These days are those where the light is good, the shadows long and the leaves not yet mulch. Rustling around between boulders, bantering with friends and actually succeeding on things. Feels good to be good at something. Going for a pint afterwards, scranning down crisps and eyeing the pork scratchings guiltily over the bar. The stings of the shower on fresh grit rash. Sigh. Its a good feeling as you slump into the sofa, tired but happy at the end of this perfect gritstone autumn day.
People I have spoken to since seem incredulous that I could never have climbed at Rowtor, but I hadn't. Been for a walk, and been for lunch in the Druid, but never actually pulled on there. Armed with a selection of top three's from friends, I drove out to meet Dr Folog, Rupert, Sarah and mini-Rupert. The common factor in everyone's recommendation was yoghurt hypnotist, so that's where we started.
Its an amazing place, Rowtor. Carved in the late 80's by a travelling hippy commune, temporarily kettled there by angry middle class villagers. There are caves, armchairs and drainpipes all carved out of the stone. Its a cool place for a wander around if nothing else.
Yoghurt Hypnolog climbs a hanging rib beneath one such drainpipe, and whilst it climbs brilliantly, its a tiny bit elimanate as you could lurch to the drainpipe and avoid the difficulty. Can't remember the last time I actually did anything, so bouncing around excitedly having done it, I turn my attention to the off width on the right hand side. I am PWhiddy! I think to myself as I slide my leg into an overhead leg bar (bet they would have an actual phrase for such a move) and hang sans hands from it. Rupert is tired and cross, as he does all the hard bit of Yogalog and then fails on the mantle. James does the same. Baby Ru and Sarah play with leaves. I go to look at blood falls.
Collect original team and wander off to Quine, and who should peer through the undergrowth than king of the geometries himself - Ms Lisa Anderson. Actually in the Peak district, and apparently climbing! oh, how having a lady friend has tempered this once virile firebrand - once was the time when he would have been glued to the board, fingers thrust into the shallowest of mono pockets, his girth dangling limply beneath him, but not now, no. Another great problem, get close but don't actually do it, then Lee leaves us and we move to domes.
At first we have no concept of what is required, ultimately having to resort to looking at the picture in the guidebook, but that's no help, as it just has a picture of the Lord Wormsdale half way through the sitter. Eventually Rupert unlocks the sequence with what I can only describe as 'concept levitation'. I cannot compute the move at all, but eventually it yields to a wild slap. We try the sitter and conclude its very hard. The day is nearly over, we are all flagging and the dusk is drawing near. Nip to Short Sean's reachy roof, and the fatigue is clear in the honourable Mr Davies who looks beaten. We look briefly at that mantle thing which we all fail on, and finish on Blood Falls. Then the pub. Ahh the pub. Lovely. Its dark when we leave and I am late home. Great day.