Rock Climbing by Geoff Birtles

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  • Contents

    'What was to become Lover's Leap Cafe'

    The following content has been written by Geoff Birtles, himself a renowned climber . He has a wealth of experience and knowledge of climbing in and around Stoney Middleton Dale and has also published many articles and books on climbing. The content covers the full history of rock climbing in Stoney Middleton Dale from the early 19th century to the present day. Drawing on… Learn more

  • Introduction

    Lovers Leap

    There are not many climbing places in the UK quite like Stoney Middleton; a combination of magnificent cliffs, easy access, balmy micro climate, a cafe and three pubs, all within easy access of major cities like Manchester and Nottingham and, in particular, Sheffield from where the number 84 Buxton bus dropped you outside The Grouse… Learn more

  • Early 19th Century

    Ball Inn Middleton Dale

    A lot of Rock climbing was done in the last few centuries in the Stoney Middleton area as anybody who has ventured down the caves and mines thereabouts will testify. However, the first recorded above ground activity of rock climbing for recreational purposes hereabouts was by Henry Bishop recorded in an article entitled ‘Climbs on… Learn more

  • The 1930s

    Eric Byne

    Very little was written about limestone after 1918 apart from Puttrell’s newspaper articles until the Graham West 1961 guidebook ‘Rock Climbs on the Mountain Limestone of Derbyshire’ was published. However, Eric Byne and Clifford Moyer climbed some routes of which there are no specific records though Byne, a joint author of High Peak who wrote the… Learn more

  • Joe Brown and the Valkyrie/Rock & Ice

    Joe Brown

    From 1933 there is no known of climbing here until Joe Brown and others from the Nottingham based Valkyrie Club took an interest. Joe recalls starting to climb there from about 1950 and such was the way then that they climbed in any weather, so much so that he recalls a snow blizzard so severe… Learn more

  • Sheffield University Mountaineering Club – SUMC

    Dave Johnson

    By 1957, a whole new generation arrived in the dale from the nearby Sheffield University. This group was largely spearheaded by Dave Johnson accompanied by such as Trevor Brooks, Jack Wade, John Childs and their mentors, Ron and Brenda Salt, overcame the horror stories about limestone and tackled the unclimbed rock as described in the SUMC… Learn more

  • Barry Webb

    Barry Webb

    In the early sixties, too late to get into the West guidebook, Barry Webb ventured on to Stoney accompanied by a SUMC member, Charlie Curtis. What came from this were the three very fine routes of Mortuary Steps, Brown Corner and Compositae Groove.The West guide though imprinted 1961 did not, as I recall, get on… Learn more

  • Graham West

    Graham West

    Graham West (main picture) leading on Bastion Wall High Tor. West records an amusing tale to this route which demonstrates claims and counter-claims are nothing new. It reads: Bastion Wall was also climbed during 1957, this again being the subject of an unfortunate controversy, which happened as follows. J. Hadfield, R. Hughes and myself climbed… Learn more

  • Medusa

    Len Millsom (John Ackers Atkinson)

    The late Len Millsom was known affectionately as Legger and was Sheffield’s answer to Joe Brown, of similar build with an exceptional technique often in bendy boots. He was notably a gritstone climber and only left one new route at Stoney but it was one of the best of its time. In a letter to… Learn more

  • Cioch Climbing Club

    Outside Lovers Leap

    Personal recollections of the Cioch Club and rock-climbing at Stoney Middleton in the 1960s by Geoff Birtles Main picture – Outside Lovers Leap Cafe c1964. Behind l tor. Unknown Dave Nowill, Jack Street John Atkinson, Jim Ballard, Brian Starkey holding Brian Moore’s son Alexander. Sitting. Sheila Stokes, Bryan Stokes and Geoff Birtles. (Chris Jackson) View… Learn more