Despite the time of year and the burgeoning terrible English weather, the skies stayed clear on the 6th of December for UBMC’s trip to The Roaches. The morning began frosty and some of us were very late (again, apologies!) due to having to de-ice our cars; or in another’s case having only gone to bed 3 hours before, tut tut.

Meeting at the designated time of 7:30am, or 8am for some people, there were 31 stoats that made the 90 minute trip to The Roaches. There were murmurs of worries about the previous day’s rainfall having an adverse effect as Lower Tier is quite slow to dry, but despite the trees wind buffer, on arrival the stoats found the rock to be quite dry and climbable.

During the early morning, most stoats stayed in the warmer Lower Tier as the lack of cloud cover left the Upper Tier quite exposed. However, while quite a few of the newer members had not been to the Roaches before, and were happily climbing away Lower Tier, some of the more experienced stoats ventured to Upper Tier to try some harder projects.

Throughout the day, all stoats slowly filtered to the Upper Tier and during mid-afternoon there was a large contingent gathered around Joe’s Arête, all trying a dynamic approach and bolstering each other’s attempts with cheers of encouragement. The highlight of the day must have been Arjun’s resolve and determination to do this climb, which when sent culminated in a joyous cheer and a boisterous celebration.

Sometime shortly before the sun set in late afternoon, quite a few stoats were feeling the fatigue of hours upon hours of tough bouldering and the frosty weather conditions, and opted to retire to a nearby pub for a few drinks and some cheesy fries; while others went straight home with the sunset. Most, however, looked to their fingertips in something of consternation, as most boulderers do, as the toll of a full day of grit bouldering became apparent in the somewhat congenial soreness.

A huge thanks to every stoat the came and a special thank you to those who were patient with my mishandling of the lifts home.

Brian