HRFC Christmas/New Year Walk and Climb

HRFC Christmas/New Year Walk and Climb

This traditional event which, over the past few years, has seen varying numbers of participants was scheduled for Sunday 30th Dec. However, I think the wind and rain over the preceding days put some off. Still, a small but select band gathered at Bowles, on what turned out to be a pleasant morning. Inspection of the rock reflected the fact that trying to climb on lichen covered sandstone with streams of running water would not be much fun, so it was decided that the entire party would walk instead.

A relatively short stroll starting and finishing at the Boarshead Inn was selected, and although some mud was encountered nobody got too plastered. A drink and snack in the pub rounded off a pleasant morning.

During the walk it was interesting to reflect that this now well established club festive season activity originated in what at the time was referred to as the “Winter Silly Climb”. This consisted of trying to make ascents of things and places that perhaps one should not. These have included such exploits as ice axe and crampon climbs on some of the shorter faces of Beachy Head, an extremely mucky activity, with shards of chalk finding there way inside your clothing and boots no matter how well done up.

Another year involved an ascent of the outer face of a MartelloTower. This was tackled as a lead climb, placing protection in the gaps between the bricks where the mortar had long since disappeared. One looked at it, and just knew that if you fell on it, the placements would almost certainly fail, giving up to a 30ft fall onto shingle.

The event that sticks most in the mind however, was a top rope attempt on the twin cracks on the left wall of the East Hill lift cutting. These can be easily seen from Rock-a-Nore Road. This particular escapade eventually resulted in a pair of climbers dangling on a rope attached only to the hand rail of the steps up the hill, owing to a broken hold and a collapsed stance. All this was compounded by the threat of arrest for trespass by the lift operator who arrived unexpectedly while this was going on. Our support team at this point wisely denied all knowledge of who we were. A hasty departure to a café in rock boots and harnesses ( We dared not return to the cars for fear of being recognised.) for a full English breakfast rounded off the morning.

We knew how to have fun in those days!!, However I could not in all conscience recommend anyone try any of the above. The current Christmas activities are much more sedate.


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