As the autumn sun set on the University of Birmingham pitches and the rain lashed down a group of surprisingly chipper students convened to make the wet and windy journey to Tremadog, the queen of Welsh trad crags.

With every rope, rack and boulder pad crammed in between freshers and old hands alike the party departed for a long and torturous drive. Piers’ adventure bus was forced to halt so that Lily Porat could have a wee/fall into a patch of nettles. The weather worsened but all arrived safely with cries of “Shit it’s so wet!”, “Why are we in a Copper Mine!” and “Look a nuclear power station!”.

Night drew in and the stoats rested peacefully with the muffled sounds of snoring and water falling relentlessly from the sky. Morning brought more rain, gales and a Met Office Yellow warning storm. After sending Ed, the club’s very own crag checking device, to see if the rocks were definitely wet plans began to form. One group embarked on a walk, relying on VP Nick’s notorious sense of direction and navigational skills and another nipped off for a run along the beach in the salty winds. A few hardcore wads made the trek to Parisellas cave and did some bouldering (admittedly a drier pursuit and actually climbing…) Some of the similarly water averse Stoats opted for heading to the pub directly, rather than experiencing outdoorsy hardship beforehand.

With the dusk came the party all had been waiting for. Ming was slopped about and served from the miniscule kitchen and soon the sling game was employed to keep all and sundry from noticing that the meanie mixing was under way! With the traditional toast the new year of UBMC was welcomed in and the drinks flowed. The fun increased, some expected and unexpected old gits showed up (WE LOVE TOM AND ROSIE!) and Ann Lu drank grey tinged meanie from a retainer. The night can only be summed up by the mental image of Adrian Scott wearing only his pants, a club helmet and two slings.

Sunday morning brought surprising forecasts of good weather...in Snowdonia...Not dissuaded by a little drive the group gathered and headed to the sunny crags of Australia (Dinorwig Quarry...not actual Australia!) for some sport climbing and the Ogwen Valley for some scrambling. The sun beat down, climbs were climbed, scrambles were scrambled and some serious enjoyment enjoyed. The slate glistened in the light and the Stoats took on the venerable responsibility of spreading UK climbing cultural language when Tobias asked, after some time, “What is a ‘faff’?” The scramblers had a pleasant time nipping up Tryfan and Glyder Fach and DL fell head first onto a rock on the walk down.

Tired, fulfilled and varying levels of hungover all 45 stoats piled into vehicles back to Birmingham for a bit of a rest leaving only a large volume of uneaten flan in the fridge.