Or Maybe Not

Erm, well, yeah, i didn’t go home. Not that day anyway. I did wander into town and get plenty of Christmas presents for various different people and then got back to the house, packed my kit in the car, said my farewells and buggered off. Okay, Rich had said before i left that the rock was pretty good in places but hadn’t really filled me with confidence. Still, if i had to drive past the crags on the way home anyway, i might as well stop and see for myself – it’d be rude not to!

It had to be Stanage; i needed somewhere close to the road but somewhere that caught the wind to dry it off a bit. Somewhere like Burbage Bridge wouldn’t be worth my now very-limited time, surely still being a bit wet, while Plantation was out with sunset about half an hour away. Well, to be honest, it didn’t have to be Stanage but it seemed as good as anywhere, the Apparent North ticking all the right boxes. Besides, that’s where we’d planned to go so why not.

I didn’t carry much up there, with the lack of time continually slapping me on the back of the head. Shoes, chalk, guide, that’ll do. Off we trudge, Tess enjoying being able to run free without fear of repurcussions, and my hands feeling very cold at just being out in the moorland. This was a token gesture, a quick walk to the rock to make myself feel a bit better at my hasty departure. Besides, after that deluge the other night, it was never gonna be good.

Imagine my shock when i arrived, dropped my pad and found not only was the rock dry but conditions were actually perfect. Like really perfect. Cold, crisp, dry, you couldn’t ask for better! I jumped straight at Hamper’s Hang 7a with a few others already there, instantly starting up some conversation and making a couple of friends. I wasn’t there long, about 40 minutes all told, but enough to realise that to bail now would be stupid – after sitting it out and now having perfect “connies”, leaving would render the whole trip a waste of time.

So back to Sheffield i went, walking in on the others to looks of surprise. A few text messages later and i had someone to climb with the next day and settled down to read my book while the others watched the as-bad-as-it-sounds film, Robo Geisha… Next morning (after an awful night’s sleep) and i rose, packed again and heady off to meet an old friend, Foxy.

The venue was the same as the previous night – Stanage Apparent North, where Foxy wanted to try Cornflake 6c. To be fair, it is tricky, with a really poor hold for the crux, and i managed to half-skip it, bumping from there to the top. Foxy tried, harder and harder but after a while, we decided to move on.

To be brutally honest, i didn’t get much else done, especially after realising quite how long Hamper’s Hang is! We finished on Slopey Traverse 7a+ which almost relented but not quite, leaving me with another project. As the sun began to set, i packed up, said my goodbyes and headed back; a successful session finishing off a successful weekend.

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