Thursday, 3 September 2015

Mossatrocity at Grindleford (video)

Mossatrocity (7C), Grindleford, UK
Grindleford will forever remind me of the King Ecgbert school walk. The train station and cafe marked the half way point, if I remember rightly, and it was always a welcome sight. It meant lunchtime. 

In more recent years, I've been found devouring an enormous full english breakfast within the cozy confines of the eatery. I always thought they had it good at the Grindleford cafe, as walkers would stumble in on a cold, wet Autumn day, hungry from their travels, and order the biggest thing on the menu. There's no better way to squeeze an extra few quid out of your patrons than to ensure they're exhausted when they walk through the door - not that it's in their hands, of course. Location is king.

Stepping away from the food associations, and going back even further in time, the Totley Tunnel, connecting Sheffield to Manchester through Grindleford, is something I learned about in primary school. I vaguely recollect a school trip to the tunnel, or through the tunnel, it was a long time ago.

Totley Tunnel at Grindleford
Slightly further up the road, I remember many a family picnic at Padley Gorge - oh, we're back on the food. Although, one of my abiding memories from this time was an ambulance rescue of a lady who'd slipped on a wet stone and cracked her neck. Not pleasant, in hindsight, but blue flashing lights, a stretcher, it was all very exciting for someone still in single digits.

Now I have a new memory to add to the cranial cabinet marked Grindleford - a boulder problem called Mossatrocity. This superb, jutting prow stabs out of the ground like a great whale surfacing for air. I'm lead to believe it went unnoticed as a boulder problem for many years due to a large growth of moss across its patina. Someone had the vision, however, and saw something great lurking beneath. They excavated what has become one of the Peak District's greatest fridge hugging boulders.

Simon "Kook" Newstead squeezing water out of Mossatrocity
It is burly, to say the least, with slopers either side of the giant head. Squeeze, move a limb, squeeze, move a limb, and repeat until the top. It's not over until you're stood up. The grade of 7C/V9 attests to the continual fight until it's finished. There's no definite crux, there are no small holds, it's just a wrestling match.

Possibly my favourite thing about this boulder problem is it's location. Grindleford is part of my childhood so it's always a great pleasure to return. The lush, green forest currently holds no other established boulder problems, just Mossatrocity, so it was nice to go and climb it. Another Peak District classic off the list.