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.

MAPandCOMPASS

 

Romania 2016

Fri/Sat 13th/14th May

Travelling

All the trains behaved well. Sowerby Bridge to Leeds to King’s Cross to Hatton Cross tube about 4.5 hours.  A woman on train talked to me whilst she sewed crocheted flowers onto a large white bra! Walked 6 mins to Hilton Garden hotel. It has very little garden. My room was surprisingly spacious but no free slippers!
I had some M&S salad, drank some beer and some wine. You can buy food and drink in the little shop at regular prices and put them in the ex-minibar fridge. Slept ok but the room only had air con and no opening windows so I was either too hot or too cold.
Despite my booking saying no breakfast I got a free one including real coffee. Walked back to the tube and got on a free bus to Terminal 4. Had a free coffee and then rather a lot of waiting. My trip through Security was extensive as usual. I did the walk through then a 360 degree all over body scanner then a full body pat down and lastly a footwear scan and bio sample, at least I think it was. You’ll be glad to know I was then in the clear.
Pootled about the shops and had a good goat’s cheese and beetroot salad in Carluccio’s as had spent no money up to that point!
At last I got on the Tarom plane, sitting with other Exodus passengers, Camilla and Julie and a Romanian woman, Adriana who works for the British Embassy. Talked with them all, didn’t even read my book. Smooth flight. I had the “special” meal which was a surprise as I’d forgotten I’d ordered veggie food. It was pasta in a white sauce and fruit washed down with Romanian bear beer.
Reached Bucharest at 6pm UK time. They are 2 hours ahead so we reached Villa Hermani in Magura at nearly midnight. Thomas the Exodus guide is ex German army. We got into a big minibus and drove for 3 hours. Felt terribly tired on arrival. but Herman gave us all a shot of fiery plum schnapps.
C and J and I have rooms in the annexe. There was an initial mix up with keys. They are now in the room with 2 beds and I am in one with one bed, I also have a balcony. At night there is a lot of dog barking because in the mountains every one keeps a dog and they all live outdoors. I will find out if they have kennels as it’s quite cold here. Lovely clean air.
Little Ted and the Hungarian bear beer
Little Ted and the Hungarian bear beer
Waiting
Waiting
Tarom plane
Tarom plane
Carluccio salad
Carluccio salad

 

Sun 15th May
Woke early when the sun came up. Read a bit then a lovely hot shower. The dogs live in kennels, unfortunately right outside my window! Villa Hermani has 4 dogs, I think.
Breakfast. Some slightly fizzy pale juice. Lots of coffee. Cinnamonny lemony dense porridge with fruit and yoghurt. Rye bread with very good butter straight from the churn. Lots of cheeses, cured meats and sweet things. Also houmous, fishy spread and salmon.
Made up sandwiches for lunch. Houmous and cheese on rye, separate.
Katherina did intros. She is German and Herman is Romanian. She is also an expert on large carnivores and previously did lots of research into them.
The group is:
Camilla and Julie who are in the annexe with me
Anne and George from Macclesfield
Marion from HK
Nick
Karin from Vancouver
Julia from London
Katy from Oz
Jackie from Dartford
Sue from E. Yorkshire
Gary
John from Glasgow
We set off. It was chilly in the wind and hot in the sun so quite a bit of on and off. Walked to Pestera along rutted roads and across meadows with Alpine flowers.
Stopped for lunch at the pub in Pestera. This was a large empty room with only one customer, very basic, more like a village hall. We ate outside. Some brave souls used the loo at the rear. Thomas warned us to be careful around wild dogs i.e. Those that work with shepherds.
We then went to the bat cave. This was a foul place because of the human detritus and we didn’t see any bats!
Bimbled our way back to the Villa Hermani. Passed a house from which some frantic folk music was coming out. Boot cleaning under the outdoor tap.
Having a little lie down. Can just hear the music of the cow bells.
Bucegi Beer.
Dinner of parsnip soup, celeriac fritter, braised carrots and rice. Had taste of chicken sauce but strong and heavy. I’m glad I opted veggie as simply not in the mood to eat meat every day. Pudding of stewed apple and set cold custard.
Palinca shot (strong plum schnapps).
Dog chorus.
View from my balcony
View from my balcony
Hay stack
Hay stack
Typical village house
Typical village house

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It's a bear!
It’s a bear!
The bane of my nights
The bane of my nights

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Mon 16th May
Wet wet wet.
In the minibuses to the National Park info centre which was shut, as was the cafe opposite. I’d worked it up as an espresso possibility. Addiction denied.
We walked up to the orthodox monastery of Coitul Chilulor at 1134m. We were accompanied by a large shaggy brown dog for most of the walk. At the monastery we had herbal tea and marble cake. We continued up to a small shrine set in the rock. Back down to the monastery for our sandwich lunch. On the walk back down there were wild dogs roaming so we stayed together. Thomas spoke to them and they stayed away. Our shaggy friend helped to protect us.
Back to the road to be picked up by Katherina and Herman.
My room still had no heat despite the fact that everyone else was warm but finally it got sorted and I was able to warm up and dry off.
Early dinner at 3.30! Celeriac soup. Beef tomatoes stuffed with polenta. Apple cake.
4.30 into buses for drive to bear hide. Seems longer than an hour. A robust discussion about Rob and Helen in The Archers. Eventually stop and walk across the teeming, spouting stream to the hide.
Immediately we see a bear and over the course of 2 hours another 7 or so, possibly some repeats. Several young ones and some large. We are quite good at keeping quiet. The bears linger over the lure (biscuits and corn) for quite some time. Two cubs came along and one was a delight trying to get up onto a rock and falling back down like a toddler.
Very cold, damp and uncomfortable in the hide. Glad to be back in the warmth of the bus.
Neustadt beer and a shot of plum schnapps. The dogs are noisy tonight.
Shaggy dog
Shaggy dog

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First bear, window still a bit steamed up
First bear, window still a bit steamed up

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Tues 17th May
Fabulous day of Karst scenery on circular route. A bit over 14km. First part in buses then walked through the gorge passing where a scene from Cold Mountain was shot then up onto a plateau. Snow on the big tops. Lunch at La Table. Through mountain meadows. A bit damp at first and cold with a few snow flakes. Then warm in the sun on the way back to Magura. Lovely day on good paths. Height about 1450m.
Typical Romanian dinner of nettle soup, stuffed cabbage leaves with polenta and sliced tomatoes and sour cream, cake made with courgette and a little choc, very good.
Katherina showed us a 2001 BBC documentary about Transylvania and Living with Predators. She then talked about her work on the large carnivores research project and how things have changed since the film was made. She is responsible for the introduction of bear hides as responsible tourism and improving the welfare of the bears and the people of Brasov. All most impressive.
A couple of beers. Neumarkt and Bucegi.
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Villa Hermani
Villa Hermani

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It be pirate day!
It be pirate day!

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Magura church
Magura church
So pretty!
So pretty!
Weds 18th May
Too much snow for the very high mountain. In buses to Poaina Brasov ski resort. Cable car to Postavanu at 1799m. Snowy and v cold. Down the path to Cabana Postavanu for fab choc and rum cake and an espresso at last! Nice old Alpine pub. Down a bit more to a flattish bit at Sub Teleferic for lunch (very short intervals between feeds!)
Down the red ski slope a bit more (this is a medium rating for skiers and steep enough for feet on grass) to another pub, the Rossignol. Home made lemonade very delicious. Back to the buses and home.
Dinner
Vegetable soup
Cauli in batter with garlic sauce
Creamed potato
Green salad
Shortbread cake with plum purée therein.
2 Bucegi.
Hoar frost on top of Poaina Brasov
Hoar frost on top of  Postavanu
In the pub
In the pub
Inside the pub
Inside the pub
Thurs 19th May
No sleep because of bloody dogs barking all night. The bugger had the cheek to be asleep when I got up. And then a very long day.
Left at 9.30 in the buses to Brasov. Thomas gave us a very informative tour of the town. Black church, Orthodox Church, synagogue, bullet holes from 1989 revolution.
Coffee with Thomas and Nick and Marion.
Got money with my prepaid card. Ate my lunch on a bench in the square. To market which was just a supermarket. Back to synagogue which was shut but not supposed to be.
To Art Nouveau cafe for a drink. George and Anne turned up. Had lovely lemonade. Thomas arrived.
Got more money.
Then it was 5.15 so we went to the buses, met Udo. Off to man made lakes to look at birds with Dan from Transylvania University. He is expert in ornithology amongst other things. Saw a marsh harrier and several types of heron.
Back to Brasov to Roata Norocului  (Wheel of Fortune) restaurant. Too noisy the minute we walked in. Loud and modern. The live music was dire.
Karin had an amusing time in the loos. No need for signs on the doors here! Couple that with a wayward cleaner confusing the protocols!
Small creamed veg soup and bread.
Pork schnitzel with ham, cheese and mushroom. Cabbage salad. Chips. Ciuc beer. Light Silva beer. All for less than £9.
Too full and headachey from the awful racket. Bloody dogs better be quiet.
Some lovely singing on the way back with Udo from Julie and the girls!
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At the birdy place
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These looked fun
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Art Nouveau cafe
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Bird watching
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Bullets from the revolution
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Banca Transylvania
Fri 20th May
Up early. In buses to Libearty the bear sanctuary. A rather short whiz round with guide. Terrible stories of cruelty.
Nice walk through the meadows to Vulcan where the priest gave us tea, coffee, schnapps and a sort of pancake made by putting the cake mix round a piece of wood and turning it slowly so it didn’t burn.
As we got back in the bus I slammed the door shut on Gary’s finger. A bit of blood but seemingly no bones broken or lasting damage. I couldn’t possibly have seen from where I was that there was a digit in the door.
Drive to Bran and went round castle. Nice castle but full of tourists and masses of tourist tat. Not very relaxing.
Into the horse drawn carriages to ride for just over an hour to the bottom of the long hill. It rained towards the end. Pleasant way to travel, even over the bumps.
In the buses to get up the hill.
Dinner of barbecued meats and salads. Asparagus for veggies. Ice cream. Thomas shocked to see me eating meat. He wore his full traditional gear, hand made by his grandmother.  Very smart.
Settle up bills. I didn’t have enough money and got subs from Jackie and Sue.
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Karin and her new friend

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Carting about
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Bran castle
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Thomas
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Church dog posing
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Thomas in full regalia
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Uwe the priest
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Camera man
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Ready for the off
Sat 21st May
Woke at 5.30, bugger, too early.
On the minibus seeing further half finished but occupied buildings. Communist buildings, even a power plant returning to nature, not demolished.
We got to the airport and then had to get on with check in. Farewells to Karin, Anne and George and John who are all doing slightly different things.
No problems with security this time.
Not much time left to do any shopping after passport control so onto the plane, smooth flight but a somewhat bumpy landing.
Got straight onto the tube, remembered just at the right time that I had to go via Manchester on my ticket. Empty train from Euston but a bit chilly. Crossed Manc on the tram and home from Victoria. Carol had ordered me a taxi from Elland Cabs but stupid driver took me a really long and expensive way home so I won’t be using them again.
Nice to be home.

 

Villa Hermani
Villa Hermani
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Mountains over Magura
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Magura church
Camilla and Herman
Camilla and Herman

Link to Julia’s photos on Flickr:
Romania 14-21 May 2016//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Top 3 Tips for hiking
1 Footwear is as important as the tyres on a car, keep your boots clean and proofed and carry a spare pair of laces.
2 Water is more vital than food, think clean maybe use a filter bottle like Water2Go or a bladder. Keep bladder clean between trips by sterilising using e.g. Steradent tablets or Milton solution, rinse out thoroughly and keep in the freezer.
3 If it moves, tie it down. I’ve lost maps and poles by not having them properly attached. Fix your compass and map to your body/clothing using whatever works best for you, mini carabiner clips and bootlaces are good.
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

MAPandCOMPASS

 

Winter walks

20th December 2015 – Cat Stones, Rishworth

Fine until it got too hard to cross any more bog because it became a river.

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2nd January 2016 – Widdop

A reccy with Cath, in perfect no visibility conditions!

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10th January 2016 – Widdop

Another reccy with Cath, much brighter and colder day.

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Reaps Cross

17th January 2016 – Stoodley Pike

In the snow.

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Stoodley Pike

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31st January 2016 – Widdop

With Maureen, so very soggy from every angle.

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Walshaw Dean reservoir (middle)

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14th February – Withens Clough and Stoodley Pike

Almost felt glad to be alive. Beautiful day with deeply intense light.

Song of the day: Badlands

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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.

MAPandCOMPASS

A Place in the Lakes 25th May 2015 (Place Fell, Angletarn Pikes, Beda Fell)

Managed to start this walk at 10.00 a.m. Not as early as I’d hoped. I parked in Martindale which is a quiet little hamlet. There are some fun hairpin bends before you reach it. It has a new (1880) church dedicated to St. Peter and a much older one looking a bit sad dedicated to St. Martin (1500s).

I got up onto Place Fell quite quickly but then it took me a couple of hours to reach the summit. The fabulous views that Wainwright had promised were caught in the low clouds for most of the morning. Also an occasional sprinkle of rain to accompany them.

It was then down 250m to reach Boredale Hause which is a big mountain pass/col. From there I went up again for 150m to reach Angletarn Pikes. I ascended the north pike which Wainwright said could only be reached by a rock scramble. Not so, I just walked up a steep grassy bit and then was on a short easy path. Where Place Fell had seemed a bit busy (it was a bank holiday), I had the summit of Angletarn to myself. There are 2 pikes but I only climbed the north one.

I lunched in peace in the sun behind some rocks in a shallow depression. The rocks not me. Two cyclists came along but left me in peace.

Then it was time to head back along the ridge to Beda Head which is the top point of Beda Fell. It had cleared up weather wise and I got great views across to the huge long ridge which culminates in Hight Street to the east and to the west, Helvellyn and Sheffield Pike. I could trace the route Chris and I took for Sheffield Pike in November 2013. Also another horseshoe I did from Brothers Water.

I’m planning my own longish distance path along the route of the Roman Road between Penrith and Ravenglass. We’ll see! More realistically I could walk from Pooley Bridge up onto the far north end of High Street (not the summit end), taking in several summits but all along the very long ridge which is the Roman Road and ending up at High Street summit, this would be about 14 km. Then to get down to the Kirkstone Pass to meet a bus. Again, we’ll see, I would need to be in Pooley Bridge the night before for an early start.

After Beda Head, I turned east and down to get to the road and then a quick hop past the old church to get back to the car at 16.30. I saw a sign saying that Martindale is home to an old herd of red deer. Didn’t see any.

Managed to get home by 19.15 including a very quick pitstop at Tebay services.

St. Martin's church
St. Martin’s church
Very superior signpost!
Very superior signpost!
The walk to come
The walk to come
Brothers Water
Brothers Water
Helvellyn
Helvellyn
Angletarn Pikes (north pike)
Angletarn Pikes (north pike)
Sheffield Pike
Sheffield Pike
High Street in background
High Street in background
Beda Fell
Beda Fell
Ullswater
Ullswater
Looking back at Place Fell horseshoe
Looking back at Place Fell horseshoe
Ullswater
Ullswater
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

MAPandCOMPASS

Winter Navigation training, 27th February to 2nd March, 2015

Fri 27th February
A nice if lengthy journey up to Aviemore. I used a split tickets site: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/split-cheap-train-tickets/ and knocked about £80 off the cost. The drawback outgoing was this:
Taxi to station
Sowerby bridge to Hebden Bridge
Hebden to Preston long wait
Preston to Edinburgh Haymarket
Edinburgh to Aviemore
Split ticket had me changing at Burnley Manchester Road too but the ticket man and I agreed this was pointless which cut my trains from 5 to 4 and waiting at Preston was infinitely preferable to Burnley Manc Rd which has nothing to recommend it.
Great scenery and lots of snow. Almost Orient Express at times. Not the passengers though.
I stepped out of Aviemore station to a bitter wind. So quickly popped into Tesco and then bimbled around an outdoor shop while waiting for the minibus pickup to Glenmore Lodge. I chatted to Carson a young man from the USA who was going to do a winter skills weekend. Another man came and told us that he’d spent a week at the Lodge and that the food was plentiful but not haute cuisine. He went away and the minibus arrived. Hundreds of people and bags got out and Carson and I got in.
I paid a single supplement for a room to myself. My sleep is very poor these days and I would hate to be disrupting someone else as well as me.
The room was enormous and had beds from the Olympic village. So I may have slept on Bolt’s bed!
I picked up my gear from stores – shovel, ice axe, avalanche probe, avalanche transceiver, helmet, crampons.
To the bar for a veggie curry with rice and poppadoms. Not bad at all. Washed down with a half of Cairngorm brewery Trade Winds.
To bed.
Drumochda from the train
Drumochter from the train
Olympic beds
Olympic beds
Sat 28th February
Got up early and walked down the road to the reindeer centre but the reindeer were not at home.
Back to breakfast. All self service so I toasted my bread and buttered it then put beans on. Orange juice.  Collected lunch. More civilised than PYB where everyone throws themselves at the packed lunches before getting their breakfasts.
To lecture theatre for welcome from Nigel.
To Ryvoan room to meet others on course and our instructor Kirsty. Billy, Steve, John, Mary, Pat. Mary and Pat are both experts in Gaelic, pronounced Gallic, so I may have learnt a couple of words.
3 of us have summer ML and 3 are beginners. Kirsty did a fantastic job of managing a mixed group.
Spent the morning doing all the basics. We measured our paces along the flat and uphill on the same stretches I used on my very first nav course back in 2008.
We practised using the avalanche transceivers and probes, impressive bit of kit.
We used a 1:5,000 map which was surprisingly hard when so used to bigger scale. Looked at aspect of slope. Very useful.
Back to Lodge for late lunch.
Out in minibus to lower ski car park with the 1:50,000 map. We went past the reindeer and back through the forest. Felt much more comfortable with this map.
Back to the Lodge quite late so we missed tea and cake.
Wet kit in driying room. Shower and yet another rucksack repack. Dinner of lentils and pasta. Choc meringue pudding. All very good and tasty. Maybe not quite haute cuisine but very nice. I sat with Billy and Steve.
We were joined by another man called Neil who is a guide and instructor etc. out of Chamonix. Mentioned my trip up Mont Blanc and the Gouter hut. Also our guide then Stephane Benoist. Turns out they are pals. Steph has since lost many fingers and toes on Annapurna and had to move to different activities. I asked Neil to remember me to Steph and tell him I now have ML! Saw Neil later and he had just received message from Steph after not actually hearing from him for some time. How strange. Steph did remember me and sent me nice wishes. Am impressed that he did remember. He is a holder of the Piolet d’Or for climbing a not previously done face of Nuptse. I was sorry to hear about his injuries as he is a very nice man with young children, he does look like he’s really been through it on this site: http://www.altissima.org/en/stephane-benoist-ampute-apres-son-ascension-en-face-sud-de-lannapurna-6269.html My account of our Mont Blanc trip is also on this blog – entries for October 2009.
To the lecture room where Nigel gave us a most amusing talk on winter nav. I may be inspired to do some orienteering especially as I know where there is some near us.
2 halves of beer with Billy and Steve and Pat’s husband Ian who had been out ice climbing.
To bed.
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Sea King coming in to land at Glenmore Lodge.
Sea King coming in to land at Glenmore Lodge.

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Youngster
Youngster

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Sun 1st March
Slept well. Packed up to vacate room. Suitcase to luggage room (great idea that PYB could do).
Breakfast of beans on toast and coffee and juice.
Ryvoan room for recap. We all decided to use the 1:40,000 map. K went through route planning taking account of avalanche risk.
Nigel drove us up to car park and we set off. We used timing and pacing according to what we wanted to practice.
We had a go at directing someone on a bearing testing how far they could hear as well.
Made a journey to Utsi’s hut during which it started to snow. Utsi brought the reindeer over here 50 years ago and the reindeer herdsman had to sleep near his flock. Neat little hut where we lunched. It’s in the bottom picture on this page: http://www.cairngormreindeer.co.uk/History.aspx?nid=8b35281c-d64f-4548-93cc-4814c175b692
Back out and up and around hill. Crossed some snow in which I got my foot stuck. Kirsty came and helped me out. Had I been on my own I would have got my pole off the rucksack and put it across the hole to lever myself out as well as scrape the snow out. (I had to think like this as mostly I don’t have anyone to come and do what Kirsty did) I was stuck surprisingly fast. Up around hill to a lochan where the wind was quite fierce. Then followed the deer fence to the path. This took us down across a bridge and back up to the Sugar Bowl car park where Nigel picked us up.
Back to the Lodge. Kit back to stores. Collect suitcase. Collect hot choc and cake. Debrief. Farewell.
Nice young man took me to Aviemore in the minibus  I was the only passenger so had no worry about getting him to take me to door of Ravenscraig Guest House.
Jonathan welcomed me. Room was fine. Put wet kit in drying room. Shower. Out to the Winking Owl to eat. Had butternut squash and lentils. Only ok. Cairngorm Highland IPA.  Music quite depressing so didn’t feel like staying.
Red grouse
Red grouse

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It's that way...
It’s that way…
We are a bit cold and wet
We are a bit cold and wet
All the gang
All the gang
He wasn't around
He wasn’t around
This is pine marten poo
This is pine marten poo

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Utsi's hut
Utsi’s hut

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It's still Christmas in Aviemore
It’s still Christmas in Aviemore

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Mon 2nd March
Pitlochry, the next stop of the train. I loved this. The trains home all went really easily. It was snowing as I left Aviemore and on my way home I got messages to say it was snowing there too. It was great that the travelling was all painless. I enjoyed my weekend but actually I’d paid to be stretched a bit more and expected to be out on the snow straightaway, but have fed this back to Glenmore Lodge. I’ve said they need to be very clear about what the pre-requisites are for courses. I’ll be back with Paul Poole Mountaineering for next time round if he and I are both free at the same time. The dates just didn’t quite match up for me this year.

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

MAPandCOMPASS

Dawn at Aviemore station
Dawn at Aviemore station

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Not likely at a railway station
Not likely at a railway station

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From the train
From the train

Mountain Leader refresher

Friday 25th April

Drove to the Pen y Gwryd hotel arriving just after 9pm. I unpacked and went to the residents’ bar for a couple of halves of beer. I met 3 brothers and their father and some others who were staying.

Saturday 26th April

I had the full Welsh breakfast and got to Capel Curig on time to meet up with Paul (trainer), Chris, Adam and Branwen at the cafe.

Walked out behind Moel Siabod cafe and basically did hours of intense navigation practice on quite lumpy and bumpy terrain with lots of little knobbles and nipples! The Clogwyn and Crimpiau area.

I found at one point that my compass wasn’t working properly which could have been because of the big iron stanchion I was next to but on further testing it was affected by my magnifier.

So I know now to keep my magnifier well away from the compass. I’ve also tested all my jewellery against the compass and my necklaces are ok but some of my bracelets are a bit suspect so I won’t wear them when I’m out with the compass.

This was a very active day running up and down hills and I felt pretty tired at the end of it but also reasonably confident that I do know what I’m doing and am not too bad at interpreting contours.

I went to Cobden’s hotel for my supper and had a risotto which was a bit greasy but tasty and inexpensive. I was later told this was not the best place to eat and it’s true the place is a bit neglected but my meal was actually quite ok and I didn’t suffer after eating it. There were lots of photos of Dylan Thomas and although I’ve looked, I haven’t worked out why.

Back at Pen y Gwryd, I met up with the 3 brothers and their lifelong friend and their dad and had a nice time drinking beer with them (these brothers were just here for the weekend, and not the brothers who run the hotel) and also with a lawyer called Nigel from London.

My wash basin can be hidden behind discreet curtain!
My wash basin can be hidden behind discreet curtain!
Wally the MR bear looking towards Snowdon
Wally the MR bear looking towards Snowdon
On the nav day
On the nav day

P1020798

Tryfan the stegosaurus
Tryfan the stegosaurus

Sunday 27th April

Back to the cafe to meet Paul, also Chris, Tim, Dan, Ken and Branwen. We set off to the Ogwen cottage, parking up on the road, and walked up to Llyn Idwal with helmets and ropes. We practised indirect belays, direct belays and the 3 types of descent methods – angel wings, traditional abseil and South African abseil. I felt much more confident about doing all of these and Paul reminded me that there is no need to rush anything on the assessment.

We then did some confidence roping and tried this across different sorts of terrain. This was useful as this is something I can imagine doing if a member of the party was injured or needed help.

We then went back down. Branwen and I went to Idwal Cottage for refreshments and I used the new facilities before heading off home. I got home in 2 hours and 20 minutes which was great as it took me nearly 3 hours to get there so am definitely sticking with the A55 as far as possible route for the future.

Practise, practise, practise now!

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

Practising on steep ground
Practising on steep ground
This was the rock we went up and down
This was the rock we went up and down

Contours only navigation course May 25th 2013

This was an excellent day’s training. Such a contrast from the very poor training I was on for work this week.

I arrived at Barber Booth in good time. I can now get to the Peak District in under an hour and a half by using the M67, so much easier and quicker than the crow’s route.

There were 8 of us and Pete Hawkins, from the Silva Navigation School. There were 2 Marks, 2 Johns, Dom, Ken, and I think Steve, and me. We set off straight away to walk up to the access land using the OS 1:25,000 map. Once we were on the maps which only showed contours the oddest thing was not knowing the names of the places. Pete did tell us from time to time, but it was hard to remember and I don’t know that area very well.

The pattern for the day was in pairs to locate spots that Pete gave us, these were spot heights, ring contours, little nicks in the contour line. We went up Broadlee Bank Tor via the spur, across below Grindslow Knoll, then into a maze of groughs above Crowden Tower where we stopped for lunch. We stayed mostly off the beaten tracks so this was a lovely sheltered and sunny spot. Then off again into the warren of groughs and hags. The hags are the bits that stick up and the groughs are the chasms. This section was hard going across the black wet peaty bits. We made our way to Pym Chair and then across and down a steep but springy heather section to Crowden Brook, back to the farm where there is camping and also tea and cake.

I’ve had to look at the OS map to get all the names right and it seems so cluttered and actually makes it harder. I’m going to get some more Harvey maps as although they have a lot of information on them, they are not so messy.

A thoroughly good day which has increased my confidence no end.

Pete in green with legs!
Pete in green with legs!
Pym Chair
Pym Chair

P1010881 P1010882Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.