Wet and Wild in the Peak District


Following glorious sunshine for weeks on end, a small group of us decided to make our way up to the Peak District…just as it started to rain. What follows is a short account of our activities, which can also double as a guide to making the most of wet weather.

After a slightly damp first night at the North Lees campsite, we decided to head into Hathersage to do a bit of shopping and get breakfast whilst we gave the rock sometime to dry. However, one of the local heroes in the Outside shop looked rather amused when we asked him if any of the climbing would be dry. “A general rule of thumb is if the roads are dry then the rock would be dry” he told us. Almost in unison we looked out the window and sighed as our eyes settles on the pools of water on the road.

Never to be beaten by bad weather, our club esoterica expert, Luke VF, insisted we spend the morning squirming up some chimneys. “That will really do the rock justice” he thought. After getting thoroughly wedged and ripping his shirt in the process, Luke then found himself on a rather wet slab, rather than going for it, he rolled a cigarette and awaited rescue - whilst pretending he was posing for a 1950’s guidebook cover. (Unfortunately no one had hands free to take the photo).

After lunch we decided to head down and see if any boulders were close to getting dry. With only the one pad everyone was on spotting duty as Luke and I threw ourselves at some dynos and Katie and Ben wobbled up some slabs.

As the evening rolled in the party really started. Alix brought her new friends from Sheffield (and another pad!) and Christa braved the still damp rock to get some trad climbing done with her sister. Then it was off to the pub before hiding from the rain in our tents for the night.

The next morning we woke up to sodden tents and heavy rain. As we packed the car with soaked kit even Luke agreed that climbing was off the cards. However we weren’t to be defeated. We set off in the southwards and found a lovely spot to swim in the River Derwent just outside Chatsworth Manor. Some of us were braver than others getting into the cold water but we all made it eventually.

A quick exploration of an abandoned mill and we were off home (via a café of course). Truly a wet and wild couple of days.

By Rob Mills