Sat 11th Jul - Sun 12th Jul, 1998

Northumberland - Peel Crag and Crag Lough

Members - Cathy Devine, Mark Garrod, Chris Williamson, Pete Leeson (meet leader)

Guests - Jeremy Engineer (is he still a guest? Get his cash, treasurer!)


Friday - The pub at Twice Brewed (which is just what the beer tasted like) turned up the charm, through open its doors and, despite the weather, we just had to see what it was all about. Once ensconced we decided it was pretty much like a pub really. It sold beer and stuff, crisps, gin, whiskey and chocolate bars. Yes very much like a pub really - everyone stared at my shorts and laughed at Chris' all singing all dancing trousers cum advert for Cotswold Camping. Got ejected before the lock in. So after beer went to bed and listened to the rain.

(In the following passage at * you may delete as appropriate)

Saturday dawned dry, warm and sunny - not a breath of wind / Saturday dawned cool, windy and a little damp*. Much breakfasting in the warm sun / cool breeze *. Much slapping on of factor 15 / wrapping up warm *. We left for the crag early and enthusiastic because it looked like a perfect day for climbing / we left it as long as possible before making a move *. You may get the gist or you may not.

Actually on arrival at the crag we found it to be reasonably dry and not too cold. For anyone who has not been to Peel Crag (shame on you) it faces due north and is therefore ideal for climbing in the hot balmy summers we have up here. The teams soon got to work on Sunset (MS) and Sunset Direct (S) (in the sure knowledge that we would not see one later in the day). Sunset is the three star classic of the crag and an excellent route - well worth the drive. The rain that fell during these first routes of the day really acted as spur to greater things and we all speeded up in order to get another one in before disaster struck. Twin Cracks (VS) and Overhanging Crack (MVS) soon followed and an attempt was made on the horribly greasy and lichenous Albert's wall (E1). A few words were had with Blasphemy Wall (HVS) before moving on to lunch. The weather had improved adequately to allow a really good sit down picnic and a yarg (ancient Norse for taking the Michael out of Chris' trousers, Jeremy's hair, Cath's roots etc.). Whilst lunching we saw what looked like an impossibly hard overhang being climbed above us - really photogenic. As a joke some one suggested we did it but it turned out to be the route of the afternoon and at VS 4c an extremely good fun climb with oodles of pose value for the tourists!! One or two other routes were climbed before we all decided enough was enough and that we ought to take a look at the Wall. So we saddled up and took quick walk along the bottom of Crag Lough and along the lake shore the back over the wall (past the bit where they filmed Dobin Hodd Prince of Shropshire I think some one said). Our walk ended with a little game called 'spot the sunset' which is a common past time up on the fells here. I won't describe the evening other than by saying - food, beer, bed. All in all an excellent sociable climbing day thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Sunday dawned (oh no not all this all over again!) wet and windy. If anyone needed justification not to have turned up to my meet this was it. Cats and dogs had nothing in it. After breaking camp and playing 'slosh', 'goretex scarecrows', 'soggy foot and damp knee' (and other local summer favourites) we met up in the café at Greenhead. Another yarg and agreement to do it all again next year all washed down with tea and butties.

Thanks for all those who turned up to make this a short but highly entertaining weekend.

Pete Leeson

Meet Promo:

These ever so slightly west facing and very much north facing crags are a rough cut gem for those who cut their climbing teeth on the emeralds of the 'southern' gritstone crags. Well, the grit is a long way south from Hadrians Wall - and that's where these two crags are. A very peaceful and beautiful spot for those that like climbing in relative peace and tranquillity. Crag Lough in particular overlooks a lake upon which a pair of swans is always seen plus a few tenacious fishermen from time to time who come to tempt the Trout.

The climbing is extremely good with routes ranging from those of grit length to routes of 27m - including three star classics such as Great Chimney (S) and Main Wall (S). Plenty in the diff to severe range plus a few at harder grades - mind you this is Northumberland and it has its reputation...... The guide is the Northumberland guide by John Earl.

The most important things. Camping - we should be camping at Winshields Farm to the west of Twice Brewed at GR NY 744 668 on the OS Map no. 87 1:50,000, although there are one or two other spots around to pitch a tent. The BEER is in the PUB at Twice Brewed which is what the beer tasted like last time I was there, but only a short walk from the camp site.

All being well we'll see you there in droves. If its warm it'll be excellent..... Cheers

Pete Leeson

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