RETURN TO WINDGATHER.

I’ve always had a soft spot for climbing at Windgather even though the horrendous roads around Manchester and Stockport have to be negotiated. Many a day washed out in the Peak has been salvaged by a visit here on the way home. At one time whilst I was stocking my garden I often visited Dunge Valley Gardens, in the next valley, to view their Himalayan display. Then, car boot stuffed with plants, I would drive up to Windgather for a couple of hours soloing. It is surprising how much you can do in that time on this friendly crag, it is only a minute from the road and the buttresses are 10m high at the most. Plus you have lovely vistas over the Cheshire countryside.

Mark had never been so today we braved the late morning traffic and arrived to find nearly every parking spot taken. The weather has been so poor of late that the chance of a fine afternoon brought everyone out. There are always ‘groups’ in situ on the most popular buttresses and a scattering of boulderers and their mats completed the scene, but we soon found some free space.

Of course it was very windy, it always is!

Despite its popularity, it has been climbed on for a 100years, the well worn routes are not as slippy as imagined as the grit is of such good quality. The escarpment crops out of the hill top at a very agreeable angle and we were soon enjoying all manner of routes. Friendly cracks, thoughtful slabs and steep but juggy walls, all with good protection and nothing harder than VS.

Mark on Centre Route.

Mark on Centre Route.

The fine High Buttress Arête.

The fine High Buttress Arête.

Tackling the nose on Director.

Tackling the nose on Director.

By climbing into the early evening we had the best of the sunshine and traffic free roads for the journey home. A very satisfying trip with a dozen or so routes done.

Evening light.

Evening light.

 

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