Opposition emerged against the ancient army of UBMC before the trip even commenced. A pretty grim weather report shrouded the trip with memories of past Annual Dinner’s where rain had prevented all climbing (not that attendance at annual dinner is primarily for the climbing).
Even as stoats new and old gathered in the car park debating who was who on the infamous car list the rain began to fall. Gear was hurried into cars and people quickly followed suit. Somehow everything and everyone was on board the various vessels of UBMC’s fleet and a surprising short journey to the long-forgotten location of Llangollen, where a surprisingly nice hut (in comparison to our usual location of Annual Dinner) was found.
Yet as the days were growing closer a brief, widening window of not so much rain appeared and hope for a climbing trip with climbing in it was rekindled. A few brave stoats rose early on the Saturday morning in the hope of finding some dryish rock to punter on, and despite spots of morning rain and pesky trees blocking roads a day of the finer art of trad was had. The rest of the club, expecting wet rock headed towards Trevor Quarry for a spot of sport.
Scrambling around the one decent guide book of the area the classic questions such as ‘is that this route?’, ‘where are we?’, and ‘where are the bolts?’. Yet eventually bearings were found, and ascents started being ticked off. A number of stoats did their first outdoor leads and cemented their climbing skills. Surprising rays of sunshine and (albeit uncomfortable to climb in) hefty winds dried the crag out quickly and a vast array of routes and grades were ascended.
With a surprising day of climbing had, tactical naps were had in anticipation of the evening ahead. As people began to fancy up via the donning of suits and application of makeup the social secs crept away and began the concoction of this year’s meanie.
As always, the stoats looked very presentable, and began to enjoy the delight of this year’s unusual red-coloured meanie (which was delightful), as they were joined by the last of the stoats, late from the day of climbing. From here, presentability began to drop, and slurred speech, stumbling steps and general disorder took over. The more sober of members rounded up the more inebriated into minibuses, and a series of shuttle runs by the clubs most excellent driver delivered the whole club to the Wild Pheasant Hotel.
Joined by prestigious members from the MAM possibly the most delicious food stoats had ever laid their hands on was brought out and a respectable evening was seemingly had by all. Speeches were made by both presidents of UBMC and MAM inspiring the next generation of stoats to climb hard and drink harder. Awards were delivered by the social secs to celebrate some of the club’s more unique members. Sleepiest fresher and the infiltrator award were a few new additions as well as the drunkest fresher being kept by its reigning champion (despite no longer being a fresher).
Even though the food was finished. The party was not. Arriving back at the hut the shenanigans continued into the night, drinking dancing and general embarrassment were had by all. Eventually; quite late into the night, people eventually began to get into their sleeping bags and get some sleep.
Wet weather was expected for the Sunday, although only light rain ever occurred. But between the expected wet rock, hungover stoats and general tiredness, nothing more occurred than a few ordinary walks along rather unordinary canals and the tidying of a rather messy hut. Efficient organising of UBMC’s small army had the hut into good condition in cracking time and a rather early journey home was had.
A cracking weekend was had by all, and many claimed it was the best Annual Dinner to date. What will next year bring?
Viking & Howe.