Leeds Mountaineering Club Blog

The Meet That Never Was......25 January 2013


Wonder why I’m writing it now, rather than skiing powder or climbing packed out gullies? Then read on…

Sara, Stuart and I set off from Leeds on Friday evening in light snow. As we skirted the Yorkshire Dales on the A65 the snow got heavier and the road got slippier. We stopped for fish and chips in Penrith, where we decided to abandon and head back to Leeds. The car wouldn’t get up the hill out of Penrith so Sara and I got out and pushed. A bunch of locals appeared and gave us a hand.

We decided to come back via the A65 because the M6 was closed further South due to extreme weather. The A65 was very snowy, but everything went fine until we got stuck halfway up a hill near Kirkby Lonsdale. Sara and I got out and pushed, and some Irish turkey farmers who were following in a lorry lent a hand and their bucket of grit. We got to the top of the hill.

We slipped and slid our way towards Leeds. In some places there was a lot of snow, in other places, not so much. We passed through the Ingleton Triangle, which was warm, balmy, and snow-free. I believe Sara may have seen a parrot; we were all a bit tired at this point.

We got stuck again going up a hill near Skipton. It was too slippery to get moving without a push.  A convoy of lorries had stopped, blocking our side of the road. Sara and I tried to push the car around the lorries and up the hill while Stuart used his shovel to dig some tracks through the snow. Each time we got moving a car would come in the opposite direction and force us to reverse.

The police came and told us the road ahead was bad and the road from Skipton to Harrogate was closed. It was about 1am so we decided to give up pushing and sit it out. Stuart wanted to stay with his car, so he got his skis out and went for a little tour down the road. Sara and I got a lift with the police to the Skipton Travel Lodge. Sara and I sat in the reception with the night receptionist. He wasn’t used to seeing human beings in his job and it troubled him, so he gave us the key to an out-of-order room to sleep in.

By early morning the roads had been cleared, which was lucky because we had to leave the Travel Lodge before the day staff arrived. As we left, Sara was going to give the night receptionist the bottle of brandy she was carrying, but thought better of it because it made us look like vagrants.

We met Stuart on the road and got back to Leeds about 8.30am, 14 hours after setting off. Although the trip didn’t turn out as planned, we all managed some winter mountaineering – Stuart skied, while Sara and I climbed several hills (pushing a car).

Respect to Stuart for not only driving, but keeping the car under control in really tough conditions.


Tom Jones


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