For those aging Sheffieldites brought up on 70’s and 80’s grit, MOAC’s and Whillans harnesses and now at home nursing their worn out knees, ankles, legs and hips, Horseshoe Quarry is an enigma, an esoteric and very large ex Tarmac quarry situated half way up Stoney Dale. You must have driven through the Dale on a nice day and wondered what all the cars were parked for – well now you know. Equipped with bolts for sports climbing and on two tiers, steep and tall – not for those just branching out from Birchens diffs!

Ed Samp was there first, waving to us like an enticing mermaid from the Upper Tier, so we scrambled up to join him. He and Mike went off for some hard routes whilst Rob took me up a 4+. Syd and I would climb those all day at the climbing wall, but here it was something different. George and Syd arrived to confirm from their older guide books that it was indeed a HVS 5a in old grades! This was George’s first time here, apart from last winter’s nightime and floodlit SRT practice when bodies were plummeting all over, so with some trepidation he tied onto the rope which was threaded through the lower off and was rightly chuffed when he eventually topped out. Meanwhile, Rob abandoned me and went off with Syd to climb a couple of routes just off a tatty looking via ferrata.

Rick appeared clutching his cracked rib caused by a rough and tumble with his 3 year old, with apologies of not being able to climb, or indeed not for the next few weeks, having looked at the programme. The gloom was appearing gloomier with the mist and the resident Barn Owl was seen just as Ed tried to emulate it by doing a flyer, but ably prevented from decking it by Mike (the BMC bolts are holding then!).

A figure appeared like a wraith from the gloom and mist. Was it the President finding his flock to encourage them and afterwards buy them all a drink in the Moon? No, it was Griff on his first outing, but too late to tie on an offered rope. It wasn’t long before we headed off, so if the President did come out then he is still up there somewhere, with only the Barn Owl for company.

Rumours have been circulating that a Repton based member has been going out to southern limestone by himself – commendable, but only permitted if he was to write up his exploits, particularly if they were near death.…Incidentally, has anyone recently climbed the 1890’s Puttrell route, Brown Crack, on Gardoms? If not, or like me, not since the 80’s, then you will be in for a shock – sandbagging at its most masochistic! V Diff? You must be joking!