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Monday, 8 April 2019

Well before Del Boy's Chandelier Escapade!

Monkey Wall, Burbage North

It was only when I was standing beneath the route on Friday evening, just by, that it all came back to me in a flood of dread and a smile.
For a number of years, in the 80's, I used to visit the Grit of The Peak with a dear friend of many, Geordie Skelton. He was a respected long-standing member of Ochils MC and great company and on this occasion we were alone. Geordie's log-book and detailed knowledge of climbs here, as with many UK and Alpine venues, was encyclopedic; which was especially useful on dubious and very dubious days of off-putting weather as then.
The weather has been playing us around tempting us without much luck. But after two days, we relented and a quick trip to Burbage North was suggested in advance of more incoming rain.
Rock shoes wiped and wiped again, fingers smeared down damp clothing and routes were spiritedly soloed whilst in site of each other; latterly on separate buttresses.
On finishing my route, I topped out to hear booming from the increasing gloom and intensifying drizzle, "Andy! Rope!"
I had one on my back as we thought we might even get a roped climb done, so I called out to Geordie and noting where his call came from, uncoiled and anchored the rope, attached a krab and gently sent it down the crag......
"Wrong route!" or something more expressive echoed among the edges.
I'd only lowered the rope on an adjacent set of climbs and whilst Geordie could see the krab destined for his harness, it was sorely out of reach.
The drizzle was making the sloping gritstone ever more greasy and the seriousness in Geordie's calls was heart stopping.
How he managed to remain on the rock and how I managed to retain my head on my shoulders beggars belief.
With our tails between our legs we slopped back to my car, changed and went to Gridleford cafe for their infamous 'sandwiches' - huge stottie rolls filled with as many items as you could wish.
How is could have done with Geordie lowering a rope to me on this trip is another story!
(It is highly possible that instead of Monkey Wall, Geordie and I were on '....and Son' & 'Little Plum' respectively)

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