Stanage is perhaps the most highly anticipated trip of the semester, a trip which combines UBMC’s love of trad with its other love; alcohol. This year Stanage was perhaps the biggest gathering of new stoats and old gits in history, and despite this new benchmark, the weather kept up with club trip standard – drizzly and cold. What better way to introduce freshers to the beauty of trad climbing than dragging them up routes in a cold and windy Stanage, and teaching them to coil ropes?

However, despite the revelation that there are never enough layers you can pack, everyone enjoyed the Saturday climbing! A couple of us were a little rusty, Luke forgetting he would need to take a rack to the crag in order to climb, and Matthew facing every leader’s fear: his fresher bringing a harness that hasn’t been used since the 80s. Jake also demonstrated that trad was not the only thing he could crush, catching pistachios from the bottom of the crag whilst belaying at the top!

All those gnarly climbs, and a little shivering had worked everyone up an appetite – we needed a feast! Our resident social secs, however, were nowhere to be seen when the time came to prepare food – having got stuck on a route that took much longer than anticipated… Yet when they arrived at the hut, all sprung into action, and with the help of the rest of committee (thanks guys), James and Katie were able to dish up the club delicacy ‘Ming’ to a long queue of hungry climbers. Word is that this Ming was so good that people returned for seconds – the congealed Ming was now just a myth of the past.

In anticipation of approximately 30 old gits turning up to the hut the tables were swiftly removed, and gear secs Adrian and Will began the evening entertainments with suspended sock wrestling. The crowd cheered on either side as one victor emerged from each wrestle clutching a well-earnt sock. Many finally learned who the ‘real’ Piers was in an exciting match between Piers H and Piers A.

The thirst that sock wrestling created was soon quenched with the introduction of UBMC’s famous ‘cocktail’ – Meanie. The meanie bin was brought into the room and it was daring Alex who was dunked, blessing the meanie before possibly the biggest mistake on the trip was made: the secret ingredient was added. James and Katie poured in the pale pink spirit and to the disgust of the room, the meanie curdled – this year may also mark the last in using a creamy liquor as a secret ingredient. It was perhaps just after this that the meanie stick was confiscated from Howe.

Despite the apparent dandruff of the meanie, the stoats cracked on with a game of “Commander says”, run by our ex-presidents Alex, ADL, Ed, and Henry (an old old git). During this, the meanie bin dwindled, and the freshers learned (perhaps a little too much) about members of the club through hilarious anecdotes. By the end of this everyone was poorly clothed and sweaty, but most importantly, very jolly.

Sock wrestling resumed but was true Gladiator style – on a tarpaulin sheet with washing up liquid making this a step more difficult. Again, Howe had another object confiscated – the washing up liquid – as the sheet resembled a bog more than a wrestling arena. Heard were cries of admiration, horror, and cheers as more victors emerged. Injuries were somehow miraculously avoided – apart from Joe injuring his shoulder sock wrestling (again) – and the news is that he is still recovering! Many other stoats had a collection of bruises to commemorate their efforts.

After this ‘The Final Countdown’ stopped being played on repeat, and instead, the room turned into our favourite place, Snobs, as ‘Sweet Caroline’ began the period of relaxation and much dancing.

When the evening came to a close, the meanie’s victims were evident, with committee getting to put their First Aid training into practice with fresher James stumbling around the bunkhouse – there were no walls he didn’t manage to walk into!

Unsurprisingly as morning broke, psyche was a little lower than earlier, but once everyone had got some food in them, quelling the hangovers, the day's activities were decided. As it was drizzly and grim many opted for the pub and wandered into Hathersage for a slap-up lunch. The keen beans amongst us, however, had other ideas and headed back to Stanage to stomp up some soggy routes – and reaped the benefit when the sun peeped out behind the clouds for a beautiful sunset to end the day. Luckily hangovers were cured by both of these options and the happy stoats were loaded into cars and minibus, heading home after a fabulous weekend! It was clear by the tired faces, and subsequent keen trip sign-ups that Stanage 2019 had been a resounding, if messy at moments, success.