21st January 2018

With John Eastwood unable to lead the walkers, Syd was co-opted. With a poor weather forecast for snow and then turning to rain, only five walkers met by Ladybower Reservoir.

Snowflakes began falling as we set off to Cutthroat Bridge, then up the shooting track to Jarvis Clough. The ground was frozen with a dusting of snow and picking our way across Moscar Moor to Stanage Crow Chin was hard going due to the snow lying over heather and bracken. Along a very misty Stanage, the snow was almost horizontal into our faces, before slithering down to the Plantation with several fallers, and the Bamford track across the minor road.

Lunch was taken in a sheltered hollow in the trees before a devious route down to and across Bamford golf course. Up the road to Bamford Mill where a quick paddle across the overflowing spillway took us across the footbridge over the river. Thornhill Trail to Ladybower and the walk along the road took us back to the cars, just before the heavy rain!

The cavers decided against P8 due to the folding risk, so stayed in Stoney Dale and did the Upper Entrance to Streaks Pot and the West Choke before exiting the same way as there was too much water flowing. Followed by Yoga Pot.

Tea at the hut around 6pm taken by 12 folks.

18th February 2018

The cave and walk leaders joined forces, the cave leader confident that the younger cavers would be able to cope without him. So the party started off with a devious route up the Dale via Stoney crags, past Carlswark and along the narrow climbers traverse to the Eyam road, all of which some members had not yet seen. Then immediately on entering Cucklet Delph, we followed an indistinct and slippery track up to the base of Stoney West Crags – which most members had not seen. Then a scramble up the steep path to arrive on the traversing path to Horseshoe Quarry – which some of the members had also not seen. An impressive path took us round the right edge, then we followed the green fields to Foolow, and a lunch break and a cup of tea, courtesy of the Foolow church. Passing the now filled in site of the massive sink hole that appeared a few years ago, we stopped for a beer at the Barrel. Time was getting on, so we headed down to Stoke Ford, then the very muddy traversing path to the lane above Leadmill Bridge. Here the party split – three went off to sample the even muddier delights of the river path, whilst the others took the little lane up and along. Later the party split again, most up onto Eyam Moor, then down to Eyam and back, whilst the principle Walk Leader and a faithful companion, took what they thought would be a quicker route (conscious of the urgency to cook) by sticking to the lanes, but as it turned out they arrived back only minutes before the Eyam group, but satisfied they weren’t as muddy as the later riverside trio.

The cavers had a lie in and headed over to Knotlow at midday. They entered Hillocks and using Meccano Passage, squeezed into Knotlow. They then exited by the pre rigged Engine Shaft.

Tea was at the hut, with a good group of 17.

9th - 11th March 2018

Once again a pleasant, warm comfortable hut, made even better by being the only ones there. Jonathan (assisted by Chris) made every one welcome and amused us all with catering and cooking misfortunes (for example the green beans being cooked with no water and the pudding heated with cling film attached – both instances rescued by Rachel). To cap it all, the leader headed back to London leaving behind his jacket and several items of clothing!

The three cavers had a very technical descent of Rowten Pot on Saturday and Ireby Fell Cavern (last descended by the Club in 1985) on Sunday – both classic Yorkshire Pots.

The Saturday weather, being generally damp, misty and later wetter, persuaded the walkers to complete a lower level walk from Clapham over and through the Pavements, the party splitting into two and later into three, as the majority had a beer in the Game Cock in Austwick. About 12 miles with much mud and slippery limestone. Sunday was a better day, although a cold wind higher up. David, Syd and Geoff went up Inglebough; Lionel, Richard and Mike somewhere over to Ribblehead, whilst Rachel and Chris did a part repeat of yesterday’s walk, with Chris hopefully catching his 4pm train from Clapham back to Bristol.

6th - 8th April 2018

The above leaders were 3rd hand, the role changing in rapid succession. In the end Griff catered marvellously, with Lionel adding his little touches. The Peppits stopped off at Trowbarrow on the Friday afternoon, Mike & Rob completing two routes before  heading off to Coniston and the Black Bull, downing some ale and a pizza and coming across David before tackling the long drive up to the hut. The forecast was not brilliant, drizzle was imminent, so it was with some surprise to find the rain didn’t appear until late Saturday morning. Martin arrived late, having driven up from London, and the Shawcross trio even later arriving the wrong side of midnight. The Peppits, having stopped off at the Stoney hut for some ropes also picked up a store of logs. Tony was gleefully soon feeding the fire!

On Saturday, Martin went off for a mountain bike ride, sampling some wooded routes, pubs and tea places. Tony pottered about, presumably looking for more wood, whilst Griff took his role seriously and headed off to Booths for some more provisions, mainly beer. Richard, Lionel and Axel had a good day walking across to the Walna Scar Road and descending to Torver, returning by the lakeside path.

No Report

14th - 17th June 2018

The weather was reasonable (considering it was Scotland); the midges certainly restricted; Food and company excellent and hut cosy. An excellent weekend, enjoyed by a limited group. Sunday saw a mass drive home, (due to the weather or hangovers or plane timetables) except for Syd who went up Schieallion as an after thought and arrived home very late.

Walkers: Friday: The Monadh Liath range of mountains was a suggestion, and a horseshoe route going over the Munros Geal Charn and Carn Dearg was the aim. Peppit senior, having previously ticked off one of them, decided just to go for Carn Dearg, and for that he had R Harris and M Clowes for company. Leaving the car park a couple miles above Newtonmore, it proved to be a long day in wild country, whilst the others (C Goulden, J Hood, S Goodier and J Vessey) had an even longer day in wilder country.

15th July 2018

Climbers: With settled weather, the choice was Kinder Northern Edges and the four who arrived at the layby below the Snake Inn, did just that. New to three of them, there were exclamations of “Why do we go abroad?” with the fine weather and clear views. It was extremely hot, and sweating our way up the Fairbrook shoulder, we arrived at the Naze with Misty Wall VS 4c in some minds. It was in full sun and the rock was hot, but the route was ably led by Mike, followed by three seconds, before moving onto the Northern (Ashop) Edge to get some shade. The classic Legacy HVS 5a on Big Brother Buttress was again led by Mike, with others following. One or two easier routes followed before finishing on Dunsiname VS 4c. At least 8 stars collected for the routes, according to my ‘older’ guide book. I retired at this point to return to the car and Stoney catering. Rob, Mike and Jon meanwhile, walked along the rest of the Northern Edge, before dropping into Ashop Clough, where they found a warm swimmable pool for a dip, before the hot path back.

A welcome brew, a free beer or two (c/o the June Scottish meet) and the meal outside, John’s idea, followed. Altogether a good day.

The walkers Martin and John (Phil not showing) caught the train to Chinley and walked back to Hope Station, 14 miles. Hugh and Mike J had a short walk by the river.

15th July 2018

My first DPC meet in quite a few years began on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning in the middle of July. It was an excellent sign that my life was finally being returned to me after a decade of it being hijacked by the clinging, whinging and whining of needy little clones of the worse half of my wife’s genes. OK, so half of their genes might have had something to do with me too. Now my half of my children’s genes have begun to express themselves, the children have become little darlings: able to engage in polite conversation over a coffee and fully trained to say “yes Daddy, that is very funny” when they recognise my little witticisms. There is just the chance, I have to admit, that there might be some sarcasm gene expressing itself – something I may need to keep an eye on, for a spot of eugenics. Better than them becoming interesting company, family are now happy to have them foisted upon them, allowing me to enter back into the rocky wilds.
We met in the layby just to the Sheffield side of the Snake Inn. “Did you know that the Snake Pass was actually named after the pub and the pub was named after the Cavendish symbol?” Mike said; alas that was to be his first and final interesting Derbyshire fact for the day. He, Rob, Syd and I strode off into the wood and hiked up towards the intimidating range of rocks in the far distance. For each of the past twenty years, Geoff has told me, admiringly, “Syd – isn’t he doing well, seventy-four he is!” So Syd, the man to remain seventy-four for over twenty years; Rob, with his impressively Northern flat cap (currently no whippet); Mike, with his cool skiing instructor persona and matching T-Shirt so florescent it looked like something pulled from the wreckage of Chernobyl; and me, a not particularly fit person that is fairly scared of heights, set off like some bizarre remake of “Last of the Summer Wine” sponsored by Decathlon’s clothing range, to scale some rocks.

19th August 2018

The annual Hut Maintenance meet lead by Richard Harris (Hut Bookings Secretary) and Lionel Stout (Hut Warden) was attended by the usual reliable crew of Chatburn, Crowther, Eastwood, Armin, Griffiths, Goodier, Peppit (Senior) and were honoured by the presence of our President, Martin Clowes who set to enthusiastically with the promise that the day could be concluded by a short walk. Johnson sent his apologies, problems back at base camp.

Having dispatched our President into the smallest room in the Hut to prepare for it’s redecoration little was seen of him for the remainder of the day.  Next door to him was Griffiths in the shower room who has taken over from Rod Brown as the chief sanitizer and scourer of this essential facility.

David Armin meanwhile was similarly engaged in a comprehensive cleaning of the kitchen after returning empty handed with Peppit Senior after a fruitless trip to Crowson’s forest to garner wood to replenish our diminishing wood stock.

The remainder of the team set to in chopping what wood was available and re-organising the wood store and generally giving the hut it’s annual clean and a number of minor DIY jobs were completed.

As usual the club owes a big thanks to all of them for their efforts and also for the behind the scenes work performed by Richard Harris in ensuring the bookings for the Hut, which now amount to almost 40 weekends a year, and underpin the Club’s financial stability.

There was a discussion as to whether the new beams in the living room should be dark stained or remain lightly stained.  Any input on this would be appreciated and perhaps it is a job for next year if dark staining is preferred.

The tasks are thankfully becoming less onerous due to the hard work put in by all concerned and a local walk taking in Eyam and Foolow was achieved before an excellent meal provided by Harris and Stout rounded off a very satisfactory day and were joined by our Club Secretary, Mike Travis, who gave his seal of approval to the work carried out.

14th - 17th September 2018

We have had a few meets at Skern since the first in 1984, but this might well be the last as Andy had sold up. We were welcomed by Russ initially and later by Andy, at a full and busy weekend. Later, after dinner, we and the late comers rendezvoused in The Beaver where plans were hatched for the morrows potential rib trip to Lundy. Some of us had been before, so consequently backed off so the first timers could make the trip. The weather was to deteriorate for the Sunday, so there was only one trip planned, although M Clowes, C Goulden and G Hughes made the later trip across on the ferry from Ifracombe, having less time on the island than the rib sailors.

Consequently, on the Saturday, the remaining climbers, G Peppit, S Goodier, G Sampson, E Sampson (who wasn’t well) and D Armin, found themselves at Baggy Point with the tide in.  It was thought an ascent of the classic Scrattling Crack might be on, but after abseiling down the slab it was found the base was sea washed. So David climbed the diff of ‘Moonshot’ on a top rope, whilst Syd led George and Ed up the slab severe of ‘Smile.’ After lunch, Ed decided to sleep in the grass and take more tablets whilst the others ambled over to the slab of Ben. A serious down climb took them to the base of the slab, and Syd led David (who by now was pushing his grade experience) and George up the pleasant route. Time was getting on, so we drove back to Skern, and prior to the dinner at 7 pm, on walking down to the Beaver saw the rib cross the Bar and enter safer waters from their adventurous trip.

On Sunday, whilst the main walking party were getting wet Hartland way, Andy, George, Martin P and Ed had a local walk walking Andy’s dog, which turned out longer than anticipated and trashed George’s feet. The dog enjoyed it. Martin C went home early Sunday

14th - 17th September 2018

Friday, Graham drove with Tony Crowther and Axel as passengers. On arrival at S L we met up with Richard Harris and went for a walk on the Burrows. The weather was sunny and clear and we could see Hartland Point and Baggy Point. As we were returning we met Sid, Geoff and David coming out.

Saturday was a pleasant sunny day. Our Friday foursome was joined by Lionel and Andy Milne.  Andy took us in his Discovery to the Tarr Steps by a scenic route culminating in driving through the ford.  We parked in the car park up the hill and walked down to the river (Barle). After looking at the Tarr Steps clapper bridge we set off up the wooded valley. A very pleasant walk. We saw some horses with riders splashing across. At a certain point Tony turned back to await our return.  We continued in  the valley of the Barle eventually leaving it to go north and then east onto high ground to reach Room Hill Road at the site of a disused quarry. We carried on along the road to the summit of Winsford Hill where we could see clearly in all directions including to Dunkery Hill, the highest point in Exmoor.  We looked at the tumulus and the horses and then left the road on the path to Higher Knaplock. We stopped for a leisurely lunch by the side of the path and afterwards continued down into the valley of the Barle, retracing our morning's footsteps, to the Tarr Steps Inn. Andy went back to his car to collect Tony while we sat with our drinks in front of the pub. We whiled away the time and finally descended to the Tarr Steps for a photo shoot.  Andy volunteered to take the pics but then co-opted the help of an obliging lady so that we could all be in the picture.  Andy then drove us to his home in South Molton where his wife, Innis, regaled us with tea and scones.  Pointing out a notorious speed camera on the way, Andy drove us back to Skern Lodge.

14th - 17th September 2018

Day 1

“Munch, munch, munch” could just about be made out above the sound of Dire Straits soothingly and reassuringly emanating from the speakers in Rob’s bright red T4 camper van. We were speeding down the M1, anticipating an exciting three days of sea cliff climbing on Lundy and Baggy Point. Only twenty miles of water stood between us and one of the top fifty climbs in the UK, which photographs told us stood proudly carved out of granite and towered some 450 feet above the sea and faced the most southern tip of Ireland. Dire Straits is absolutely mandatory for DPC trips away, at least when Rob is driving. At times, Rob requires less chilled out auditory encouragement to flatten the accelerator. As Rob, Mike, Ed and guest Ben were enjoying a surprisingly wide range of different crisp varieties that were kindly provided by Ed, we realised that we might not get to the Beaver Inn in Appledore before last orders. Bending, rather than breaking, with the mandatory Dire Straits jukeboxification, onto the sound system went a recording of Mark Knopfler’s car alarm – Teckno music, do they call it? Vegetarian Ben, was enjoying his packet of chicken flavoured crisps. Ed tried out the camper’s sleeping arrangements. Mike absorbed calories. I sat in the front and attended to small adjustments to the van seats, windows, vents, etc., where noises, imperceptible to most non-canines, were disturbing Rob from his driving. “Can you just move your seat back one click to stop that clunking noise? No, that’s two clicks, you’ll get a tapping noise; move it forward.” Mike then rested. I was starting to develop an idea of how Mike manages to achieve his rock climbing performances. The drive was largely uneventful, except for a small mistake by the navigator that led to us going through the M6 toll. What a ridiculous idea that road was.

17th September 2018

Following various adventures on the Saturday, either involving rough sea crossings to climb on Lundy; waiting for the tide to fall to access the cliffs at Baggy Point or walking across Exmoor to be fortified by cream teas chez Milne, about half the party elected to join a walk around Hartland Point on Sunday. The weather forecast was at best mixed, stronger winds being anticipated and a grey sky at breakfast time – the possibility of a second crossing to Lundy having been discounted. Interesting to note, at the first DPC meet at Skern Lodge back in 1984 a walk along the coast near to Hartland was also undertaken.

After some indecision as to who would walk or travel with whom, the party still departed Appledore before 9.30am. In Goodier’s car there was still some aspiration to climb, despite the rain drops evident on the windscreen. However, by the time the car park at Hartland Quay was reached the wind and rain was such that there was no question of climbing and the effort of carrying gear could be spared. The only question now was full waterproofs or just a cagoule? There were various solutions to this conundrum – although only Barnes solved this by wearing shorts. 

21st October 2018

A golden autumnal day saw 4 climbers walking up through the woods to Curbar. We started climbing around the Apollo Buttress area, tussling up various tough cracks so typical of Curbar before working our way along to Froggatt. Despite threatening, the rain never arrived and we managed about 13 routes between us, visiting some areas that none of us had climbed on before. Highlights were 'The Line', 'Cioch Buttress' and Jon losing a contact lens and falling off a descent route. A good day.

21st October 2018

The day was organised impeccably right from the start. John’s neighbour, the owner of an airport minibus taxi, transported us to the start at Chelmorton. And off we set. John’s retirement and gym regime had obviously paid dividends, as he even surprised himself by leading consistently from the front – at a nice pace. The route took us via the Waterloo (too early to stop), Priestcliffe, Litton Mill, Watercum Jolly (where the climbers reminisced about routes climbed long ago) and lunch in the sun at Cressbrook. Up passed Ravensdale, and then, before we realised it, passed the Peters Stone and therefore unable to ascend. The Three Horseshoes loomed out of the descending mist, and like an episode of The League of Gentlemen, we entered into a different world. Lurchers were noted ambling around in the dark and shouts were heard to “shut the door”; Seats by the fire were not to be touched on any account! We were directed into the next door room and the landlord Geoff (a character who couldn’t be invented) took his time lighting the fire. Tony Browne kindly bought the first round, whilst Jonathan bought the second, and consequently suffered the indignity of trying to pay by card. A lurcher came into our room, looked at us, then promptly peed on the floor. A lady came in, who always assists with the Sunday afternoon folk singing, and got into intense conversation with Easters, Graham and Syd, who began reliving his early Sheffield memories. Crowson appeared on his bike, and wearing not quite lycra, insisted on wearing his helmet throughout the duration. A young couple appeared, but no one saw them leave. Concern was raised that they might end up in a pie. Then it was time to leave. What a place – a time warp. Then back to the hut via Foolow and Eyam, on a glorious afternoon, to be greeted by Ann Marie’s magnificent repast. Controversy reigned whether it was 15 miles or 12. Syd as always said it was about 10.

16th - 18th November 2018

What a glorious weekend. The Gods organising the weather could not have done better. Peppit snr, Goodier, Eastwood, Clowes, Hood, Shawcross, Browne, Hughes, Armin and the guest, Vernon (who gave a passionate Senior Triathlete  lecture on the Friday evening) walked to Seathwaite and then the ascent to Styhead Tarn. A steady slog to the summit of Gable followed then lunch in the sun and away from the cool breeze. It was a case of spot and name the mountain, it being such a clear and brilliant day. Green Gable was next, then rather than drop down to the valley bottom, we kept the height and continued on over Brandreth to Honister, then down the road. On Sunday (an equally brilliant day) the party was depleted, many heading for home after the excesses of the Dinner. So Peppit snr, Goodier, Eastwood, Armin and Rachel Walker (who, most commendably, was camping and travelled the distance from Repton after school on the Saturday afternoon) took the cars to Scales and made a very breezy and cool ascent of Sharp Edge, to the magnificent summit of Blencathra. Rachel gave us all an interesting geology lecture of the surrounding countryside over lunch, in a suntrap on the descent.

16th December 2018

The cavers, on a grotty day and grottier and wetter evening, persevered with their unique candle lit equipment and eventually waded out to the top of the Dale and Layby Pot. Jon has promised one of his lengthy but readable stories.

The walkers arrived on a lovely, but fresh morning, to find the four cavers just finishing their bacon butties. The Leader, Bob, organised the food and after seasonal sloe gin, the walkers embarked on their ramble. Up, over and down to the Derwent and the bridge, then downstream to Calver.  The riverside path to Baslow was taken, with some evasive action to avoid a swampy area. Up then to Baslow Edge and the Eagle Stone, where Rob was the only person to don his rock shoes and climb to the top. Lunch was taken here. Baslow, Curbar, then Froggat Edges were traversed, with more bouldering from Rob, Mike and a little apprehensive Ben, whilst the others watched and admired the youthful gymnastics. Mike headed out down to solo the main crag, but soon reappeared finding it running in water. The Grouse was the turning point, and here the President bought all those present a drink, after Bob and Martin headed back to start cooking us all the dinner. On leaving the inn, the weather had deteriorated, and the walk down to Grindelford was colder and damper. The party split, the majority following the river path, with the four cavers later branching out to celebrate in the Miners at Eyam. A smaller party of three wanted a quick route back so followed tarmac using the closed Eyam road. The beef was calmly and magnificently cooked by Bob, with Hugh and Martin contributing. A good evening was had, terminating with the Travis Trophy, where the old and young (J Eastwood & M Peppit) clashed in the final with the senior member winning yet again.

16th December 2018

“You can come caving if you want. The cave has even been picked with you in mind!” said Rob. “We’re doing it by candle light and everyone will be frisked to make sure no one has a torch.” Whilst living in Sussex as a child, I could not begin to understand why people would want to climb rocks. It seemed utterly mad – a sort of masochistic form of suicide, or outrageous act of irresponsibility. I moved to Derbyshire, in my late twenties, and found I loved it. Caving was exactly the same; all except for loving it. It was about forty years ago that I last enjoyed crawling through muddy puddles. “How could you have let him do that?” my mother used to say when my father brought me home from one of his walks. If only he had known, he could have replied “it’s OK, there are actual clubs ‘op-north’ where real adults get together and crawl through muddy puddles. They even do it underground. The water is freezing cold and they love it!” I’m sure my mother would have been much more understanding as she scrapped the mud off me. The thing was that I did quite fancy this trip. I had been in the cave before and I had no recollection of it, which meant it couldn’t have been too much of an ordeal. It was Christmas and it would have been a shame to miss out on part of the DPC festivities. How scary could it be if we only needed candles to light the way? It would also be an opportunity to harvest material to write about with my shallow sense of humour.  

I said to Geoff the next day that I thought it was a shame Mike doesn’t write up more of the DPC meets and show off his highly entertaining English Degree skills. “Yes, he has a deeper sense of humour than you” Geoff replied. Thanks a lot for that Geoff. I’ve been trying to work out what a deep sense of humour means ever since. A quick Google brought up nine types of sense of humour and ‘deep’ wasn’t one of them. Indeed, in a survey for the Huffington Post, my favourite ‘word play’ was the most popular amongst ‘educated people’ (presumably: educated = deep?)

Right Jon…think deep humour…pressure on…got to write deeply…dig deep…no…can’t think of anything…better just recount what happened and see if anything deep comes to mind…