/ A Christmas tale? The Rising Fall of Jimmie Clitheroe

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Mick Ward - on 25 Dec 2017
Happy Christmas to all!

When I opened my Christmas present, a dog-eared copy of 'Five Go to Brexit Island', heavily annotated in green ink, a faded slip of paper (bookmarker from previous owner?) slipped out. It was dated and signed at the bottom, but the writing was such a drunken(?) scrawl by then that I couldn't quite make out the name. Or the proper date. 1977, maybe?

Anyway, I've copied it as best I can. Make of it what you will.

The Rising Fall of Jimmie Clitheroe

Now there’s lots of ’ard climbers
in the Chew Valley
but none ’arder
than Jimmie Clitheroe
(or so they say)

He’s got forearms like Popeye
’as Jimmie Clitheroe
balls like melons
’as Jimmie Clitheroe
he once had a right good go
at Whillans
did Jimmie Clitheroe
(or so they say)

Bloody hell -
I don’t believe it!
I’m sat in the same pub
as Jimmie Clitheroe
an’ he’s supping his ale
an’ I’m supping mine

Flamin’ heck -
I don’t believe it!
I’m at the crag
with Jimmie Clitheroe
an’ you know what
when you get right up close
them forearms
ain’t so big, after all

Now we’re at the crux
of the last great problem
in the Chew Valley
an’ you know what
Jimmie Clitheroe’s
just bottled it
and I’ve said
“D’ya mind
if I ’ave a go?”

Jimmie who?

Boogs on 25 Dec 2017
In reply to Mick Ward:

Ha Hah , that's splendid Mick thanks for sharing have a good christmas and a wonder full New Year my friend .

Leon .
paul__in_sheffield - on 25 Dec 2017
In reply to Mick Ward:

That’s awesome, Mick. Happy Christmas from sunny bolt clipping in Malta!
BusyLizzie on 25 Dec 2017
In reply to Mick Ward:

Merry Christmas, Mick!

I remember my very Lancastrian grandma watching Jimmy Clitheroe on television, rather a lot of decades ago...
Paul Clarke on 26 Dec 2017
In reply to Mick Ward:
Jimmie Clitheroe lived in a bungalow on Bispham Rd not far from my parents house in Blackpool. He'd occasionally kick a football around with us kids but never saw him on the crags.
johnl - on 26 Dec 2017
In reply to Mick Ward:

Merry Christmas Mick.
Great stuff to start Boxing day with. That Clithero kid, he's been here The Clitheroe Kid (4a)
jon on 26 Dec 2017
In reply to Mick Ward:

I remember watching The Clitheroe Kid on the telly way back, but couldn't really remember quite when. So I googled him. Amazed to find he died in 1973 - where do all those years go, eh? Never grew any taller than 4ft 2ins. Still, as Lynn Hill said, there's no such thing as a reach problem... Happy new year
oldie - on 26 Dec 2017
In reply to BusyLizzie:

if my memory is correct the TV series was preceded by many years of "The Clitheroe Kid" on the radio. Also his voice may have been done by a woman?
jon on 26 Dec 2017
In reply to oldie:
If you google him it says he had a thyroid problem which accounted for his diminutive size and that he never went through puberty. The high voice was his.
Post edited at 15:18
Adam Perrett on 27 Dec 2017
In reply to johnl:
Yeah, but what’s he done on grit?

Great poem, Mick. Merry Christmas and a happy new year.
Post edited at 17:18
Mick Ward - on 29 Dec 2017
In reply to Mick Ward:

Many thanks to people for their various insights.

I must confess the whole business is a mystery to me. Clearly the diminutive entertainer wasn't noted for his grit routes. And I'm sure it's Jimmie, rather than Jimmy.

Someone suggested that Jimmie Clitheroe might be an affectionate(?) term for a then well-known climbing hero, seemingly usurped rather brutally by an aspirant. I wonder what happened to him. Did he, in turn, get usurped?

I'm wondering now if the year isn't 1973, rather than 1977. The writing's really dreadful. The forename on the signature might have an 'a' (or maybe an 'e'?) in it. The surname looks as though it could have an 'o' in it. But I can't be sure. And anyway, some things are better left unknown.


French Erick - on 29 Dec 2017
In reply to Mick Ward:

Hi Mick,
It's not often that i feel like an Alien in NY. I am entirely sure it wasn't intended. Usually I get a lot from your posts but this one almost entirely escaped me...even after googling! It is however good to be reminded that after all, much as I like it here and plan on staying much longer, I was not born here.
Does the Avon gorge fall under the Chew valley climbing area? Never been there to climb. The vast majority of my British climbing happened north of Nottingham!
The New NickB - on 29 Dec 2017
In reply to French Erick:

There are two Chew Valleys, I know little of the Somerset one, but the Chew Valley in Saddleworth has extensive climbing as well. With the Lancastrian references, I assumed it was the latter, although the Chew Valley is just over the old border in Yorkshire, but modern Greater Manchester.

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