Archive for the ‘Walking’ Category

January Blues (skies)

Sunday, March 1st, 2020

Our last post Brexit meet was to the Climbers Club hut Grange, Borrowdale in North Lakes. A fine hut we have stayed at before and a good turn out for a walking weekend with haggis supper. We were joined by a couple of CC members which made for a feast of fun on Sat night.

Sat was clear and dry but very cold with a chilly wind, climbing would technically have been possible but freezing cold belays would not have been fun. There was practically no snow anywhere so winter climbing was out, so most people opted for some walking.

Dave W had a day pass for Sat and joined Mike and I and went scrambling and for a wander around Combe Ghyll looking at maps and bumps. We started up Intake Ridge a broken and occasionally serious route before heading to Glamamara. On return, we dropped down the climbers' descent past Raven Crag and across to Doves Nest crag where we messed in caves about for a while before heading home.

Simon, Carmen, Liz and Dave D headed out on a long walk via Castle Crag and Dale head around Newlands valley and Ard Crags – Wainwright ticking at its finest. Peri was on her own walking and naving on the Maiden Moor ridge to Dale Head. Joe went for a run somewhere and Charles wandered around somewhere!

Sunday was a glorious day and everyone did some part or variant on the Coldedale Horseshoe apart from Charles who went to Glaramara. We went in at least 3 teams, with Simon, Carmen and Joe doing the largest. Rob and Mike explored the mines but we all had great weather apart from the very tops which were in clag, and required a bit of compass work.

AS it was dark we mostly got away early after some cleaning, except for the straggler returning.

Simons Pictures: https://www.facebook.com/simon.caldwell.5/media_set?set=a.2980255068664928&type=3

Every season except winter

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

This year we had the biggest New Year meet turn out for years, filling Blackrock Cottage and with people camping in vans and even staying at the ski centre up the road. So it shouldn't have been surprising that we also had some of the worst weather, with a massive thaw stripping pretty much all the remaining snow, and heavy rain and strong winds putting the high summits out of bounds.

Of course we didn't let this stop us getting out! Corbetts were climbed near Glen Orchy (Beinn Udlaidh was not in, unless you're into climbing unfrozen waterfalls in spate). Others did the Corbett above the Kings House before retiring to the bar. Trade at the newly rebuilt hotel certainly benefited from the bad weather, though private functions made it residents-only for the last few days. I don't think most of us will hurry back, it's lost all its old character and now feels (and looks) more like a motorway service station.

On the worst weather day an intrepid few of us did a walk over a couple of small hills on Rannoch Moor (hard to stand up in the wind even at under 500m) and back along the West Highland Way to the hut. Others went to Fort William for the local Park Run, followed by woodland walks and mountain bike trails.

Jayne led a big group in a circuit of Buachaille Etive Beag, staying low to avoid summit storms. Some fun and games were had trying and mostly failing to cross the normally narrow stream – the exception being Pete and Aiofe, who were rewarded by having to cross back again a mile or so upstream. We almost managed to stay dry until the last stretch back to the Kings House. Meanwhile others cycled down the road to Kinlochleven and back over the Devil's Staircase to the hotel.

More rain on the Monday morning led most people to the Ice Factor climbing wall, Warwick taking the opportunity for a run over the Devils Staircase. Carmen and I risked the forecast of an afternoon improvement and were rewarded by sunshine and views in the last hour before sunset.

Finally, on New Years Eve, those of us who remained were granted an exceptional day's weather – cool and clear with blue skies and light winds, fantastic conditions despite the near complete absence of snow. Peter and Ann took the train from the coast to Bridge of Orchy and cycled back through down the glen.

Carmen and I did a long walk from Ballachulish up the remote Corbett of Fraodhaidh. Pete led the others up Creise and Meall a' Bhuiridh, the two Munros behind the hut, taking in a fine scramble on the way.

The usual New Year's eve festivities followed, combined with a birthday cake for Noemi, and with far too much food courtesy of Karl who we unwisely left to do the shopping! We even all managed to stay up beyond midnight, partly because the forecast was back to wet and windy so there was no incentive for an early start. In the event it wasn't too bad, but the previous day could hardly have been bettered, and we all headed home.

A load more photos here

Coniston Coppermines

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
The hut from over the valley

This Autumn has been exceptionally wet and there was no let up all weekend for the December Coniston Coppermines meet. It was fully booked with 16 sleeping in the hut and Peri in her van.

Wet walkers

There was poor visibility, very wet underfoot, strong winds and clothing was tested to its limits with constant driving rain. But it didn’t stop a large group walking up Coniston Old Man then onto Wetherlam.

Raven Crag scramble

Simon and Carmen squeezed in a scramble on Goat Crag before heading onto Coniston Old Man too and managed to get a quick picture before the clouds immersed them again.

Caption competition

Russ, Pete B and Donal went off mountain biking and Mike and Louise went road biking up Wrynose Pass. With such a wet weekend every possible hook, door, nail, and rack was used to hang wet gear as the drying room was minuscule but thankfully we had 2 log stoves for drying gear and keeping us all cosy.

As usual there was plenty of food with 4 courses and extra delicious cakes made by Alan. Jayne’s fancy swirls on the casserole ended up as rocks but plates were soon emptied and everyone make space for Peri’s mince pies giving us a festive theme for the last weekend meet of 2019.

Summer Langdale

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

The club's July meet was in Langdale at the Robertson Lamb Hut. Currently undergoing some renovations this huts in a great location for lots of accessible climbing, scrambling and walking and should be even better when the renovations are completed.

The walkers in the party Andrew and Karen, Pete and Oifie, Donal and Dave D all headed out in good time on Saturday morning to complete their various excursions.


With lots of rain overnight most of the climbers opted for a later start on Saturday, eventually we all headed for Scout crags. Simon and Carmen headed straight for the upper crags and ticked a handful of the routes on there. The rest of the group made the most of the lower crags, Peri, Jayne and even Anni climbed Cubs Groove and Cub’s Crack, .Ana, Adam, Jamie and myself ticked off Cubs Arete, Cubs Crack and The Slab.

In the afternoon the four of us headed to White Ghyll and left the others to do some abseil practice. Quite a few of the routes still looked pretty damp but we managed to climb The Slabs Route 1 and 2 and Haste Not which has an awesome traverse, not hard but exposed and pretty exciting. Some of the guys headed to the Pub for a quick one then we settled down to another legendary YAC meal.

Sunday was forecast to be dry, which it was but quite windy. Pete, Aoife, Jayne and Anni opted for a walk and scramble on Bowfell via the climbers traverse and easy slabs to the top. Then on to crinkle crags where they encountered near whiteout conditions in the low cloud and had to put their navigation practice to good use.

All the climbers headed for White Ghyll this time which turned out to be a good option with the low cloud and strong winds high up. Simon and Carmen climbed The Slabs this time, Peri and Dave D climbed Slip Not, Jamie and Adam did Hollin Groove while Ana and myself tackled Laugh Not. Great name, wasn’t much laughing from me just a lot of huffing and puffing. We abbed off then Ana led slip Knot which has an excellent first pitch, better than the second pitch I thought which is over too soon.

On the way down we spotted Carmen and Simon climbing the classic VD Route 1 on upper Scout Crag so decided to follow them up. Ana led both pitches on this one, the second pitch been the main event with some great climbing as you step round onto the arete. We were soon at the top then descended and headed for the hut just as the rain started and only half an hour later than planned, time to head back home.

Given the dodgy forecast can’t complain with pretty much two full days climbing, still need to get up to Gimmer at some point though.

Crafnant Valley – June Meet

Saturday, July 27th, 2019

Not sure what happened to everyone else, but only 5 of us made it to the meet in Wales. The hut is situated in a lovely location and weather was good on the Friday evening. Simon & I were surprised to arrive first but Donal, Peter E and Anne had travelled together taking a slight detour en route to the hut. We were able to spread out and have a couch or armchair each in the large lounge. Saturday saw Peter E and Donal heading off on mountain bikes to cycle the Marin trial. With nobody to climb with (and somewhat stormy looking skies at times) Simon was first out the hut for a run over Carnedd Llewellyn, out to Drum and back via Lyn Eigiau.

Meanwhile Anne (feeling under the weather) and me (with stitches freshly removed from knee) went for a bimble from the hut around the 2 reservoirs – Llyn Crafnant and Llyn Geirionydd, a late lunch stop by Llyn Crafnant and a coffee from the café. We checked out one of the sport/dry-tooling crags on the way back to the hut.

Nearly back at the hut we bumped into Simon returning from the his run. Donal was already back inside having suffered from hayfever on the ride. So only Peter E left to return – which he did a short while later complete with bleeding and deeply cut knee. He had fallen off shortly after Donal had departed. Anyway he was happy having completed the trail, been nursed and given free tea and cake by the café!

On Sunday, Simon & I drove off and went to RSPB Burton Mere on the way home for a bit of wandering and birding. The others went for a walk over the hill from the hut to Llyn Cowlyd reservoir which they enjoyed apart from the final re-ascent through the bracken where presumably Peter E picked up his collection of ticks.

Everyone loved the hut & location for a change. Will have to return to sample the climbing there sometime or test the mammoth fire.



A Cold Bank Holiday

Saturday, May 11th, 2019
On Beinn a Chaisteil, with Beinn Dorain behind

We were supposed to be spending the early May Bank Holiday weekend in the Arrochar Alps, climbing on the Cobbler, but the weather had other ideas.

Forecast temperatures on the crag were due to be a few degrees below zero, so a new plan was needed! For most, that plan involved staying at home. Rob and Mike climbed on Llanberis slate, but Carmen and I stuck with the original destination, and spent a few chilly days in the southern Highlands.

Beinn nam Fuaran

Saturday was cold but sunny, perfect walking weather, so we decided on the group of 5 Corbetts south east of the Bridge of Orchy. Not a hugely long day (around 15 miles), but being Corbetts there's a lot of ascent between each, the total for the day being over 2000m.

Eagle

The walk was excellent with some superb views, but the highlight of the day was a chance encounter with a golden eagle, feeding on a sheep carcass only 10m or so below us. It soon caught sight of us of course, and was off, but I've never been this close to a wild eagle before, and am never likely to be again.

Mill Bay

Sunday's forecast was for the best weather was near the coast. So we drove for 2 hours towards Knapdale on the northern end of the Mull of Kintyre, for some esoteric cragging at Mill Bay. Good rather than great climbing, and freezing cold despite being only 10m above sea level, but in a superb setting. Well worth a visit if in the area.

Snowtastic

The next day the plan was to climb Meall an Fhudair, another Corbett across the valley. The summit area is a complex mix of knolls and lochans, so we wanted a clear day for it. As we sat in the car at the campsite, the rain was coming down steadily and the cloud lowering so we almost bailed, but luckily it had stopped by the time we parked the car.


Meall an Fhudair from
Beinn Damhain

We almost turned back on the initial ascent, as the cloud came down again and it start to rain, soon turning to snow. But again, before the decision point had been reached it cleared, and the rest of the day stayed dry and sunny. So much so that we added on an extra summit at the end, the rocky Graham of Beinn Damhain. Another good day, and a fine little hill for practising navigation, with great views over the Arrochar Alps, Loch Fyne, and the Ben Lui range.

All in all, a great weekend, and despite the bank holiday crowds on the West Highland Way and no doubt the nearby Munros, we only met 3 other pairs on the hills all weekend.

North Wales Nav weekend

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

On the weekend of the 6th of April six YAC members headed to North Wales to attend a Navigation course at Plas y Brenin. We based ourselves at the Dolgam campsite near Capel which I would highly recommend, really nice clean site with great facilities.

Saturday dawned and for a change we were hoping for low cloud and poor visibility to make the most of the Nav course, the sky couldn't have been clearer. The sun was out and the temperature high, think we all regret the winter trousers and warm base layers, so much for the poor weather nav.
After Jane had put her Shepherd's skills to test rounding up an escaped lamb at the campsite we headed to the centre for the course.

Despite the clear conditions the course went well and I think we all got something from it and at least the nice weather made for a more pleasant relaxed day. It was the first time for most of us in the Plas y Brenin centre and we were all impressed, so much so we headed back there for an evening talk involving polar bears and canoes rounded off by dinner (that's two mains and two puds for Karl) and a few drinks in the bar.

Sunday morning was cloudy and cool so plans to climb were put on the back burner and we headed for a group ascent of Tryfan. After a minor incident where Karl narrowly escaped serious injury or death (Simon to the rescue) we arrived at the summit and the crowds.


The skies had cleared, the sun was up and it seemed even warmer than the Saturday.

From the summit we continued up Bristly ridge, the group showed great support and Jane was especially pleased to complete this classic scramble. We returned to the cars via the Y Gribin ridge with perfect clear conditions and some great views.

Great  weekend with crazy weather for that time of year.


Ogwen Valley – March 2019

Saturday, March 30th, 2019
MCNW Hut

Last weekend we had a trip to the MCNW hut in North Wales. Always keen to try a hut we haven't stayed in previously. It proved a bit of a squeeze but we all fitted in. We were rather lucky with a Spring like Saturday and a more wintry feeling air on Sunday – but dry both days.

On Saturday Dave W, Karl and Russ went for a link-up of classic scrambles – Idwal Staircase / Cneiffon Arete and Dolmen Ridge. "Great and popular (well one other person doing the same) link up. About 700m of quality grade 2/3 scrambling. Karl practised the black arts of moving together on Cneiffon arete which was good. Clearly time spent rigging masts has not been wasted".  Simon & I walked from the hut to the East face of Tryfan. The planned climb (Grooved arete) was already busy, as was the first pinnacle ridge – so revised plan saw us climbing the second (first) pinnacle ridge. Simon led the highly polished yellow slab pitch which is somewhat out of keeping with the rest of the route. We finished off by climbing The Wall and then descended to Little Tryfan to do a couple of long easy pitches before trudging back to the hut. Jayne, Donal, Noemi, Ana and Emily went for a walk and scramble on Tryfan, over the Glyders and down via the Devils kitchen.  Justine and Gav (Ordinary route) and Pete B and Adam (Hope and Lazarus) did a variety of routes on a not too busy Idwal slabs.  Peter E met up with his brother and son and walked in to climb Amphitheatre Buttress.  Unfortunately Peter's knee popped on the route and so he had a slow hobble back to the hut having been abandoned by his brother!  Sat night saw us eating far too much food for a change – all very tasty. 

Given the cooler conditions on Sunday only Gav, Adam and Pete B braved climbing on Carreg Mianog doing a couple of VS's and a new route courtesy of Gav.

Donal was heading off to do the Crib Lem spur scramble but low cloud and cold wind deterred him, but he still enjoyed the walk in.

The majority of the rest of us went for a walk from the hut, taking in Pen yr Helgi Du and Carnedd Llwelyn before descending to get out the bitter wind. Simon & I detoured on the way back to look for Simon's microspikes he lost in February. Needless to say we didn't find them! Meanwhile Justine stayed behind to nurse her cold and Pete his knee. We were all back in plenty of time to finish off the leftovers, before completing the clean up & departing. Another good weekend.

Snowless in Elphin

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019
Arkle
Arkle

For the 2018/9 New Year meet we returned to the excellent little hut in Elphin, up in the far northwest of Scotland. One of these days we'll get there to coincide with some good winter's weather, but not this time, mild weather through December led to largely snow-free conditions.

Of course, that didn't stop us 9 of us making the long journey north, and it's a fantastic place to be in (almost) any conditions.

Ben Hope

We arrived on Boxing Day, and the following day the best conditions were due to be further east, so Carmen and I headed north and east for an ascent of Meall Horn, a Corbett near Arkle. An overcast day nevertheless stayed dry and the cloud mostly above the summits, with some great views to the sunny peaks around Ben Hope. Meanwhile, Annie and Peter diced with death on Cul Beag but lived to tell the tale.

Meall Doire Faid

The next day we headed south, again chasing the weather, and again got lucky with a sunny ascent of Beinn Enaiglair, another Corbett near Braemore Junction. A long approach spiralled round to the far side of the hill before climbing old stalkers' paths to the top, descending the other side and back up from the col to bag a Graham summit, Meall Doire Faid.

Annie and Peter set off to walk up Quinag, but after half an hour sat in the car park watching the rain, they settled for a walk to Eas a Chual Aluinn, the highest waterfall in the country.

On 29th the rest of the group arrived, so of course the weather took a turn for the worse.

Mike, Pete W and Rob repeated their now traditional late start on a long walk near shortest day with an ascent of the Assynt Munros, including some consternation about the descent from the ridge (minor epic narrowly averted) getting back just a tad after dark.

Carmen and I headed south again, to pick up an insignificant Munro Top near Meall nan Ceapraichean – the only Munro summit in the Beinn Dearg group that we didn't go up on the 2011 LAMM – we'd traversed 20m below the summit! Today we weren't so lucky with the weather, which stayed resolutely damp and dismal with low cloud, so having ticked the summit we headed back, detouring slightly to visit one of the impressive waterfalls in the glen (an advantage of the poor weather!).

Peri and Karl found the best weather on Ben More Coigach, a fine mountain overlooking the sea north of Ullapool.

Falls of Kirkaig

The next day was once again damp and windy, with cloud levels even lower, so we had a team walk to the Falls of Kirkaig, impressively full of water after all the rain.

New Year's Eve was a repeat, only windier, so various groups did various low level bimbles – some to the Clachtoll Broch, others to the crags at Reiff, others to the coast near Lochinver.

Then it was the traditional NYE haggis over-eating, over-drinking, and struggling to stay awake until midnight, followed the next day by fine weather, snow on the hills, and a long drive home.

Some more photos here

Costa de Langdale

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Langdale in November, pack your waterproofs and hope for the best. Except we should have packed our shorts and vests as this was incredible weather.

Staying at the Wayfarers excellent Hut (for the last time before they became a mixed club) we were 20 odd people over the weekend. The oddness level varied as people came and went at different times

On Sat 4 teams headed for the ever reliable Raven Crag, south facing low lying and crammed with good routes (and other people) Rob and Pete B did a bunch of routes that Rob thought he hadn't done before (he had!) Peri, Adam and Andrew ticked some classics (Revelation HS & Bilberry Buttress VS) and Mike and Paul were encouraged to tackle Pluto (an excellent HVS 5a traverse) amongst others. Dave W climbed with a new recruit Daniel and Simon and Carmen were hoovering up routes at minor crags and most of us met up at the Far East single pitch venue as the sun was going down.

Retreating to the ODG for a beer we met up with the walking team ( Jayne, Karl, Donal, Toasty, Richards H &P, Ann … ) who'd been up to Jack's Rake and beyond, and Pete W who'd tagged a run on the end of the valley.

Abandoning the drinkers a few of us headed back and commenced a Roast Ham and ten veg for 20 people, which was a tad late but worth the wait. Suitably stuffed we retired for the evening of gentle banter then not so gentle snoring.

Next day 3 teams headed for Pavey Ark, Pete B and Rob did Coati (VS) followed by Crescent Slabs while Mike S and Andrew did the slabs then got on Golden Slipper (HVS *** with a queue to match and still on my list to lead). Peri and Adam also tackled Coati, starting a little later and finishing well late (after we had all gone back to York!)

Simon & Carmen went climbing easy stuff on Harrison Stickle in the chilly wind and managed three fairly long routes. Richards P&H headed for the very local Scout crag and had a successful day bagging quality easier routes.

Another large walking team headed out to the end of the valley to the Crinkle Crag, Bowfell area in stunning weather. A scramble was tackled and great fun had, sorry no pix as yet…

We all (bar Peri and Adam) made it back before dark and headed home – quality weekend in a great place

More Photos: so many great ones …..