Members - Dan O'Brien, Andy Stratford, Duncan Lee, Gareth Williams, Lucie Crouch, Helen Boothman, Dave Wylie, Christine Beeston, Jim Symon, Bron Edwards, Al Metelko, Paul Evans.

Guests - Steven Boxwell


Note:  Best read whilst listening to Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”…

With the week-long sport-climbing road trip meet entering its third rainy day Gareth and Lucie decided that joining the mid-weekers at Cow's Mouth Quarry was a good option, especially after he was assured that he would not be required to write it up a part of his meet.  Joined by other early starters, Dave and Bron, they made the most of the warm, if windy conditions.

There were numerous ascents of the various lines on the easy-anled yet polished and bold “Slabmaster” area ranging from bold solos (Duncan et al), calm leads (Andy) and gibbering top-ropes (Jim…)  Christine led Cornette (D), a much more sensible offering with adequate protection.  Dan shunned a top-rope for the E1 King Bee as Andy assured him that the crux had gear.  Upon reaching the shallow pocket in question we quickly realised that Andy had misremembered, or perhaps it was another route, maybe on another crag…  I forget.  Anyway, with no gear forthcoming Dan wussed out and even the bouldering mat couldn’t tempt him to commit.

Gareth and Helen climbed Lapper (E1) allowing Paul to snap some shots for the upcoming Lancashire guidebook.   Helen then led Z Crack (VS), an ideal candidate for a climber who hates jamming, either hands or feet, as it requires both in equal measure.  A steep initial section, led to a tricky intermediate section followed by a baffling layback/dyno to finish.  Dan demonstrated a easier approach by being taller with bigger hands.  Duncan, fresh from running into the crag, soloed a number of lines including Space Invader (VS).

As shadows lengthened Andy led the mouthful that is Sard with the Seazy start (~VS) and Gareth readied himself for the main course – Daytona Wall E5 6a.  After linking the moves cleanly on a shunt and engaging a superior spotting team of Duncan, Dan and Helen (who also doubled as a belayer), with pads in place and a focussed attitude he made swift work of the first crux and found his way to a small ledge where the remains of a small bolt serves to focus the mind on the lack of options for gear.  A heart-stopping moment followed with a tenuous looking foot adjustment whilst pulling through the second hard move and reaching a “thank-god” pocket on the upper slab.  One final pull brought the first runner (at about 8m) brought audible relief for the spotting team.  A stunning ascent.  Dan and Helen attempted to follow on a top-rope with varying degrees of success.

In the pub, fed and watered, the nominees were Wilton 1 (though Jim couldn’t think of a good reason why we should actually go there), Shipley Glen (a bouldering venue in Yorkshire that was dismissed for being bouldering), Tremadog (which was dismissed for being flipping’ miles away), Bamford which was dismissed due to tactical moves to the Wilton camp which left Witches Quarry, a limestone outcrop with innovative belay stakes and the ability to drive into and park directly beneath the crag.  Another bonus is that Paul also requires photos of Witches for the new Lancs guidebook – it appears the camera loves the KMC!

So next week, ten cars maximum please (BMC guidelines so co–ordination on Scribble required…).  Something wicked this way comes.


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