Welsh weekend

Friday 29th June

Managed to leave at a sensible time and avoid the worst of the traffic. Stopped at the Welsh food centre farm shop, lovely place, quiet. Had coffee and ice cream in the steamy heat. Arrived Craflwyn Hall at 2.30.

Room in the stables very comfortable with bath robe, slippers and tin of Kendal mint cake. Cut finger on door bolt. Tea and scones at 4, then local walk at 5 to Llyn Dinas. Got chatting to nice family from Canada and USA.

Lager. Listened to walks talk then dinner. More lager. I had roast beef with roast potatoes, veg and Yorkshire pudding. The spuds needed more roasting. Caramel cheesecake pudding was a bit odd but ice cream helped.

Early to bed.

Snowdon horseshoe
Llyn Dinas
At Craflwyn Hall

At Craflwyn Hall
Above the stables

Saturday 30th June

Woke early. I can’t sleep past 5.30 at the moment. Heat and light. Granola, yoghurt and berries, mini croissants, hash brown, beans and poached egg and toast.

Arrived Siabod cafe in Capel Curig to meet Paul, Chris and Rich. Basically out all day practicing navigation skills and Paul said I was fine which is good. He was my ML assessor. Lots of contours.

Near the end of the day I slipped while crossing a very small bit of stream only inches wider than me,  in addition to getting muddy and wet which was ok because so hot, I banged and cut my elbow which is very sore and needs sorting out a bit. Lucky that Rich was an A&E doctor. He and Paul were properly equipped with first aid. I need to update my kit a bit to cater for things of this nature requiring a large dressing.

After we finished I went to Betws y Coed and got ibuprofen from the Spar shop and various dressings from a nice woman in Cotswold Outdoor who raided their first aid kit. I drove straight back to Craflwyn and assembled my supplies including my quite big car first aid box.

Showered and tried to clean the cut which was still dropping blood on the floor fairly copiously but not done well with the cleaning so will need to see a nurse. It hurts and I was a bit in shock when it happened. It doesn’t look much but very sore.

Lager. Sea bass and veg, then ice cream. More lager. Watched people playing games. Elbow still leaking. Have nasty bruise on my hip. And no arnica.

This clumsiness and injury very unlike me. I am rattled by the compulsory redundancies announced by my employer on Thursday less than a year since I was last restructured. Angry too that they have allowed this to happen. Maybe my eye is off the ball.

 

Llynau Mymbyr
Craflwyn Hall

At Craflwyn Hall

Sunday 1st July

Not a great sleep, too hot and all one sided, no thrashing around. Went for a wee in the night and found no water in the taps. Same on waking, it turns out the whole village has no water. I got every bottle I had and it came to 2 litres. Staff managed breakfast and produced tea and coffee from bottled water. No tooth brushing this morning for anyone! Breakfast of granola, berries and yogurt, mini croissant and then haddock with a poached egg on toast.

I drove to Croesor, passed the man mending the water pump at Beddgelert. Set off up Cnicht. Stopped at about 540m as it was getting more scrambly, I was too hot and had lost a bit of confidence after yesterday, I also banged the elbow again and it was very sore . Happy with getting to where I did. Headed back down. Went to cafe in Croesor for ice cream and coffee. Drove off vaguely thinking of ibuprofen gel and arnica and passed a sign saying Minor Injuries Unit. There were about 6 cars in the car park and only 2 people waiting ahead of me. I got seen and puncture wound dressed in under an hour. Got told off for not going yesterday but hard to do that if you don’t know it’s there. Surely I must be too old now to be told off?!

Back to Craflwyn. All water back in action. Shower with cling film over new dressing. Lager x 2. Dinner of lamb kebab, a bit dry, then chicken with mashed spud and veg, ice cream. We had a music quiz in the garden and the team I was in won. We had to identify instruments, then song intros, then film themes and composers. Quite hard. Thunderflies attack. Talked to Henry and Damian about leading for HF over a glass of Penderyn.

Cnicht

View to the sea from Cnicht
Ow!

Monday 2nd July

After a light breakfast I said farewell to my new Canadian/American friends. Stopped a few times to take some photos and then again at Bodnant to pick up some goodies. Very slow journey back home. Straight to the GP which Carol had sorted for me. Got a new waterproof dressing and some strong antibiotics within half an hour. 4 days later I haven’t dared to inspect it….

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Northumberland October 2017

We had a week in Longframlington at the end of October. It was a bit hard because C wasn’t very well. So much so that we missed the first day of our holiday. We took the A19 because the A1 was at a standstill.

We spent an afternoon looking at old churches which was fun. There are only a very few that I find truly make me feel at peace. Went to Whalton, Meldon and Bolam. It was so dark in Bolam church we had to use torches to look round.

One day was a trip to Morpeth for a few shops and then a very short walk at Druridge Bay so we could see the sea in the twilight.

Another day we went to Bamburgh and Seahouses and Budle Bay, going home a long way round via Wooler.

Whilst Carol dialysed, I went to Rothbury and hiked on the hills to look at the pre WW1 training trenches. They are quite distinctive but were more shallow than I expected from the photo I’d seen. I navigated to a 6 fig grid reference which was fun.

The other dialysis day, we had a look into Felton church which almost appears not to have a roof as you walk up to it. I went to Darden Lough to complete a walk we’d failed to finish. It wasn’t that great, annoying underfoot, the path was little used and the heather sort of grabbed my trouser bottoms and twirled them until they were really tight on my calves!! But there was a gorgeous sunset to reward me for my efforts.

We had 2 meals out, at the Northumberland Arms in Felton. Both our main courses were too sweet. Mine was beef with a jus. We also ate at the Anglers’ Arms about 10 minutes from the cottage. Straightforward pub food but relaxing because a straightforward pub.

On the way home we stopped off at Corbridge. Then routed ourselves to Blanchland just because I like it there and wanted to see it again. I drove back on the A68 because I hadn’t been on it before.

Whalton
Meldon
Bolam at dusk
Bolam
Lovely faces at Whalton
Druridge Bay
Some old duffer
Rothbury trenches
Rothbury trenches
I have no idea, made me think of toast
Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh with Lindisfarne in the background
Budle Bay
Felton
Darden Lough

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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High Cup Nick 25th June 2015

This has been on the list for a while. It’s dramatic from a distance and close up. I parked on the Pennine Way (sounds bad but this was a road section) in Dufton.

It took an hour and 3/4 to reach the head of the nick where I had my lunch. Very windy and cold. The wind went straight up the fell. I practised some micro nav as I went along. The map I used (1:25K) had a GP abbreviation near the head of the nick. This means either a Gas Plug or a Guide Post. I didn’t check it out but reckon it’s probably the latter.

Tremendous views. The nick is the result of lots of volcanic and glacial action and more latterly, mining. See the village web site.

Back down in 1 hour and 1/4. Reversed the route because I didn’t fancy a long scree section to go back along the valley.

From about 8 miles away
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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CPD coaching and teaching navigation

Sunday 16th April 2017

I trotted off to the Peak District yesterday and managed to arrive at Hope Sports Club before 9 a.m. There was a car boot sale on the playing field and it had some very nice coffee! I was very tired after my bike ride the day before and then yet another night not sleeping. I probably would be back to sleeping properly if I wasn’t so worried about my job situation.

Ian and Dave led the session, they are MIC and MIA instructors. This was the first run for this training and the idea is to look at coaching Mountain Leaders in how we train and how we assess people in navigation skills.

The how we train part was on the Saturday and I didn’t go to that day. The morning was looking at the what we are assessing in the classroom and the afternoon at how on the hill. All morning it was dry and sunny. We drove up the Snake Pass and parked up at the Snake Pass Inn. I got told off by a grumpy landlord but he allowed me to park after he talked to Ian and Dave. He seemed to think he was going to be swamped with customers because it was Easter Sunday, but perhaps his attitude went before him. The car park was almost empty and was the same when I got back there.

Needless to say, it rained all afternoon and with all the standing around it was cold. I’m so glad I have all the gear and it works. We split into assessors, assessed and observers. I kept forgetting what I was. The idea was that we were replicating an ML assessment and we looked for points where we could bring out learning points for students. Some good tips and strategies, e.g. forcing the use of the compass when it’s not needed because you can see where you are going, walking beyond the actual destination, not confirming or disagreeing with the suggestions of the candidates, getting candidates to put their maps away on a leg.

I found it very hard work on the hill and felt extremely unfit. I think it’s “just” stress. So debilitating. I feel angry with my employer for doing this to me.

We got back to the pub and had a short debrief. It was dark and gloomy inside and not very welcoming. No wonder he’s so short on customers!

Back home by 6 p.m. I always forget how near the Peak District is!

No photos, way too wet.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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Walk log late 2015 to early 2017

This is just a post to catch up for myself on walks I was unable to record at the time because more pressing things were going on. Keeping up with walking helped me to cope with the stresses of Chris’s illness, and she encouraged me to keep at it. Some of these walks I can barely remember, even with the photos as aide memoire.

2015

4th September

Stoodley Pike circuit.

11th September

Temple Newsam circuit with Carol who was having a 6 week stay in Jimmy’s in Leeds.

18th September

And another one round Temple Newsam. Chris was also having a 6 week stay in Morriston, Swansea during this time and I was driving down there as well as to Leeds and going to work.

1st November

Widdop reccy with Cath.

2016

19th March

Cath and I did a reccy for a walk we led in Barnton. A learning to navigate walk in an industrial landscape which we did in conjunction with Saltscape.

25th March

Walsden circuit including Quaker graveyard at Shoebroad Lane, with Babs.

10th July

Barnton reccy with Cath.

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30th July

Cath and I did a day showing people how to navigate using a map and compass. The day was organised by Saltscape and we had a good turnout.

We walked from Barnton along the Weaver in a circuit.

15th August

After work I did a quick walk to reccy this for my Brontes by Dark walk. I was attacked by flying ants, and it turned out so was the rest of the entire population of the UK. 9km

21st August

Babs and I did this as part of my preparation for my Wuthering Heights (Brontes by Dark) night walk. Good day out with my dear friend.

27th and 28th August

Good two days with lovely group of volunteer walkers from Bury. The weather held off and we had a grand time sending people off to their destinations and retrieving them once they’d arrived.

10th September

The Brontes by night with my 3 participants. We had a fun time drinking mead in the so called Wuthering Heights.

11th September

A Heptonstall walk with Babs, lovely weather.

20th September

Social media workshop in Hathersage run by MTA.

25th September

Reccy for an Edale walk which I handed over to a ML I met at the MTA do.

5th November

NNAS (National Navigation Awards Scheme) update training in Brocton. This was a very weird day in between Chris’s death and the funeral. Cath and I had to do the training because it’s a requirement to continue to deliver the scheme. The first person I saw when I walked in was a guy who Chris and I did a winter skills weekend with in the Cairngorms. This was in 2009 and I wasn’t blogging much then. We had a great few days up there.

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16th December

Blackstone Edge circuit.

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18th December

Todmorden circuit.

27th December

Withins Clough circuit.

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28th December

Blackstone Edge, up Roman Road.

31st December

Hollingworth Lake with Babs.

2017

2nd January

Hebden Bridge circuit with Cath and pals.

14th January

Littleborough with Babs, frozen ground. She made me go to the pub!

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22nd January

Stoodley Pike circuit.

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Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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In Memoriam Chris Howarth November 2016

Weds 16th

How long has it been? The first time was maybe 28 or 29 years ago. The last time maybe 15 or more. The Royal Oak in Rhandirmwyn seems exactly the same. Even the furniture is in the same places. The village shop is now part of the pub and no longer part of the house next door. Same smells of woodsmoke, same dark darkness.

Beer was excellent, a very welcome surprise was that Sue and Rachel had left me the price of a pint behind the bar! I was sorry to miss seeing them. The food was ok, it was a veggie bake with salad and a bread roll. It didn’t have much in it and was mainly tomato and goat’s cheese. Tasted fine just not what I was thinking it would be. I followed it with a choc mousse which arrived with loads of cream on it. I don’t like cream. But the choc was good and dark and not too sweet. The room is ok, cold at first so I left the electric heater on. Still not madly hot so have wrapped myself in the car blankets.
Thurs 17th
I didn’t sleep very well. Lumpy bed although nowhere near as lumpy as the bed for visitors at Tregaron hospital which was worse than camping. At least not sleeping meant I read a lot of The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. I like her books but this one is boring me to sleep. Perfect.

Breakfast was horrible instant coffee pretending to be ground coffee. Laverbread mash with a poached egg and a grilled tomato. This was fine. Last time I ate laverbread was with Chris before we moved up north so fitting for this trip. This time it was edible because hidden in mashed potato.
I parked up in Pen-y-rhiw-Rhaiadr near the gate to the forestry track. It was raining heavily at this point so I put all the gear on. Up the track and onto a footpath through the forest eventually coming out onto a swathe of moorland. Across this then up the side of more forestry before reaching a long stretch of featureless moorland (Carol’s favourite – not, but have talked to Kate who does like it).

30 or so years ago Chris and I were looking for a standing stone which we failed to find. We reached the moorland, Chris was surprised that there were bogs on tops of mountains. The rain drove at us horizontally and we decided to retreat. Chris opined that the mountain didn’t want us there! We took a different path back down through the forest that day by the side of water dashing over cliffs of slate. I fell over and ripped the palm of my hand open. So a memorable walk.

When Chris and I started hill walking, she was always the one in front, huge amounts of stamina. She was a strong walker and swimmer, it’s entirely thanks to her that I can swim at all. Becks reminded me that she and I both learnt to swim in the pool at Bristol Royal Infirmary where Chris got us in. Chris was a life saver when I first met her.

On our last hill walk in the UK in November 2013, Chris was struggling. It’s so easy with hindsight to see things you just didn’t really take in at the time, other than I thought she was tired and perhaps a bit out of shape.
Today I’d worked out that we simply didn’t walk anything like far enough to see the stone. It was a good 40 minutes from the edge of the forest. We gave up after about 10 minutes if that! So I plodded on, the big wind kept the rain off. Plod plod plod. You don’t see the stone until the last possible moment. But it’s there, it does exist! On the top of Mynydd Mallaen.

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At long last
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Seriously in the middle of nowhere

I tucked my flower for Chris in between the rocks at the base of the stone and as out of the wind as possible. If today’s tornado in Aberystwyth comes up here it won’t be there for long.

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It took 1hr and 50 minutes to reach the stone. I retraced my steps and 1 hr and 20 minutes to get back down with the wind behind me.
On reaching the gate there was a blown down tree branch, fortunately a few metres away from my car.

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I drove to Pontrhydfendigaid via Llyn Brianne and the mountain road to Tregaron. Dining there was high quality. Quorn and veg in rich tomatoey sauce with baked potato followed by a profiterole. Thank you, Kate.

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Contours only navigation, Snowdonia July 2nd 2016

Friday
I drove straight from work to Garth Farm campsite near Capel Curig. Used Google sat nav on cousin S’s recommendation to get me to Garth Farm campsite just beyond Plas y Brenin at Capel Curig. Very good journey and whilst I was initially a bit surprised at 2 diversions I could see from the long queues I zipped past that it was in fact great! The journey was slow because of Friday rush hour but I still arrived at the time Google had said when I set off. Will continue to test out. The sign to the farm and the camping had nearly fallen off and I was a bit dubious but decided to bite the bullet and parked up with a couple of other cars. I selected a slightly sheltered dip in the field which was pretty much flat at the bottom.
Got my tent up quickly in a wild wind with some very dark clouds looming over the top of Snowdon and threatening to drop down. Promptly fell over the guy rope and broke the tent pole! Luckily it was still able to hold the tent up.
I went up to the farmhouse and gave Mr Jones my £5. He was busy watching Wales playing football so we didn’t chat. £5 was fine but if you are going there be warned that the bins need emptying and the loos and washbasins were not clean.
Cooked up my dinner of lime and coriander rice in the Jetboil and Sainsburys tinned veg curry on the MSR pocket rocket. The curry was surprisingly nice. Hot and tasty with a ring pull to open. Sainsbury are no longer doing Look what I found pouches. They were good because in a pouch, quick and hot.
I forgot a lot of things including a woolly hat, whisky, the porch mat (I looked at it last night and wondered very vaguely what it was, bugger) and the coffee and kit. More bugger but ok as will be going to Caffi Siabod first thing. Slept quite well through the lashings of rain and wind all night. And the tent held up more to the point and not a drop of rain got in. I love British summers!
Saturday
Up early to strike camp. Breakfast of fruit and yoghurt in the car. I’d also forgotten to bring any coffee so was keen to get to the cafe to remedy this. To Caffi Siabod for all their clean facilities. Paul turned up and we were a group of 6, 4 female and 2 male which is the first time that’s been the case on any of the mountain courses I’ve done.
Off to spend the day working the area around the back of the cafe (Clogwyns) which has lots of lumps and bumps, some of which are in between the 10m contours. We used 1:25K maps with only contours on them and heights. Although most of us had altimeters, we didn’t actually use them. The point of the course was to use the features in the landscape.
It was a great day and made me feel confident with my skills. I will look to see where we might be able to do this in our local area.
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Overlooking Llynnau Mymbyr
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Llynnau Mymbyr and sheep
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Blasted heather I can’t remember which one
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Llyn Crafnant
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Tryfan
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

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