Andy S leading Nozag VS 4c (Photo: Simon Robertshaw)  

Andy S with Dan belaying on the Flywalk eliminate VS 4b (Simon Robertshaw)
Andy S leading Nozag VS 4c (Simon Robertshaw)
Dan on the starting slopers of the ultra-classic Scoop Face HVS 5a (Simon Robertshaw)
Dan at the scoop (Simon Robertshaw)

Castle Naze

“Take me in and dry the rain…” – The Beta Band

Members: Dan O'Brien, Andy Stratford, Simon Robertshaw.

Guests: Bron Edwards.

I discovered whilst surfing the web for inspirational photos of Castle Naze that the name of the crag comes from the remains of the Iron Age hill fort that are behind the crag on the top of the hill. Logical really as the hilltop has a commanding view of the surrounding country - those early defenders would have had no problem spotting our approach from Chapel-en-le-frith.

It looked like it was going to be a wash out but the faithful arrived at the crag to be treated to clearing clouds and a stiff breeze that dried the rock quickly.

Climbing as a four, swift ascents of Nozag and Scoop face (with a special mention for Simon the human pendulum). We then split into pairs where Bron and Simon climbed The Niche, a pumpy 2-star severe. Bron said she'd never had such tired arms whilst climbing - obviously she's never been to Broughton!

Andy and I climbed Flywalk (without bridging this gets VS and Andy climbed with impeccable discipline to resist the tempting bridging rests as he battled with the steep crux). We finished the evening with The Fifth Horseman, an HVS which takes an eliminate line on the left-hand side of the crag involving some pebble pulling and low runners. Looking at the guidebook I'm struggling to separate the HVS from the adjacent E2. Perhaps Rockfax should split the difference and call it E1...

With only four of us in the pub and three nominations (Wilton 1, Hen Cloud and Helsby) only one round of voting was required to get us heading off to Runcorn next Wednesday for some sandstone action.


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