A Walk at Frodsham

Tempted out by sunny October weather, I took myself out for a walk at Frodsham. It was my first ‘proper walk’ since having an ankle fusion operation last December, so in its small way it was a big thing. I went alone but I was in the company of remembered times and people every step of the way. I found this once before when I climbed the Cwm Glas Ridge, so strikingly seen from Beudy Mawr, on my own, and hearing voices then was a delightful kind of madness. Back to Frodsham, I eventually found my way to the spot we know as Derek’s seat – erected in memory of one-time BMC President Derek Walker who, though never a Member of the Anabasis, was integral to our gatherings at Frodsham and nearby Helsby. Things seemed further apart than I expected, perhaps because the paths were usually run and today I was in plod mode. The focus was Thursday evenings, climbing on the sandstone crags in the summer months, while winter sport was running in the darkness at Delamere Forest– another kind of madness – and sometimes a climbing wall. All this was central to the lives of the Cheshire-based Anabasis for 3 decades or more, but the loss of Derek and others, survivors ageing and then the lockdowns have reduced us to a Thursday evening Zoom chat. The last time I climbed at Frodsham was back in 2018, then with visiting Canadian hot-shot Ian. The convention at Frodsham is that the climbs – up to 30 feet high – are done solo or are top-roped. The beauty of soloing was that you could show up late, get a lot done in a short time, and then you would be allowed to go to the pub. I introduced Ian to some of the Frodsham classics and the picture has him on Pullover (5b). When he pulled over the top, the top-rope belay was a stout tree alongside Derek’s seat. Since 2017, the wind turbines on Frodsham Marshes interrupt the view, but I suppose we have to see it as a ‘good thing’ now. Beyond, the Mersey Estuary, Liverpool and the Welsh Hills.

View from Fox Hill
The view from Derek’s seat, Fox Hill
Ian on Pullover, having muscled his way past the crux overhang.

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