Archive for the ‘Cycling’ Category

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.

Duddon Valley Camping

Monday, September 30th, 2019

After a hut booking cock up (not our fault) we decided to head for the same location but camp at the excellent Turner Hall campsite for the September meet.

Mike W got busy on the phone and we were booked into the site and for a Saturday evening meal at the local pub.

It was a popular meet to this quiet valley with many of the usual suspects arriving Friday either during the day or a tad later. We all set up our tent (and Vans)

Sat was a good weather day, and we were greeted by Mike, Russ and Lucas arriving very early from York. Most of the climbers headed for Wallabarrow Crag, where Anna and Rob got ticking with Anna leading her first multi-pitch and practising removing awkward wires (oops). Peri, Richard H and Jayne got stuck into some classics as did Neomi and Dave D. Simon and Carmen and Annie turned up a bit late (after a brief visit a wet crag), Russ climbed with his son Lucas and Mike soloed about. So lots of routes done by lots of teams.

The cyclists did a little differently, Mike W going for a typically huge road ride and Karl typically falling off his mountain bike a few times

After all arriving back safely and showering (excellent facilities) we headed for the pub and after some discussions over numbers had a pretty good meal and beer or two. We retreated to the campsite and the YAC shelter and firepits, miraculously we didn't burn anything down.

Sunday morning was grey and more of a walking day, a few teams headed for the tarn, a few for minor bumps close to Harter Fell. We all eventually packed up our tents and headed home, some of us after a little wait in the pub for Karl !

Though the majority of our meets are to huts there are some excellent campsites around and offer more family-friendly meets, and as long as the weather plays ball – are great fun.

Thanks to Peri for pix, let m know if you have any more.

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.



YAC Autumn Ariege trip

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Last October 7 YAC members (me, Simon, Ann, Peter E, Peri, Dave D and Mike) plus James and Sara went to the Ariege (foothills of French Pyrenees). It is a lovely area that Simon & I were keen to return to. Peter and Ann hired bikes for a couple of days and were doing a mixture of cycling and walking and even the occasional rock climb. Sara was also doing a mixture of cycling, climbing and walking activities, including a sightseeing day with Dave D to Carcasonne. The rest of us just climbed – as there is so much climbing around. We were overall pretty lucky with the weather. Any heavy rain fell overnight and we were able to get out climbing everyday.

Several days were spent on the local limestone crag of Calames – climbing some of the quality long single pitch and multi-pitch climbs. Couple of trips to the brilliant granite crag Auzat – La Sabine is a must do route (just as good as we remembered). A trip to a new gneiss crag of Junac, not in the current Rockfax which turned out to be rather good and complete with cheeky goat. A trip to Baychon where the routes were of variable quality and grading – but a beautiful outlook over the valley. Some of the team climbed at Aux le Thermes and some of us went for a long multi-pitch on Dent d'Orlu (granite) which was a top day out with fantastic views and we had the East face to ourselves. Worth saving for the good forecast.

Still plenty more routes and crags not visited. It is a beautiful area with a good variety of rock types and route lengths. I think we might be back again some day (hopefully).

James on La Sabine -Auzat
Simon at top of multi-pitch
la voie des peres tranquilles – Calames
Peri climbing at Baychon

View down valley from Baychon
Mike on classic
Fleur de Rhodo – La Dent d'Orlu
Dave D on
Fleur de Rhodo – La Dent d'Orlu

Tremadog September 2018

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

Only 7 of us stuck with the plan and went to Wales on Friday night.  A few cried off due to poor forecast – but the forecast turned out to be ever changing.

Saturday morning was meant to be dry but it started spitting soon after we went to the upper tier of Craig Pant Ifan. Jayne came up with us – but then headed off for a walk/scramble up Moel Hebog and dropped down to Beddgelert before heading back to the hut. She enjoyed a long walk, arriving back at the hut via a lift from a friendly bus driver.

The rain held off for a while so we got a few routes done before the rock was saturated again. So we went back to the hut for some food and drink and warm up. Come 3pm the rain had stopped and sun gradually came back out – so Simon and I, Peri and Dave D headed out and climbed Christmas curry. We had the crag to ourselves. The first 1.5 pitches were on wet rock but after that it was all dry and lovely later afternoon.

Meanwhile Peter had been out on his bike from Tal y Bont, on A496 between Harlech and Barmouth, a circular route taking in Pont Scethin, 12 miles, hard and short, pushed up the two steepest hills, one customary crash on way down Bwlch y Rhiwgyr. Rich arrived Saturday evening and was soon telling stories of D of E chaos. Soup, sausages, veg and scones were swiftly consumed. This was accompanied by squeals and swearing as the size of the kitchen spider was realised (by Peri). Has any of us brought it home??

Sunday morning was dry and soon turned sunny. Rich was going to climb with Dave D but injured himself on the way to the crag – so Dave D, Peri and Pete B climbed together in the Yogi area – climbing Yogi and Smarter than the Average Bear. Meanwhile Simon & I climbed Valerie's Rib Direct, Tro and a newly cleaned Quercus.

Meanwhile Jayne and Peter went for a walk – Rhinog Fach starting up Cwm Nantcol then via Lyn Perfeddau and Lyn Hywel – and were rewarded with good views and mountain goats. Back at the crag the rain started just as we were finishing climbing and we managed to be back in the hut when the heaviest shower arrived. The walkers soon returned.

A good weekend's climbing/walking/cycling despite the weather forecast. Never fully trust the forecast!

 

Newlands Valley August Bank Holiday

Sunday, September 2nd, 2018

For the August bank holiday we headed to the Newlands valley (Stair) to avoid the crowds in the Lakes.  Good turnout for the trip – 15 of us present at some point over the weekend.

Saturday – Simon & myself walked from the hut up towards the head of Newlands Valley to climb Direct route with bolt finish (allegedly S **)  on waterfall buttress and then grey slab (VS 4b **) on grey buttress.  The first route wasn't worth any stars (damp/wet, mossy & vegetated) second one was though (clean, solid rock, variety of moves).
Mike & Rob  set off just before us and were a little further up the valley on Miners crag – words from Rob.  "Miners Grooves, horrible approach pitch, pretty good P2 & P3,  Jezebel , terrible P1 and start or P2, with 10m of good climbing  and Tahulah – great clean climb on good rock !  I actually quite liked the crag (remote, quiet, easy to get to, sunny after 11)  but the starts of these ** routes are wet, mossy, sh!te.  I will certainly be more circumspect about belaying well out of fall line with this sort of route.. obvious in retrospect but maybe a reminder for others".  I hope Rob's foot improves soon!
Meanwhile Natalie and Russ went for the classis of Troutdale pinnacle on black crag followed by Little Chamonix at Shepherds- somehow managing to time things right and avoid queuing.   Peri, Adam and Andrew also went to black crag in the hope it would be dry enough to do The Shroud and The Mortician. Arriving there they found The Shroud was absolutely soaking. The Mortician looked as if it might be dry after the first pitch so we started up that, but bailed when they found the second pitch was a river. So like everyone else on the crag they defaulted to Troutdale Pinnacle which was lovely.  "A really enjoyable day out even if we had to change our plans".  Annie and Donal went for a mountain bike ride  around Blencathra and Skiddaw – which they seemed to enjoy a lot.  Dave D having reclaimed his car keys from M&S (don't ask!) arrived at the hut after a walk up Helvellyn (apparently that's where the crowds were).  Unfortunately Saturday turned out to be by far the best day.  Sunday and Mon am were wet.  There were 2 walking groups up Newlands valley on Sunday – taking in Cat bells and the ridge along Newland valley.  Natalie extended the walk somewhat by running back to Keswick and meeting Emma for a session at the wall.  Meanwhile Simon, myself and Alan took part in the 3rd race of the Kong mini-mountain marathon series, which started off from the outskirts of Ambleside – cloud was down in places, windy in places and rather wet, especially when wading through bracken – all good fun. Monday am most people left decided to leave the Lakes as it was still wet.  But some stopped somewhere en route for a bit of exercise – Annie did a walk from Arnside, Donal cycled round Dalby forest, Natalie, Russ and Mike went bouldering sans mat at Roundhill, Simon & I stayed in the Lakes for a trip to Leighton Moss.  C3 and Karl were heading to the Keswick show – but opted for Netflix instead.
Good weekend – despite the weather, good curries and cake.

 

Herberts in Ibiza

Monday, July 9th, 2018

Hotel

At the beginning of May I went on a mountain biking trip to Ibiza. We were a party of eight including two from York Alpine Club.

The trip started well when the author narrowly missed having coffee poured over him twice but did not miss out, along with the other 100+ passengers, when when one of our party managed to delay our departure from Leeds Bradford Airport by three quarters of an hour

We flew out to Ibiza on a Jet 2 package holiday staying in a modest hotel in Santa Eularia on the south coast of the island.

On arrival we picked up our hire bikes, Orbea hardtail 29ers, new for the season and good value at 12 Euros a day.

Santa Eularia is packed with restaurants, evening meal on the first night was seafood paella 7/10.

Riding day one – We had with us a guidebook that purported to describe the best eight of the twenty or so signposted trails on the island. Route 20 was supposed to start from Santa Eularia but there were no signs anywhere. There was a route 5 which seemed to go our way so we followed it. The first part of the route followed the coast, sometimes new housing developments blocked our route, sometimes we lowered bikes down grade 2 scrambles. Cafe stop number one Cala de Boix, tuna salad 7/10. On the island there are a number of stone built watch towers and we took a detour to visit one at Valls. Crash number one, the author going rather quickly round a bend lost control and skidded on gravel, may have confused the brakes, which are the opposite way round in continental Europe. Fantastic gravel rash and later colourful bruises. After to the coast paths we followed quiet lanes back to Santa Eularia. On return we stopped at a bar on the main tree lined avenue in the centre of the town run by a Norwegian/Guatemalan couple – this bar became the obligatory post ride stop. Evening meal after much deliberation at a Michelin starred place costing twice as much as the previous night, but not twice as good.

Riding day two – Route 21 from our book, still no signs but similar to a Route 2. A very hot day particularly as we pushed our bikes up a steep dry river bed and past the second highest hill on Ibiza. If it had been the highest we would have made a detour to climb it. On the way down crash number two, the other YAC member this time – lots of noise, over the handlebars, bruises to body parts and a distant spec in a video. Cafe stop number one, St Joan 9/10, service included antiseptic and ice packs for our injured. After the cafe stop headed north to a a point from where we could see a lighthouse on the northernmost tip of the island. Thereafter superb single track to St Vincent and cafe stop number two, surf cafe, just drinks, no score. Back to our bar, then evening meal, pizza 8/10, ice cream cafe 8/10, Abba tribute band 1/10.

Riding day three – Followed a route 6 with a big climb/coastal scramble variation taking us anticlockwise from St Eularia to Cala Llonga – stone sculptures of a turtle and a salamanda on route in Cala Blanca. Terrain as hard as the first day. Great views out to sea (Not just of the naked sunbather in what they though would be a quiet secluded place, only to be disturbed by five mountain bikers). Cafe stop number one, beach, Cala Llonga, sardines, chips & salad 9/10. Tracks and cycle paths took us to cafe number two at St Gertrud(is)e, cakes 10/10. Tracks & quiet roads back to St E and our bar. Evening meal in “trendy” “organic” restaurant, food 9/10, island craft beer 10/10.

Day four – early start meant a quick dash to the hotel restaurant for breakfast things, flew home, no aircraft incidents. Make sure when travelling with a certain member of YAC they keep hold of their passport otherwise you might end up crawling on your belly down an aeroplane gangway looking for it.

It turned out to be a good idea to take the holiday as a package, flights, airport transfers, bed and as much as you can eat breakfast, no need for a hire car, good bikes, we flew out on a Monday and back on the following Friday.

GPX files of our routes are available, contact Peter Evans.

Maps are not as good as Ordnance Survey, we had to check our position with GPS several times.

There is a 200km mountain bike tour of the island for a next time. We will be going somewhere sometime for dry conditions in hot weather, after an inevitable wet and muddy British winter.

 

The Heat is on in Wales

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Rob under tension

The June weekend meet saw nine of the club members heading to North Wales to stay in the really nice, if a little quirky Chester Mountaineering Club hut located part way up the main tourist path from Llanberis to the Snowdon summit.

With the recent dry weather all the mountain routes and generally damp north-facing mountains and crags were in fine condition.

Saturday Peri and Dave W took on the ambitious link up of Main Wall on Cyrn Las (HS) and Gambit Climb (S) on Clogwyn y Ddysgl. A big day out and two top 50 routes, sounded excellent and one that's definitely going on my list to do one day. Dave headed home quite late but satiated.

choo choo

A handful of us took the opportunity to join the crowds on the Snowden track and head up to cloggy, a place I have heard a lot about but never climbed. Jamie, Rob and I headed for Llithrig HVS 5a a three-star historical classic according to the
guide, some exciting climbing and fun to be had on the tension traverse.

simon on great slab

Carmen and Simon also headed to cloggy tackling the three-star VS Great Slab, another one for the list. We all met at the top and descended together and with queues on nearly all the easier routes (VS/HVS) on the eastern buttress and time running out we all headed to far west buttress and made a mass ascent of Slab Climb Right-hand a starred HS. Nice climbing in the evening sun proves there is the odd easier

mike soloing !

route at cloggy, but don't expect much if any gear.

 

mike leading Llithrig P1

Pete W and Pete B headed to the pass to climb on Carreg Wastad, clocking up a bunch of stars with the excellent Crackstone Rib (S), Skylon (HS) and The Wrinkle (VD). This would have been a decent day for most but not Pete W who decided a short jog halfway up Snowdon and back would be a nice way to round of the day.

On Sunday we somehow all managed to survive my cooking with no lasting effects and awoke to another gloriously warm and sunny day.

Pete W’s mate Rhys joined us for Saturday night and they planned a nice gentle ride by the coast for the Sunday, only a 100k I think in the end!

Pete B, Rob and I made the most of the dry conditions and headed up to Gambit Climb (VD in our guide!). Finding the start was a little tricky but once on the route, all was clear, lots of short awkward corners broken up by ledges. A tough short and well protected final pitch (4b ish) brought us to the ridge and a gentle stroll back to the Pass.

This time Peri and Jamie climbed in the pass on Dinas Mot and tackled The Cracks (HS) yet another top 50. Carmen and Simon were first on Main Wall in Cryn Las, confirming its quality when we met up in the pass with Simon declaring it possibly the best route he’s ever done.

Suitable Knackered we all jumped in our various modes of transport for the journey back to York. A great weekend in Wales with even better weather, unfortunately, the tick list isn't getting any smaller, at least I managed to climb on Cloggy.

Patterdale Pogg-out

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

This weekend we were at patterdale in the Cleveland clubs hut, but without the drunken offensive violent member in tow. Friday night's entertainment was Richard H's Pizza Carbonella.

Sat dawned dry but not too clear and teams headed out in all directions. Simon and Carmen running south over the Dodds collecting Wainwrights in quite an impressive haul starting at Sheffield Pike area and ending on Arnitson Crag (despite some impressive nav errors). Donal pushed a lump of iron up a hill to access the High Street plateau and long ride, bringing quite a lot of the hill back with him on his bike.


Karl tackled the classic round of Striding and Swirrel Edges and pub. Dave Wiffen made the day trip and teamed up with Mike Shaw on Pinnacle Ridge before heading over to Helvellyn. Mike W clocked up a 60 mile road ride to approach is annual 5000 mile target, but did have to visit Shap for his sins. He was rewarded with a huge Staveley breakfast before an up'n'over Kirkstone pass and coast to the hut with mud to rival Donal.

Richard, Richard (that's two people) and Annie went Wainwright bagging close to Brothers Water – taking in Hart and Dove Crag and Red Screes and Middle Dodd. Paul ran a slightly brownian route to the Helvellyn ridge before traversing all the way to Red Screes and back to the hut. En-route he met Karl, Dave + Mike, RR+A and Rob. Rob was on a bit of a mission (see other blog soon) to finish the Wainwrights, which he did at 1.30 on High Hartsop Dodd (a pimple!) shortly after meeting RR+A. Paul caught him up with 100m to spare for the top out then headed off to catch the others whilst Rob started the long walk back to Grassmere to collect his car and arrive last back to the hut at 4.30

Karl was back first and set about raising the temperature of the whole valley using just the coal stove as his weapon. A standard YAC feast ensured lots of bodies stuffed with excess garlic bread lying around moaning before we even got to sample Carmen's Rice Pud with chicken bones lemongrass. Of course, we managed that and quite a deal of wine & beer to boot. Karl rounded off his day with a snore fest comatose on the sofa.

After a warm night with some Everett-esq snoring from Richard H we were greeted by a spectacular day- there seem to have been a frost everywhere except in a 10m radius of the hut! Richard P headed off to bag a few Dodds on his way home, Mike broke the journey home with a bike ride but on icy roads was a little spicier and harder than expected. Annie and Richard H headed east from the hut around Angle Tarn and Place Fell.

The rest of the team went to Pinnacle ridge which was in spectacular condition, dry and empty. Karl came with us for a bit but walked directly up St Sunday so he could get home early in prep for a mammoth week of traveling and teaching. The slog up to the start is a bit tough but short and we all arrived after 1.15 hours or so (despite two separate routes). Paul and Simon raced off, followed by Carmen and Donal. Rob and Mike got waylaid sodding about on all the variants they could find, descending as fast as ascending. This soon turned into a team sport and culminated in 3 variations of the crux pitch and 3 of the chimney/rib a little further up by 3 or 4 people.

Eventually we had to finish and head to the summit of St Sunday before a leisurely stroll to Grisedale Tarn and back along the valley. What a cracking short day – 5 hours hut to hut.


The hut was duly cleaned, tea and cake consumed and most people were way before dark.



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