Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Lake district Easter meet highlights

Here's the highlights of the Lake district Easter meet:

Who: Lee, Theresa, Sam, Natalie, Celia, Rick, Simon, Bernard

Where: Raven's crag, Hellvellyn, Ambleside and the pub

What: Climbing, winter walking and freezing our arses off.

As organizer I've decided on a few Lake district meet awards....

Best route reading - Lee

Pitch one was a Vdiff , pitch two was an E1!

Best Gear - Simon

With his own brand of soft shell trousers Simon definitely deserves this one.

Best meal - Theresa and Lee

Seared sea bass, new potatoes and steamed green beans. And they cooked it themselves!

Best Anchor - Sam

An elaborate 3 point anchor is all very good - but what about that huge boulder?!

Best Photo - Natalie

There were plenty of shots of stunning landscapes - but this one just cracks me up: Link

Most confident Lead - Celia

"Oh it's so easy I'll just wander up in my B2 boots."

Most unusual lead - Rick

"Am I climbing or potholing?" Rick asks himself as he squeezes through a cave en route

Best down Jacket - I value my life so I couldn't possibly comment!

Don't forget to have a look at the photos on the facebook page....


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Cairngorms Feb Trip Report 2013

Massively belated, however better late than never...hope you enjoy even if you weren't there.

1. Attendees
2. Irrelevant/Notable 'facts'
3. Trip 'awards'
4. Trip Quotes
5. Routes Completed
1. Attendees: Clive, Andy, Sid, Chris, Robin, Phil & 'Swear-meister' Matt (Non-member)

2. Irrelevant/Notable 'facts'
  • Possible divorces caused by the trip: x1 (Clive) - after 'Tweeting' "He couldn't imagine being anywhere better"after receiving a 'response' from his wife!
  • Time taken to cook 2 pizzas: x3.5 hours (Phil) 
  • Kit durability tests: Olympus 'Tough' - Camera dropped down Invernooky ...and retrieved! Apparently "bounces really well"!  (Clive)
  • Most kit lost on a route (4 pieces): Martin Newman 
  • Kit christened on the trip: Sam's ice screw
3. Trip 'awards'
  • 'Seamstress' Award: Clive, on sewing his gaiters
  • 'Indecisive Simon' Award: Andy (x1 day Andy 'dropped out' at departure time, Second time it was at the bottom of the climb after the walk in!)
  • 'Tea-maid/bitch' award: Martin
  • 'Head-banger' Award: Martin Newman
  • Unanimous favourite beer: Tradewinds 
4. Trip Quotes
  • "Ive got a 'Compeed' on each knee" (Martin), after talking about being tugged off by six scouts.
  • Waiting for Chris on The like.."Waiting for Tectonic plates to open"(Clive)
  • "Where is my room" (Sid after inhibiting Global Transient Amnesia)
  • "Where is my Tesco FINEST Colombian Coffee?" (Martin..having another strop. It turns out he left it on the kitchen so it was tidied away)
  • "I couldn't get over the sight of Clint Eastwood's helmet" (about Robin) 
  • "Brandy at half past 3 in the afternoon is so decadent!" (Martin on the Saturday after our final climb of the week)
5. Routes completed
^Vegetable curry (Robin)
*Martin was pulled off by six teenage venture boys against his will.
#"Ready, Steady...Opt-out" (Andy). Thurs 'opted out' upon departure time! Fri upon arriving at the bottom of the route after the 75min walk-in!
    ^ Vehicle (Fiachille) Ridge of Snechta (Clive, Martin, Andy, Chris, Sid & Matt)
    ^Central Gulley (Lead: Clive & Martin. Second: Matt) Left Central Gully {off piste!} (Lead: Andy. Second: Chris)
    ^Goat Track Gully (Lead: Clive & Martin. Second: Matt) Aladdin's Mirror (Lead: Andy. Second: Chris)
     Red Gully (Lead: Clive Second: Martin & Andy)
     #The Ventilator (Lead: Martin* & Chris)
    #The Ventilator (Lead: Clive, Chris. Seconded: Matt)
    The Runnel Grade2 (Alt Lead: Martin & Chris)
    Invernooky 3/4 (Lead: Clive. Second: Andy/Matt)

Sunday, 6 January 2013

SMC Christmas Scotland Meet; Highlights

Who: Phil, Chris, Celia & Simon
Miles travelled prior to oil light (after being 'tested'..apparently): 200
Base: Fort William SYHA
Weather: Warm, wet & windy!

Holiday bargain = 6p potato bag
Food type most unlikely to eat when return home = potato

Most converted food item: Yule log!

Routes completed...none.
Timetable reading error: Chris (causing 3 hr wait in Corrour station)
Ice axe arrest used in anger: Celia, on a minor gully 5 mins after finishing ice axe arrest 'training'

Yellow snow culprit = Chris
Red ice culprit = Chris

Mountain 'finds': 3 item (hex, sunglasses & snowbasket)

'Air'-time award (flying through the air): Celia, Phil came a close second in his car after a humpback in the road prior to almost heading towards a ditch

Collective time spent waiting for Phil on toilet: 20mins

Most contentious book: "Why men don't listen and women can't read maps"

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Swanage Trip - MTB: THE 'alternative' to climbing

As alternative to climbing Lee and I took our mountain bikes and headed South, on Saturday. It didn't take us long to hit an onslaught of rain. Although neither of us have any issues with a bit of rain, this felt like the heavens had opened so we decided to stop in Salisbury for coffee and await the arrival of Noah while watching a real-life version of The Jeremy Kyle Show.

We optimistically chose a 37km bike route in Blandford Forest using  "The Good Mountain Biking Guide".  We also chose a backup option (indoor climbing), which we assumed the others already at Swanage must be doing by now!

After the rains had stopped and the rivers had parted we headed to Blandford Forest and mounted our bikes. It didn’t take too long (1/2km) till we unexpectedly arrived at the UK Bike Park (within Eastcott Wood), a downhill course which we couldn't resist. We quick chat to some local riders others who gave heed of the walk up….. and decided to proceeded regardless.

Initially the course consisted of berms, but it soon changed drastically as we hair'ed down a steep course with banked curves. The local advice was severely understated. It took us over 20mins to push our bikes up the steep gradient to get back to the far the most exhausting activity l did all weekend (and for a long time too!).  But it did not put us off doing the course it again, however this time we took a sustained 4x4 route back up the hill, which was 'almost' cycle-able!  We did a few more runs, each the time hoping that we didn’t encounter and walkers or horses as we hurtled down the hill, and each time complaining as we hauled our arses back up the hill!

Having had a good 'warm up', our competitive side got the better of us and we decided to ‘race’ the next run! All was going swimmingly (also read fast) until a shallow water drainage channel crossed the path which neither Lee or I saw in time. My bike gave an awful whacking noise, which l assumed was my front chain ring protector 'giving way'..which had already lost a 'section' from a previous ride).  However, something didn't feel quite right, and was made worse when I caught the end of a tree trunk 20 meters later!

At the end of the run we compared notes.  Lee had also hit the drainage channel, but managed to stay on his bike.   A quick inspection of the bikes and we were off.....well we would have been had Lee not discovered the hitting the drain had buckled the back wheel on his fairly new bike.  We both looked in awe neither had ever experienced the rim being deformed as if someone had too a hammer directly to it!..... then Lee noticed that the same had happened to his front wheel, too. How they had both hit the ditch we had no idea. Clearly an expensive day was ahead of him at his local bike shop!

Setting off down the road l immediately noticed my bike was not 'right' either; my rear wheel had suffered exactly the same punishment as Lee’s. Crikey 3 out of 4 wheels screwed.

This curtailed our ambitions somewhat, especially as l my rear wheel was so badly buckled that l had to detach my rear brake to allow it to spin freely! We spent the next hour or so leisurely exploring the forest tracks. It was only then that l realised the extent of the damage to my bike, l had somehow managed to damage my front forks to an extend that my they were now rigid and no longer 

What a day, hey, never before have l experienced so much damage on a ride, and considering the lack of technicality, lack of impact and lack of exposure it was certainly very memorable but all for all the wrong reasons!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Mountains, Midges & Hobgoblins!

Swindon Mountaineering Club’s Jubilee Bank Holiday Snowdonia Meet Report

Mountains, Midges & Hobgoblins

The Jubilee Bank Holiday Meet arrived with a mixed weather forecast typical of any extended British public holiday. However, 20 of us made this the best attended meet of the year, so far! The early birds were on site by mid-afternoon, allowing Martin & Sid a good afternoons climbing on Tryfan Fach. The rest of the Friday arrivals pitched up throughout the late afternoon & evening, with those who had to work & then brave the weekend traffic needing to pitch their tents under the cover of darkness. Fortunately everyone made it to the pub by last orders, which were never knowingly called by the landlord for the entire weekend, allowing those brave souls amongst us to try the draught Hobgoblin.

Saturday morning brought good weather & once the effects of the Hobgoblin and previous days travel had worn off the day started in traditional SMC time. A climbing group headed to Tryfan Fach and enjoyed a good day’s multi-pitch trad climbing, which for some was their first experience of climbing outdoors & also of multi-pitch climbing. We headed back to the cars just as the weather was closing in & the midges had run out of places to bite us on! The others enjoyed a good days walking & scrambling , taking the Tryfan North Ridge then up onto Bristly Ridge & finally a more leisurely walk along The Glyders and back down in to the Devils Kitchen. We then all met back in the pub that evening for some good food & even better Hobgoblin.

Sunday came along with the promised rain that had been doing its worst for most of the night, and once 'rain stopped play' was declared most of the group then headed to Pete’s Eats for brunch (2nd breakfast for some!). Upon return, the Sunday arrivals keen to stretch their legs mustered enough support for a local afternoon hillwalk & to road test their wet weather gear. The rest of us headed for Caernarfon along with the rest of North Wales, and after looking at the queues for the castle in the rain all ended up in The Black Boy for a late lunch and a pint of something that wasn’t Hobgoblin. Returning to the campsite and seeing the walkers returned safely, we became bored of counting midge bites and so made our way to the warm and dry of the local for some liquid carb-loading for the good weather promised for the next day.   

Monday arrived with the promised good weather, so had the campsite midges! Therefore, several groups left the site early to make the most of the day. The first group successfully tackled The Snowdon Horseshoe in good time, whilst a second group set off for The Glyders circular walking route. The main climbing group went to Hollyhead Mountain and enjoyed a great day’s climbing returning with tales of climbing up an elephant’s bottom! ...maybe the Hobgoblin talking!? Finally, Martin took Tracy to The Gribbin Facet and lead 'Slab Climb' before sending her traumatised back down the M6. Good weather, a successful day out & high spirits lead to an impromptu late afternoon drink or few, followed by an instantly regrettable game of rugby thanks to George, 4 bottles of wine, a slug of Pernod & Dave’s secret stash of Sloe Gin! Somehow we all managed to follow our noses to the pub for dinner, only to find out that we had drunk the pub dry of Hobgoblin over the weekend! …only after a member who shall remain nameless had the last pint!
The rain promised for Tuesday morning arrived and then fizzled out, allowing those who wanted to make the most of the weekend a leisurely walk up Snowdon’s Watkins Path to the waterfalls. Why one member felt it necessary to wear his bright yellow B3 mountain boots for this route is best known to him… although leaving your regular walking boots out overnight in the rain might explain his lack of footwear! The rest of us packed up & started the long journey home after what was a thoroughly enjoyable and successful weekend.

Huge thanks to all those who attended and made this meet such a success, no doubt several Annual Dinner Awards were earned. If you have any good photos of the weekend and are on Facebook please feel free to add them to the SMC group. I passed on our thanks and compliments to the campsite owners, who were equally as complementary about our group and would be happy to welcome us back again next year and have promised to scare the midges away. The Glyntwrog Inn has also asked for advanced warning of our return so they can get in an extra barrel of Hobgoblin and warn the Coastguard!

Dan Collins

Wednesday, 30 May 2012


Our President Colin Beechey and Mike Porter recently completed what is widely regarded as Britain’s Finest Mountaineering challenge just before the Queen’s Jubilee Bank Holiday last year.

After two years of preparation and several weather related postponements, the two intrepid club seniors with a combined age of 125 years, managed a continuous traverse in just over sixteen hours (Gars Bheinn to Sgurr nan Gillian) with an overnight bivouac. They enjoyed cool dry weather while the rest of Britain had more unsettled conditions. 

 It may only be 12km on the map but the journey includes 22 peaks, clocks up over 4000m of up/down with lots of exposed scrambling, abseiling and four rock climbs up to severe grade, including the Thearlaich-Dubh Gap, Kings Chimney, Inaccessible Pinnacle and the Basteir Tooth by Naismith’s route.

A Zimmer Frame ascent of  Sgurr du Mor via the Dubh Slabs is planned for next year!

Bivy site

5am Wake up view

" PJs"
Sgurr nan Gillian Finish

Sunday, 20 May 2012

MTB from Ladybower

Having bought "The Good Mountain Biking Guide" I was damn well going to use it!

The route was picked for the having the most annotation, indicating the arduous/ rewarding riding for our day!

Saturday was a no-goer we realised that carrying the guidebook may have been a better option that trying the 'guess' the route..which created an arduous adventure!

After studying the route on Sunday, we headed off from Fairholmes Visitor Centre, Ladybower. The route contained some challenging and very demanding uphill sections (in the guidebook the climb from Shatton to Shatton Edge is described as "a monster"!), giving way to some excellent technical downhill trails notably along Derwent Edge (called in the guidebook "A top obstacle strewn descent) and to quarryrock-rumble trails down Pin Dale. A fine day...though must get the fitness up for next time!

Sorry about the picture...Phil got in the way! ;)