Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tea and Tapestry...

Thats right. It appears that you cant have craft without coffee in the lakes in the same measure that you cant pitch a tent without a howling gale arriving...





As it was a long weekend, I somehow managed to negotiate some time away from the impending arrival/fitting of our new kitchen and other pressing DIY chores to escape with Daryl, Gemma and Rich off up to the Lakes for some camping and walking orientated fun. This was a VERY last minute trip and planning was therefor reduced to a minimal. We set off on Friday morning after cheekily leaving my car parked in someone's road (sorry, I wasn't paying £24 to park it for three days) and promptly got stuck for an hour on the M40 as there had been a major pile up. This gave us time to sort a route out and after what seemed like an age in the car, shopping and pitching our tents at Wasdale Head National Trust campsite, we were shouldering bags and heading up the bridal way towards Great Gable, with a four hour window of light! As conditions dictated, we decided to thread the Needle rather than attempt to get to the top of Great Gable, which was fine as it served as a good reccy for climbing the Needle later in the year.



After a night awake worrying if the tents would still be standing (well, for the boys - I slept like a baby!) we set off on a loop to include Pillar, Red Pike and Yewbarrow with a few other bits along the way.

The start was a slow slog in weather that was blazing hot and sunny one minute and freezing wind the next. At the approach to Pillar we took the High Level Traverse around the north face. The ground was icy and covered in snow so the initial scramble took some time (sorry guys!), and by the time we reached Robinson's Cairn it was snowing the strangest snow (I've since discovered it is called Graupel or soft hail) and visibility was poor for a few moments. We found the path and carried on round Pillar Rock until we reached a 5ft section impassable due to verglass. Upon turning back we decided our best approach to reach the top was a snow-covered scree slope. It was hard work and very, very scary at times and the story of what ensued can only be explained in person. Upon reaching the top of Pillar we abandoned the rest of the loop and took the easy route back down to the Wasdale Head where whiskey and many pints were needed!

The following morning the weather was nice enough to allow us to pack up in the dry, before the long drive back to reality. Many lessons were learned this weekend such as crampons and ice axes would be pretty useful for winter mountaineering, always carry rope, and don't pioneer your own routes in snowy weather!




Monday, March 10, 2008

Climbing in Shef

I just noticed that these shots never got posted, but after my car un-coiled itself in the Lakes, we managed a climb at The Works bouldering place, which was great fun and although I can't remember this, judging by the photos it was snowing inside, too!


is it a bird, is it a plane, no its Rich
This is the right way up!

it is off the ground...really

if only gav could get off the ground!

Cake was eaten, drops were conquered!!!

Hectic old us. We've all been up against it recently, and with Finter's broken hand stopping him from coming out to play, I haven't been spending as much time driving round the M25 to go riding as I'd like!

The planets aligned and Chris, Adam and I found ourselves at one of the Leith Hill carparks with a whole day of riding stretching out in front of us, no rain and little visible sign of any hangovers! I hadn't seen Adam's 'new' S-works Enduro and it looked a nice beast, whilst mine started complaining the second I started pedaling - think I knocked the mech in the car...



So, off we trotted and did some familiar warm up routes, all feeling a bit out of shape and surprised at the number of large (10+) groups riding around together. We stopped to take a quick picture at the jump spot where Daryl nearly hit a tree and witnessed the most remarkable recovery from certain death, I think I've ever seen. A chap came riping through in a train of riders and completely lost both his pedals on take off, recovering the best Finter no-foot ever. After this, we headed to one of the many drops at Leith and one that I've not done before but watched others do from the side lines. Its a scary beast to look at from on top as the transition is very small and the height drop is probably 6-8 foot depending on how fast you ride it. Chris rolled it and Adam showed led the way with a nice drop. Bearing in mind I haven't been on my bike pretty much at all since December, I felt pretty nervous and had that annoying thing where you can't seem to set your pedals up nicely. But as fate would have it, another group of riders showed up and personal pride threw me off at far faster a speed than necessary. I think I almost went to the flat, but I couldn't tell as my eyes had involuntarily shut themselves! That felt good! Drop pictured below...





After that, a few more trails led us to an area I'd not been to, with another big drop - this time, Adam's nemesis - and some jumps which Adam dispensed nicely, as did Chris - I'd done my scared bit for the day... Then back up to the tower and some cake, whilst watching the weather close in down the hill. A calp of thunder sealed the deal and it was time to go, via a pint of ale and discussion of the finer points of bacon curing at The Plough in Coldharbour.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Chalet? I'll 'ave two

Some of the pics from our reccy to France.

Morllion Light Trail
well I didn't just push the button !!

I can see my house from here

Chalet Sold
Unfortunately this isn't my house........yet


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Hardcore Hiking Ninja Playboys

Last Saturday 3 mates and myself completed the 50km Green Power Hike. The trail runs the length of Hong Kong island, from The Peak to Big Wave Bay in a ziggy-zaggy shape. We finished in 9h52m, coming 35th out of 120 teams of four. We were very pleased with this, and there were whoops, hollers and high-fives aplenty. However we outright won the (imaginary) fancy dress competition, as sole entrants in our 1970s PE teachers garb. Next year, Power Rangers.

Hugs and kisses,


Before the race, like 4 loaded weapons

Hardcore Hiking Ninja Playboys