Archive for December, 2014

YAC Christmas Social

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

The Club Christmas social was held at the Walmgate Ale House and Bistro (formerly 'Meltons Too') in York.

We met for a drink in 'The Hop' beforehand to have a catch up, and share stories with those who had made it out for walks in the Dales after the recent snowfalls.

Then onto the Ale House, where we sat up in the cosy 'Loft' area. The food was good and of course being Christmas the crackers, paper hats and terrible jokes were all part of the occasion!

The club meal at Walmgate ale house and bistro

The club meal at Walmgate ale house and bistro

After the meal, some stayed in the Ale house to catch up with friends, while others headed to the 'Last Drop Inn' on Kings' Sq for a nightcap before heading home.

A great night out was had by all, have a Happy New Year and see you in 2015!


Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Today was earmarked for buying a tree and other assorted Christmassy stuff. But the weather was so good that, inspired by Debra's photos of snow in the Dales and with a thaw forecast for tomorrow, we bought the tree, dumped it in the hallway, and headed off to Wharfedale.

It was -5C when we left the car, and sheet ice on the paths made getting out of Kettlewell quite 'interesting', but when we got high enough for the sun to reach us it was very pleasant. When we got a bit higher and the wind reached us, it was rather less so! We went up Great Whernside, then north to the road (closed due to snow), and on to Buckden Pike.

The snow on this section was deep (knee deep in places) which made for slow going. And under the snow the bogs weren't frozen, as I discovered when one of them filled my boot.

On Buckden Pike the clouds closed in and it snowed for an hour or so as we descended to Buckden, then followed the Dales Way back to Kettlewell in the gathering darkness, arriving just in time to avoid the need for torches.

An excellent day, but I'd forgotten how hard it is walking in powder snow!

Lots more photos here

Route map here

Red goat

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Carmen Upside downThe regular Thursday night at the red goat. There were four here tackling problems when I left. More, I'm told, were on route. Great fun as always.

Quick Scuggy Hit

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

20141206_123233Glorious clear crisp frosty saturday weather made it obligatory to get outside this saturday. Since my planned climbing buddy was muttering something about it being too  too cold outside I headed for scuggy with my  bouldering mat , where I joined forces with Sarah and Russ.It was glorious at Scugdale, as is often the case it was a little suntrap, the low crag line sheltering it from the icy cold wind, which reminded us very forcibly of its presence every time we topped out.  



The chill encouraged us to keep moving so pausing only to stuff our faces as an aid to keeping warm we ran up and down a succession of routes with a reassuring pile of no less than three pads under us. I even managed to lure them into a chimney mwa ha haa ;-D

It was the ideal activity for a cold day, if we were hanging around to place gear I think our fingers would have dropped off. As usual it was peaceful and away from the crowds, just us and three other climbers to appreciate the views across the valley and low sun on the golden scuggy sandstone. We left as the temperature started to drop again at about three, the short routes had fooled me into thinking we had an easy day, but my aching arms later on told me otherwise.

Dales MTN Biking 30th November

Friday, December 5th, 2014

As Paul and I drove up the 'Cote de Blubberhouses' in the mist and rain at 8.30 on Sunday morning we looked at each other and wondered if we were in for 'one of those days'. However by the time we'd reached Gargrave and met Peter and Phil, the mist had cleared, and although it was still overcast, my optimistic nature was at least imagining a bright patch in the clouds where the sun was trying to get through.

Phil and Peter on one of the lanes

Phil and Peter on one of the lanes

We were soon off and riding, with Peter providing the navigation as this was one of the routes he knows well which meant mapreading stops were few and far between. We warmed up the legs along the Leeds and LIverpool canal, before heading south from Bank Newton to East Marton. Some very muddy sections then followed along typical Dales lanes, and past a pheasant shoot to arrive at the Town End Farm Shop and tea room at Airton for an early lunch stop. It seemed like a favourite for cyclists with lots of other groups having the same idea. Being the only mountain bikers in there, we definitely won the 'comedy muddy face' competition and it wasn't until I saw myself in the mirror that I realised why the server had burst out laughing when we ordered!

Paul in the mist and mud on Hanlith Moor

Paul in the mist and mud on Hanlith Moor

After an excellent lunch and cuppa we continued north to Kirkby Malham and then began the drag up Hanlith Moor, through the cloud and mist, and some very boggy ground that meant walking and pushing at times. The reward was a great fast descent on a good track back down to Calton, then through Bel Busk and back to Gargrave.

Dales riding

Dales riding

The stream provided a chance to clean most of the mud off the bikes before we stowed them in the cars and headed to the pub to rehydrate.  The sausages I'd bought at the farm shop during lunch had also survived the second half of the ride, and made a great toad in the hole when I got home. All in all a cracking day out, and very pleased we went for the optimistic weather decision in the morning!

Post ride bike wash - Dales style .

Pete gives his bike a much needed wash

Route overview

Route overview


Moors walking Nov 29th

Friday, December 5th, 2014

An early start to give us a full day out before the winter sunset meant we were heading east out of the car park at Chop Gate, north of Helmsley just after 9am and heading up Noon hill in the Cleveland hills. From here we could see the whole of the day's circular route stretching around the horizon.

We followed Barker's ridge north across the head of Scugdale and then across the moors and past the old gliding club until we came to the northerly edge of the North York Moors National Park. Despite a biting autumn wind, we had a snack and flask of coffee on top of the escarpment, with the clear weather giving views west towards the Lakes, and North to Middlesborough and Teeside.

I'd never been up here before, and it's surprising how abruptly the moors finishes, and the edge drops back down to the flat plain below. As we headed east along the edge, we were joined by paragliders making use of the updraughts to fly along the ridgeline.

Paragliders at 'Green Bank' with Roseberry topping in the background

Paragliders at 'Green Bank' with Roseberry topping in the background

We followed the cleveland way East, climbing up past the Wain stones and then down the slippery flagstones to cross the B1257. After a quick lunch in the shelter of a drystone wall to get out of the wind, we left the good views behind and headed into the cloud at round hill, the highest point on the N York Moors at 454m.

Nigel at Round Hill

Nigel at Round Hill

As we turned south we dropped out of the cloud and the views returned, with the extensive infrastructure for grouse shooting clearly visible with tracks snaking across the moors, and patches of burnt heather and lines of grouse butts. Easy walking on one of these tracks continued, past the 'Badger stones'  and then west as we began to race the sunset home.

the 'Wain stones' and Bilsdale

the 'Wain stones' and Bilsdale

The steep hairpins down to Tripsdale beck and up the other side provided the last climb of the day before a relatively easy, but very muddy descent down through farmland and back to the car, just in time to clean muddy boots in the river as darkness fell. A great walk and for me a good introduction to the N York Moors National Park. Thanks to Nigel for the route suggestion and navigation for the day. Trip length about 7hours, and 15 miles.

Dales walking 16th November

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Went out for a good walk in the Dales with Peter E, the first of what I hope will be some more regular walks now the winter weather isn't as condusive to climbing.

Catrigg Force

Catrigg Force

Starting at Settle, we headed uphill and east to the Limestone amphitheatre of Attermire scar, then turned North and walked with great views across towards Ingleborough and the 3 peaks to the hidden waterfall of catrigg force. Apparently this was the composer Elgar's favourite spot.


Stainforth Foss

From catrigg force we headed down to Stainforth, where we ate lunch watching the salmon trying to leap the waterfalls as they moved up the river Ribble to spawn. Not a single one made it as far as we could tell in the 45mins we were there.

From Stainforth we headed through more classic Dales scenery to finish the walk along Giggleswick Scar with views across to the Forest of Bowland, before finishing in 'Ye Old Naked Man' cafe in Settle marketplace for a well earned tea and cake!

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.

BMC Yorkshire Area AGM

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

I headed over to Ilkley for the area AGM this week, it's only 40 miles but a pain with York traffic and getting there for 7 was a bit of an ask, so I didn't.

The meeting was trundling along when i arrived (followed by many others) and went trough the usual election of officers, access reps (Dave M being elected in his absence) and a new Hill Walking rep nice one Mr Redding, be interesting to see what comes of that. A plea for people to buy the new grit guides (superb and with some club contributions)

Post AGM we had the normal meeting with the usual reports from said access reps, not much news really, Caley about to get a clean up and tree trim, reminder about litter and parking at the Roost. The BMC have issued a draft statement about using fixed pegs, basically saying beware, you have no idea how good they are! This highly uncontentious and reasonably obvious document somehow managed to spark some fruitless debate ! Not much else happened before the sarnies and chips appeared and whilst nice were lacking in quantity !

We had a bit of a round room introduction, where a few people said they had only come to listen to the post meeting talk by Nick Colton (BMC Deputy CEO ). Interesting as it's what i was hinting at during our AGM last week….

Nick's talk was about the alpinism in the 70's (with a bit of fluff at either end) and understated is how i'd describe it. It was at the beginning of the 'fast and light' approach, small team (2,3) start at the bottom, climb to top as quick as possible in one go, no fixed ropes etc. Climbing with Alex McKintyre and other youngsters (they were 23 at the time!) they established many super classic routes, the Colton-McKintyre perhaps he most famous. This route gets much press these days. Nick reflected on changing times, approaches (Uli Stek soloed it on 2 hrs 21mins!) gear and other questions from the audience. Good talk and clearly a good ploy by the BMC.

I think its good for YAC to have a presence, shame its so far, though the return journey was easy.