Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Very bored at work this week, so have put up one or two panaramic shots that I had on my work computer - some have been seen before, some not. May put up some more in due course. They are on Flickr, so click on the pic below and It'll whisk you there...



Right, I'm going climbing at Amersham wall, with Jay!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Langdales and Gales!

After the annoyance with m car last weekend, I was full of enthusiasm to get back up to the Lakes this weekend and have a go at another wild camp with the intention of doing a two day circuit around the Langdale valley. My route would start on Friday night, going up the path to Stickle Tarn from the Dungeon Gill Hotel in the dark, camping and then setting off up Jack's Rake, over the Langdales and north to High Raise, before heading back towards Angle Tarn where I'd camp, but not before popping up to Glaramara and back. Sunday I intended on closing the loop, going round Bow Fell, coming down via the White Stones path. Well, that was the plan, and after a careful pack on Thursday night, I just managed to get everything in my day bag, which weighed 1 3/4 stone!

I got up to Langdale about 8:20 and drove around for about 40 mins, trying to find either a quiet spot to the side of the road or get in touch with Steffi for our National Trust membership number, as I didn't have £12 cash for the two days parking. The situation sorted itself when on my return to the Old Dungeon Gill Hotel, I saw the sign that said you can pay them to park in their carpark and the nice lady at reception said 'oh don't worry, you can just park there for free', result!

So off I toddled and got up to Stickle Tarn about 10pm, where I spent ages trying to find a sheltered spot (it was absolutely howling) that wasn't already occupied by six sheep, but I got there in the end and pitched, inserted earplugs and regretted not having a hip flask.

DSCF1801Saturday morning dawns bright and cheery. Not.

Up at 6:30, it was now raining and good fun trying to pack the tent away. I got into another sheltered spot and made some coffee behind a rock whilst checking out Jack's Rake, but came to the conclusion that it was just too windy to attempt on my own, so I headed to the more sheltered Easy Gully and got almost flattened on reaching the summit!

I went quickly over to Harrison Stickle and the wind was getting stronger, if anything, then down crossing the stream to Loft Crag, I got blown off the stepping stones and got a boot full of water. Nice.



DSCF1807En route back down to the DGH it looked much more civilised.

Climbing up to Pike of Stickle, I reckon that the forecast of 85mph+ gusts was correct as it was impossible to stand up and very dangerous and I was hanging onto rocks! My roll mat which was lashed to my bag and had been acting like a sail, was blown off at some point.

After trying to locate the start of the path to High Raise, I realised that a full day off this combined with my already wet boot was going to make life very uncomfortable, so I did the only sensible thing and headed back down, missioning it home for 6pm!

The video clip below was taken on the sheltered side of Loft crags. You get the picture. I was shouting....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hellvelyn Shambles er I mean Scrambles

Never have the forces of nature and the law of sod combined so effectivley with a higher than usual perpancity for faffing to result in a background of utter organisational chaos from which we managed to rescue a mighty fine weekend.

Despite the entire English media attempting to convince us that waking within a 4 mile radius of Hevellyn or the surrounding area would result in certain death or dismemberment we rocked up to very good visibility and low winds with a scattering of snow on the last bits of the ridge and summit.

Rich, almost indistinguishable from his natural surroundings, blending effortlessly
into the background

Rich on striding edge on the way up, not the most technical or scary scramble we've done but well worth the trip, presence of more snow would have made things a bit spicier.

Daryl 'not so indistinguishable-sonic blue boom' Finter


Daves pauses to digest another Ranulph Fiennes fact from Rich, 50% of climbers die on unstable
snow packs.........................................

One of the patches of snow just before the summit on the striding edge side, swiral edge itself actually had more of a covering of unavoidable snow with the top 40-50ft requiring a bit of thought over foot placement.

Car's borken, a*se
Car's broken, a*se.
One broken car on the way to Great Gable, the law of sod carefully arranged for this to occur on the steepest and most remote road in England, HardKnott Pass, excellent

Can you tell whats going on, because we've patented this idea and we'll be sending the boys round.

Waiting for the AA with nothing but tea, Gavs monumental supply of food, Family Guy on teh iphone, surround sound................the perils of Lake District adventure. Still, scuppered any walking plans woth teh shortest route 3.5 hours and 3 hours of light remaining after the car was fixerated, quick change of plans and back to Sheff for a spott of climbing.

Climbing pics to follow

Hi, I'm Ed Winchester

There it is. Not content with rubbing our European noses in his South American adventures, Bob shows off his new woman, complete with red highlights and fresh from the waxing salon. Looks like she's probably gonna ask you to do some DIY, Bob, as the plastering in that gaff is horrific... Must stop thinking DIY, pretent to be normal.. pretend to be normal!

Hi, I'm Ed Winchester

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Gay Paris

Having purchased ourselves a spanking new Nikon D40X for Christmas both me and the woman have both decided we've got Bailey licked and Branfield doesn't stand a not.

Spent 3 days beating Paris with the tourist stick and got along the Seine, in the Louvre around the Notre Dame up the Eiffel Tower and round the Montmartre whilst taking photos every 5 paces. We rocked up onto the Trocedero at about 10.30 and chugged wine till midnight when the tower lit up and we dodged a champagne cork delugue from everyone else watching.

Saw an amazing amount even if we didn't have a massive amount of time and I discovered that travelling by metro and not falling over when under the influence of several carrafs of wine becomes easier if tied to the train by your scarf.

big shiny thing
Big ole' shiny tower thingy

Going up?

alright luv
Champane glasses and posh bubbly a go go.

windmill in the head
Yikes!! Windmill in the head!

on the river
Ahhh, innit pretty

Monday, January 14, 2008

Brecon Beacons

Gem and I (Daryl) took a little jaunt off to mid Wales at the weekend to work off some Christmas excess and to rid myself of no sport cabin fever...
Booked oursleves into a sumptious double en-suite beauty courtesy of the YHA at the foot of Pen Y Fan and headed off in our wonderful little hire car

beep beep

Beep Beep

On Saturday morning we were expecting some sunshine....Maybe not then. Arrived to glorious snow instead and set about our planned route up to Corn Du, onto Pen Y Fan and then Cribyn. After some testing navigation in the nigh on zero visibility we got onto our summit ridge only to be buzzed repeatedly by the mountain rescue chopper-bit disconcerting really!! Anyway got up Corn Du and then Pen y Fan to be met by some major winds and hail-lovely, missed out Cribyn as light was fading so headed back down to finish the loop and eat some sausages...

Sunday saw us tackle something a tad gentler in the shape of Sugarloaf as the forecast 60mph gusts didn't inspire us to get up on anymore ridges. This actually turned into a cracker as we had awesome views all the way up (+no camera battery!!) and then some epic winds on the final haul to the top which actually had us on the floor a couple of times-Gems fault not mine of course-ahem....pretty sketchy at the top actually so had a quick peek and then headed down into rain being driven into our faces-yes I love Welsh weather.

Back into the beauty-cup of tea, gingerbread man, home. Job Done..


bit of clear sky-kind of



Sunday, January 13, 2008


Lots has happened recently - we had a cracking New Year at Jen's Mum's place in Colchester, I went clay pigeon shooting with John L and Andy (who used to work at the studio) at Andy's Dad's place in Leicestershire which was ace. Also Chris and I had a good blast out on the steeds at Leith the other weekend - we were surprised at how busy it was and to see a few lads out on full on DH rigs, mirror goggles, the works. Makes me wonder what we've missed, but probably, as normal, nothing that requires that level of bounce! Need to be out more as I managed to fall off in truly amazing style going down the bank to the tin shed. Oh dear... All good events and no piccies through amazing amounts of laziness. Bum. Cars have been conspiring against all of us - particularly me and Chris - but this didn't stop Daryl and Gem who have been away this weekend... Good stuff.

With the snow looking good, I can't wait to get up to the Lakes for three days with everyone this coming weekend and be 'captain new' with all my sale purchases, gunna be cold and fashionable! Oh and there's 180cm (40 of it ffffresh) in Auron, where Steffi and I are in 5 weeks time! Hope it stays. Woop!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Wetherlam and Swirl How

(bigger version of this on Flickr!)

Steffi and I did a nice loop in the Lakes on the 30th December, celebrating two years since I proposed and trying out various new bits of shiny gear that had been purchased/given over the festive period! We traveled up to Jenny's place in Sheffield, the night before, which was very nice and helped keep costs down... Got up early the next day and drove over the Peaks to Glossup in really bad fog, and then on to Manchester and up to the Lakes. The view as we drove through the dawn past Low Wood hotel on the shores of Windermere were spectacular and you could see the hills we were headed for looking beautiful.

We got up to the spot on the Wynrose Pass and parked before heading up to start our loop, climbing to the top of the ridge and along it, dropping down to a bridge at the bottom of the valley. After crossing the bridge, we walked up towards the disused mine and on Steffi's request, headed straight up the face above it! This was a bit of a climb and we were both feeling the Christmas indulgences slowing progress. However, with minimal complaint, Steffi got up to a really cool mine shaft set into the hill and after a quick breather, we carried on up and with a bit of low grade scrambling and some false summits, we were on the top of Weatherlam and enjoying the last of the turkey sandwiches, the great view over to The Old Man of Conniston and some of our wedding cake that Steffi's parents had brought over for us!




After this it was down to the pass which sees a track run of to Levers Water and Conniston, but straight up the Prison Band for us, and more light scrambling in places on which Steffi acquitted herself very well, but complained, hehe (turned out we ended up doing over 1000m of climbing for my 'easy walk' - I knew she'd be up to it!). As we reached the top, the cloud decended and visibility was down to about 20m, but with the compass set after a false start, we were off and climbing down around the horseshoe back towards the car.

After a small hicup and tense moment as we ran over a massive rock, pulling back onto the road - it crushed the jacking point behind the passenger side whee!l - we were off and made excellent time back to MK - 3 1/2 hours!



A picture of the loop grabbed from Google Earth (it remains their copyright)