A Peakland perambulation
Fine weather, experienced while tethered to our places of work can brighten our mood and make our daily toil more sufferable, though when the weekend comes and brings with it biblical deluges the mental well being of all hill devotees plummets like a v-differ on an E1! And so it has been for a while. All work and no play makes Nick a grumpy bastard.
This weekend the cabin fever became unbearable and bored with kicking lumps out of each other we decided to brave the rain, resigned to a soaking but in dire need of exercise. On the A14 monsoon conditions were enjoyed with the M6 resembling the Manchester ship canal. Though unspoken our thoughts were in unison…”What is the point”? However, upon junction 27 a strange thing did happen. Away to the north and east a patch of sky in an extravagant shade of blue imbued in us that blind optimism peculiar to those who derive their pleasure and seek solace in our wonderful natural heritage.
We were bound for Stanage Edge with a view to traversing the escarpment as you sometimes do in inclement weather. Still, I packed a sack full of climbing gear just in case and even if it remained unused it would be good for the old fitness to drag it around all day.
Come Hathersage things were really looking up and the dry stone walls were dry, a sure sign that I was going enjoy the gritstone orgy my heart so dearly yearned for. Lucie had other plans and vetoed any climbing. We were “getting fat and a walk would do us good”. Apparently it was also too cold to climb! Well, that was me told! It is at times such as this that one can do well to remind himself of his blessings rather than dwell on what he has not. In truth, I should have been ecstatic. The light was set for a great photography session, the keen breeze was bound to rid us of any cobwebs and the sheer beauty of the Peak would surely banish any hint of urban depression though the sight and sounds of climbers at the popular end did little to convince me of my good fortune. “Never mind” I was once more assured, “A walk will do us good”.
And do you know what? It did! We made a tour of the many areas, recced future climbs, watched pebble wrestlers at the plantation and strode purposefully on all the way to High Neb where at last good sense was acted upon. “If you won’t belay me I’m going to solo some routes”. Never one to miss out on the fun, Lucie demanded that I should “get the rope out then”!
We did Tango Crack, after which I was entirely satisfied, declaring that there would be no more climbing today. Funny how things turn out really as Lucie was now in the mood for a few more routes. Unusually I stood my ground, the light was by then far too good to be messing about on rocks and I got to work securing the photos that would make me world famous, rich and more probably neither. During our return leg I mused on how an addiction to climbing can sometimes get in the way of the most important thing, which is simply getting out there and soaking up the goodness that abounds in our precious uplands, a valuable lesson relearned. “Now then, when do I next get to go climbing”!