What can I say – the spell was against us today.
Drove [!] into the quarry on a beautiful summer’s afternoon. A couple of other teams in situ. Spread out the gear and set off up a starred easy route – Cracklap [HS]. Goes up a crack, surprise, surprise, on beautiful crystals. As I was nearing the top the thunder started rumbling in the distance and as I reached the belay tree the heavens opened. Lowered off rapidly, pulled the ropes and retreated to the car.
Witches’ Quarry has had a chequered history. Way back you turned up, parked on the road and asked permission from Mr. Binns to climb. “No problems lads” Then suddenly there were problems – too many climbers, no respect for the hens and sheep, somebody dying.
Result — BANNED.
It took years of patient diplomacy to regain climbing access, thanks to the Clitheroe climbers. Climbers are now allowed to park in the quarry itself! Limited numbers though and no dogs. That’s what we did today- convenience climbing. Don’t abuse it and loose it.
The quarry is situated in the beautiful Ribble Valley countryside with views over to the Three Peaks.
Because the car was close by we were able to shelter from the heavy downpour and chat till the next patch of blue sky arrived. By now the rock was wet, in the upper parts, from the heavy downpour. Whilst it was still greasy we resorted to top roping, from the in situ belays, Peel Off [VS 4c] … a classy route with three distinct cruxes. Then the hot sun was out again and our spirits up – so off to lead a good steep severe – Serenity. As the lower off was clipped the sky blackened from Pendle Hill behind and rain started again, the second [me] struggled up removing the gear.
The spell was broken, we went home.