24 January 2016

4 crags in one day and all in between, and we didn't need rescuing once

There's a chance you'll all know how this goes by now...

https://www.justgiving.com/4crags/

We take and we take all year, January is our time to give something back. Boulderers and climbers are a crazy enough lot as it is - in a good way - so we have to do crazy things to draw out the charity money from folk. And sure, there are many crazier things that could be done for charity, but our option made sense for the charity at hand. I'm guessing (and hoping) nobody ever needed rescuing from a bath of baked beans... So, on the 10th of January, we struck out, to link four of our local crags...

Setting out from the Hunters Inn between Huby and Pool, we could see snow on the distant hills. The local h2o was flood water, and we had to make a couple of dashes along the road to avoid being drenched by splashes traffic - good to get the blood flowing early on. Up Pool Bank, we started to fill in the gaps in the landscape - four crags in isolation is all well and good, but joining the dots was a worthwhile and fascinating experience.

The Chevin was in fine fettle, with a dusting of snow to set off its tops, well earned by our ascent. However, our target was lower down - the Sugarloaf boulder, where Bryn planned for us to assemble for a group photo. I had chosen not to carry my climbing boots, but was nevertheless confident I could gain the top. So it proved, as I scampered up the left edge, with several others following. But not all. And then the downclimb proved troublesome, as hiking boots weren't ideal for stepping down from tiny holds. Cosmo had the most trouble with this, but in the end I got on the rock just below him, supported his weight a little, and braced myself to allow him to drop a hold, a maneuver which went off smoothly.



Down through gay Otley, with shop stops and coffee to go, then onward to Hunters. Shortly after leaving the road, Kathryn slipped in some mud and fell. Though she soldiered on bravely with a bit of a headache, it took her half a field to notice she had lost her glasses. I went back for them, giving her a chance to rest. For a jape, I wore the glasses on my way back to her and Cosmo, saying that I couldn't find them. Apparently they were quite a good look for me, though they made me see the world as if I were three feet tall...

Around Lindley Wood, then up through the woods towards Hunter's Stones, with a new perspective across the reservoir, and new trails walked. Once at Hunter's, we had half a lunch and more photos and took in what must have been our widest view - all under the considerate care of the Fell Rescue team (well, except perhaps the power stations on the horizon...). A steady slog through the plantation took us to the Ice-warning-sign car park just along from Little Almscliff, where Support Team Tilly provided us with.... provisions. What were they? I can't remember. Lots of useful stuff, I'm sure! And a place to sit for a bit. Oh, and Sophie's scones, yummy.



Energised, and inspired by Dave abandoning us by stepping up to fell-run mode, we picked a path through woods rutted and waterlogged, across more sodden fields. But the 'cliff, Great Almscliff itself, soon loomed over us, and text messages from Dave informing us of good conditions on the rock inspired us once more - Dave is good like that. We trekked across the middle of the crag, with many scampering up to the top. Bryn led the way to Three Chockstones Chimney in order to get a bit of actual(ish) climbing in, but stayed in his hiking boots out of solidarity when he realised climbing shoes weren't an option for me. Lots of odd jams of various body parts that wouldn't normally get involved... Mr Booth followed us up shortly after, and we shared a moment of victory.



Down from the crag, as light started to fade from the sky. And then finished fading from the sky as we entered the woods just above the pub. The path was reliable enough though, and though fatigue was high by this point, all we could do was keep going. Onwards, onwards... Things were starting to get weird - perhaps it was the exhaust fumes on the road that brought discussions about whether dolphins are more intelligent than humans... (Are they?! I don't even know... Maybe it's time to reread The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy...).

But if we were on the road, then the end was in sight! The Hunters Inn! Our cars! Triumph! (Not the car, the concept. Not a concept car.) Beverages! Well earned carbonated and fermented drinks for all, and a good spell of downtime in this homely house. And then another homely house, Bryn's, where he supplied us with delicious chilli to warm and rejuvenate us, and I lit a fire to... well, mainly to warm Shilo, Bryn and Hebe's cat, up. Like the end of some movie, in which the collection of protagonists silently acknowledge each other before moving on, we gradually took our farewells...

18 miles, job well done, good money raised for a good cause, and the chance to raise more is still there - the JustGiving page linked at the top will be open into early February, and of course there is always the Fell Rescue page itself... http://www.uwfra.org.uk/fundraising

Post script: I'm pretty sure a few of us went to The Depot afterwards. Crazy! Good crazy...
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