Members. Dave Wylie, Andy Stratford, Mark Ashley, Oi Ding Koy, Clay Conlon, James Meakin, Nils Elgar

Guests. Duncan Zerafa, Jo Cowley, Ryan Linderman, Gareth, John Evans, Fiona Dixon, Elliot brown, Isabel Prause.

‘’Dry and fine at Cow’s Mouth Quarry at the moment with a nice breeze to keep any little flying critters away’’.

As I pulled into the car park, there was no sign of the local weather oracle’s car. Was this a sign?  The wind was a cold north easterly, blowing strong and the cloud was down, with Blackstone edge itself wreathed in mist. James and I walked briskly wearing all available layers along the access track and spotted two figures in the quarry. Duncan had parked in the usual spot but Dave, the aforementioned local weather oracle, had commendably done the 4 mile walk from home carrying his gear.

As Duncan led Cornette (Diff), I decided to try Slab Crossing (VS 4b) which, as a traverse, one can only do when the classic slab is unoccupied. It was a bold start but eased and provided a fine combination of first hand then a foot traverse. James and Clay both followed, with much commentary from James over the general lack of gear and good handholds.

The crack systems on Daytona Wall all had several fine leads:

Elliot and John both led Groovin’ (HS 4b). Seasier (V Diff or Severe depending on which book you believe) had leads from Elliot, Dave, Fiona and Duncan, and the harder Seazy (HS 4c) was led by Elliot, John and Clay.

Meanwhile, back on the slab Route right (HS 4b) was led by Elliot, Dave and Mark. Andy lead Route 2 (HVS 5a), and attempted the eliminate line of deadline (VS 5a) but ended up on the relative safety of the adjacent route, Route 1 (HS 4c) – I say relative as there was still no gear but at least the holds existed!  Route 1 was also lead by Mark.  Andy finished off with Slabmaster (VS 4c), then a quick top-roping session on the E1 5c – the very bold and unprotectable King B. Top ropes were attempted by Ding, James and Mark but no-one managed a clean go. Tricky number!

Over at the far end Clay was repulsed from the very steep and tricky Z Crack (HVS 5a) and then took a small fall on good gear on Sandy Crack (VS 5a) which gave Duncan a good ten minutes of entertainment extracting the welded nut.  Fiona and John completed their evening with Fiona leading Groove (S 4a).

Nine of the thirteen made the Whitehouse pub and Pule Hill swiftly despatched Anglezarke and Castle Naze. It’s off to Yorkshire next week!

Andy Stratford

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