methods of backing up their abseils. Hopefully these skills sharing sessions will continue to be a part of club activity. Paul Embley