Grit your teeth and climb the Gritstone!

Peak District Rock Climbing 2nd – 5th May

Cdt Claudia Ruffini

On the Friday 2nd of May 16 Cadets, NCOs and staff assembled at the squadron ready to set off to the Peak District for a 3 day weekend of Rock Climbing. Kit and luggage was all tightly packed onto the minibus before we departed and so the journey began. The drive took no more than 3 hours and on our arrival we were managed to successfully fumble in the dark with poles, pegs and sheets in order to put up the various camping tents.

The following morning we woke early to avoid other climbers and to ensure we found a good place to climb. This was a good idea because an hour or so after we set up the ropes and harnesses, other climbers began to swarm the area. On the Saturday we managed to get a full day of Rock Climbing on the grit stone while the weather was decent and the rock dry.

While the more experienced members of the group tackled harder routes and improved their climbing skills, first time rock climbers learnt knew skills such as jamming and smearing and the general technique of climbing and belaying. I can say from experience that these techniques aren’t hard at all to pick up and that it’s great fun to explore challenging routes and it’s important not to give up.

On Sunday, we got a good morning’s rock climbing out of the day but unfortunately the weather failed around mid day and as it’s incredibly tricky to climb on wet rocks, we were forced to pack up and head into the village instead. Nevertheless everyone was given the opportunity to try some great routes improve their technique. The village was small with few shops but this didn’t stop us from enjoying the free time to relax, buy food or climbing gear.

The camping experience was better than expected; the breakfast bar was particularly good, serving hot drinks and full English breakfasts. Pub dinners were conveniently just around the corner and food wasn’t too expensive either. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to get any climbing done on Bank Holiday Monday because it rained for most of the night so without further ado we headed back to the squadron. Overall the trip was great fun and I’m sure it was enjoyed thoroughly by all those who came. Thanks to all the staff that helped with the organising and coaching of the trip.