Archive for May, 2016

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

Making the most of ……..the mist

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

P1010894Given it had been wet on Tuesday evening – a few of us (Russ, Mike, Paul, Jamie, myself and Dave W) headed out on Thursday instead for a climb. Paul suggested Wainstones – so that became the destination. The forecast did suggest it was going to get cloudier the further North you went…and it was correct. But we didn't expect the cloud base to be so low- below crag level. Having left glorious sunny conditions behind in York we parked up at the top of Hasty Bank in the grey and wind. Undeterred we walked in to find Mike soloing various routes. We had the place to ourselves (having met a retreating boulderer on the way in). Fortunately we were sheltered from the wind – so being within the cloud wasn't too bad and only got slightly damp towards the end of the evening. Various classics were climbed including multiple ascents Sphinx nose traverse and Christopher. Mike also made swift progress on concave wall – no photos though as I was belaying around the corner at the time.P1010899P1010891P1010902

Making the most of the sun

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Ladhar BheinnWith warm summer's weather forecast for the weekend, Carmen and I took the opportunity of a quick trip to Knoydart to finish off one of our last remaining Munros, Ladhar Bheinn (which as you'd expect is pronounced "Lar-venn"). After a short 7.5 hour drive on Friday evening we camped at Kinloch-hourn.

TribblesAn early rise on Saturday morning to beat possible late-afternoon rain saw us walking by 7.30. Cloudy and cool but dry, it took us a little under 3 hours (with a brief pause to photograph some tribbles) to cover the 7 miles or so to the bothy at Barrisdale. We pitched our tent outside the bothy. No time to delay so we set off for Ladhar Bheinn.

Stob a' ChearcaillFar from burning off as expected, the early cloud seemed to be thickening, and it wasn't long before the rain started. The cloud base was high though, well above the summits, so we had good views despite the rain. A short but steep and vegetated scramble up Stob a' Chearcaill was made more exciting by the damp. Then a traverse over a couple of small tops and another steep climb led to the short summit ridge.

Ladhar BheinnThe rain stopped at last, and as we walked out and back to first the high point and then the trig point 300m beyond, the sun even made a weak appearance. The trig point appeared candle-like with the recent addition of a large rock. I expect someone got a large Arts Council grant for it.

Ladhar Bheinn trig pointWe descended over the Top of Stob a' Choire Odhair and into the fine corrie of Coire Dhorrcail before picking up an old stalkers' path back to the bothy. Another 7 hours or so making a 10 hour day, 16 miles and 2200m ascent, rather more than expected from a glance at the map!

The promised rain held off long enough for us to eat in the dry, but it then set in for much of the night, so thoughts of an evening stroll by the sea were quickly abandoned.

Sunday's weather forecast was for a little low cloud first thing, swiftly lifting to give a warm or even hot, sunny day. So we were disappointed (though not surprised) when we emerged from the tent to find the cloud even lower that Saturday, the temperatures the same, but with the addition of a strong wind.

Glen BarrisdaleOur plan had been to walk out up Glen Barrisdale then via a grade 3 scramble up An Caisteal, a traverse of Graham Meall nan Eun and Corbett Sgurr nan Eugallt before descending to the glen just a mile or so from the car. But the wind was strong enough to make walking a fight at times, so with a lot of the rock still damp after the night's rain we quickly abandoned the idea of a scramble, missed out the Graham, and instead slogged up the steep hillside to the low col SW of the Corbett.

Still cloudy and windy with no sign of the sun, we were at least dry, and again the cloud base had lifted high enough to clear the tops – though a thick haze prevented much in the way of views.

Stalkers pathA false summit (Sgurr Sgiath Airigh) with a fine cairn was followed by the real summit with a tiny cairn, and then a few hundred metres away by a 3rd top where the trig point was found (did they always put the trig somewhere other than the high point round here?). Well worth having the Harvey map for this hill, as the OS maps still show the trig point as being the highest. A descent of the NE ridge led to a very old stalkers' path, becoming boggy and hard to follow in places after years of neglect but a delightful route nevertheless. Even better, the sun finally deigned to make an appearance, and by the time we reached the car at about 2pm the temperatures had soared to a massive 15C.

So where was the heatwave we were promised? We met it at Fort William, just 20 miles to the south, where the temperature was 25C!

Despite the disappointing weather we had a great weekend, it's hard to go wrong in Knoydart! Just a shame about the long drive.

6 Munroes to go and still on course for completion later this month…

Some more photos here


dry rock at last

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

summat on cubic blocafter dithering about interminably spring has finally arrived, fashionably late. Me Jim and Helen celebrated by going to Brimham, takinglengthy diversion via pately bridge – wtf? the only roadworks can be avoided by going via summerhouses instead which is much shorter. be warned….Anyway, we eventually arrived, slightly grumpy, but dry grippy rock and t shirt weather got rid of our grumps and we managed 4 routes, accompanied by cuckoos, swallows and later, a multitude of bats. on the way home a deer jumped out at us and a tawny owl buzzed the van. A thoroughly pleasant evening, hoping for lots more.