Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lovely Lakes

Post should be below Sun and celebrity

Being a Bank Holiday Daryl and I (Gem) took an extra day off work and headed up to the Lake District, with a nice Thursday evening stopover in Manchester with Jez and Gemma.

We made an early start Friday morning and we had the tent pitched in Chapel Hill Farm campsite in Borrowdale and were ready for walking by 11am.

Friday’s mission was Blencathra, via Sharp Edge. We parked the car in a lay-by on the A66 near a hamlet called Scales and slogged up a steady incline round the eastern side of Blencathra. After about an hour and a half we crossed Scales Beck and arrived at Scales Tarn, which was a beautiful turquoise colour and seemed to glisten even with the grey cloudy sky. This is where we got the first real look at the Grade 1 scramble ahead of us. Sharp Edge is a relatively easy scramble and gets most of its grade 1 from the exposure rather than the difficulty. I found certain points quite unnerving and had to slide along some bits on my bum. Getting to the top was well worth it as the views of Skiddaw, and the lakes of Ullswater and Derwent. It was also possible to see Scotland across the Solway Firth.

Sharp Edge from a distance

Sharp Edge - Gem

Daryl at Scale Beck

We were woken Saturday by the early morning call of the farmer coming round to collect the camping money. After a hearty breakfast of bacon and egg sandwiches we embarked on our route. This walk was my ideal type of route: flat to start; 90% of height gained by scrambling; awesome views; and a nice steady stroll back down. The approach from the campsite was down through Seathwaite into the Langstrath valley up to Cam Crag. It was a nice gentle walk in a valley, through green hills and sharp rocky crags, giving way to the amazing rocky views of Stickle Pike and the Scafell group. Finding the route up Cam Crag was a challenge, but we eventually made a decision and chose the correct route. The start was the hardest part with an exposed climb around an overhang, the rest of the route was in several sections up broken buttresses and was technical, but not too hard – in all good fun.

Cam Crag - Gem

Daryl topping out on Cam Crag

At the top of Cam Crag we carried on up to the top of Glaramara, crossing many boggy rivers and ending with a simple little scramble to the top. This was really worth doing as you could see so many of the main Lake District peaks – the Langdales, the Scafell group, Great Gable, Green Gable, Pillar, Skiddaw and probably many others that I just don’t know. The descent from Glaramara was a long tourist track and as we were nearing the bottom Daryl wanted to find the pub in Seatoller, which even though is marked on the OS map doesn’t exist as such, it is a lunchtime cafĂ© that serves alcohol, therefore was shut. It was quite a depressing walk back to the campsite from there as it started to rain!

Looking towards the Langdales

Sunday, I wasn’t feeling too great as the fact I was suffering from a kidney infection had caught up with me after 2 days of activity. We decided to visit as many outdoor shops as we could so explored Cockermouth (this is so the place we are going to live when we move to the Lakes) and Keswick. We decided to head home Sunday night to miss the traffic(!) but had a lovely meal in the Kirkstone Pass Inn, after a slightly scary near death experience.

General conclusion of the weekend – absolutely awesome as per every weekend in the Lakes!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sun and celeberaty.

We were the celebrities, unbelievably.

Well, what a weekend. With both Daryl and I having the most ridiculous, busy weeks, we hadn't really planned a thing until Friday night when it was all kicking off. We'd decided to go to Cader Idris, last minute, as both of us wanted to go and the weather was going to be rather nice!

So up I rocked to Dave and Steff's in the MK massif, scoffed some fish and chips and faffed about with maps and gear before getting to bed. Saturday we set off early clutching the directions from bikefax for a bike up Cadair Idris as we thought it would make a change to the usual forest loop/trail centre and the Audi A4 avec Spesh Stumpjumper crew!!! We starteed South of the mountain and set to the beeeatch of a climb-helped greatly by the fact it was hot-damn hot. But we had prepared ourselves for that (well mentally at least) so carried on in typical shambolic on bike/off bike/on bike fashion. As we approached the join with the pony path-the main walkers track we started to come across more people who all seemed quite astounded at the fact we had bikes with and remarkably friendly. This air of celebrity continued all the way to the top-even over the final 100m where we had to shoulder the bikes! We then had a quick spot of lunch and prepared ourselves for the route down-which mostly involved me emptying out all the air from my propedal and being faced with a ride down with no damping and savage bottom out!!

We weren't too sure about the rocks at the top but went for it anyway and it was absolutely amazing-different from anything we have ridden before as we drifted down in an avalanche of boulders generally whopping and hollering and we thrashed past the bewildered walkers-they were impressed you could tell! At least until I got my first pinch puncture, and they all overtook us. Just as we got going again it was daves turn who once he had fixed his puncture decided to rip his valve in half. Quick bodge later and we were off again trying to beat the air leak to the bottom-which we almost did. This lower section was awesome as we ripped through fields launching off the little kickers into and out of gullys.

We then packed up and headed to the North Side of the mountain for camping at the most bizarre derelict campsiite ever, some cider in a wonderfully cosy-log fired pub by the lake and then some sleep. Before getting up super early washing in the river brokeback style and setting off on the next mission.

We planned to climb the Cyfry Arete and wanted to start early before the crowds. We headed up the foxes path and got to the lake at the foot of the boulder field to the most peaceful, sunny, quiet scene with not a bugger in site. We set off up the boulder field-sparking avalanches (definately wear a helmet on this route) with rocks the size of your head to the start of the root-marked out by the large CA on the rock. A quick tool up with rope etc. and Dave set off on the lead. The route was very exposed the whole way but on mostly solid rock with plenty of holds and the next few pitches gave a great opportunity for much needed ropework practice. The downclimb off the table about halfway up being the most difficult with a barndoor style shambles of a move by me!! We then moved up the crux which again had plenty of holds but was great fun leading up to the final section which can easily be done without a rope as it is just broekn ground.

At the top we again acquired noteriety as a bunch of walkers had sought us out desperate to speak to us about the route and get a first hand impression! We then had a cracking bit of lunch in the sun with shirts off-soaked up the rays for a bit before accepting the fact that we could not sit there forever, so made a hasty descent-we even ran for a bit! And then the drive home which I admirably slept through a portion of!!

This was all rounded off in fantastic style by a beautiful roast chicken dinner courtesy of the lovely Steffi-thank you Steff :)

ridiculous packing for two people.









Tuesday, September 16, 2008

T minus 0 we have lift off

The website is up and running baring the odd typo that creeps in, we've still got some bits to add to the site but it's complete enough to be functional. I have downloaded Adobe Contribute which makes editing a bit easier than ringing the web dood up all the time. Any comments pass 'em on!!

Have got 3000 of these here leaflets sitting in the lounge which I might ask the IBFC collective to help distribute. These are beyond editing so if you see any typos keep them to yourselves!

Finally our leaving do is going to be the 18th October at Kate's M+D house in case there's anyone I haven't told, marquee and dancing a go go.

Leaflet front

winter leaflet front featuring 'Slash Dog Jay' and some cheese

Leaflet back

Winter leaflet back featuring some of Daves finest work, Steff and a small child we've named Angus