Saturday, December 18, 2010


I was getting really bloody miffed about our lack of snow, but then, boom, we got some. Thank god, or Michael Fish. Anyway, I set out at about 1 inch and by the time I'd got to my photo spot, it was about 3 inches. quite powdery as it was -2 and decent grip. Anyway, I set up a 30sec timer and did about 1 million passes. The results:

FOCUS! right about here, please...


That'll do.

Bit close.

VERDICT: Timer is bloody unpredictable, or rather, I am bloody unpredictable compared to machines.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winter Wild Camping

I've been watching the weather a bit over the last few weeks and gutted that I couldn't take advantage of those brilliant high pressure days with good snow that were going on in the Lakes and North Wales during the cold snap. So with that in mind, I managed to sneak up for a quick loop with a wintery wild camp thrown in for extra exposure and adventure.

I decided on a route out of Seathwaite as I've been wanting to go up Glaramara for quite a while now and this seemed like a perfect time. I stayed in Grasmere YHA (BH) on the way in, as I like it there, and got a good night's kip after the long drive. Next morning, out early ish and walking by 9am, up the farm track towards Sty Head Tarn, with light winds, a heavy rucksack and the snow spattered peaks up in front of me.



I was climbing up the route that we took down with Gav in Feb and it was nice to have familiar bits to begin and a nice gentle slope to get the blood pumping. I got up to Sty Head Tarn quite quickly shot a few pics of the frozen water, whilst the mist rolled in around the tops. The forecast had been for clear summits, but whilst some of the lower hills off to the west and north were below the threshold, I was in for misty tops and no views until the next morning.

Stretcher Shelter

After walking up to the stretcher shelter, I found the start to corridor route as its very obvious, and started out with the intention of not taking any risks if the two Gill top crossings were badly verglassed. That said, I had my points and axe, but with the recent thaw, there was a lost of ice and the snow was sugary in placed and pretty crap.

Anyway, the route was good and the going was pretty straight forward, until I got round to the thin step into the head of Greta Gill, where there was a lot of verglass, so I stopped to put on my crampons and take it cautiously. At this point, I was caught up by a chap going for Lingmell and we walked together for a bit and had a chat. The ice step wasn't as bad as I'd thought, but I felt a lot more confident with the crampons and I soon had them back off, parting company, as the ground returned to rocky, mixed with ice and snow.

The next tricky part was the step across the head of Piers Gill, which I knew would be a bit spicy, but was relatively easy as the snow was well consolidated and cut in with other people's steps. Its amazing though, how a heavy bag can make you feel a bit more twitchy and I stepped this one out very carefully, as one slip and its bye bye - not so cool when you're on your own!

After this it was up into the mist and the wind got up a bit for extra atmosphere, with vis down to about 20m. One section of the final approach is quite steep and I stopped again to put on the points, not out of necessity, but more for good practice. I took the steepest line I could and thought it was getting on for grade 1 winter, but just a guess.

On top of Scafell Pike

Finally topped out and was thankful for the shelter wall to get out of the cold wind and have a spot of cheese, bread and chorizo, before quickly taking my bearing and heading off, north towards Broad Crag, Great End and Eask Hause.

I got down to the saddle at Esk Hause after a bit of a glissade near the bield shelter
and made some calls to let people know I was still alive, whilst I had signal. Then climbed up to Allen Crags and on to find a campsite. The winds were light in some spots and picked up in others and the old game of finding somewhere flat/large enough for the tent that wasn't rock, snow or soggy, whilst sheltered, proved fun. I settled for a more exposed spot as the winds seemed pretty light and got pitched as it started to 'ice'. I would say snow, but in reality, the cloud that I was in was just condensing into ice...

Sums up conditions nicely...

A quick pitch and into my new Rab down jacket and I was warming up nicely. Tea, one of Steffi's mince pies and beef stew and dumplings was just what I needed. Then bed by 6! - not much to do when its dark at 4.

I had a broken nights sleep, mostly as my roll mat is crap and I'd occasionally wake up with a cold arm/shoulder/bum as I'd slid off it onto the floor. MYST get a wider one that stays inflated for winter camps.

Bit of a sleep in as there wasn't really a 'dawn', the gray just went from one dulux shade to another. and then that lovely chilly start and packing down the tent.

coffin shape is a bit worrying...

Pike of Blisco looking down towards Langdale from near my campsite.

After a bit of a wander and some pics I struck out up Glaramara - not far - for some amazing views before having some fun sliding and practicing arrests, before heading down towards Hind Gill.

Hoar frost on Glaramara

You sense its been chilly here, lately.

Hard life being grass.

Hind Gill proved steep and I genuinely had one moment where the grass was frozen and I was about a meter from a BIG drop, where I had to take it pretty steady. Beautiful views, though and I sat and watched a shepherd and his 4 collies running up the hill over the other side of the Gill, getting sheep down before the next cold snap.

It was nice not to rush and take it all in, heading down to the Farm where I'd started the day before. Packed up and a coffee in Ambleside before the long drive back. Can't wait to get back out in Jan.

30 Somethings..

I forgot to stick this up, so am doing so now... A few of us are the big 3 - 0 this December and Wingstock rolled into town to help us all celebrate and hook up. Really good to see everyone and catch up with some folks that we haven't seen for absolutely ages. We must be mellowing as the chicken was HOT, but edible and no-one went into anaphalactic shock.


That said, I came out in a rash. Anyway. It was a close run thing, but Gav and Jen clinched the Coq and take the party to Southend next time. Also celebrating were Daryl, Rich, me and Gav - with Finter organising a Pompey style live music event for his, that I really wished we had been able to go to. Looking forward to hookking up at Crimbo, Colchster style and hoping everyone has a good one.


My sis made me a sweet cake!

On a side note, I received a pair of Fox winter gloves from Daryl and I'll review them for my Renaud afflicted limbs after a few rides...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Winter's BACK.

Ok, so its been pretty chilly here in the UK over the last two weeks, but we didn't really get and snow in MK. We have had some frosts though (-7 last night) and Jon and I went out on a photo mission this morning with bad planning and poor-ish results. need to do some scouting for shots...

This is what we got:





Fisrt ride back after a bike rebuild and TF Tuned coil conversion on the Lyrik fork. Pretty sweet.

Also.... Some of the Goats hit the FOD for the first of their mini downhills and put in some decent times - Mark V coming 20th in category and Mark J coming 18th in his. Nice one boys. Click here for Pinkbike report

Sunday, December 05, 2010

30th Birthday Bash

Wooohoo-what a quality night. I wanted a memorable one for my 30th and it certainly was-venue turned out a beaut, 4 different sets from various mates including a great little set by our very own IBFCer Jay, and a final set by the newly formed "The Yeah Boys" including covers of RHCP, QOTSA, Nirvana and Muse.

And most importantly a great turn out by everyone-plus I didn't embarass myself!!! Well not that much anyway.

Thought I would share this poster for the night which Karl of very kindly knocked up in between organising all the bands, equipment and getting rehearsals/set list together for me-plus obviously the storming drums on the night :-)


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Life Cycles Premiere

I'd been waiting for this one for ages and it the cherry on a hanging out with mates, er, cake. Chris and Kate were over and Daryl and Itzi met us down in Southend, to see Gav and Jen's new pad and hang out, drink wine and catch up. Excellent to see everyone, and nice for the lads to hang out too.

It was nice to hang out by the coast and see how responsible people are with Monty, whilst I was hungover!!!




We'd got Life Cycles premiere tickets and shot of into town, drank a beer, met some of the Goats and sat in a fully sold out cinema. Danny MacAskill's Red Bull short was on first and much better in large format, getting the audience gasps in all the right places... Then Vast, which I could have left. Some great shots, but a bit too many, too much TL mountains and riding that most f us could have done. ;p

About to be critical...

Then Life Cycles. Proper bo and I still can't believe how well it was filmed, it really is something different. Massive props to the guys involved and I think Daryl summed it up nicely, saying that although there wasn't tons of riding, it was the one film that made him want to get out and ride. Best flick in ages, I might even have to but an HD tv for that one...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Danny MacAskill

OMG (yes I did just type that) I was waiting for this full version as the filming and riding of the sneaky peeky were pretty epic. Not dissapointed!

Seems like a nice lad too. Filming is VERY good, nice one Red Bull...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Forest of Dean

Good trip to the FOD last weekend, for Mark's birthday. We booked the uplift and not having done one of these before, I was really pleasantly surprised. Good service, nice guy running the uplift at and a good vibe in general. The bus did 14 runs which is pretty fair considering the time of year. It was wet and I made a howler of a tyre setup (the less said the better) reslting in the crash on the flat - see vid - but then rectified it and really got into it. Everyone had a good run and came back thoroughly muddy.

Forest of Dean from Dave Branfield on Vimeo.

Fireworks and food at Jason's place afterward, thanks for a wicked spread and good times..

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Night Pump.

We all like a bit of night pump, so thought I'd pump some pics your way. Woburn night pumping pumperoony pump track, much fun and unpredictable.


Very hard to see the pump bumps and bits of the track, but you got a good feel after a bit. nice and dry, so good and quick. Tamn had it harder than me as his lights are on his bars, so you cant look round corners or spot landings as easily, but all good. FOD on sat. Very much looking forward to that and will hopefully have some filming from it!

Nice face...


As usual I'd prepared by not charging anything and forgetting the syport connectors which is why they look crap. Well done Dave...

Berm manny.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Thats who it was...

I can't remember why, but Gav and I had a long drawn out e-mail and phone marathon recently, trying to remember the name of a rather cool looking custom frame/bike builder that we'd stumbled across ages ago. This was him and aint it cool?!

Jordan Hufnagel: Custom Bike Builder from Souney Media on Vimeo.

Glad we remembered. Get saving.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

You know you're a hick, when...

Your cat thinks its a dog.


Chris and Lemmy living the dream.

New Bits

I recently ordered in some new shiney stuff and had a bit of a sort out, turning the On One into a bona fide commuter bike. I did this a little while ago, and there are some bits I need to sort (as ever) like swapping the rotors over, but she's basically there...


XT running and stopping gear - 34 42 up front.
Spare parts from my box.
FSA XC wheelset from On One.
Schwable Speed Cruiser (?) tyres.
New rigid fork from On One.

Verdict? Bloody excellent and quick to boot.

New Hope Vision 4 is excellent in my opinion after the exhaustive testing of one evening - in depth!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Its getting dark. I bought a spangly hope vision 4 and now its all lit up again.

Scot leading the pack.

First night ride of the season - hopefully one of MANY! Dry tonight with a brief chill in the air, autumn has definitely set in...

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Wet Leith, I'm sure I've said that before...

I had a long standing arrangement to ride with my mate James and it was one of those things that wouldn't happen unless you set a date and stick to it, so we did. What we didn't know in the summer, was what the weather would have in store for us!

I've ridden many times at Leith when it has rained all day, but this time it was a bit different. Looking up from Peaslake, even the hill tops there were stuck in cloud and that was the way it would stay until we'd nearly finished!

Excellent grip despite the rain and great to ride with some new people. Very impressed with Jame's ride and also his fitness - at 59 he's still keeping us all very honest! Hopefully we should hook up with Ben's crew again and big up his mate's new bike shop. Wet Word...

BC anyone?

Near the Tower.

Yes those are tights with holes in.

Ben gets fast and loose on his rigid singlespeed.

Chris is 30


Friday, September 17, 2010

This is what I'm talking about!

Ok, so sorry to go n about how amazing one site/photographers are but, I mean, this is pretty epic!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chris so lazy...

I pulled this off facecock as Lawler has seriously forgotten the IBFC!!

Chris writes:

The lifts have all closed with the exception of the Champery cable car so any more riding involves a push up the Col du Coux. We’ve been away on our Honeymoon for a while so not so many riding pics so far this season.

Al got this one just at the top of the trail leading off from the top of Chavannes heading towards some of teh bootleg forest trails.

Hip hop hippopotamus tweak.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Really good.

Whilst I'm blogging, I had a look at this chap's site as he had POD recently on Pinkbike. Bloody good and his POD was at Bozen,where Jon had a trip out to recently - I'm trying to get some pics off him to post as he said it was awesome. Via bik-ratta anyone?

Alpspitze, part 1 from Big Col on Vimeo.

Pompey MKII

Should have bunged this up after the Friday post, but didn't. After one or two very very small 2% shandys on the Friday night, Finter and I were off to Surrey Hills to get some more sun and dry trail action. We rocked up in Peaslake with the outside hope of trying to find the trails that Stu had taken me to a few weeks before. Fat chance.

We rode some old classics and found a new (to us) steep tech run off the back hill (other side of PL to BKB) near to the one I rode with Rob and Stu with the log step down:

And, gurn.

Any way, we had a blast and felt exhausted afterwards - stopping before running BKB only to stock up on a meat pie and the NICEST bakewell style cake ever. I've said it before and I'll say it again. A T H L E T S!


This is what it looked like...


And down...

And up...

And, down.

I should say that neither of these pics show how teck the runs were. Entertaining at full tilt.

South and out.

Just re-surfaced from a week long trip with the family down to Bormes to relax and spend some time with Steffi's folks for her Birthday. Amazing weather all week, with the exception of an amazing storm on the Tuesday night. All in all, very enjoyable and Monty has grown visibly!


Steffi's brother, wife and little munchkin were out too, and I managed to fit in a few blasts on a bike - All road this year as the Marin has been repatriated by Steffi's other brother. Boo. My steed this time up was a (fiveish year old?) steel Decathalon hardtail with non existent front forks, although they looked suspiciously like they were supposed to move... Heavy as sin and shakey at speed. Anyway, its all about the riding and I put in a 45km loop up in the hills above Bormes one afternoon and saw literally no-one except some olds playing petonc at a junction - only in France...

Then on Wednesday, Peter and I headed out an did a bigger ride, clocking about 70km in three hours, with 500m of climbing and some stiff winds. I really enjoyed it and we had to play the slipstream game on some of the flat bits. Very good.

Steffi's B'day we went to L'allmanar, a world class (apparently) wind surf spot, and I would have had a go, but it was BUSY and WINDY!! Not the best conditions for learning...

Tan is already fading fast.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Dry Again, Friday, Pompey...

Friday saw a little trip down to QE near Pompey for a bit of ragging about, dusty style. I've ridden QE once before and conditions couldn't have been different. The first time was winter, it was wet, you LITERALLY couldn't see the trails for leaves and it was so slidey on my sand tyres, that I two-wheel drifted everywhere, much to the amusement of Daryl. Friday was DRY and fast although, just as drifty, it turned out!

Sun was out.

Jez hits a line in the trees.

In the dry, the chalk turns into little balls and gives you the pine cone effect that we get up here - ie unpredictable berms! All good though, except for how unfit I was feeling. Slow on the ups but managed to keep up with Daryl and hit everything on spec on the downs. Almost had an interesting stack on a step down that I overcooked, but got away with it! Daryl and Jez took me over to the 'Farm', a ghetto little valley of felled trees and sketchy gravel/mud surface. It was good and had some interesting lines in it but we couldn't session as time was against us. Flat out and fast as you like back to the car - I LOVE that final run there.

Farm bermmm. Ghetto.

This is the bigger step down after the berm above, not sure how you go about connecting it to the landing as its sooo tight.

Jez taking in the farm...

_DAV0081 - Version 2
Farm stepdown