Archive for the ‘Fell running’ Category

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


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.

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


Newlands Valley

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

It was a cold autumn Friday evening as we headed north from York after work towards the Lake District for our weekend in the Newlands Valley. After a stop off to buy supplies in Penrith, the club met up in the Swinside Inn – closest pub to the hut. Once everyone had arrived, we made the mile long drive south down the rough track to the hut in convoy, blissfully unaware of the drops down to the river on the right hand side through the darkness as headlights picked out the track ahead and the line of red tail lights snaked its way up the valley.

Arriving at the hut it was bitterly cold and already freezing, but the clear autumn night provided a fantastic display of the stars, helped by the lack of artificial lights in the valley. We soon had the pot-bellied stove stoked up and burning away to warm the hut, and the kettle on the hob. Bunks were claimed and sleeping bags lain out before the serious business of planning the following days' adventures over a cup of tea or beer got underway.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny, and once the sun hit the bottom of the valley the hard frost of the previous night was soon burned off, and my choice of the winter boots the forecast had persuaded me to bring seemed a little optimistic! After a good breakfast a group of us headed back along the track before scrambling up onto the ridge towards Maiden Moor. Donal had a scramble in mind from his guidebook, but this didn't look obvious so we took the easier way up through the heather.

Heading along the ridge we walked over High Spy before dropping down for a spot of lunch near Dalehead Tarn. This was a short stop due to the biting wind which was strong for the whole day. We then headed up the steep climb to Dale Head, and a long Hindscrth Edge with great views back down the valley to Bassenthwaite lake. Most of us bared right to Hindscarth, while those who wanted a slightly longer walk continued towards Robinson. Dropping back down the shoulder into the valley we paused above the mineworkings to watch a shoot going on in the valley below, before heading back to the hut in time for tea and flapjacks.

Simon, Carmen and Graeme had been fell running to get in some mountain marathon training, while Alan had also been for a fell run over towards Sail, managing to finish in the pub!

Once all were back we set to work cooking the now legendary YAC Saturday night meal, which seems to grow in size on every meet. This time we enjoyed an excellent pea soup made by Simon and Debra, followed by Chilli con carne from David, Peter and Louise and then Mike's fruit pies for dessert. Alan's home made cheese and biscuits followed, all washed down with wine or beer. The fire was again roaring and the down jackets of the previous night were instead replaced by t-shirts and a reluctance to sit in the seat closest to the stove unless you fancied an impromptu sauna!

P1020272Sunday was again cold and windy but dry. The group dispersed with some heading back early to York, or choosing to browse the outdoor shops of Keswick. After a good fry up, packing up and cleaning the hut, we left Simon, Debra and Jamie to go for a walk from the hut, while the rest of us headed to Braithwaite village to park the cars and head up Grisedale Pike, Alan and Carmen setting an early pace the likes of us non fell-runners couldn't keep up with. The views on the top were excellent, looking north across the Solway Firth to the Galloway hills. We found a sheltered spot out of the wind for another quick lunch, which is unfortunately when David realised he'd left his sandwiches on the side in the kitchen! We dropped down to the saddle then climbed back up to Eel Crag, which was feeling very wintery, coated in a thick white frost and just above the cloudbase. We headed over Sail, then dropped left to descend towards Braithwaite, following the grassy, rolling descent from the top of Barrow back to the village.

A hot chocolate with the 'full works' of cream and marshmallows in the Royal Oak provided a great end to the weekend before hitting the road back to York. It dawned on me on the way home how much I'd enjoyed getting away from all. The hut has gas lighting and cookers, with the coke stove for heating and no electricity. There was no phone signal in the valley and we hadn't touched a tarmac road or been past a settlement at all on Saturday, giving the weekend a real rustic, wilderness feel despite being only 4 miles as the crow flies from Keswick. Just what was needed before beginning December and the busy run up to Christmas!


Friday, October 25th, 2013

The YMC hut in Clapham is always popular when we stay there, and this year was no exception, with another sell-out meet.

It rained heavily on Friday night, but nevertheless a group of optimistic climbers spent most of the morning hoping the showers would stop and give the chance for a crag to dry out. Carmen and I eventually gave up waiting, and went on a run instead, taking a valley route from the hut to near Horton, and then doing 2 of the Three Peaks (Pen-y-Ghent and Ingleborough) before descending back to the Clapham. It stayed dry all day, until about a mile from the hut, when the heavens opened and we ran through a thunderstorm, soaked to the skin.

Leni and Alan meanwhile had driven to Horton to run the full Three Peaks. We met them on top of Ingleborough, and they managed to get back to their car in Horton just before the rain started. Leni said the route was easy, but was knackered by the end.

The rest of the climbers had more patience than us, and were rewarded by a good afternoon's climbing at Twistleton. The first routes were a grade or 3 harder than normal due to slippery rock, but it dried out quickly, and climbing was only stopped by the return of the rain at the end of the afternoon.

On Sunday, most of us drove to Malham, where we did the walk to Gordale Scar and Malham Cove – one that most of us have done many times before, but it's always worth doing again!

Three Peaks

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

A weekend of clear sunny weather was too good an opportunity to miss, and when Carmen suggested going for the often-planned but never-realised run round the Yorkshire Three Peaks I didn't need much convincing.

A rather more leisurely start than was wise saw us at Horton in Ribblesdale for a 10.15 start. Pen-y-Ghent first, a stiff pull got us to the summit by 11. The descent was slower than expected due to extensive sheet ice, and walking poles came in handy crossing a not-quite frozen river. But the next long boggy section was frozen solid, making it easy if sometimes slippery going. One fall each on the ice.

After Ribblehead Viaduct we opted to stick to the path rather than take the direct route up Whernside, possibly a mistake in hindsight as the path was mostly covered ion sheet ice so we spent as much time off it as on. We reached the summit a little after 2pm.

The descent to the Hill In took only half an hour, and it was tempting to call in for a pint or three, but Ingleborough (and the approach of sunset) beckoned. We reached the top shortly before 4pm. Sadly the hoped-for sunset wasn't visible due to a bank of cloud over the Lake District to the west, but at least that meant we didn't stop for an extended photo session.

The long descent to Horton was again quite slow due to ice, and slower still once night fell and the head torches came out, but we eventually reached the car just before 5.30, a hardly impressive 7 hours 9 minutes after setting off (the record is a few seconds shy of 2 1/2 hours!).

A magnificent day to be out, cold, clear, sunny, and hardly a breath of wind. Perfect conditions for my first ever time round the 3 Peaks.

Vital statistics: 24 miles, 1500m ascent.
More photos here
Route map here


Saturday, March 17th, 2012

There was another good turnout for the March trip to Patterdale, staying at the Cleveland MC's Agnes Spence Memorial Hut for the first time in over 10 years.

On Saturday, an unusually large mountain biking contingent went off pushing their bikes round a series of cake shops. Rob and Nigel did a fine little scramble up the outlet gill from Angle Tarn, followed by some navigation practice and a few more Wainwrights for Rob's tick list. While I went for a long run/walk, Carmen decided on something easier due to a nasty cough, but still ended up doing a 15 mile round of the Helvellyn Range from Raise to Fairfield and St Sunday Crag – unfortunately mostly in the rain, which the rest of us managed to avoid.

My run took me on an extended circuit of Ullswater. Fast going along good paths took me quickly to Pooley Bridge. A short diversion to the (rather disappointing) earthworks of Maiden Castle, was followed by another diversion up Little Mell Fell and back. From here I crossed Great Melldrum and Gowbarrow, before a long slog up to Stybarrow Dodd, and then back over Sheffield Pike. Route map here.

Sunday was bright and sunny, and most people went for a walk (or run in Alan's case) up Helvellyn via Striding and Swirral edges. Carmen, Rob and I headed for Gouther Crag for some climbing, but spent more time sitting in the sun listening to the birdsong and Carmen's coughing. We did manage to fit in ascents of Kennel Wall (S) and The Fang (MVS).

Simon & Carmen

Coniston Snow

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

After a largely snow-free start to the year, a couple of days before the January meet we were treated to some heavy snow for the Lake District. It hadn't been cold for long enough to give decent climbing conditions, but walking conditions were superb.

Saturday was cold, bright and sunny. The mountain bikers chose to take advantage of this with a long cycle through the valleys. Rob and Carmen did a snowy scramble on Coniston Old Man, finishing at the summit, where they met up with Mike, Antony, and Dave for a walk over the rest of the Coniston range to Wetherlam, returning via valley paths to Walna Scar.

I opted for a long run, the plan being to start up Coniston Old Man, cross the range before descending to Wrynose Pass, then up to Crinkle Crags and seeing how far I got before time ran out. Fantastic running conditions on the Coniston hills were replaced by deep powder snow for the ascent of Cold Pike and the continuation to Crinkle Crags, slowing me to snail's pace. A brief attempt on the Bad Step was abandoned due to chest-deep drifts, a steep slightly worrying scramble to the left reached the crest again. My original idea of continuing as far as Scafell Pike was by now abandoned due to the snow conditions, so I carried on over Bowfell before descending from Ore Gap into Eskdale and back down Moasdale to Cockley Beck.

There was still plenty of time, and the weather was still good, so rather than heading down the Duddon Valley to pick up the Walna Scar road, I decided to head back for the tops. A long slog up Grey Friar led to a second traverse of the range, this time finishing at the col above Goat's Water. Thoughts of finishing over Dow Crag were abandoned as the light began to fail so I returned from here direct to the hut. A great day, even though the running element had finished at the Three Shires Stone!

Route here

Sunday was much cloudier, but still dry. Carmen and I headed for Grasmere, where we did the Fairfield Horseshoe – unfortunately mostly in the clag. Most of the others were temporarily blocked in by Andrew's flat tyre and then Annie's car parked in the gateway, but Rob and Dave managed an afternoon ascent of Blencathra and the hills behind. Not sure what everyone else did, sorry!

More photos here
Rob's photos here