Climbing Recollections with The Pegasus Club
Climbers in the Pegasus Club 1950’s
The members who formed the Pegasus Club in the 1950’s showed a desire to escape from the city at every available opportunity to explore the open countryside around Nottingham and further afield in the United Kingdom. They then pushed the boundaries and expectations of most people of the era by arranging club holidays in Europe’s mountain regions thus expanding the weekend experience of walking and climbing onto bigger horizons. Europe then was an “exotic” place for a holiday. Arranging such a holiday required careful planning as it was more like an expedition into the unknown for most working class people. As there were few cars and no cheap air flights many holidays relied on public transport. It also required that climbing equipment and camping gear got carried on backs and it wasn’t lightweight like today!
Irrespective of skill level in those early days Pegasus members both male and female pursued a mixture of activities in the great outdoors on an equal footing. Mountaineering and rock climbing had always been in the realms of the better off but the post WW2 early members emerged simultaneously with access to mountains and crags being granted to the public. Access was given to places such as Stanage Edge in Derbyshire and then followed the inevitable lure of rock climbing. It’s not known if any of the women actually rock climbed but they certainly had a presence in the fell walking and scrambling scene.
Barbara’s recollections of the climbing scene in the 1960’s
The Overall Picture.
Legendary figures emerged such as Joe Brown and Don Whillans from ordinary working class backgrounds and inspired a whole host of rock climbers and mountaineers. Doug Scott of Everest fame came onto the Nottingham scene. Climbing clubs over Britain experienced an influx of new members and clubs like the Pegasus Club benefited from new, keen people addicted to the outdoors.
Thinking back to those days I am struck by several things.
I started rock climbing in 1963 whilst on a mountain walking holiday in North Wales with friends from our sixth form. Of course inevitably the group of girls met a group of lads who climbed in Llanberis Pass at every opportunity. Some were fanatical. It was there that I was introduced to actual rock climbing in Llanberis Pass. I’d been into mountain walking from a very early age. One of them, a lad called Phil Bagnall from Cheshire took me up the 180 ft. “Spiral Stairs" which was the trade route for beginners. I was hooked. It never occurred to me that my leader may not have been up to it. Luckily he was a steady competent climber, not a high flyer but took good care.
Then watching another climber who was nick named “Jesus” climb the really exposed “Cemetery Gates”, a 200ft extremely severe graded route with ease I went home much impressed with my Welsh holiday and joined our local club who with hindsight were really keen but not too safe! I survived.
I met up with the same lads we’d met in Wales again in Keswick and a group of us climbed on Shepherd’s Crag in Borrowdale and on another occasion in Great Langdale on the classic easier routes on Gimmer Crag like the Main Wall Climb of very difficult grade that I really enjoyed.
I was struck by the fact that there were not too many women anywhere on the climbing scene and those who were, were generally climbing with blokes who took the lead. I was quite happy seconding male climbers. In the early 1960’s the very idea of going off climbing was looked on with horror by most parents. My parents were fine about it as they in their youth in the 1930’s had pushed the boundaries in the cycling scene of the time. My mother had been risqué apparently wearing shorts to ride her bike! I was encouraged every step of the way.
I was also struck by the fact that wherever you went to climb there was always someone you recognised because truly in the early 1960’s rock climbing was a minority activity. Terry actually knew the lads that had first taken me climbing having crossed their path in Wales while out with the Pegasus Club and Nottingham Climber’s Club meets.
I did find out at about this time that there were women climbing and leading very close to the top standards of the day. Women who pushed their limits on the rock began to bring to the attention of other women that it was possible to climb just for the sheer “love” of it. Most people, even male climbers of the time couldn’t name these pioneering women climbers.
Gwen Moffatt author of ”Space Below My Feet” born in 1924 perhaps paved the way for those like me born in the 1940’s. To me it just seemed like a natural progression to move from mountain walking and scrambling into forays onto British crags. I worked my way from the easy stuff up through the grades but never reached the upper echelons. People start today on what we considered to be really hard climbs. Even then though there were exceptions. Women like Angela Soper for example began climbing in 1963 and by 1967 she was so supreme at her sport that she was asked to join The Pinnacle Club for women. Jill Lawrence similarly became well known while Christine Crawshaw was a leading climber in West Yorkshire. Women climbers by the late 1960’s were now beginning to share the sport with men although at my level I was content to second a route and not stick my neck out too far!
There were perhaps a few dozen climbing in the 1960’s who could out climb the average man and yet most climbing clubs did not allow women as members or would even let them into their huts and climbing cottages. Some skilled women climbers felt frustration at not being given credit for their climbing skills. Most men they met out on the crags made assumptions about what women were capable of doing both mentally and physically and expected them to second their leads. In actual fact many women were better at climbs requiring balance and delicate movement. Nottingham Climbers’ Club had “honorary” female members but no full membership. Jud (Tipping later Thompson) and Jan Scott (Doug Scott’s wife) were such members. Jud was also a Pegasus member.
It also struck me that the Pegasus Club when I joined in 1964 was unusual as it held women members in equal regard so long as they were willing to pull their weight. No one ever suggested otherwise. There again women around at the time in the Pegasus Club like Jud and myself expected to be treated as equals.
Women climbers in the 1960’s often encountered adverse reactions from men on the crags. At college in Matlock about 1966, I was fortunate enough to climb with an expert female climber Pat Taylor from Burnley who earned her place in the prestigious Climbers’ Club a little later in her climbing career. To be in that club you had to be voted in by other high flying climbers. I must say it was unusual to be able to find such a female partner to climb with. I climbed with her during the week sometimes and with Terry and the Pegasus lads at weekends. She could climb several grades above me. Pat showed a clean pair of heels to all of the college climbers.
One Wednesday afternoon Pat and I hitched to Froggatt Edge from Matlock College. Getting ready to lead me up a climb a bloke appeared and told Pat and me to get off the crag as they thought it was no place for women except they didn’t quite use those words! Pat was no retiring violet and replied with some very explicit phrases of her own. Remember at that time most men didn’t swear in front of females to start with. As she could burn most men climbers off on the crags she promptly crossed over to their climb and soloed to the top in front of them. They sloped off onto another part of the crag. She just confessed to me lately that this attitude sometimes led her into tricky climbing situations. Once in Llanberis Pass when climbing with another woman friend she got kicked in the shins by a bloke who wasn’t prepared to wait for his turn at the bottom of another climb. This kind of treatment has been reported by women climbing at the time. I never encountered it except for that time at Froggatt with Pat.
For me climbing wasn’t just a pastime or sport. It became a way of life when I met Terry. We didn’t necessarily need to do hard climbs and climbed well within our capabilities most of the time. Of course sometimes we very nearly came unstuck! Long mountain routes were the best. We had, as most of the Pegasus crowd had too, a quite humble life style. No one had much money or good equipment and we slept in barns, under trees and behind walls, in caves and under boulders or wild camped. The old Pegasus Hut at Peak Forest was a luxury!
Climbing Section Members
To anyone reading this, if I have missed you off the climbing articles please let me know. The 1960’s and early 1970’s is a long time ago! (email@example.com)
Barbara Wright (Lane)
Dave Lucas (Loubie N.Z.)
Judith Tipping (later Thompson)
The Pegasus Club Log Books
I have trawled through the logs of the club meets and as I expected the climbers were a dilatory bunch when it came to recording climbs and associated activities.
To be fair the climbing took place away from the Peak Forest hut where the log book “lived”.
Also to climb, unless you were daft enough to solo climb, you only needed a partner and your own equipment. Swift forays onto crags didn’t really need much planning when only two people were involved and climbers used their own equipment which was kept at home and not at the club store. Climbing guide books were also being published at this time as new crags and climbs were being recorded. Most climbers just ticked off the climbs in the margins of the guide books. Most of these climbs and meets recorded here I’ve compiled from annotated Climbing Guide Books and where possible with the actual Log Books. Many will be missing as this was a busy time to be mountaineering and climbing.
Climbers relied heavily on hitch hiking to get to the climbs so evening entertainment tended to be where you had been climbing. Motorists seemed pleased to stop and offer lifts if the rope was visible on the outside of the rucksack. Obviously hitch hiking was a doddle if two girls were at the road side.
Climbing venues were discussed at the regular Thursday evening meet at The Royal Children in Nottingham. Anyone who wanted to tag along to the crag could but it was mostly an informal arrangement and very much up to the individual as to how to get there.
There were, however, meets arranged on buses to North Wales, the Lakes and Scotland that did require a meets leader and proper planning.
I’ve taken the 1963 log as being a typical example and followed it up with a few later entries for 1964/1965. Climbing carried on well into the 1970’s.
The photographic record for these times is not marvellous. It was difficult to take photographs as cameras were cumbersome. And unless someone else on a parallel route had a camera, shots were fairly poor. I was ace at taking photographs of soles of climbing boots as they moved out and up above my view!
1963 April 20th
Birchen Edge, Baslow, meet.
Meet leader Jack Dempster, Tony Marshall, Terry Wright, Melvyn Batchford,
Alan Harrison, John Musson and C.Barron.
As was customary at the time most people climbed Trafalgar Wall and the other traditional routes and some would attempt harder routes listed in the guide book. Birchen was treated as a fun day out. Some good challenges without the seriousness of great heights.
1963 May 25th.
Dudwood Lane camping weekend.
Meet leader Jack Dempster, Pete Watkinson, Geoff Tyas, Linda Potter,
Tony Marshall, Derek and Jud Tipping, C Barron.
This was a mixture of walking and drinking with some climbing done on nearby rocks. (Robin Hood’s Stride possibly)
1963 May 31st.
Buttermere, Lake District.
Meet leader Jack Dempster, Pete Watkinson, Geoff Tyas, Linda Potter, Derek Tipping,
Colin Wildgoose, Alan Eaves, C Barron, Gren Blatherwick.
These Bank holiday weekends were camping trips and mainly mountain walking.
Note: The Buttermere meets lasted well into the 1970’s.
1963 July 20th.
Meet leader Jack Dempster, Terry Widdowson, C Barron, Gren Blatherwick.
1963 August 3rd.
Meet leader Pete Watkinson
1963 September 9th.
Meet leader Tony Marshall
1963 September 14th. (entries in Terry’s guidebook not the log)
Terry Wright and Tony Marshall climbed the following routes
“OM” a 30 ft. A1 pegging route as an exercise in piton work.
“Aux Bicylettes” 100ft. hard severe
“Tantalus” 130 ft. hard severe
“Fingal’s Flue” 110 ft. very difficult
“Frisco Bay” 135 ft. hard severe. It begins in a cave.
“The Golden Gate” 140 ft. severe
Very exposed climbing but described as “one of the classics of the new era”.
“The Glory Road” 120 ft. very severe.
The exposure is intimidating.
1963 October 12th (entries in Terry’s guidebook)
Aldery Cliff, Earl Sterndale
1963 October 13th
Linda Potter, Tony Marshall, Terry Wright
“Dargai Crack” 40ft. very difficult
“Scabby Buttress” 100ft.very difficult. Commented it was very loose.
1963 October 20th.
Aldery Edge, Earl Sterndale.
Tony Marshall, Terry Wright, Alan Harrison
“Carmen” 80ft. hard severe (and best route on the crag)
“Nettlerash” 60 ft. severe
They top roped a dangerous loose steep crack to finish as not recommended to climb otherwise.
Note in 2015 large rock falls occurred on this crag.
“Surface Plate” 120ft. hard severe
“Terrace Wall” 110 ft. severe
Cir Mhor in Glen Rosa on Isle of Arran, May 1967
Terry Wright and Barbara Lane (Wright)
We climbed “Caliban’s Creep” on Cir Mhor and I have never been so frightened anywhere (Except perhaps underground in Murder Rift in Mendip!).
Description in Guide Book 500ft. graded diff (difficult)
“An amusing route with some delightful situations”.
We found out then that there is a huge discrepancy between the grading of diff climbs in Wales or the Lakes which we always found to be a doddle even if it was a long route and the Scottish grading so we didn’t think Caliban’s Creep would be any different. Scottish grading was notoriously harder but we didn’t know this. This was probably more very difficult to severe when you took the exposure and strenuous bits into account.
The first pitch is delightful on some steep slabs but it is very exposed looking down on the valley. Then the fun began with a vengeance and once committed really the only way to go was forward and up.
Far from being “an amusing route” it was more like a remote and very dangerous route, after the first pitches with a 1000feet of exposure down a precipitous rock wall below a nasty chimney. The creep part is a crawl through a cave onto an exposed east face onto a traverse followed by a strenuous chimney.
The way off isn’t much better down a nasty gully.
The view from the summit of Cir Mhor was good and the relief was even better. It was a long walk back down Glen Rosa to the tent.
It was my 21st birthday!
WE DID NOT LIKE IT MUCH!
Some climbing memories in no particular order!
There may be many other Pegasus climbing stories and if that is the case then get them recorded for posterity. The following accounts are obviously from my own experiences. Barbara Wright with help from Terry Wright.
Terry remembers the first experiences he had with the club in about 1961.He’d been going out for a year or two with a mate into Derbyshire on the bus and on bikes and climbing alone at Black Rocks near Cromford. He’d got the bug and wanted to join a club to widen his horizons.
At work someone told him about The Pegasus Club.
He was given a black and white blurred photo of Pete Watkinson resplendent in a goon suit lying in a stream and he was to use this to recognise and introduce himself to Pete at the Thursday evening regular club meet in “The Royal Children” (The Kids) the following Thursday. Pete told him to meet the club at Peak Forest on the Saturday. No-one offered any directions or means to get there. Initiation test or what? Terry duly arrived and no one was there except June Watkinson. They’d all gone off caving.
Terry found himself among very keen people who did a mixture of walking, caving, cycling and climbing.
Pete Watkinson was looked up to by the younger members as he was experienced outdoors and was a good organiser. Terry’s first experience of North Wales climbing was in Llanberis Pass when a club trip was organised. Tony Marshall was already climbing at this time and Terry did several climbing routes with him.
Other early trips to North Wales included walks on Tryvan or Snowdon at all times of the year interspersed with rock climbing meets.
Dave Lucas (Loubie) climbed with Melvin Batchford at this time but later emigrated to New Zealand. The other Dave Lucas was a keen caver and sometimes climbed but losing his arm in an accident in 1968 prevented him from further climbing.
August 3rd 1963 (log)
Pete Watkinson arranged a Llanberis Pass meet. It’s in the log book with no report! I can’t report accurately about the climbing meet it was before my time and Terry can’t remember as it was one of many Wales trips from these years.
It was customary to sleep in William’s Barn in Ogwen or bivvy under the Cromlech Boulders at the side of the road in Llanberis Pass.
Rock climbing “took off” during the early 1960’s and it became a strong element of the Pegasus Club activities well into the 1970’s.
By this period the gritstone crags of Derbyshire were the first to be extensively explored by the Pegasus climbing section.
Stanage Edge was pre-eminent with a complete range of climbs to suit all experience.
Burbage Edge and Millstone Edge provided generally harder and strenuous routes whilst Curbar, Froggatt and Birchen Edges were easy to reach from Nottingham via Matlock by bus and these gritstone crags held something for everybody. At Birchens we usually slept in Ben Froggatt’s barn often sharing with other climbers and frequently the folk singing fraternity.
Gren Blatherwick, Bob and Maggie Proctor, Terry and Margaret Widdowson and their folky friends. The 1960’s folk revival was happening. We had some really good singing sessions in the evenings with people who later became famous like Annie Briggs, Andy Irvine. Jud sang professionally in a duo with Dave Brindley.
The Roaches and Hen Cloud on the Staffordshire border were mostly too hard and strenuous for Terry and me and there were crags aplenty nearer to home so we didn’t go there much.
Linda Potter seconded a few routes in about 1963 and 1964 with Tony Marshall and Terry Wright. Women were always welcome but few wanted to climb. By 1962/63 Tip and Jud (Derek and Judith Tipping) had arrived back on the scene from what seemed like exotic travels in Gibraltar and Spain. Tip featured in the climbing scene to some extent and Jud accompanied him. Jud did some climbing with Doug Scott and some of the Nottingham Climbers’ Club.
Bill Cheverst (Cherry Vest) burst upon the Pegasus climbing scene and instantly upped the standards of climbing considerably. Terry and Bill were flatmates in Nottingham. They climbed with Tony Marshall and anyone else around at the time doing the rounds of the Derbyshire crags, North Wales and the Lakes. Bill had climbing contacts with a Birmingham club. Nottingham Climbers’ Club held their Thursday meetings in the pub next door to The Kids (Royal Children) and often the Pegasus met the NCC at weekends for mountain walking and climbing. Doug Scott knew Jud very well and they are still good friends. Jud did editorial work reading, editing and typing the huge report Doug did on an expedition to the Tibesti Mountains in Chad. Terry climbed with him a few times but was generally frightened to death!
Terry went to the Dauphine Alps in France and the Dolomites in Italy with Bill, Jack Parker and a chap called Pat Harris in the summer 1963. Terry lost his rucksack down a glacier on The Meije in the French Alps and without much gear, hardly any food or money attempted to hitch hike home. Eventually he had to concede defeat and go to the British Embassy in Frankfurt, Germany for repatriation.
Standards of climbing improved and the number of climbing routes multiplied and by about 1964 when I met Bill Cheverst and then Terry, Terry introduced me into the Pegasus ways!
Attention was being given to the limestone crags of Derbyshire which at first had been considered too steep with too much loose rock.
I went to Matlock College because it had a good climbing club and was in a beautiful area. So did John Cooper and Pat Harris (known as Prof). The climbers at college all knew someone in the Pegasus or Nottingham Climber’s Club as the British climbing fraternity tended to bump into each other at the various crags. There really weren’t that many climbers in the country so it was inevitable that they met. To illustrate this small climbing world, Terry and I pitched our tent in a very busy Innsbruck camp site and when we emerged from the tent Bob Gallen and entourage from the Nottingham Climber’s Club were in the next two tents.
At that time one of the popular limestone crags was Stoney Middleton, the favourite haunt of the late John Cooper. John and I both went to Matlock College. John was strong and he could cope with the strenuous climbs at Stoney. I managed a few with John leading but Terry, Tony Marshall and Al Harrison climbed there on several occasions and also took me there. Melvin Batchford was a strong climber. Both Dave Lucas’s did a certain amount of rock climbing and so did Mick Cast.
I met Terry after walking 26 miles in October 1964 over Holme Moss, Bleaklow and Kinder Scout with Bill Cheverst and his Birmingham mates. Terry and Linda Potter turned up after we had got back to the tents in Edale. The next day I climbed with Bill on Millstone Edge which was quite daunting. The following weekend I started climbing with Terry on Wildcat Tor. He’d smashed his wrist on a motor bike and was climbing in plaster! Hence his nick name “Terry the Arm”. It was good for jamming in cracks!
High Tor was probably the most impressive crag and mostly beyond Terry’s and my capabilities. The easier less visible crags at Wildcat Tor and Willersley at Matlock Bath were among my favourites. Terry and I spent numerous occasions climbing on Wildcat with a variety of mates. It was customary to sleep in the caves under Wildcat. The police turned a blind eye to it as there was never any trouble. It was the time of Donovan of “Mellow Yellow” fame. Youths dressed like him in denim caps carrying bedrolls swamped touristy places like Matlock Bath at weekends emulating the carefree attitude that was the start of the hippie culture. This druggy, bedroll brigade found out about the caves and it completely spoilt our sleeping arrangements. The police could no longer turn a blind eye to it.
Miller’s Dale and Ravenstor were notoriously the hardest most ferocious crags in the whole Peak. Ravensdale had rock at a just slightly gentler angle which afforded some easier climbs. Terry and Bill climbed there. (See 1963.)
The Pegasus had many a club meet at Brassington camping below Rainster Rocks and bouldering on the low outcrops of Dolomite limestone which were quite strenuous and not too serious. Good fun and not far to fall. We “endured” evenings at The Gate drinking Pedigree which probably was the main attraction of Brassington meets for most.
During the week (evening meets) in about 1967 we sometimes went bouldering in Leicestershire with Tony Marshall and others on a golf course in Charnwood on ancient rocks of the Pre Cambrian age (600 million years old.) It was not too popular with the golfing fraternity as you can imagine.
The Lake District.
The Pegasus from very early times visited the Lake District on camping trips generally at Whitsuntide. Buttermere was generally the camping valley and we all mountain walked or climbed easy routes.
One weekend Bill Cheverst decided to climb a very hard route on Eagle Crag in Borrowdale and kept being thwarted by the difficulty which was unusual for him as he was so good. Neither Terry nor I would have been able to follow him up it anyway but along came Melvin Batchford in beat up boots split down the back. He was persuaded to try the lead for this climb and to do so he borrowed Terry’s boots which didn’t fit. In typical Melvin fashion he set off up the climb and somehow finessed his way up to the top. Afterwards he confessed to us that he didn’t dare stop or he would have fallen off “shit or bust” as it was really fierce and the only way was up! He’s never forgotten it.
On one winter meet in Wales (I can’t remember who was there) we were all walking along the ridge on Crib Goch, Snowdon when we saw a Brocken Spectre which was a weird thing to experience. As we waved our arms about the spectre loomed towards us in glowing light but Terry didn’t have time to get his camera out before it disappeared.
Now for the technical bit…photo taken from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brocken_spectre
It is apparently a greatly magnified shadow of the observer cast against a mist or cloud below the level of a summit ridge and surrounded by rainbow coloured fringes resulting from the diffraction of light. The sun must be at your back and there must be suspended droplets of water in the air. Sunlight enters the water droplets and reflects off and the light comes back towards the sun and the observer. The effect is an illusion. What I didn’t realise then was that even if you are in a group like we were you only see your own Brocken Spectre.
Legend has it that a climber in Germany whilst climbing on the Brocken Mountain saw the sudden appearance of a human figure looming in the mist with a ring of light around its head and was so frightened he fell to his death killed by his own shadow.
Whit holidays were spent in the 1970’s with a team going up the west coast of Scotland to Arran, Mull, Strontian and up to Cape Wrath meeting up with Nottingham Climber’s Club. The late Tim Lewis from Buxton, the editor of “The Climber” magazine, led a gullible Terry on the sea cliffs near Kinlochbervie. Tim insisted on climbing in wellies. We should have stuck to mountain walking and gone boozing with Torchy and co. Or had we been boozing first?
Terry and I usually tried to combine a long fairly easy rock route in the mountains ending in a scramble to a summit.
We sometimes went to Tremadoc in Wales where in those days you could drive your car right under the crag and climb out of the window onto a route! This was Bill Cheverst’s party piece. Climbing there he lost his glasses several times and once I remember us finding them swinging from a tree branch. Terry was forever retrieving Bill’s glasses and belongings from climbs.
In 1967/68 a new bunch of lads joined the Pegasus Club. Phil Passmore and Jim Wright (no relation), Bill ? preferred climbing to caving and this gave impetus to the climbing within the club as Phil proved to be a natural climber. He soon out climbed Terry who had introduced him to the rock. Phil and his friends carried on climbing well after they had left the club.
In 1971 we moved to Cumbria to climb and generally explore the region’s mountains. A lovely place to live. And a good climbing scene for us with a Windermere crowd but we visited Derbyshire on a regular basis.
There were various trips to France, Italy and Austria climbing and mountain walking over the years. On the Pic Coolidge in the Barre des Ecrins near La Berarde I suffered from altitude sickness and passed out on a glacier. For a while I couldn’t see and speak but Terry realised what was the matter and got me down to a lower spot where we spent the night. The next day I was fine but only reached the col below the summit. At about 11,000 feet.
La Berarde and St Girons in France were popular places for club holidays with a bit of everything to suit all tastes.
Terry Wright and Bill Cheverst did perhaps the most famous of all U.K. classic Alpine style snow and ice routes in Easter 1963 when they climbed Ben Nevis via Tower Ridge. Bill Cheverst had crampons but Terry didn’t. Terry and Bill went from the hut on Nevis and Terry led the climb on the iced up Douglas Boulder (a great big chunk of rock!). Then they abseiled down into a gully before climbing in snow and ice to the summit along the ridge. Bill led the snow sections as he was the one with the crampons but he kept losing them at various intervals as he had faulty bindings. Terry had to retrieve them each time. In the mist they caught up with some RAF lads who knew the way off thus saving a trip head first down a gully.
Tower Ridge with Bill Cheverst and Terry Wright done at Easter 1963 in snow.
Advice for climbers nowadays recommends that as this Alpine style ridge is complex it therefore requires full skills, careful planning and equipment for a mountaineering classic route. Climbers need a good crampon technique plus all the right winter equipment. “Crampon technique” see above!
One article I read describes the climbers as “Weekend Snow Warriors”. Bill might have liked that.
Bill Cheverst eventually lost his life on the descent after climbing the Matterhorn in 1968.
Tower Ridge Photo is copyright of Lee Harrison, Oslo. Norway. Thanking him and Hoping he dos'nt mind.
There was a club meet in Aviemore in Scotland, Christmas of 1968 I think it was. We intended to walk in the Cairngorms but it sleeted and the snow on Cairngorm was a patch of about 200 yards long with all the skiers crammed together on it.
Instead everybody went to the newly opened ice skating rink and had a wonderful if knackering time using muscles we never knew we had! I can’t remember who was there exactly. I know Janet and Barrie Parker were there. We travelled with Tip (Derek Tipping).
Sea Cliff Climbing, Cornwall
Terry Wright, Barbara Lane (Wright) Brian Royle and other climbers Spring 1966
We did all the classic routes on Bosigran and some of the photos are of Commando Ridge which starts in the sea.
Terry and I did some other routes after this. I remember being spat at by seabirds nesting on the cliffs and on most ledges where old nests were there were great big cockroaches!
I seconded Brian up a very severe in Sennan Cove which gives me really special memories.
Phil Passmore and friends also climbed on sea cliffs in about 1970.
Via Ferrata 1970
The Via delle Bocchetta is an epic traverse of the main Brenta Dolomite range in Northern Italy taking you through spectacular scenery along narrow ledges, some with cable hand holds, metal ladders and bridges. Usually it is done from hut to hut reached by cable car nowadays but being typically us, we slept out under the first ladder way on ice and rock after walking up from the valley bottom in Madonna di Campiglio. It ensured we had an early alpine start as it was so cold we couldn’t sleep. It is a superb traverse in the sense that you get all the adrenaline without too much danger from the huge exposure. We did an 18 hour continuous day missing the last cable car down. Most people these days can take up to four days to do it staying in quite luxurious huts.
The ladders and ledges were created by soldiers in WW1 when the area was a theatre of most cruel combat.
And then my rock and ice climbing days ended! February 1977.
At the top of a steep snow gully in Patterdale I managed to dislodge the snow cornice as I reached up to pull myself onto the top of High Street ridge.
The cornice snapped off and the rest is history as they say. Avalanche from the top of High Street to Hayes Water in one go about 600 feet all told.
Luckily Terry and a friend Paul had stopped for a fag as I shot past them! (Who says smoking is bad for you?) My crampons dug in and hit some boulders and I was catapulted onto the scree near the tarn. The points of my crampons were bent right back such was the impact.
In Whitehaven Hospital some women visitors thought Terry had beaten me up and my own mother walked straight past.
The newspaper reporter made a mystery out of it as Terry refused to talk to them. What a load of twaddle about me not wanting my class to be upset! They revelled in it as kids do.
Also luckily the Patterdale Mountain Rescue were in the valley and got to me quickly. RAF Boulmer came to the scene with a helicopter.
Terry and I went back the following winter into snow conditions but we didn’t go snow gully climbing again. We continued with some rock climbing and then concentrated on mountain walking.
Forty years on I’m still mountain walking although unfortunately Terry isn’t able to.
Nothing surpasses long days in the mountains.
Tony Marshall Remembers.
When asked to dredge up memories of his Pegasus climbing days Tony said this of a climb in Derbyshire.
“The only thing I remember vividly was a climb with Lucas (Dave Lucas not Loubie) on a crag whose name I have forgotten as with most things now!
The crag had a significant overhang that Dave had almost overcome and he was hanging directly above me when of course the peg came out. My memory then was of his arse rushing down upon me. So to avoid him being impaled on my head I had to hold him, which I bravely did.
I am not sure who was most shocked but we gave up for the day and surprisingly went to the pub!”
Cheg reminded me of the follow up tale to this misadventure.
The pub was the Ashford Arms, in Ashford- in- the- Water where the clientele were somewhat refined. The pub was full and gently buzzing with polite conversation when in burst the said duo. Dave duly regaled the Pegasus drinking team in glorious detail about their aborted mission with actions suitable for the stage. The lads then noticed that the whole pub had fallen quiet and everyone was hanging on his every word and gesture! When he got to the part where the top peg came out and he peeled off the overhang the entire clientele of the pub nearly shat themselves.