The Ballard of the Padarn Lake Saloon Poem

© Climbers Club
A poem about the late sixties / early seventies climbing scene in North Wales:

A bunch of the lads were whooping it up

At the Padarn lake saloon;

Joe rolling cigs, Cam buying beer,

Mo whistling out of tune;

Back of the bar in a huddled group

Were Ingle, Potts and Crew,

And standing there with a cynical air,

The lady that's known as Sue.

When out of the night which was clear and bright

And into the din and the glare,

There stumbled a climber fresh from the crags,

Dog dirty and covered in hair.

He looked like a man who could handle himself,

You could see that from afar;

As he pushed his way across the room

And called for a drink from the bar.

There was none could place the strangers face

Though we searched ourselves for a clue;

But the most intrigued was the little league

Of Ingle, Potts and Crew.

There's men that somehow just grip your eyes

And hold them hard like a spell;

And such was he, and he looked to me

Like a man who climbed real well;

As he quaffed his pint and looked around,

He sort seemed aloof

Then he said "I've climbed your hardest stuff

And I think I have the proof."

Then I got to figuring who he was

And wondering what he'd do;

And I turned my head – and there watching him

Was the lady that's known as Sue.

Have you seen a man who climbs real well,

He talks with a studied cool,

He'll not tell you what he's done

Afraid to look the fool.

But not this man, he volunteered

And told us all he'd done

The hardest routes for miles around

He named them one by one.

Red and white, octo and shrike;

The thing and masters wall,

Vector, tramgo, woubits left

He said he'd climbed them all.

"But I want to state and my words are straight

And i'll bet a pint they're true

That it's safe to tell that I climb as well

As Ingle Potts and Crew''

His eyes went drifting round the room,

And he seemed in a kind of a daze,

Till at last the dart board fell in the way

Of the stranger's wandering gaze.

Joe and mo were having a drink,

There was no one else on the board

So he struts his way across the room

And stands there like a lord.

In a tartan shirt that was glazed with dirt

I never saw him stray.

Then he grabbed the darts with his rock scarred hands,

My God – how that man could play

With triple top and nineteen too, almost everything he got,

Fifteen ten and bullseye too, he cuffed them every shot.

He beat them all with an arrogant ease

As the challengers formed a queue;

And last of all to try their luck were

Ingle, Potts and Crew.

Then all of a sudden he turned and spoke

In a voice that was soft and calm,

"Lads" said he, "you don't know me,

And none of you care a damn.

But I've told you what I've climbed round here,

And you seem to be impressed,

But its over there on Anglesey

That I've really done my best.

So wait and see and I guarantee

That you'll soon know my name;

And as for darts you play like tarts,

I'd tidy up your game."

Then he grabbed his sac and left the bar

And the apprehension grew;

"I guess we'll make it three more pints",

Said Ingle, Potts and Crew.

These are the simple facts of the case,

And I guess I ought to know.

They said that the stranger was full of bull,

And I'm not denying its so.

But I somehow think , as I sip my drink,

And strictly between us two –

That the one who really knew the truth ,

Was the lady that's known as Sue.

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9 Sep, 2011
Not a patch on the Ballad of Idwall Slabs.
9 Sep, 2011
Just sublime! It doesn't get any better than this... Mick
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