Pirates Ahoy, West Wales, 23-25 August 2013


We had a nice leisurely trip down through Wales via Dolgellau, Machynlleth and Aberystwyth to reach our bed and breakfast at Rhydlewis. Broniwan is set up a short drive and is a slightly gloomy solid Victorian house. Our hostess, Carole met us and gave us huge pieces of delicious jam sandwich cake and tea. She reminded me a little of my friend Angela H (tall, blonde and clever!) I think the gloom was probably because it was cloudy and overcast outside. Carole was tickled when we mentioned we would be dressing up as pirates the next day.

We went off for dinner at the Daffodil Inn in Penrhiwllan a few miles away. I was slightly disconcerted by being addressed as “Sir” as when it’s strangers this is normally a verbal punch in the face. When it’s my friends it’s an entirely different matter and is quite correct! We were supposed to sit in the bar and wait to be taken to our table but I had entirely misunderstood this and assumed the whole pub was a bar so we just took a table that we wanted to sit at. The waitress implied that the one they had reserved for us was “better” but we were quite happy not being in the thick of it all. I had various beefy things and Carol had 2 starters. The food was very tasty, nicely cooked and well presented. We washed it down with Greene King Abbot Ale from Bury St. Edmunds (my first ever beers). Back at the B and B we had a short walk up the hill in the dark to stretch our legs, no cars, lovely.


Nice big breakfast of organic sausages and poached egg with tomato for me and Carol had similar with bacon. Proper coffee and really just very good. We met Allan, our  host who was also charming.

We went off to Lampeter to buy a couple of bits and pieces, then back to the B and B where Carol had a little snooze. Then off out again to the seaside at Poppit Sands. Any sun there decided to leave as we arrived. We found the pirate flag and a bunch of scurvy pirates who were a bit chilly. We were just in time to help finish off Hilary’s yummy muffins. We stayed a little longer but it certainly wasn’t warm enough to get me in the sea nor Carol. We went back to the B and B and Carol had another little snooze. Then we arranged ourselves for the evening and our hosts both came out to “admire” us!

Bona Pirates drove over to Llandysul Long Barn for the piratical party. Aargh! The scurvy wenches were blistering their barnacles and my parrot was requiring pieces of slate. We ate ships’ biscuits and drank a bottle of rum (actually a chicken kebab and a small glass of champagne). A fire was blazing on the deck and the wenches were rampaging. Chrissie the buccaneering beauty of the Seven Seas was over the yardarm. We returned to the B and B and both had big long snoozes.

Poppit Sands
Scurvy Knave Sandy
Quarter Master Julian
Everybody say “aargh”


Another yummy breakfast and then back to the Long Barn where some pirates seemed a little the worse for wear. Some ship-shaping had been done and all was quiet in the sun. Chrissie had some more presents and additions to the cake fest. It was lovely to see all the Howarths together and to meet Kaye. And all our dear old friends.

We then set off for the long journey home which we broke by calling in to see Kate and Del and Dan in Pontrhydfendigaid. We had some bara brith and a bit more cake and shot the breeze. On the way back we called in at Llanidloes because we both like it there and Carol bought me a Magnum in case I was suffering a sugar withdrawal. We also stopped in Newtown for the loo and then we were homeward bound.

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Chrissie, Gerry and Hilary
Catriona and Chris
Andy, Chris, Gerry, Hilary and Carol
As before and with Kaye on the left
And with me on the right
The Divine Ms Willows
Birthday girl with birthday shed voucher

Hartsop above How, Hart Crag, Dove Crag, Little Hart Crag and High Hartsop Dodd, 11th August 2013

I parked up at the FREE Cow Bridge car park in Hartsop at just after 9.30. I got going quickly or rather I didn’t as immediately on leaving the car park it’s a near vertical climb to get up the first couple of hundred metres through old deciduous woodland. A good warm up and a fast height gain which brings you out nearly on the top of the ridge. The path winds its way along the ridge with some knobbly bits to either circuit or crest. I did a mixture. The first Wainwright is Hartsop above How which is really just a high bit on a ridge but it’s in the book.

There were a couple of showers along the way but so brief that it wasn’t worth getting the hard shell or anorak out (Cath laughed at me last week for calling it an anorak!) Towards the end of the ridge there’s a short section of scree and then it’s a quick move across to reach Hart Crag. By the time I got there I was in the full force of the wind and it was chilly so I ended up wearing t shirt, merino long shirt, soft shell, hard shell, buff over my head and gloves. Wet, wind and cold.

I didn’t stop long on Hart Crag and carefully levered myself down the somewhat treacherous big lumps of rock and across to Dove Crag. At this point I actually saw some people. There were some people behind me going along the ridge earlier but even though we’d said hello they became spots in the distance before long. A quick lunch sheltering behind a rock and then on to find the wall or fence to follow down to Little Hart Crag.

The fence turned out not to exist except for the uprights but they were still there slowly rotting. I basically followed them all the way to Scandale Pass at which point I went up onto Little Hart Crag, where I had a wee thinking that I was quite alone as had seen no-one coming in any direction. So I was a bit surprised when a couple and a dog turned up shortly afterwards. I asked the woman to take my photo so that Brothers Water was in the background but as you will see, she didn’t manage to do this and it’s just as well I had my iPhone to piddle around with! By this time it was very hot and sunny and I was back in just my t shirt.

Little Hart Crag is at the top of High Hartsop Dodd so I just got going along a nice grassy path which ends in a truncated spur and is thus very steep to descend but fast. The couple with the dog went off the hill at top speed.

At the bottom there was a field to cross and I’d been wondering what the large brown thing was. It turned out to be a sleepy bull so I was glad that the hopeless photographer’s dog had not upset it.

Then it was a quick walk along a good flat gravel path by the side of Brothers Water and back to the car by about 3.15 and home by 5.30.

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With Brothers Water in the background
Hart Crag on the way up
I think this is an example of sedimentary rock, any geologists out there?
Clear water tarn on Little Hart Crag
Brothers Water
Me without Brothers Water
Brothers Water
The whole horseshoe

Hellvellyn via Striding Edge and Catstye Cam 3rd August 2013

Cath and I met up at Glenridding car park. We set off at about 10.45 after I’d done some pfaffing about. The car park still costs £7 for the day.

We went up to Hole in the Wall which doesn’t dispense anything and has possibly been filled in as can’t say I even noticed it. This is the point for starting Striding Edge. The first part is a inevitably quite gentle and just starts to ease you in to a bit of exposure, we stayed to the right just under the ridge. We saw a young man in jeans who was clinging to the path and obviously very terrified. We gave some words of encouragement but we didn’t see him later on so I reckon he’d backtracked which would probably have been the right thing to do as he wasn’t in a particularly terrifying spot when we saw him.

Mostly we stayed to the right on the path just below the ridge. At one spot you have to make a move down and most people were just doing this in their stride but we stopped to weigh it up and Cath was getting a bit anxious. Instead of following the crowd I moved to the left and got to a steady spot and I think this encouraged Cath to do the same as she soon followed me. We hadn’t liked the look of the drop to the right. Some guys were being helpful and making suggestions but we didn’t really follow them. We reckoned on making our own decisions and doing what was right for us.

The next tricky spot was soon after where we had to get down a narrow gully. I like doing these but Cath felt a bit less sure so she told me and one of our new friends to stay at the bottom to spot her. Just when her foot was at my eye level I started to move away but she told me and the chap that we were to stay in place, so we did! I told Cath that she had girl balls and this seemed to help!

That was the worst of it and we next took a path that went round the side of the big outcrop that most people were going over. This was a good route and we climbed up easily. After that we were practically at the top. Once we got to the shelter, a man came round and sold us cake for the British Horse Society which I didn’t even know existed. The lemon drizzle cake was just the ticket at that point. It was pretty cold and breezy on the top which meant the photos were a bit bonkers, and no-one there at that time to take one for us.

Next we went down Swirral Edge which seemed nothing like as scary going down it as it had going up it last year. There wasn’t anyone on it this time which helped. Then along and up to Catstye Cam where we were the only people. It’s quite a small summit so this was just as well. Then down off the top and back along a good path all the way to Glenridding via the Youth Hostel which looks great and is in a good location. Cath said it was nice as she’d stayed there with Lee earlier on this year.

We got back at about 5.30, went and had some not so nice cake in the wrong cafe. I’d forgotten Fellbites. But the tea was fine and just what was needed.

A Quality Mountain Day with a fab companion!

Start of Striding Edge
Intrepid Cath on the top of Striding Edge
Cath in movement on the Edge
Buttress after the hard bit
Looking back along the Edge from the top
Despite appearances I am not about to punch Cath in the head!
Happy Christmas
Cath all cool and relaxed
On summit of Helvellyn

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