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Remembering Good Climbing Shops that Closed v2.0

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After spending the best part of my evening trying to find an MSR stove base from shops I’ve previously used, it turns out that many haven’t survived the last few years of Brexit / Covid / move towards online shopping.

So in the style of an older forum thread, to remember a few that have closed their doors more recently:

Urban Rock

Hitch n Hike

Mountain Spirit, Aviemore

Cold Mountain Kit

Alpenstock

Any more…?

In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Rockies

 Roberttaylor 10 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Mac Mountaineering, in Inverness.

They had a spaniel that slept in a dog bed on the counter and would wake up to be petted and made a fuss of. This was good for a couple of reasons; I like dogs, and it helped to distract whoever I was in there with from the money I was spending on clinking bits of metal and Buffalo jackets. 

Pete Macpherson once lent me a pair of ice axes so I could take my then girlfriend winter climbing. I mentioned that that was my plan (and maybe that I hadn't sorted axes yet) and he nipped upstairs and came back with a well-used pair of tools; I suspect they had seen some properly hard stuff. Pretty sure he didn't know my first name but was still happy to lend them to me on trust.

 Si dH 10 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Have to say, despite climbing for ~18 years now, all of the independent shops I ever made regular use of are still open. They are based all over the country. I think that's pretty good going. I think I bought my first boulder mat from hitch n hike in 2004 and I bought a few things from urban rock over the years as they did some big discounts. They are the only two I can think of that I've ever used which have gone. Overall I'd say independent climbing shops seem to have weathered the last few years really well.

 Andy Hardy 10 Oct 2021
In reply to Si dH:

Well H&H are on the casualty list!

In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

If I was being pedantic Hitch & Hike closed before COVID/Brexit and not because of difficulties!

Owner just got another job 

 Si dH 10 Oct 2021
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> Well H&H are on the casualty list!

Well yes, that's what I said... along with Urban Rock they are the only ones I can think of that have gone. Whereas I've used many that haven't (including all those I made regular use of), despite going through not only Brexit and the pandemic, but also the growth of online shopping in the period I'm talking about since early 2000s.

Post edited at 10:01
 ring ouzel 10 Oct 2021
In reply to Roberttaylor:

Yep, sorely missed. Mr MacP, Pete (and Harry the dog) were always good craic. Pete was on his own once and needed lunch so he nipped out and left me in charge. Came back as I was selling a jacket (he knew I'd worked in several climbing shops) he went upstairs for lunch and left me to carry on. Lovely family.

In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Another which seems to have disappeared in the last few years, admittedly before Covid/Brexit is 914 Outdoors in Dornie (other side of the bridge from Eilan Donan Castle). Always good for a browse on the way to Skye.

 Tom the tall 10 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Peglers in Arundel- had several shops for different departments- boots, camping etc, including one that had stuff for Himalayan climbing, portaledges and all sorts. Fantastic range that no one else really stocked. Closed a long time ago now though.

 Trangia 10 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer

Open Spaces in Brighton

Graham Tiso in Edinburg 

 Mike-W-99 10 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

> Mountain Spirit, Aviemore

4 years ago, think a couple of poor winters and the competition meant the business was no longer viable. Shame as we were regulars and everyone was good to deal with.

 Sir Chasm 10 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Centresport, Leeds.

Ah, you said recently, scratch my suggestion. 

Post edited at 20:33
 Ian W 10 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

WildTrak in newcastle. Bit of an institution up here......

 Andy Hardy 10 Oct 2021
In reply to Si dH:

Sorry yes I misread your post. (Too much blood in the caffeine stream)

In reply to Tom the tall:

Peglers we’re a brilliant shop. Got my first proper pair of boots from there, which I wore into the ground. 
Had a great evening there years ago with the local scout group too, being shown the Everest and 8000m gear was eye opening as a young teenager. 
They’ve been gone for years now though, I moved away from Sussex and never did work out when/why they closed. 

 critter 10 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Outdoor Action in Cardiff. Closed many moons ago. Ahead of its time in promoting and selling snowboards in the mid-80s and parapenting equipment.

 wintertree 10 Oct 2021
In reply to Ian W:

> WildTrak in newcastle. Bit of an institution up here......

Yes, sorely missed.  Half my rack and most of my clothes came from there.  

 More-On 10 Oct 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> Yes, sorely missed.

I'll third that. Spent many happy hours there in the early 90s and still use a lot of that kit to this day.

 FactorXXX 11 Oct 2021
In reply to critter:

> Outdoor Action in Cardiff. Closed many moons ago. Ahead of its time in promoting and selling snowboards in the mid-80s and parapenting equipment.

Dave Parsons was the owner.
One of the founders of the South Wales Mountaineering Club and gained the nickname of Top Rope Parsons because he frequently asked for a top rope when he was trying a new route, etc. (That info supplied by my father...).
Think the shop employed a certain Pat Littlejohn at some stage.
Also think that they were quite instrumental in the cave exploration side of things in that they supplied a whole myriad of weird and wonderful stuff - including explosives... 
 

 DaveHK 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

> Mountain Spirit, Aviemore

There was a lot of love for them but I had some really poor service on a few occasions. I suspect that latterly the owner was ready to be out of the business and that sometimes showed in how customers were treated.

It was also more of a high end boutique than a proper shop. If you run a shop you have to accept that much of the footfall will be 'just looking thanks' but you need to treat them right if you want them to come back as customers. 

Post edited at 07:12
 Wally 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Not specifically climbing but...

Bat Products in Wells, Somerset.

I grew up in this area and loved the shop. Bought various bits of climbing kit and lots of tat for replacing threads in the area. For us at the time pre internet and driving licence it was an important guide book and local knowledge source for the area. I might have also dabbled in a little underground exploration as a result - but it is mendip!! 

 Hat Dude 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Rock & Run in Ambleside

I know they still exist online and give a good service but it was great when it was a proper shop

In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Closed before the pandemic but the Crag Station in Greenfield, which later moved to the Stockport Awesome walls was a little great shop. Got my firsts bits of trad kit there and a pair of anasazi verde which were the first properly fitting shoes I owned. Was sad to see it empty when I made a visit to AW while visiting home after living away for a few years.

 Nic 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

A shout out for Rockies Climbing Shack on Portland - many happy hours spent there on a Saturday morning avoiding climbing!

 65 11 Oct 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

> There was a lot of love for them but I had some really poor service on a few occasions. I suspect that latterly the owner was ready to be out of the business and that sometimes showed in how customers were treated.

I’d agree with this. I knew R&A to chat to from the Braemar Telemark festivals and they are nice folk but I got some bad advice there about touring boots which seemed to be based on what they wanted rid of rather than what fitted my feet. Mrs 65 got an entire ski touring package there which really didn’t suit her.

OP: High Range in Glasgow’s Great Western Road was an experience and pre-Blacks takeover Alpine Sports in London was brilliant, especially if you worked there. Paul and Roz Moores’ Glencoe Guides and Gear is missed as is West Coast in Ft Bill.

 Ian W 11 Oct 2021
In reply to wintertree: and More-On:

> Yes, sorely missed.  Half my rack and most of my clothes came from there.  

Are you two old enough to remember when it was in the handyside arcade? 

 Root1 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

What about all the good ones that were taken over by the likes of Sports Direct and their ilk, and then go to the dogs and charge silly prices.

Fishers, The Climbers Shop, Joe Browns were all taken over by JD Sports. ( I think it was them). Fishers doesn't know what kind of shop it is anymore, they were selling inflatables and all sorts of odd things the last time I was in. Wildtrak went to the wall because it was continually undercut by Go Outdoors.

I only buy from independents like Needlesports, Dicks Climbing, Banana Fingers, Trekitt and Ultralightoutdoorgear, they need our support.

Post edited at 12:35
 Root1 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Ian W:

> WildTrak in newcastle. Bit of an institution up here......

It was owned by my old Friend Ken, he was continually undercut by Gooutdoors until his business became untenable. 

Its their policy to put smaller competitors out of business.

 Andy Hardy 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Ian W:

> and More-On:

> Are you two old enough to remember when it was in the handyside arcade? 

I am. Bought my first bits of gear there

 Hat Dude 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Root1:

>  The Climbers Shop, Joe Browns were all taken over by JD Sports. ( I think it was them).

Is that correct? I thought they were part of an independent small group together with the Stoney Stratford Climbers Shop (now closed)

In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Does Rock & Rapids in Plymouth still exist? I think I still have my 'Vertical Brian's toyshop' vest I got there.

 More-On 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Ian W:

> Are you two old enough to remember when it was in the handyside arcade? 

I only arrived in Newcastle in 1990, so sadly missed the Handyside Arcade in situ and only got to 'enjoy' a very shiny Eldon Square.

I did however get to see bits of the arcade in storage at Beamish during my time as an archaeologist at Tyne and Wear Museums. Sadly no mention of Wildtrak that I could see

 65 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Root1:

> Fishers, The Climbers Shop, Joe Browns were all taken over by JD Sports.

George Fisher was taken over by Tiso, who themselves are afaik mostly owned by JD Sports. Sad if that’s true if the Climbers Shop and JB.

 More-On 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Root1:

Very sad about WildTrak vs Go...

I believe JB and the Climbers Shop are both part of Hooked on Granite which seems to be a small group with nothing to do with JD, but I could easily be missing something.

Interesting you mention Trekitt, as they have just joined a big Scandinavian group that includes many large brands. Their email talks of a family brand etc, but that is just the first branch of the group tree. It will be interesting to see what comes of this...

In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

The Outdoor Shop, then the Climber's Shop in MK (Stony Stratford).  Unfortunately this wasn't able to survive the competition from Go and Cotswold, but it was nice having a classic Lakes/North Wales-style outdoor shop with a good selection of kit and good advice in somewhere nowhere near the mountains.

In reply to Root1:

The Climber's Shop and Joe Brown's are/were not so far as I have heard owned by JD Sports.  Go Outdoors is.  TCS/Joe Brown's are still an independent business.

Go Outdoors (before JD Sports took it over) killed off both of those incarnations in MK if that's what you're thinking of (in terms of outcompeted them so they were no longer viable).

Post edited at 14:33
 owlart 11 Oct 2021
In reply to RichardJKnight:

> Peglers we’re a brilliant shop. Got my first proper pair of boots from there, which I wore into the ground. 

> Had a great evening there years ago with the local scout group too, being shown the Everest and 8000m gear was eye opening as a young teenager. 

> They’ve been gone for years now though, I moved away from Sussex and never did work out when/why they closed. 

See the thread here from when they closed down - bankruptcy order from HMRC: https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/expedition+alpine/peglers_expedition_advisors_and_suppliers_-_closes_down-549577

In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Just for some background, this was the initial thread from a few years back which spawned this discussion:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/gear/remembering_good_climbing_shops_that_closed-618129

Makes for some interesting reading, if only to see how many "independents" have now closed or been merged into the bigger conglomerates.

 wercat 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Hat Dude:

> Rock & Run in Ambleside

> I know they still exist online and give a good service but it was great when it was a proper shop

And the cafe upstairs!

 philipivan 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Root1:

My 1st thought was Wildtrak in Newcastle. I used to get the train over from Sunderland for about 10p child ticket and hang around there and go to the berghaus wall. A quick Google suggested it was still open so I'm confused, was it taken over?

In reply to Wally:

> Not specifically climbing but...

> Bat Products in Wells, Somerset.

I only dabbled in the underground stuff once the evenings were too dark for climbing (and  it would have been rude not to being local) but Bat were legendary.

 Ian W 11 Oct 2021
In reply to philipivan:

It kinda went online, and there was for a bit an "outlet" shop on grainger st.

 Ian W 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> I am. Bought my first bits of gear there

I bought an amp from the subsequent tenants, HiFi Opportunities (another fine emporium) after WT moved out, and noticed some bits of tat on a shelf, and asked if they were still selling stuff like that. The sales guy said no, but he might if he had the first clue what it was.....so I got some freebie slings and krabs alongside my musical purchase. Happy days!

 Ian W 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Root1:

> It was owned by my old Friend Ken, he was continually undercut by Gooutdoors until his business became untenable. 

I would put it down more to the interweb; there was once a good selection of shops in newcastle, pretty well all gone now, except for the skiing shop on Dean Street. Our race to the bottom with cheap imported gear is almost complete. It used to really pain me when i would go into an outdoor shop and hear some of the "advice" given to customers. At least WT and LD employed knowledgeable staff.

> Its their policy to put smaller competitors out of business.

So no different to others (Tesco etc)

 Chris H 11 Oct 2021
In reply to Dave Garnett:

....and rock sport in the bus station before that ...once hired some lights from them that necessitated doing much of Swildons by touch...

 Andy Hardy 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Ian W:

Lucky lad!

Did you ever visit the short-lived 'Sharp Edge' in Hexham? They had a 'climbers directory' (an A4 file) in which you could put your name and phone number to find partners. Had some good days out through that.

 steveriley 12 Oct 2021
In reply to wercat:

The original Wilfs cafe! I still have some bits from downstairs, the pumpkin soup and flapjack from upstairs has long since passed through.

 GrahamD 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

An interesting question: when is an independent deemed to have become a chain ?  I bought my first rope, harness and helmet from a fledgling Field and Trek in Brentwood in the very early 90s.  The rest came from a long extinct outdoors shop on Mitchums Corner,  Cambridge (anyone remember the name ?).   Krabs are still in use for racking, bail outs and to hold my nut key.

 kevin stephens 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Nick Estcourt in Altrincham, managed by Jim Moran

In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Another shout for MacPherson's in Inverness, always very knowledgeable and helpful, and amazing how so much kit fitted into such a small shop!

Further back, Highrange in Glasgow, always an interesting experience, I recall they had a reasonable selection of what was at the time (early 90s) modern kit, but also loads of stuff that possibly belonged in a museum, for instance these odd universal stacking nut things. Basically, a smallish wire, say a rock 3, with additional layers of metal that could be slid down the wire, to cover the core nut, to make it progressively bigger. Similar idea to Russian dolls. Would be interested to know if anyone ever bought or used one...

Also, rocky crags in Aberdeen, Rosemount then George St. For a while, the NE outcrops guide book was out of print and totally unobtainable, before the internet when info could be shared on the web, so they sold photocopies of the guide (individual chapters or the whole thing). Very helpful, though I guess they must have needed to square it away with the SMC somehow? They also had homemade Russian titanium ice screws. To reassure customers, they had got one tested, and had a display of the test rig with a screw sunk into a railway sleeper and a sign explaining that it only bent after X Kn! 

 Ian W 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Andy Hardy:

> Lucky lad!

> Did you ever visit the short-lived 'Sharp Edge' in Hexham? They had a 'climbers directory' (an A4 file) in which you could put your name and phone number to find partners. Had some good days out through that.

No, but i'd heard of it - run by a real enthusiast but it was never going to be a commercial success in Hexham. When i started out as a teenager it ws either cycle from the northumberland coast where the family had a holiday caravan to Bowden or Kyloe, or boulder / climb some of the quarries near the coast (Craster / north sunderland / bamburgh), or catch the bus from newcastle to belford and walk. then we got cars and the world (well, north yorkshire) was our oyster.

In reply to Root1:

> Fishers, The Climbers Shop, Joe Browns were all taken over by JD Sports. ( I think it was them). 

It's probably worth getting your details right before spreading misinformation..

Whilst George Fishers were indeed bought by JD, both The Climbers Shop and Joe Browns are still independently owned (by Paul and Cathy Casey). I had the good fortune of beginning my life within the outdoor industry working with them and they're great, principled people to work for and absolutely fantastic employers -and friends! JD and Sports Direct they are not...

On a related note to this thread, they've got an interesting history section on their website which outlines the development of both shops, which - much like this thread - goes on to show just how much things have changed (here's a link: https://www.climbers-shop.com/pages/aboutus/).

On a more personal side note, much like the great many other people posting I lament the loss of the quality independent. After finishing work for Joe Browns I went on to work for DMM where I was lucky enough to visit some of the shops mentioned. Each was absolutely brimming with character, and often a social hub around which the local climbing community was centred, and it's a real shame to see that go.

Use it or lose it...

 Damo 12 Oct 2021
In reply to GrahamD:

> ... fledgling Field and Trek in Brentwood in the very early 90s.  The rest came from a long extinct outdoors shop on Mitchums Corner,  Cambridge (anyone remember the name ?).   

Funny you mention those two!

The one and only time I ever went to Brentwood was specifically to go to the Field n Trek there (was it fledgling in the early 90s?) in the mid 90s and I thought it was a bit rubbish, just the generic F&T stuff.

But I loved that place on Mitcham's Corner. I used to walk across from college, every day in a row about the time that Mountain Review (RIP) and/or High mag (RIP) would come out in the hope they'd just arrived. A lot of the shop was ski/sports crap afaik but the climbing bit was in a room off to the side. I'd make a point of visiting every time I went back to Cambridge through the late 90s. Open Air in Cambridge was quite good, not sure if it's still there.

 Damo 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Hat Dude:

In the early days of UKC, 'Dave Hunter Rock 'n' Run' was the site gear oracle, as I recall

 Martin Hore 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Damo:

> The one and only time I ever went to Brentwood was specifically to go to the Field n Trek there (was it fledgling in the early 90s?) in the mid 90s and I thought it was a bit rubbish, just the generic F&T stuff.

Living in suburban SE London (Orpington) we used Field and Trek a lot in the early 80's (and even late 70's). The Dartford Tunnel made the journey to Brentwood possible - even though there was no M25 back then. Yes, Field and Trek was one of the best suppliers then, with competitive prices and knowledgeable staff. 

More recently, in Ipswich, we have lost Action Outdoors as a good local retail shop - just online now. Lost in part, I think, due to competition from Cotswold, which then promptly also closed! It's GO Outdoors only now in Ipswich, in an out-of-town retail park, while the town centre is heading towards becoming more like a ghost town every year.

Martin

 Cathy Casey 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

Many thanks Neil and to Rob Greenwood at UKC for his thread pointing out that neither the Joe Browns Shops nor The Climbers Shop are owned by anyone other than myself and my husband.

It is frustrating to see uninformed misinformation flying around on forums, social media etc especially when all of the correct information is available to those who look or ask. Our business is definitely not owned by JD Sports however, I would also like to point out that nor did our Milton Keynes shop close because we were unable to compete with Go Outdoors. If you wish to be knowledgeable and speak the truth, you may, as Rob has explained, read the full story about how our shops have been and remain a key part in UK climbing and mountaineering history: The Big History — The Climbers Shop / Joe Brown Blog (theclimbersshopjoebrownblog.co.uk)

An abridged version is here: The Climbers Shop and Joe Brown Shops | About us (climbers-shop.com) 

It's been a pleasure to read through misty memories of shops past. Ours is a very small industry, so many were owned by friends and colleagues and all closed for a number of very different reasons.  Businesses have a finite life span. How and whether you choose to adapt to prolong it is one of the biggest challenges. The pioneers who started Joe Browns and The Climbers Shop chose to sell their businesses to us so they could continue and we very much hope, that when our time comes to retire we can do the same. The world, however, has an annoying habit of changing and misinformation can heavily influence it. For example: how many of you would have chosen not to shop with us under the mistaken belief we were owned by a corporation? How many thought to question the unfounded information placed in front of them? How many would have unwittingly shared a falsehood in passing?

As current guardians of two iconic brands within our industry we are immensely proud to retain our physical shops trading alongside other great independently owned specialists such as Outside, Needlesports, Up and Under, Open Air, Craigdon, Braemar Mountain Sports, Countryside Ski & Climb, Taunton Leisure and Ellis Brighams etc. Here's hoping we'll all be here for many years yet to come - please don't underestimate your role as a customer in ensuring this can be so.

 raincloud 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Roger Turners

Castle Mountain and Moor

Were once the shops of choice in Nottingham - alas now long gone - just Cotswold and Go Outdoors now

 tjhare1 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Cathy Casey:

I’d not stumbled across the “big history” until now Cathy. A real treasure trove - great work!

In reply to Neil Williams:

Echoing what has already been said about The Climbers Shop, it’s also not true to suggest The Outdoor Shop closed singularly because of Go or any other shop opening up. In fact, I suspect it very rarely is the case that shop A shuts exclusively because of shop B opening up down the road! It might be the tipping point, but there are usually other factors at play too. As Cathy mentioned, businesses aren’t there forever and they come and go for a myriad of reasons, some personal, others commercial or financial. Speculation won’t help, so probably best to keep shtum unless you know what the score is!

Post edited at 13:37
 More-On 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Cathy Casey:

Many thanks Cathy for confirming that there is not another group lurking in the shadows and apologies for suggesting there might be without checking further.

I've now read and thoroughly enjoyed the history section of you website, and am delighted you're still proudly independent. 

 Hat Dude 12 Oct 2021
 gethin_allen 12 Oct 2021
In reply to GrahamD:

> An interesting question: when is an independent deemed to have become a chain ?

This is a good point, I'm pretty sure I still have some stuff bought in the early 2000s from CCC in Sheffield, nd we all know what's happened to them.

 Doug 12 Oct 2021
In reply to DH3631:

Does Marshall's in Aberdeen still exist ? Must have spent quite a bit of time there during the 1980s

In reply to kevin stephens:

> Nick Estcourt in Altrincham, managed by Jim Moran

Awesome climber. I wonder what he's up to now?

 Root1 12 Oct 2021
In reply to More-On:

> Very sad about WildTrak vs Go...

> I believe JB and the Climbers Shop are both part of Hooked on Granite which seems to be a small group with nothing to do with JD, but I could easily be missing something.

> Interesting you mention Trekitt, as they have just joined a big Scandinavian group that includes many large brands. Their email talks of a family brand etc, but that is just the first branch of the group tree. It will be interesting to see what comes of this...

That's interesting, these small companies are continually being absorbed.

 Root1 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Glad to hear the shops are independently owned , cannot recall where I heard the wrong information. The service from independents is so much better and for that reason alone will always get my custom. Someone on here claims Trekitt who claim to be a family business are actually part of a bigger group. Its good to get updated information on these things on UKC.

 Root1 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Cathy Casey:

Apologies for stating you were not an independent. Not sure where I heard that. The independents will always get my support, the service and customer support is always so much better.

The shop history on your website is a very interesting read.

Post edited at 16:16
In reply to Damo:

> In the early days of UKC, 'Dave Hunter Rock 'n' Run' was the site gear oracle, as I recall

Happy memories! Wonder what he’s up to these days. Also Simon who ran the Sheffield branch of Rock and Run, where I whiled away many a lunch hour.

 More-On 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Root1:

Times are certainly tough for many and with complex deals going ahead in all sectors it's easy to assume this is happening across the board; which is why it is particularly pleasing to see Hooked on Granite is still a small independent set up.

Given the current climate I can also easily understand why the family behind Trekitt have done what they have done, I just worry it will be another independent gone before too long. I just hope I'm wrong...

 More-On 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Root1:

I should be clear that Trekitt are not being in any way untruthful in their claims regarding their new arrangements, it's just there is another layer up the food chain. This makes me uneasy with regard to the future. I just hope I'm wrong...

 Richard J 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Damo:

> But I loved that place on Mitcham's Corner. I used to walk across from college, every day in a row about the time that Mountain Review (RIP) and/or High mag (RIP) would come out in the hope they'd just arrived. A lot of the shop was ski/sports crap afaik but the climbing bit was in a room off to the side. I'd make a point of visiting every time I went back to Cambridge through the late 90s. Open Air in Cambridge was quite good, not sure if it's still there.

Me too! It was called Actionsports, IIRC. I must have bought a load of gear there but mostly I remember spending much too much time in that side room chatting to Ray Delaney, who was the main man in the climbing section at the time.

 GrahamD 12 Oct 2021
In reply to Richard J:

Action Sports.  Yay !

 Damo 13 Oct 2021
In reply to Richard J:

Very good, thanks! I vaguely recalled it was some sadly unromantic name like that.

Last thing I remember buying there was a pair of Thinsulated LaSportiva K3 (a short-lived single boot above the Nepal Extreme) in April 1998 and wore them on an no-permit exploratory trip to Yunnan weeks later, as they didn't look like technical climbing boots so I wore them on the plane and all the time. They were OK but I wore them back there in 2002 and even to Spiti in 2018 and both times they mangled my feet with blisters so bad I had to take several days off! :-D I still have odd bits of kit around here from that shop. Think I gave away the Snarg tho.

 Damo 13 Oct 2021
In reply to Richard J:

Very good, thanks! I vaguely recalled it was some sadly unromantic name like that.

Last thing I remember buying there was a pair of Thinsulated LaSportiva K3 (a short-lived single boot above the Nepal Extreme) in April 1998 and wore them on an no-permit exploratory trip to Yunnan weeks later, as they didn't look like technical climbing boots so I wore them on the plane and all the time. They were OK but I wore them back there in 2002 and even to Spiti in 2018 and both times they mangled my feet with blisters so bad I had to take several days off!  I still have odd bits of kit around here from that shop. Think I gave away the Snarg tho.

 nniff 13 Oct 2021
In reply to Martin Hore:

I bought my first rack from Field and Trek in Brentwood in 1978.  The shop had nothing on display, just a counter and some copies of its contract price list, because it was a mail order business.  I had a shopping list and they told me how much it was going to be - I had to go to the cash point and empty it of £5 notes to pay for it all, and walk back to the shop with every villain in Essex knowing exactly what was in my pocket.  I still have a few old Bonaiti krabs holding pairs of shoes together and one Chounard #4 stopper still on my rack.  Much used, never fallen on.

The other loss is the big YHA shop in Covent Garden - stockists of Galibier boots in all sizes - SuperPro in 44.5 in my case (Superguides, but with a plastic toe cap).  And Magic Mountain in Castleton (Joe Tasker's place)

 GrahamD 13 Oct 2021
In reply to nniff:

I think there are plenty more villainous places in Essex than Brentwood ! I used to race round there lunch times from work in Harlow.

In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

Can anyone remember the name of the shop in Lancaster. I remember it from the early 90s and bought a lot of my early equipment there (first pair of climbing shoes, first pair of crampons, various bits of Karrimor fleece.

Not the shop where Ultimate Outdoors is now.

 Root1 13 Oct 2021
In reply to More-On:

> I should be clear that Trekitt are not being in any way untruthful in their claims regarding their new arrangements, it's just there is another layer up the food chain. This makes me uneasy with regard to the future. I just hope I'm wrong...

I am sure they are not being untruthful. 

I do hope the smaller retailers can survive.

 Sealwife 13 Oct 2021
In reply to Doug:

It had become a branch of Ellis Brigham or Nevisport (can’t recall which) by the time I left Aberdeen in 2005.  Not sure if the shop is still there now.

Jimmy Marshall passed away very recently.

Used to enjoy a trundle around the Aberdeen gear shops in the 90s - Marshall’s, round the corner to Craigdon, over the road to Blacks then up the lane behind M&S to Tiso.   There was a small shop called the Mountain House on George St and that funny little one that also sold guns, behind Holburn Street.  Can’t remember what it was called but bought the majority of my first rack there.

In reply to Damo:

> Last thing I remember buying there was a pair of Thinsulated LaSportiva K3 (a short-lived single boot above the Nepal Extreme) in April 1998 

The only climbing shop in Finland when I first went there in the 90s sold those boots - loads of my early ice climbing partners had them as that was about it for options! People seemed to climb reasonably hard in them. Then one of my mates found he could order German army surplus Lowa plastic boots from a surplus place in North Wales, and over a winter it seemed that half of Finland's ice climbers had gone over to German military boots via somewhere random like Bangor.

In reply to nniff:

> The other loss is the big YHA shop in Covent Garden - stockists of Galibier boots in all sizes - SuperPro in 44.5 in my case (Superguides, but with a plastic toe cap).  And Magic Mountain in Castleton (Joe Tasker's place)

I bought my first cams (HB Quadcams) in the Covent Garden YHA. Must be nearly 20 years ago now.

 fatboyslimfast 13 Oct 2021
In reply to rsc:

> Happy memories! Wonder what he’s up to these days. Also Simon who ran the Sheffield branch of Rock and Run, where I whiled away many a lunch hour.

Simon is one of the head honchos of Beta Climbing, still based in Sheff

 Damo 14 Oct 2021
In reply to TobyA:

Cheezus, yes, I remember those. They were advertised in the back of High mag for something like 15 quid. They were ex-military versions of Lowa Civetta, iirc, and went up to size 15

Only reason I didn't get a pair is because I already had a pair of Lowa Civetta Extreme, with the warmer liner, because that's what Mugs Stump wore! 

 LastBoyScout 14 Oct 2021
In reply to Tom the tall:

> Peglers in Arundel- had several shops for different departments- boots, camping etc, including one that had stuff for Himalayan climbing, portaledges and all sorts. Fantastic range that no one else really stocked. Closed a long time ago now though.

Yes - used to stop there on the way to my Grandparents for various bits. I remember the boot shop being called "Peglers below the knee" and one was called "Peglers over the road", but I can't remember them all. Dave Pegler always wore sandals, even in the middle of winter!

In reply to Cathy Casey:

Great post thank you.  The service we get from the Climbers Shop and from Needlesports is second to none. 

 steveriley 14 Oct 2021
In reply to The New NickB:

> Can anyone remember the name of the shop in Lancaster. I remember it from the early 90s and bought a lot of my early equipment there 

Harry Robinson's, another unsung hero. Most of my school lunch money went there slowly building a rack, nut by nut. Hugely tolerant of a bunch of kids thumbing through Mountain magazine and fondling the fleeces, and occasionally buying something. He leant my friend an axe on the nod when we started doing a bit of winter bimbling.

In reply to WVRox:

> Great post thank you.  The service we get from the Climbers Shop and from Needlesports is second to none. 

I should add - but is equalled by that provided by the Sick and the Wrong

In reply to WVRox:

Seconded. Needlesports once exchanged a cam for me because they'd sent the wrong thing (blue Totem basic rather than blue Totem). Seems reasonable, right? The impressive part was that I only thought about it, realised and contacted them after I'd both de-tagged and placed it! (I'd bought it from afar while out of the country for an extended period.)

I've never had an experience short of outstanding from any of the independents, and I refuse to buy specialist gear from anywhere else now. As Rob says above, use it or lose it.

In reply to steveriley:

Thanks. I have family in Lancaster (a lot more then than now) so was often in Lancaster with money to spend in the days after Christmas.

In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

I worked in Oldham for a period in the late 90s. I would often go for a look around Paul “Tut” Braithwaite’s shop at lunchtime, I must have bought something, but not a lot considering the amount of time I spent in there.

I was aware of his climbing achievements and was a little bit in awe of him. He sold up in 1999 and the shop became Mountain Feet, which still exists, but moved to Marsden eventually.

In reply to The New NickB:

> I worked in Oldham for a period in the late 90s. I would often go for a look around Paul “Tut” Braithwaite’s shop at lunchtime, I must have bought something, but not a lot considering the amount of time I spent in there.

I bought my Nepal Extremes from there on sale in the middle of summer - whatever it was, it was great price, and one of the best buys ever because they still work fine now even still get used occasionally 20 years on.

> I was aware of his climbing achievements and was a little bit in awe of him. He sold up in 1999 and the shop became Mountain Feet, which still exists, but moved to Marsden eventually.

I was local to there through 2000 and I'm sure it was still Braithwaite's then? Perhaps they just hadn't changed the sign by then.

In reply to TobyA:

I think it remained Braithwaite’s for a few years after he sold it.

 Beanmanclimb 14 Oct 2021
In reply to Moorland-wanderer:

support the independents, go outdoors, dicks climbing, rockrun etc so they stay open not companies like epictv and bananafingers who are owned by a Finnish telecommunications company.

 Lankyman 14 Oct 2021
In reply to steveriley:

> Harry Robinson's, another unsung hero. Most of my school lunch money went there slowly building a rack, nut by nut. Hugely tolerant of a bunch of kids thumbing through Mountain magazine and fondling the fleeces, and occasionally buying something. He leant my friend an axe on the nod when we started doing a bit of winter bimbling.

I remember them. Me and my ex bought our Osprey pits there which then circumnavigated the globe through jungle, desert and mountain. They were bought out by Ultimate Outdoors who moved to the site near the library. Now part of Blacks.

 DaveHK 14 Oct 2021
In reply to Beanmanclimb:

> support the independents, go outdoors, dicks climbing, rockrun etc so they stay open not companies like epictv and bananafingers who are owned by a Finnish telecommunications company.

I thought Go Outdoors were owned by JD Sports.

In reply to Beanmanclimb:

> bananafingers who are owned by a Finnish telecommunications company.

Some of my best friends have worked for that Finnish telecommunications company!

But, anyway, why does that matter? I've got no feelings about Bananafingers either way, but does them being owned by a mobile phone company really make much of a difference?


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