2021 News

Black Rocks 'Deep Clean'

Nov '21 - Greg

Derwent Mountaineering Club (DMC) members ‘ascended’ on Black Rocks in force on the 14th of November, armed with slightly different gear to normal. Along with their climbing equipment, the DMC brought litter pickers, bin bags and cleaning rags ready for the annual ‘deep clean’.


Conveniently located near Cromford and with plentiful walks and climbing routes, Black Rocks is a popular landmark amongst locals and a tourist attraction for those visiting the Dales. Unfortunately, some visitors leave more than just footprints and a profuse amount of litter is thrown down the gritstone gullies. 


In total, the volunteers collected 21 bags of litter containing a mixture of beer bottles (mainly Budweiser) as well as cider tins (mostly fruity Strongbow) and of course the classic offender, single-use plastic bottles (Pepsi, bottled water, etc). 


Although the club collected fewer bags than the previous year (30 bags) and 2019 (24), there seemed to be a higher number of glass bottles thrown off the top of the rocks. We need better ways of educating people on the impacts that litter has on the environment and how to take care of our cherished National Parks. 


The 20 volunteers consisted of mainly club members along with 3 people from green peace, a local climbing guide and the ranger from Forrest England. 


We call it the ‘deep clean’ because it’s only us, a Mountaineering Club, who can get into ‘scrub’ the gullies as well of course as scouring the surrounding area.


Thank you to everyone who gave up half a day for this clean-up operation.

Hut Meets Have Resumed - Patterdale

Oct '21 - Gill

12 members enjoyed the delights of Patterdale and the surrounding hills staying at the lovely George Starkey Hut. A few of us climbed at Trowbarrow Quarry en route to the Lakes on the Friday with stunning blue skies and warm rock. 


The weather deteriorated slowly after that but we still climbed some more (Castle Rock) and enjoyed walks around Patterdale seeking out Red Squirrels whilst being haunted by the booming sound of the rutting stags. 


The walks included Place Fell & Beda Fell and separately Arniston Crag. Those who stayed on longer were rewarded with brilliant views from Helvellyn for their efforts.


Big thanks to Gill Francis for organising the meet.

Jeffcoats Pinnacle

Sep '21 - Greg

The Peak Limestone South guide has this wonderful old sepia photo (from 1942!) of climbers on this local limestone pinnacle (“Jeffcoats Pinnacle”). The photo shows the brave male climbers at the top with the women looking up in admiration from below (actually mostly just chatting away ignoring the show offs!).


We decided to ‘re-do’ this photo albeit with the female climbers at the top and the admiring male climbers looking up in awe from below! The pinnacle has been forgotten for decades which is a shame because it’s absolutely beautiful and is a joy to climb. The hardest bit oddly was climbing the Ash tree to the left to cut down some of the overhanging branches obscuring the top of the pinnacle. 


The DMC female climbers are: Judith Fidler, Jo Jennings, Cath Sinclair and Gill Radcliffe.  If you wish to climb the pinnacle please ask the farmers’ permission (the Browns at Hoe Grange Farm) – they’re friendly and very positive to visitors.

Gogarth and local walks and climbs

Jul '21 - Cath, Gill and Pete

The summer meet to Gogarth, Angelsey presented an opportunity for some big cliff climbing. Click on the image on the right to see a selection of photographs from Cath and Gill.


Cath spotted a glow worm after a Wednesday evening climb at Intake Quarry. The Holloway walk attracted a group of 9 for a circular route of 10 miles in fine weather: Holloway, Shuckstone, Wheatcroft, South Wingfield, Edge Moor, Crich Memorial, Wakebridge, Holloway. The walk finished with afternoon tea, homemade cake and flapjack in the garden at Pete and Judy’s followed by a game of boule. Attendees: Pete, Judy, Gill, Alan, Grant, Hillary, Linda, Thelma and Rob (guest.)


Jun '21 - Cath

There was a great turnout for Wednesday evening's climbing at Froggatt and also in the pub!

Rowsley Walk

Jun '21 - Cath

Although not sunny, the weather was dry (as was the ground underfoot!) and the views were lovely for Sunday's walk which started at Rowsley and climbed gently to Stanton Moor where we lunched by Nine Ladies Stone Circle. The afternoon's highlight was finding some bee orchids as we completed our 11 mile circuit via the pretty Stanton village and the hillside above Haddon Hall. A very enjoyable time was had by all.

The Roaches

May '21 - Cath & Chris

Here are a few photos from a delightful day at The Roaches. Cath and Chris on Left Hand Route, S4b and Gill at the top of pitch 2 of the Valkerie.

Rowarth Walk

Apr '21 - Gill Francis

Six DMC members walked from Rowarth near Hayfield on Sunday 25th April. We covered 11 miles along edges with spectacular views, finishing on Lantern Pike and then back down to Rowarth.

We were pleased to welcome a new member of the club, Hilary Freeman.

Peak Trig

Apr '21 - Mark C

It's taken me rather longer than planned - not least because of Lockdown III - but I've now completed my Peak Trig Quest.


It seemed apt to complete my last route before the end of April so I took a day off work and enjoyed a very pleasing trot around Shelf Moor.


All of the routes are described and can be found in separate pages per month from the above link or by clicking on the image. This shows my final pillar of the quest at Higher Shelf Stones.


Apr '21 - Cath S

The April showers turned out to be snow showers but they were light and short-lived and the weather was much better than anticipated for our Sunday meet at Birchen.


Our prudence in arriving early at the car park paid off but the crag itself was not busy at all.


We enjoyed a great day starting at Stoker's Wall, moving on to Fo'c'sle Crack and Tar's Arete before finishing on a high with Horatio's Horror and Victory Vice at the secluded Kismet Buttress.


Apr '21 - Greg J

Well we had lovely end of lockdown climbing sessions at Harboro Rocks (Wed eve 31st Mar) and Stanage (Sat 3rd April).  At Harboro it was positively balmy with people climbing in tee shirts until the sun went down at which point we had a celebration drink.  Quite unexpected and completely the opposite of last year when it snowed (Tony dug out the photos to prove it!).  Stanage started very cold, too cold for my fingers to grip confidently but then late morning the weather quietly changed the sun came out and the wind dropped and it turned into a Summer’s day. Quite amazing.

It was so lovely seeing people, to enjoy the banter without the zoom embarrassing pauses and of course to get on the rock.  For my part I felt so rusty but slowly confidence comes back .. wish strength would come back too.


The rock was great too as if the lack of climbing over the last year had improved the grip and exaggerated the wonderfully weird shapes that the very contrasting dolomitic limestone and pure grit produces.

For the record, we had 10 people at Harboro (9 climbers and a well wisher) and 7 at Stanage.  We of course climbed in 2s or 3s to be Covid rules compliant.


Harboro was v busy (Oread were there too) but at no time did it feel too crowded and you could choose the climb of your choice.  Stanage was surprisingly much quieter than a normal weekend perhaps reflecting the unfriendly, but incorrect, weather forecast.


We parked at the Plantation car park and climbed between Dover Wall and Mississippi Buttress well away from the slightly busier popular end.

Harborough Rocks

Mar '21 - Greg J

Outdoor group climbing resumed with the DMC's first post Lockdown III meet at Harborough Rocks: a good place to get re-acquainted with the rock on this outcrop of Dolomitic Limestone.