Well, it looks like Richard will have to arrange some more OMC meets. I mean, booking such glorious weather, on a campsite with its own on-site café and brand new showers, and a pub just down the road; and then persuading 25 or so members to turn up - there's obviously talent here that needs to be displayed more often!
Most people arrived on Friday night, and after erecting tents (or not in some cases) headed down to the Traveller's Rest for a spot of socialising and a bevy or two before settling down for the night.
Saturday dawned with clear blue skys. Emerging from my tent I discovered I was completely surrounded by OMC tents and cars. In fact I wouldn't be able to get my car out! The largest tent of all contained Jason with his wife and two boys.
A group of us breakfasted in the on-site café (The Parlour Café). When we had fed and woken up a bit and felt able to make a decision, we opted to head for the remote gritstone edge of Dovestone Tor. None of us had been there before, and with settled weather and the possibility of midges at the lower crags (due to hot weather and little wind) it seemed a good choice. The only drawback was the hour plus walk in with sacks full of gear. Another group were heading to Stanage, and Clare and Jane were going for a walk.
It was indeed a long old hike up to Dovestone, but it is a wonderfully positioned crag with splendid views of the moors all around. I hiked up there with Paul and we found James C, Anne, Peter D and Jamie already at work.
Paul and I did a couple of easy warm up climbs and then I decided to tackle a 1 star HS called Sick Bay which involved traversing along breaks on "solid jams". Well, the jams weren't solid, they were slopers and you were being pushed out all the time. Having failed to make the necessary moves to gain any upwards progress I traversed back and then sat down to examine my bashed and bruised hands. (I later looked up this climb on the internet where others had had similar feelings about it – talk about a sandbag!).
Things improved after that however and we enjoyed some splendid, although occasionally challenging climbs. There was quite a big gathering of OMCers there by now. At lunch time Clare and Jane joined us - they had cleverly arranged for their walk to pass Dovestone Tor around midday.
The afternoon was spent ticking off more excellent routes on this infrequently visited crag. Barney Rubble (VS 4c) was a particularly enjoyable jug fest, although some of the other routes did give some pause for thought.
Come 5:30 we had to make our way back, which was a shame as it was one of those beautiful still gritstone evenings where you just didn't want to leave the cliff - Can't we do just one more climb I whined like a five year old? – no, got to get back in time to eat came the reply. Oh all right then...
Some people ate in the pub and some BBQed at the campsite. The majority of BBQers adjourned to the Traveller's Rest after feeding, where we occupied a large portion of one end of the pub. I did a quick count and made it 25 people. When the OMC masses like this for some serious socialising it is a formidable sight to behold.
The next day dawned beautiful again, and I think almost all the climbers went to Stanage. There had been no reports of midges the day before. And it was another excellent day ticking off the classics in perfect weather. I particularly enjoyed getting up Step Ladder Crack (VS 5a) as it had defeated me on a previous occasion.
On the non-climbing front, Clare had brought her bike up and went for a cycle ride followed by a swim in Hathersage's open air swimming pool, where you can float and look up at Stanage Edge at the same time!
By the late afternoon tiredness was setting in on the climbers and people started to leave for the dull journey back home through the M1 road-works. Clare, James C, Paul and myself delayed the event a bit by eating in the Scotsman's Pack before departing.
It had been a great weekend. Superb weather, great climbing, and wonderful company - this was the OMC operating at its best, and the reason I enjoy the club so much - May Richard organize many more meets :-)