Meet report by Nick Kemp
We all thought that the stonking meet we had in Pembroke as our last gasp of summer but somehow we got lucky again. The weather Gods were on our side and the retreating spirit of summer turned and gave us a half smile as we neared the equinox. And so an exceptionally good weather forecast and a pleasant location welcomed a healthy contingent of club members to the Dalesbridge campsite in North Yorkshire. Also on the Pembroke meet we were lacking any native Spanish speakers at all, surely the first time that has happened for years, thankfully tenemos muchos hispano-hablantes en esta reunion.
In recent years the traditional collection of bangers and near MOT failures has been replaced by much newer models to make up the MMC fleet and it was touching to see a few venerable jalopies on this meet. Nick’s trusty and dented Focus was out-bangered by Anna’s Polo (with a hole in it) and that is before we even get to Juan’s ante-deluvial van.
A positively sparkling morning dawned and all the climbers eventually convened at Robin Proctor’s Scar (not to be confused with Robin Mitton’s Car) for some sport cragging. This is a smallish venue in a beautiful setting between the villages of Austwick and Clapham the views were spectacular and the only downside was that we could see a steady trickle of climbers coming to join us throughout the day. There are around 20 and eventually it was quite crowded but since we were by far the largest group there we cannot complain.
What to say about the climbing? Well loads of routes were done by Nick, Gosia, Rebecca, Julia, Cia, Chuck, Michael, Anna, Beatriz and Juan and eventually it was only the encroaching gloaming that drove everyone away. Nick started lustily up what he thought was a 6a but turned out to be a 6b+ which he eventually overcame with a flurry of effing and blinding. Anna too graunched her way up a 6b as a new personal best and was so taken with the crag that she wanted to return on Sunday. The high spot surely must have been Juan crisply sending a 7a+ towards the end of the day. In fact Juan seems to do everything with such competency and seeming lack of effort he could almost be the new Andy Etheridge, high praise indeed as those who know Andy will agree. Not so Rebecca who managed to leave her shoes behind at the crag.
Caroline (who had arrived by train and bike) and Margaret went walking but eventually everyone made their way to the New Inn in Clapham for a nosebag and a bit of a wet.
Sunday was another decent day though not quite as good as Saturday. Michael who had bought three boxes of eggs in Clapham the previous day (why?) was seen cooking up the most enormous dish of scrambled eggs on a hexamine burner. Meanwhile Julia and Cia were set up their cooking activities on the one track in the field for reason best known to themselves (we have photographic evidence). The climbers who could not be separated all went off to Brimham for some trad grit action as contrasted to the limestone sport the previous day. Juan outshone everyone there by climbing a an E1 (which is extra tough on Yorkshire gritstone it is notoriously undergraded) while the rest of the team had great fun on a variety of slabby routes.
And so the last camping meet of the year drew to close and what a worthwhile meet it was, everyone had a great time, except perhaps Anna who’s car blew its head gasket just outside of London on the way back.