Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Lakes 42

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Lakes 42  (08/04/17)

Quite hard! – Simon’s post race analysis made it 40.5 miles and 3000m ascent.


The weather was great, dry and bright – would have been grim in the rain. It was very cold and frosty to start with (breakfast was 4:45am) for the 6am start from Askham, but things warmed up fairly quickly in the morning. We returned in one piece – 12 hours 36 mins later. The low point for me was the ascent of Place fell (Helvellyn felt fine) – Simon thought the reverse. We were miles behind the winning time – around 7.5 hours. But a good few hours in front of the last finishers. Soup, a cup of tea and cake awaits you at the finish. We were too tired for a pub dinner so just had a bit of quiche and a few snacks before going to bed.

It is a great low key annual event – with around 100 people taking part. Run by Nav4/Joe Faulkner. Supply your own map. No fixed route between checkpoints (which are old style orienteering clippers). There were 3 snack and refreshment stops en route (each time you pass through Patterdale and on the road at Thirlmere). No cut offs – just need to back before last orders!









Spring had sprung at slipstones

Friday, March 31st, 2017

With a glorious forecast Karl, Mike, Jamie, me, Peri and Crofty went to Slipstones last Saturday.  We were all overdressed (in varying degrees) for the Summer like weather and even complained it was too hot – in March!  We were not alone the red goat had gone on mass as well.

Lots of bouldering, some roped climbing & lots of sleeping by various members of the party.

Mike chose a super pumpy HVS 5b for the first climb of the day – good effort.  I backed off a VS & let Mike and Jamie take over.  Great day to be out.

Sunday it was an early start (groan) and off to the Peak District for the Edale skyline.  Simon & I were running/walking independently.  Having overtaken him on the first hill – he over took  me whilst going along the first edge.  I had almost caught up with him about 1/3 of the way around when I did a superman dive going through the forestry section – doh!  Didn't see him again until the finish.  Thanks to Gav & Justine for the support going up Mam Tor.  Glorious weather for the race. Main mission accomplished – not timed out and not last to finish!  The fall has resulted in a bicep injury which developed on Tuesday – hoping I may have enough movement to test my arm later next week.

Bryn Hafod Meet 2016

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

10505245_1724819451076031_5260905827964329654_oSeptember saw YAC heading to a new location, Bryn Hafod near Dinas Mawddwy in mid-Wales on the southern edge of Snowdonia. This place really is a world away from the popular tourist spots of the northern part of the national park. The hills may be less craggy and imposing but the rolling slopes and tranquil green valleys combined with the absence of crowds create a beautiful, peaceful setting. The hut is located at the head of the valley a few hundred meters walk up a track from a small car park and shares the valley with only a couple of farms. Built by members of the Mountain Club (of Stafford), the hut consists of a large kitchen and living room downstairs, and a couple of dorms upstairs (one for members only) providing space for 18. As there were only 7 YACers present, we had bags of space, even with the handful of members who came and went over the course of the weekend.20160917_175502

The local crag (Craig Cywarch) has a reputation for being rather vegetated but the hut owners have recently been fairly active at cleaning things up and provided a handy list of cleaned (or otherwise climbable) routes. The ominously named "Doom" seemed to be top of everyone's ticklist so Simon and Carmen headed off to find this on Saturday morning, Pete B and I following along behind some time later (purely to avoid the queue of course, nothing to do with our inability to get up in the morning). On arrival at the crag (a short walk from the hut) Pete and I spotted S and C warming up on one of the recently cleaned VDiffs so decided to do the same and headed for Will o' the Wisp, a classic rock tick Pete had done before but couldn't remember much about. Apart from an ill advised scramble up a steep vegetated gully, we found the route fairly easily. It proved to be pretty good, with some fantastic positions and views down the valley, only spoiled slightly by me ignoring the guidebook description and traversing past the arete with steep juggy moves up a wall in a fantastic exposed position (apparently the best bit of the route), in favour of a steep vegetated corner, with minimal holds or gear. Oops! Simon and Carmen followed us up (the conventional way) after retreating from a wet slimy slab on the crux of P1 of Doom.20160917_131706

After lunch S and C went back to tick of the rest of the VDiffs where they started while Pete and I went in search of Buzzards Balcony, a 3* Severe at the far end of the crag. However, after 1.5hrs of bashing through bracken and brambles we decided it was a bit late to start another route and headed back to the hut to make a start on dinner (via a less direct/vegetated route!). Rather a shame as the routed looked to be in good nick.

The others (Pete E, Donal and Annie) had a good day out biking, despite the cafe on route being shut so had to survive on Donal and Annie's sandwiches, Pete's pies, cake purchased from a farm on route, and a cream tea at the cafe at the end of the route. Meagre rations indeed!

Sunday we awoke in the clag so settled for a pleasant walk around the Aran's, except S and C who ran a similar route in the opposite direction.

A good trip in a nice location but must get a bit more climbing in next time.

The end of winter

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Snowdon HorseshoeThe May Day bank holiday meet returned to Bryn Brethynau near Capel Curig, and hopes were high for some Spring sunshine and warm rock. The weather had other ideas however!

On Saturday, Dave D, Carmen and I did a clockwise circuit of the Snowdon Horseshoe, which was very much in winter condition with fresh snow from about 600m. It was sunny though, with the occasional shower, and cloud bases most above the summits with the exception of Snowdon itself.

QueuesNot that many people on our route considering it was a holiday – but looking down to the Miners Track it was a non-stop line of people throughout the day, there must have been many hundreds of them. The final pull up to the summit was under deep snow, more than a foot of it, but of course most people weren't equipped for it, slipping and sliding all over the place. No reports of accidents though so presumably they all lived to tell the tale.

13092150_1164685633555223_2947748059213386847_nThe weather saved its best for the final traverse of Crib Goch, we even had good views of the summit.

While it was still winter on the tops, things were a bit more like Spring in the valleys. Justine Gav and Pete B climbed a 7 pitch Severe, Canyon Rib, in Aberglaslyn Gorge – so obscure that even I've never heard of it, but by all accounts it's worth doing so now on my list!

For DebraRuss and Mike went to the ever-dependable Tremadog where they did 4 routes including One Step in the Clouds with its new first pitch following a recent rock fall. Apparently it was quite hard!

Meanwhile Donal went mountain biking, and Annie did a nice sunny walk over to the Crafnant Valley, calling in at the oldest church in Wales on the way.

Crafnant ValleyThe next day was wet and windy. Carmen and I went on a run, a variation of Annie's walk from the day before, where as well as the church we found a ridiculously overhanging bolt line, presumably someone's project, and returned via Swallow Falls.

The others went on a variety of walks, both low and high level, the common feature being getting wet.

Monday dawned even worse, with just as much winds and even more run. Most people cut their losses and went straight home.

World's EndCarmen and I waited for the promised improvement for the afternoon, and drove east to World's End , one of the limestone crags near Llangollen. We stuck it lucky, as by the time we got there the sun was out. We managed 4 routes before a sudden heavy shower put an end to proceedings.

Justine and Gav headed for Tremadog, where the weather turned even better, and they stayed for another 2 days to make the most of it.

All in all, a pretty good weekend despite the mixed weather, but next time we'll be due our fair share of warm sun!

Some more photos here


Wolds 20

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

P1010934Early Saturday Morning – Pete Walker, Simon and me set off to Millington to participate in an event being organised by fellow YAC member Warwick.

It is a friendly low key event around the Yorkshire Wolds with running or walking options on both the 13 mile or 20 mile courses. Also with 2 refreshment stops – including yummy cakes en route and some tasty hot food at the finish. What more could you ask for? and the weather was spot on too.

Plenty of lambs, 2 hares and a fox spotted whilst running. It is a good route – never too hilly but constantly undulating. I believe the winner finished in 2:47 (beating his 3:01 the previous year). Pete W put us to shame completing in 3:18 (he has been training). Simon & I were running separately, but often together, overtaking each other several times, but ended up finishing together (despite Simon's valiant attempt overtaking me up the final hill) – completing in 3:54. Could have been slightly quicker if we hadn't got lost near the end – but not much.

Thanks to Warwick & family & helpers.

More details here:

From Millington, circular routes around the Yorkshire Wolds taking in Bishop Wilton; the long route then taking in Kirkby Underdale and Thixendale, whilst the short route cuts across before both head near to Huggate before returning to Millington

Another 24 hours

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

Lowther HillsThe Marmot24 is a 24-hour mountain marathon, though with a 12-hour option available. Open to pairs, solo runners, or teams of 4, this year both courses started together at noon on Saturday, with the 12-hour finishing at midnight and the 24-hour at noon Sunday. It's a score course, so you can visit as many controls as we wanted, each one scoring the same, 10 points. Finishing late incurred minor penalties at first, ratcheting up to a loss of all points if half an hour late!

It was possible to return to the event centre for a sleep, food, dry clothes, etc, and the position of the event centre made it quite easy to plan a route to do this. Some people carried tents with a view to camping out on the hill; others bivvied to save weight. There were even tales of people stopping for a pub meal in the evening. But the truly certifiable stayed out and on the move for the whole 24 hours.

Before the rainAfter last year's inaugural event, my blog entry concluded "I'm really glad we did it, but next time I think the 12 hour course may be a better choice, I wouldn't do the 24-hour again." And so, 12 months on, we drove up to Durisdeer in the Southern Uplands to compete in the 24 hour class. Inevitable really. We'd been to the Lowther Hills for the 2007 OMM, but couldn't remember it at all, so it was to all intents a new area for us.

After a leisurely start (we had our big tent, so plenty of room to cook a bacon, egg and bean breakfast) we picked the map up at 9am, giving just under 3 hours to plan.

OrchidThe southern half of the map contained what appeared to be relatively gentle hills, though with a lot of the controls looking potentially difficult to find (re-entrants, isolated crags, etc), and a few long gaps between them. The northern half was a lot steeper, with controls closer together and on more obvious features (stream functions and summits). We guessed that this meant that the running was easier in the south, rougher in the north.

Like last year, we decided to go for the harder navigation first, while we were fresh, and so worked out a route looping south to start, with various options for a smaller loop back north at the end. We intended staying out all night (last year's return to the event centre for a rest didn't work out very well).

It was slightly disconcerting at the mass midday start to see the clear majority of people heading off north! But we had a plan we were confident in. Last year we played cat and mouse with another team for the first few hours, but this year we found ourselves on our own after only 5 minutes. Despite occasionally seeing a few people in the distance, and crossing paths a few times with some, we pretty much stayed on our own for the whole event.

Evening sunThe first half dozen controls went smoothly though mostly without paths, until after a couple of ours the rain started. No problem we thought, the forecast was for dry conditions with occasional scattered showers. It didn't stop raining for about 6 hours! Apparently the northern part of the course stayed dry. So it goes.

What looked like a good track up the valley in the south east corner turned out to be a bog, slower going than it should have been and getting quite chilly in the rain. We stopped briefly at Burleywhag Bothy to escape the rain, dry off a bit, and have some food – if we'd known about the bothy in advance we might have planned a nap!

Last year I felt sick after about 10 hours and had trouble eating for the rest of the event; I put this down to not having eaten or drunk properly earlier on. So this year we'd supplied ourselves with plenty of food, including lots of home-made coconut ice, a packet of jaffa cakes, some bombay mix, 2 pasties, and a pizza! No, really.

RainbowsA couple of hours and 3 controls later it finally stopped raining, the sun came out, and gave us a series of rainbows. Missing an outlying control as it looked to be over the other side of a tussocky hill, we found ourselves with a bit of spare time before dark, so added in a spur-of-the-moment dogleg for 20 points. Unfortunately one of these involved a there-and-back knee-deep stream crossing, which didn't start the night off well.

By now dark, we headed for the Southern Upland Way, which we'd planned to follow through the night on the assumption that it would be easy to follow and it took us to some simple-looking controls on obvious features. It quickly became obvious that this was no Pennine Way – a narrow boggy path kept disappearing and reappearing, and gave us some of the hardest going of the event! At least it followed a fence line all the way up making navigation easy.

Sunset over Green LowtherNearing the top of Lowther Hill, the SUW path took an unexpected detour away from the fence. Not sure exactly where it went (it's not marked on any map) but it seemed to involve rather too much height loss that we then had to regain. Perhaps it actually stuck to the fence, and I was hallucinating.

Unfortunately the cunning food plan had made no difference and my stomach was suffering, but I battled on, groaning bravely throughout.

We eventually reached the summit, with its incongruous golf ball, tarmac road, and street lights, all part of the national air traffic control system. We followed the road to a control on the trig point of Green Lowther, unable to run even the downhills. The last 4km, that looked easy on the map, took us an hour and three quarters, and it was getting cold. I'm sure there was some frost among the dew.

DawnAfter a couple more controls, it was at last light, and the head torches went away. It didn't take long until the sun came out, the best weather of the event, though a chilly breeze meant the waterproofs stayed on. At last we could start thinking about the route to take back to the finish.

A brief scare when Carmen thought it was 8.00am was quickly resolved when it turned out to be 6.00 after all – we're not used to being up this early! So we had plenty of time to pick off a group of 5 controls close to the event centre. In fact we had so much time left that we were forced to add in two more as well, adding a steep 200m climb just at the point we didn't want it. All that remained was to sprint quickly/stagger slowly (delete as applicable) back to the finish.

6.20 amWe'd scored 300 points in 23 hours, 36 minutes, and 35 seconds. First mixed team, and 5th overall (on the same score as 4th place, but 10 minutes slower). The winner scored 360 so we were at least in touch.

Yet another really great event, and one that I'd urge anyone else to try (if you like mountain marathons of course!). Don't be put off by the epicness of the 24 hour event, most people take the sensible option of either the 12 hour course, or stopping for a break somewhere on the 24 hour version. They need numbers to increase if it's to remain viable in the future, so don't puit it off too long or you'll miss the chance!

Finally, thanks again to Shane (organiser), Gary (course planner), and everyone else involved.

More photos here

Race website here

Results here

In the dark

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

We didn't have the best of preparation for this year's Dark Mountains. First Carmen went down with her annual cold/cough, then I duly caught it and turned it into full blown man flu. A week off work was followed by another week wishing I was off work, then the morning of the race I was so tired I thought about pulling out.

But it's become my favourite event of the year (OK, equal favourite with the LAMM), and this year was held in my favourite running area, the Howgills. So I had no choice.

After a brief kip on the drive over I was feeling a lot better, but our aim as we started will still just to get round in one piece, and not to repeat last year's miscalculation which left us in joint last place. Of course this resolution lasted until we were given the maps, at which point I immediately checked where the highest scoring controls were and worked out if it was feasible to get to them! (We were were doing Long Score – 10 hours to get as many points as possible).

We spent a good 10 minutes planning a route, and decided on a vague line to get to the east of the map for a line of high scoring controls. We'd then pick up whatever we had time for before heading for home where there was a concentrated group of controls near the finish.

This plan lasted approximately 2 minutes. There seemed to be more tracks leading away from the start than were marked on the map, and we weren't sure which to take. And we also decided that it would be better to pick up the grouped controls at the beginning, to be sure of getting them all. So that's what we did.

I'd like to say that we found them all first go, but we didn't. However, we found most of the more elusive ones 2nd or 3rd try, without losing more than a few minutes. A couple more changes of mind followed, and we soon found ourselves on the summit of The Calf, with about 4 hours 15 minutes gone.

I was tempted to leg it down the path to pick up a 50-pointer to the south, but Carmen was more cautious (ie sensible). Instead, a 30-pointer loomed in a re-entrant a couple of km away. This looked quite tricky, with no obvious attack point from above so we decided to miss it out – then changed our minds, and were soon counting paces as we traversed the hill before a diagonal descent to the check point. Of course once we reached the re-entrant and got to the right altitude, there was no control. Wrong re-entrant.

A study of the map suggested showed 2 possibilities for where we might be – one slightly too far east, the other slightly too far west. At this point Carmen mentioned some other possibilities, chiefly about what would happen to me if we were late back and lost all our points again. Luckily I made the right choice and we traversed west into the control.

Up and over the hill again, and down to a control inside the Andy Goldsworthy sheepfold above Cautley Spout. We'd been there before on the 2012 OMM, but that didn't stop us running straight past it and having to retrace our footsteps. From here, if we'd been feeling more optimistic then we might have headed north east to pick up a line of good scoring controls. But this would have left us with a long way to the finish over trackless terrain, and I was starting to feel sick, so we decided to play it safe and headed north along the ridge instead.

The downside of this was that we ended up running out of controls to visit, and after a series of climbs and descents to pick up every available checkpoint between us and the end, we finished with some 35 minutes spare. With hindsight we'd probably have had time for that 50-pointer, but better 35 minutes early than 35 minutes late like last year!

Much to our surprise we finished 4th in the long score, and first veterans team (at last, an advantage of middle age!)

Another excellent event, brilliantly organised as usual and with some well designed courses (I might not be feeling the same if we'd done Elite and been faced with a 14km leg to the first control!). Plenty of choices were available on our course – though pretty much everyone did a variation on the same thing. In some ways I wish we'd gone with our initial plan – just to see how it would have compared (almost certainly worse!). The only disappointment was the weather – far too benign! And the lovely snow that had covered the hills a couple of days earlier had pretty much all melted, leaving just a couple of large snow fields and some water ice on the odd occasion that we ended up following footpaths.

Our route here – about 32km and 2000m ascent.

Results here

Happy Helyg

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Annie paying her respects

After the usual musical chairs sorting lifts the first peeps arrived at Helyg just after dark and moved into the hut concocting various suppers as the troops arrived. There were multiple plans, Peri desperate for Tremadog, but many people favouring staying local, what with the weather being undecided. Eventually Pete B arrived and the party could start.

The Climbers Club (CC) is one of the older clubs in the UK, established around 1892 they bought their first hut, Helyg in 1925, in the Ogwen valley, it's the only part of the valley not owned by NT! Helyg is the oldest continually used climbing hut in UK (so i am told) and has been modernised but retains much character, including exhibits from the 1952 Everest Exped as they used Helyg as a training base. Recently it has been opened up for outside club (or individual BMC members) use, so we were pleased to get it. The hut has 13 bunks but we were one over that, but Peri opted for her van, Paul a wee tent, and Annie the floor so all was well.

10474518_869796529710803_454342019900859529_oIn the morning Simon and Carmen had got an early start on their round of the valley, from the hut over the Carnedds and back over the Glyders range, a mere 16 miles an some silly amounts of ascent. Pete E's brother John dragged Pete off for a excellent scramble (Dolmen Ridge – see previous blog) and Peter W and Peg-Leg (Jamie) went on a proper mountain day out, climbing on the Idwal slabs before topping out Cneifion Arete – good effort.

Mark on slate

Mark on slate

A team of 4 went to the slate, or rather the cafe while they waited for it to stop raining then grabbed a few routes in the afternoon. Annie and Donal had a wee stroll around Tryfan, sensibly heading down when the rain came.


Crib Gogh

Paul and Luke also went for a proper scrambling day out, soloing past some roped climbers on Parsons Nose (2/3) out of Cwm Glas in traditional conditions, before encountering her majesties army coming up Crib Gogh. After a jaunt to the top they backtracked down CG (3 star classic grade 1) and the north ridge (always awkward route finding) but were back in time for tea.


lunch before Knights Move pitch

Slightly ahead of Annie and Donal Pete B and I made our way upto the east face of Tryfan to tackle Grooved Arete, a 3 star classic rock route on Pete's list, and it was his b'day so his choice of activity. It all went fine but was slimy in places and the rain didn't help much. Never freezing as it's out of the wind, t'was chilly at points. We almost made it back to the car sans head torch.



I love meets like this where we all disperse to the four compass points and come back to chat over the adventures with tea and cake in hand. Speaking of cake, it was Pete's B'day and I had made a cake, and enlisted Carmen to stick the decorations on – no candles but – a veritable 'Jelly-Coatta Army' !

For the meal this was preceded by L&P soup with garlic bread, Moroccan Meatballs with cous cous, salads and dips, Peri's excellent lemon Drizzle cake (enormous) and apple crumble. We clearly missing Alan's cheese course 🙂

Sunday most people were a little heavier !


Rob in Bus Stop Quarry

Team Slate returned to the quarries and had a successful day with Dave W and Peri teaming up to tackle some E1s and Mark and Luke bagging some unknown routes ! Pete, Jamie and I also headed to the slate a little later and messed about in Bus Stop quarry in the sunshine on the excellent easier sports routes there. Simon and Carmen braved the Cromlech in the pass and bagged a brace of CR routes (Spiral Stairs and Flying Buttress),

Camen on Flying Buttress

Paul and Pete went for a run on a route that Dave W suggested, along the valley up through Cwm tryfan (a lovely quite spot close to the crowds) and back along the tops to Capel returning up the valley coach road, about 14Km. Great views of Siabod but cold feet says Paul! Donal Annie and Peter went for another walk before heading home.

We all agreed an excellent hut (it's a special place for me as I stayed here for a few weeks when training for my MIA) and one we ought to go back to soon.

RAB Mountain Marathon 2014

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

The start in CrookdaleThis year's RAB was based just off the A6 a few miles south of Shap. As usual in this event we were doing Short Score – 6 hours on day 1 and 5 on day 2 to score as many points as possible.

Our preparation was sub-optimal, as I went down with a stomach bug a week before, but it would take more than that to prevent me at least starting!

The start was a short walk up the road at the foot of Crookdale. The competition area stretched as far as Kentmere in the west and the southern slopes of High Street in the north. A quick glance at the map showed the greatest concentration of high scoring controls was in the north and west, so that's where we decided to head.

Near Wren GillMost people seemed to be starting up Crookdale to pick up a few controls on the hills to the north, but we went south west to Borrowdale (not the famous one!) and Bannisdale, planning to descend into Long Sleddale before following paths west to Kentmere and the start of the high scorers. It wasn't long before the scale of our over-optimism became apparent! By the time we reached the head of Bannisdale we'd already curtailed our plans drastically, abandoning the trek west in favour of a circuit of Long Sleddale. So we traversed the head of Crookdale to pick up another 15-pointer before the descent into the valley, where we ran past the mid camp before a steep 300m ascent up the side of the valley.

Unfortunately it was now clear that our revised route had been miscalculated as well. We were going to descend almost to Kentmere and back (with some 300m of reascent) for a 25 pointer – but there wasn't going to be time. And having decided to miss this out, there weren't any other controls to add in before we finished. We might have had time to get to Lingmell End and back for another 20, but that would have been touch and go, and with lateness penalties this year becoming draconian after only 5 minutes we decided not to risk it. So we got back with some 40 minutes spare (ie wasted).

At the top of Long Sleddale140 points put us in 53rd place, one behind Alan K who had planned his day much better, finishing just a few seconds late with 144. Peter had been doing well, amassing 125 points, but unfortunately a knee injury slowed him dramatically and he was 45 minutes late back, losing all his points in the process.

The mid camp in Long Sleddale was the same one we'd used for the Saunders in 2010, in a superb location beneath the crags of Buckbarrow. The weather (low cloud and clag with a chilly wind on the summits) wasn't quite as good as the unbroken sunshine of that event, but at least it stayed dry and mild. And on the Saunders, the Sunday's weather was foul, with persistent rain and wind – this year, it was just more of the same, cloudy and dry, though a little too warm with no wind.

Sunday's map gave us two main options – either east to the hills above Borrowdale and Crookdale, or south towards Sleddale Forest. We opted for the latter as there was a group of closely spaced controls, and it also seemed to give more scope for adding/subtracting controls depending on progress.

Ascending Brunt KnottThings went pretty much according to plan at first. A few controls in tricky terrain were followed by a descent to the valley near Hall Beck and a stiff climb back up to the summit of Brunt Knott (despite its trig point and fine views this apparently doesn't feature on any tick lists of summits, Charles please note!), then a there-and-back trip to pick up a 30-pointer, helped by an unmapped track. In order to find a way around the out-of-bounds areas, we now had to descend into Long Sleddale and go a mile in the wrong direction before picking up a lung-bustingly steep track back up onto the fell for 15 more points.

The original idea from here had been to descend to Borrowdale and go up the other side to pick up between 1 and 3 10-pointers. But time was running out, so we had to miss these out and take footpaths round the foot of the fell instead. Carmen led the way and I struggled to follow! Just over 4 minutes late, a total of 135 points – 34th on the day, 42nd overall.

Alan arrived shortly afterwards, having opted for the Borrowdale and Crookdale circuit, picking up all controls bar one to arrive a few seconds early with 130 points – just 1 point behind us (woo hoo!). Peter meanwhile had decided not to drop out, but instead limped over the hills collecting 70 points on the way.

The icing on the cake – at the prize giving we discovered we were 2nd mixed veterans in the short score and won a prize!

This was the first time that Ourea Events had organised the RAB, taking it over after several successful years from Dark & White. They had a hard act to follow, but managed to pull it off. Looking forward to more of the same next year, but first we've got the 2014 Dark Mountains to contend with…

Our routes: Saturday here Sunday here

Results here

More details about the event here

Little Langdale

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Langdale PikesIt was looking for a while like there'd be hardly anyone on this meet, perhaps people were put off by the thought of Langdale crowds on an August Bank Holiday weekend. But after a flurry of late sign-ups it was almost a sell-out.

Saturday's forecast was for sunshine, and it didn't disappoint.

For many years I've meant to walk round the Eskdale skyline, but it's somehow never happened. So Carmen and I decided to take advantage of the weather and run an extended version of the route, starting and finishing at the hut. I say "run", but it was actually almost all walking! From part way up Wrynose, we headed up Pike o' Blisco, then across Crinkle Crags (there's definitely an extra crinkle every time I do this!) and Bowfell, over Esk Pike, and on to Scafell Pike.

Scafell PikeDespite being a sunny August BH weekend, there were surprisingly few people around, and we were wondering where they all were. As we approached the summit of Scafell Pike we got the answer, the place was heaving!

From here we descended under Scafell Crag, pausing to admire a hardy team of climbers on a very Upper Eskdalecold-looking Moss Gill Grooves. As we scrambled up Lords Rake and the West Wall Traverse we were on our own again. Then over Scafell summit, down the south ridge over Slight Side, before descending into upper Eskdale, across the Great Moss and over the col into Mosedale. We briefly considered dropping down to Cockley Beck and finishing over Wetherlam, but rejected this as we needed to get back to cook dinner before Annie starved to death! So we traversed to the Three Shires Stone, over Wet Side Edge, and down the valley back to the hut, where we were surprised to be first back!

Our route here for anyone interested.

The Coniston range from Pike o' BliscoMeanwhile, Alan did his own long run, starting up Wethlam, Swirl How and Great Carrs, before a descent to Three Shires Stone. From here, another big ascent over Cold Pike to Crinkle Cragsand a descent of The Band led to a pint or two in the Old Dungeon Ghyll and a return via Blea Tarn.

Steve, Rob, Luke and Mark spent the day climbing on Raven Crag, above the ODG. After a number of excellent severes, Rob and Steve climbed the route Rob had come for, Pluto (HVS ***). 3 Great pitches, a classic crack, an out there traverse and a lovely wall pitch, followed by a pint in the pub while waiting for Luke and Mark to find their way back down after an interesting choice of descent from their last route.

Inverno cruxOn Sunday, we headed for White Ghyll, with Rob, Steve, Mark and Luke. Always keen to try the obscure, I'd been looking for something from the Lake District Revival list. This crag provided the perfect route for me – Inferno (MVS), involving some back-and-footing at the crux. The first pitch looked a bit scrappy but the in situ heather didn't affect the climbing, which was better (and harder) than it looked. The long 2nd pitch provides the meat of the route, with steep parallel cracks leading to a niche in the overhang and the promised chimney practice. Pausing to clean the grass out of the cracks and place loads of gear, everything turned out to be a lot less traumatic than expected, with just a brief moment as the final pull onto the upper wall required unearthing some holds from behind the heather.

The rest of the route was a bit scrappy, but we topped out anyway. For future reference, an enticing diagonal line rightwards from above the crux looked a better option, and I later discovered is recommended in the new guidebook. Despite the vegetation, it's a really good route, full of character, and with a bit more traffic would once again deserve the 2 stars it used to get.

White Ghyll WallHaving humoured me by climbing a route from the choss list, Carmen now got her reward as we did White Ghyll Wall (VS 4c). I led the easy first pitch, Carmen led the crux second, I did the not so hard but quite bold final pitch. We finished the day with a repeat ascent of Slab Route 1 (Severe). A fine route, rather bold in places, Steve and Luke also climbed this earlier in the day.

Rob and Mark started with the excellent Slip Knot (VS 4b) before heading for Haste Knot (VS 4c). A nice first pitch despatched by Mark with ease then the meat of the route, the traverse. Rob's verdict – "Blimey, if you think Pluto is nuts this is bat shit crazy. Well protected with small wires but wild."

Blackpool Tower from WhitbarrowMonday was cold and grey, so we joined Peter, Annie and Steve for a short walk round, round, round, and finally up and over Whitbarrow. Highlight of the day was finding loads of wild damsons! Afterwards we popped into Ambleside to pick up our rewards for doing a route from the choss list – a free T shirt and chalk bag each!

Rob, Mark and Luke manage to fit some more climbing in, doing a couple of good short routes at a different Raven Crag, this one at Walthwaite, before rain stopped play.

More photos here