On Friday the 18th of May a merry band of rock monkeys and musicians descended on the Don Whillans memorial hut, at the Roaches in Staffordshire. A weekend of climbing, drinking and frivolity lay in wait and the MOB (Mountaineering Club of Bury) were out in force. Throughout the weekend up to 20 MOB members were in attendance all itching to climb.
Whether by chance or fate our weekend at the Roaches coincided with Don Whillans‘ birthday and hopefully we did him proud. I reckon he would have enjoyed the banter and would no doubt have drunk us under the table, well at least some of us!
Firstly, let me tell you about the Don Whillans hut! If Carslberg did climbing huts this would be their finest brew! Built into the rock, it is ridiculously close to the climbing. Falling out of bed with even the worst of hangovers, you could still be at the crag in minutes. With heating in all but the kitchen it was warm and toasty with plenty of room for our antics, and each night as the drinks flowed the hut throbbed with the sound of the MOB’s many musicians!
In all my trips to the Roaches I had never stayed in the hut, but I had always looked on with quiet envy and I’m glad I finally got the chance to stay within its magnificent walls.
The climbing at the Roaches is a grit climbers dream. Taller than most areas of natural grit its routes can feel wild and exposed, sometimes bold but always full of character. Over the weekend many classic routes were climbed ranging from diffs up to E2. A milestone was reached in the form of a first E1 for Jordan G, and I had a 20 foot whipper off the Sloth.
All in all a fantastic trip with a great atmosphere in a cracking location. For now I shall have to wait patiently for the next MOB weekend away. Well not that patiently as it’s in less than 2 weeks!