A Practically Pointless Peak Trip: Part 1

Well now, well now.  Only a short week after climbing with Kyle and it was finally here, the Peak trip.  An escapade where we travel to Sheffield to molest small brown rocks, with the unusual quality of being extraordinarily grippy.  Or that was the plan at least.

Saturday – 1st day.

The day of the travelling, or as I remember it, the day of accelerated caffeine consumption.  And as Jonny remembers it, the day when Cadden came very close to completing a Super-Task (Task: double the number of words per sentence, Time-frame: a 6 hour drive).  If you don’t understand that, watch this (very interesting) or ask Alex.

I awoke in some desolate hovel of a house, that is, Ireton.  The first thing that occurred, as I recall, was Colin defending his home with a Katana against burglers (or rather, me, who he didn’t know was supposed to be there).  After coming to the conclusion that I was not an intruder, Colin was far happier, and I proceeded to inhale my first coffee of the day.  A glorious soup of instant coffee dissolved to near-saturation point with an equal part sugar, known as  Steve-coffee.  After a hearty breakfast of cold pizza, Andrew, McNamara and I were driven by the dear Colin to the SU, where we began our travel.  Immediately I assaulted the ears of all parties by playing my patented climbing-playlist, they would soon come around to my tastes.  Once at the ferry terminal we procured yet more coffee, and then attempted to scare as many people as possible with Heavy metal and Gangsta Rap over the speakers.  Once we gained a foot-hold on the boat, we pushed through the crowds of Rangers supporters to find seats, and I began drinking a can of RedBull.  With a rough crossing, this was a bad idea.  Yet survive this we did, and now we were in Scotland, where it rains almost as much as Ireland, though to us it seemed to all happen on one day of the year.

Survive we did, and after a stop in Burger King I had attained 2780 calories, and Andrew had gained a new club mascot, a wooden duck.  After a fairly long time of driving through rain, Rooney finally decided “I don’t think it’s a shower, I may actually be raining properly”.  At this point all hopes were low, so when we arrived and had set up our respective tents, we sought a shop to recover morale through food and drink.  At this point Rooney made a second discovery, 2l moonshine-style bottles of Scrumpy 7% Cider.  “Sure,” I thought, “that will do me over several nights, good way to save money”.  Soon to be proven wrong, I bought this, as did Rooney and Kyle.  Well….. Rooney didn’t, for was ID’d.  He had forgotten any form of ID, and so had to have his drinks bought for him by children.

Rooney: 0, Shop Keepers: 1

We returned and began cooking dinner, where all found out my fear of camping stoves.  Look, it makes perfect sense, it’s a can of compressed flammable gas, then you have to light the top of it on fire.  A perfectly reasonable fear.  As we finished food I took the first swig of delicious cider.  Immediately I regretted my choice.  It tasted like urine/paint-thinner/vinegar/apple juice.  At this point I was lucky that Andrew was interested, and so I swapped the whole 2l for a pint bottle of Corrona.  I was on the high ground now it seemed.  After a long banter session, we feared we had long passed the curfew on the site of 10pm, luckily we were only at the hour of 9:30pm, and headed to bed.



Sunday – 2nd day.

The weather had informed us of it’s intentions via the internet, and so we had a good lie in, complete with fresh coffee, as Rooney was well equipped and using Peak as a sort of trial expedition run.  We soon learned that a certain club member had, at some point, gone to pee and come back to the wrong tent, and had spent a while in the other university group’s tent.  Oh dear, bear in mind we were all in bed by 10pm and this still happened.  Brilliant.  We all agreed that our best option for the day was to go to awesome walls, both to escape explaining the incident of the night, and to do some climbing indoors while it rained outdoors.  Well the routes here promised at least some distraction, routes for all levels of skill, and Kyle spied one in particular which he sought to conquer.  While all spread about, Rooney, Jonny and I went looking for an outdoors shop, to buy better weather, and some new club guidebooks.  Amazingly, in this land of heathens, they are even more religious than us.  All retail was closed as it was Easter Sunday, a marvel.

As we drove back to awesome walls, it began to rain heavily, this was a mild relief, as when we arrived it had looked as though we could have gone for trad.  The downpour reassured us of our decision.  After a while of standard climbing and bouldering, a Stephen McCaffrey had joined our group and we headed back to the campsite for more ale in celebration, as the weather gods had showed some mercy for the morning to come, before unleashing a torrent in the after noon.  Again Rooney was ID’d.  Can you guess?

Rooney: 0, Shop Keepers: 2


Monday – 3rd day.

It seemed that this information was from some sort of trickster, telling lies as sweet as honey.  For this day we awoke to rain, well some of us.  Ciaran and Conor awoke to a new indoor swimming pool, apparently the builders were finished quite fast as its easier to put pools into tents (no planning permission needed).  To raise morale, we piled into the bus and once again headed to awesome walls (you would hardly know this was the trad trip now would you?).  There must have been a reset of the wall, as low and behold Kyle’s proj was gone.  But there are other routes to climb.  One such route which Andrew threw himself at was a tough one straight up the tough overhang, so steed as to put the Dublin wall to shame.  Why you ask? To better his technique?  To improve route reading? No.  To hide from the other university group who had also escaped the rain in this place of top-ropes and in-situ draws.

Eventually as they had reached closing time, we left once again in search of the outdoor shop, which thankfully was open this time.  Major purchases were made; guides for the club, a pink tri-cam and trousers for Rooney (amazingly he found men’s which fitted after a long search), Andrew grabbed his first set of nuts (calm down now) to commit to the trad life (which we had yet to experience), and Myself some lube for my sticky cams and fancy new shoelaces.  While waiting for all to finish up in the shop, I sat down to replace my old laces.  Thankfully they were the right length/diameter as during the change over my old ones fell into several pieces all at once.

Once again, we made a pilgrimage to the shop for snacks, food and ale.  And for another day running, Rooney was ID’d.

Rooney: 0, Shop Keepers: 3



Tuesday – 4th day.  

This was it, another day when the weather was promised to be dry.  Again we were left wanting greatly.  Not to be beaten, Rooney and I decided to put our energy to good use.  After a bit of renovation, the entrepreneurs that we are we, we opened a coffee shop.  Now as entrepreneurs, we don’t let the world tell us what we can do, we tell it what we want and then we take it.  Our business model was based largely around our needs and wants.  This included: not leaving the tent until it stopped raining, drinking coffee in a near constant supply.  To achieve this we instigated a barter system, where customers would perform tasks (like fetching water or cleaning out the JetBoil) in return for a share of coffee once it was brewed, while we drank the rest.  This held up until the weather stopped hating us.

We hurriedly gathered our things and began moving towards Stanage.  While we orientated ourselves Rooney began to teach basic gear placements.  After realising where we were I threw Woods and Conor at a good route I remembered from the last trip, and hung around to check the anchor as Andrew had asked me to.  All solid as a house, I checked with the main group, to find that all was going well with multiple freshers having succeeded on a top-rope set up by Jonny.  We moved the group closer to Andrew and Conor, and threw people at the wall some more until they stuck.  General fun was being attained, when I saw it.  The rain.

A large front was headed our way and looked to be long lasting.  Two years I had waited to climb these small brown routes again, I wasn’t to miss this chance.  I quickly soloed up On a Wing and a Prayer, just to secure one route for the trip.  A fine outing it was, the sticky rugged rounded holds felt at home under my palms and we quickly packed up to run away.

And that was the first day of climbing on the trip.  Yep, I know.

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