So, another year gone by, and what a year it has been - clean ups, new routes, lots of climbing and yeah, something about a new guide book.
While this is just a short account of some of areas of interest in 2016, it would be remiss of me not to include the clean-up in Wilton1 Allotment area in early November 2015. A rather miserable day, it rained most of the time, but massive improvements were made - a new trench dug, paths cleared, trees removed, followed by a few beers and chip butties in the Wilton Arms.
In late February, Nick Bamber’s Darwen Mountain Film Festival was hosted in the Belmont Bull. It was a cracking night with lots of photos and films from local climbers, but the highlight was the premiere of Rick Ginns’ ‘Resurrection’. This is a film all about the rebirth of Wilton 4. It can be found on BMCTV.
In early March, Robin and I thought it would be good to clean up Cadshaw Small Quarry, so we quickly arranged another event and were quite surprised at how many turned up. Some improvements were made to the lower tier, but most of the day was spent clearing the upper tier. A new problem was added that day, but most were completed a week or two afterwards, from 4+ to 7a. These new problems (and more) can be found on Robin’s website.
Late April we were back at the Allotment in Wilton 1. As all the ground work had already been completed, this time we started to clean up the routes. Several lines were cleaned in readiness for the summer, from VS to E5. It’s an often neglected area of Wilton 1, but if any of you have lines on your tick list here, now is the time to get on them.
Next was Egerton, Geoff and Adam’s favourite crag. In June we headed on down to the crag and were welcomed by a horde of volunteers all armed to the teeth with gardening tools. Les, Dave and Gordon Mason had been visiting the crag for some weeks now. They had been working on path improvement, including creating some new ones and cleaning all around the Phantom Area. So we cleaned up Red Wall (top, bottom and some of the routes) while Geoff Hibbert took his posse to clean all balsam from the bottom of Lonely Wall area. Once cleared, Robin discovered a new boulder that needed to be dug out, so he started to work on that, while Les and Cronni removed vegetation from around The Pinnacle.
The 3rd of September will be a date many us will remember as being the one of the wettest, however the fourth annual WiltonFest was still a huge success. Nearly 200 people turned up, we had master classes with Sam Percival and Caff’s mate (sorry, forgot your name). Olivia Ratcliffe was offering massages, we also had stands from CAC, Crusher Holds, Cockerel Books, Bolton Mountain Rescue and of course, the BMC. Despite the wetness, some climbing still got done - Peter Cheakley climbed The Undercut (at last) before the rains came, Dave Mann and crew top roped Gigantic, Robin’s band of merry men and women bouldered in Wilton 1, but the most impressive ascent for me was (by persons, unknown to me) Falling Crack, in the pouring rain. The day followed with the usual amounts of flowing beer, accompanied with a BBQ and a raffle, with all the proceeds going towards CAC and Bolton Mountain Rescue. Of course, we should not forget Mark Leach’s slide show, an excellent performance from one of the legends of not just Lancashire, but of the UK. The 3rd also marked the day for some new book or something, I’ll not go on about it, as we all know what it is, but it’s worth buying if only for the pictures of me. Massive thanks to all involved, including all the sponsors, and a particular special thanks for Nick Bond, who while feeling a tad under the weather, still carried on regardless. Rick’s film of the event can be found here.
Early October we returned to Egerton. Some of us had already made several more visits back there to clean up routes and do more digging, however this time we just concentrated on cleaning more routes around the Cherry Bomb area and Red Wall. Most of this crag is now clean. I should also mention it is now one the fastest drying crags we have around here, and worthy of being a good winter venue.
So, what does 2017 have in store for us? On the 28th of this month we have another DMFF, with slides from yours truly, Nick Bamber and John Proctor. We have another clean-up planned in June, this time at Troy quarry, North walls and neglected routes. And of course, the Wilton Fest on the 2nd September.
The Access and Conservation Trust
The BMC's charity – the BMC Access & Conservation Trust – promotes sustainable access to cliffs, mountains and open countryside by facilitating education and conservation projects across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
By educating climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to enjoy outdoor recreation while minimising their impact on the landscape, conserving the UK’s upland resources, and campaigning for improved access rights, ACT enables future generations to continue to enjoy outdoor activities and the physical, mental and social benefits they bring to individual lives and society in general.
WATCH: the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million campaign film