Call it a get together, call it a revival, call it a re-union. Call it what you will. Basically, it was great excuse to have a brilliant weekend out in Stoney Middleton with lots of old mates, names and faces as well numerous younger ones too.
Stoney Middleton is a small Derbyshire village more or less mid way between Manchester and Chesterfield, and not too far from Sheffield either. It was also once, for a relatively short period of time, the epicentre of British climbing where some of the most difficult climbs, and certainly those on limestone, of those days were being done.
To celebrate all things Stoney Middleton, the great Stoney Middleton get-together was held over the weekend of 11th and 12th September 2010 and was a resounding success. It was thouroughly enjoyed by all who attended.
It was the brain child of Phil Kelly, activist and the mover behind The RockArchivist Project, and Mick Ryan of UKClimbing.com. Additionally the event was sponsored by the BMC, UKClimbing and Wild Country.
Saturday started with a cooked breakfast at the cook tent below Prayer Wheel wall. In between bouts of rain people mixed in and climbed with whoever would give them a rope - and everyone did. In the late afternoon as arms gave out Phil Kelly provided a BBQ and an aging Steve Bancroft (photo below) showed everyone that he could still do Wee Doris as easily as he ever could.
Then it was to the Moon Inn for a long session of re-unions and warm story tellings. Where, like everyone else, Steve met up with his friend and one time climbing partner - the Stoney Middleton and gritstone master - John Allen for tales of what they did in their "youth". It was a very genial and friendly evening - as you'd expect.
After the pub, many people wanted to stay down the dale as in days of olde. Some slept in cars and vans, some in tents, and some brave souls re-enacting scenes from classic photos by sleeping on Windy Ledge.
Sunday was a better day in terms of weather and many people decided to grab a few classic climbs after another hearty breakfast at the food tent. Unfortunately one climber took a ground fall when his gear ripped out. Luckily, Edale Mountain Rescue team were in a nearby cafe and within 3 minutes there were 8 members of their team making a very speedy and efficient rescue. Well done team! Everyone wishes the climber a speedy recovery.
For those interested in the history of these things here is a small selection of the people that attended: Ian Lonsdale, Steve Bancroft, John Allen, Chris Addy, Claudia Dunn, Jim Reading, Dave Vose, Tim Lowe, John Stringfellow, Nick and Tom Bond, Paul Mitchell, Phil Burke, Rory Gregory, Brian Hall, Greg Rimmer, Neil Foster and Claire Reading, Keith Sharples, Bill Briggs, Loris Doyle, Al Barker, Pete Mead, Jim Curran, Dennis Gray, Terry and Gill Gifford, Mick Ward, John Loy, Geoff Birtles, Kath Procter, Jack Street, John Atkinson, Bernard and Jan Newman, John Beattie, Dominic Lee, Jerry Moffat, Craig Smith, Ben Moon, Quentin Fisher, Mark Leach, Martin Atkinson, Chris Gore, Graham Hoey, Chris Plant, Seb Grieve, Debbie Birch, Simon Lee, Bob Dearman, Al Phizacklea, James McCaffie ...and very many other people - probably about 100 people altogether over the weekend.
For the sponsors: in attendance were Rehan Siddiqui (BMC Vice President) and Nick Colton from the BMC. For UKClimbing, Mick Ryan and Alan James. For Wild Country Ritchie Patterson.
If nothing else the weekend will have helped to keep some of those classic climbs clean by being climbed. It also helped introduce younger climbers to a magnificent venue with some delightful climbs. It also provided an opportunity for climbers from across the generations to meet those who came before and those who came after their own era and share tales of what they did in a spirit of friendship and often mutual admiration.
Tales of Windy Ledge (part one) by Mick Ward on UKClimbing
The ledge is Narrower (Part two) by Mick Ward - written after the get-together.
More photos here on UKClimbing