Saturday, December 15, 2007

Scrambling in Snowdonia

Wednesday and Thursday were spent with Monica and Jane in Snowdonia. They are both in training for an expedition to St Lucia in January to climb The Pitons. We had a great couple of days in blues skies and that subtle light you only get in the middle of winter.

On Wednesday we headed up Seniors Ridge, over Glyder Fawr and across and up onto Y Garn.

On Thursday we enjoyed the North Ridge of Tryfan, posing for photos on the cannon and having the route pretty much to ourselves. Good luck to both of them in St Lucia.

Learn to lead

I spent Tuesday night this week with Matthew at Vertical Limit climbing wall in Worcester. Matthew has been climbing on the wall for a while and wanted to learn to lead. We spent a 2 hour session coaching his movement skills and teaching him the various skills involved. We are meeting up again on Monday to put it all into practice.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Navigation & Hill Skills Course

This weekend was spent in North Wales with Lynette, Yas, Chris and Terry on a Navigation and Hill Skills course. The weather was atrocious and Lynette and Yas were being trained and assessed for the NNAS Silver Awards. We had to stay low on Saturday with 80mph winds and lashing rain. The wind dropped on Sunday and we went up Y Garn.

Climbing Wall Award Providers Workshop

I spent Friday at the Beacon Climbing Wall outside Llanberis on a CWA Providers workshop run by MLTE. I am hoping to be a provider of training and assessment courses for the new Climbing Wall Award in January and we spent the day looking at how courses will be run and did a coaching movement skills workshop in the afternoon.

Monday, December 03, 2007

SPA Assessment

I spent the weekend in North Wales working with Andy Newton on an SPA Assessment. We had 4 candidates and all of them passed so well done to them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Costa Blanca Rock Climbing Course

I have just got back from a long weekend in the Costa Blanca with Victoria, Jo and Jess.
We flew from Bristol to Alicante and drove to Calpe where we had an apartment booked for the weekend. After a quick lunch we headed to Toix and enjoyed some single pitch sport climbing in the afternoon sunshine.

We went back to Toix and spent the morning coaching movement skills on the single pitch crags. I used the video camera to give the ladies some feedback on their climbing styles and to allow them to see how they looked compared to how they thought they looked.
We put it all into practice in the afternoon by climbing their first multi pitch rock climb, Lara grade 4.

We headed to Sella. Unfortunately Victoria was unwell but still managed to get a couple of routes in during the morning. In the afternoon Jo and Jess decided they were ready to get on the sharp end and I taught them to lead. They both lead a couple of routes and finished the weekend with big smiles on their faces. Well done all!

Flew home from Alicante to Bristol.

You can view the photos from the trip here:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Snow in Wales

I have spent the weekend working in the Brecon Beacons with fellow AMI colleague Pete Stacey. We were providing a training course for 6 women that are working towards becoming Walking Group Leaders (WGL). The WGL award is administered by MLTUK and is for leading people in non mountainous terrain within the UK.

We spent the two days looking at navigation, mountain weather, leadership skills, water hazards and steep ground within the context of the WGL.

Sunday saw the temperature drop and we spent a couple of hours in heavy sleet. It was very nice to get to a warm pub at the end of the day! All 6 women were good company and an enjoyable and informative weekend was had by all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I spent the weekend at the AMI AGM. It was a great event and I attended a 2 day coaching processes workshop. This was 2 days of CPD aimed at increasing coaching skills for Mountaineering Instructors. It was a good practical course with plenty of climbing and even some skiing thrown in for good measure!
Monday and Tuesday were spent running and advanced scrambling course in Snowdonia with 2 clients. We had beautiful weather on Monday and did the Clogwyn-Y-Person Arete which is shown in the photo. The ground was frozen above 900m and there were large icicles about - the first signs of winter!

Yesterday we went up the Idwal Staircase with occasional showers and heavy winds on the tops. All in all a good 4 days.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Ding Dong the bells can now chime!

Yesterday was a bit different from the norm. I was asked to rescue a weight from a clock that had fallen down a local church tower.

The weight is part of a counterbalance and had fallen half the height of the church tower into a pit about 6 feet deep and 1 foot wide. I rigged up a basic pulley system using a length of static rope and managed to attach the rope with a clove hitch to the weight. It was very heavy but the pulley worked and the weight was restored to its hook. And now the church clock is working again - hoorah!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Half term with the family

I spent last week in Northumberland with my wife Kate and our 3 boys. We had some gorgeous weather and enjoyed quiet beaches, castles and even a bit of bouldering! The photo shows Archie (5) on a boulder problem that must merit a V3 in wellies!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Home at the moment

I spent the weekend in Wales with Chris, Dave & Adam on a learn to lead course. The three of them are friends who have been top roping for a while and wanted to become self sufficient as leaders. They all did really well and we had a cracking couple of days. On Saturday we did the full length of the Idwal slabs and on Sunday went to Holyhead Mountain where they managed several leads including New Boots and Panties - Severe 4a.

I am supposed to be working in Wales again today but seem to have pulled a muscle in my back and/or chest so am taking it easy for a couple of days. Lots of tea and sympathy!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Winter Training Commences

I started my winter training programme on Saturday by spending the afternoon on my bike. I did manage a Cream Tea in Snowshill and a bit of shopping in Broadway en-route but its all good! I ran up Bredon Hill yesterday morning and then walked up it with the kids in the afternoon.

A few crisp mornings have got me longing for winter, it promises to be a good one this year for me as I will be in Scotland for 8 weeks and 4 of those are planned to just be out climbing with friends.

This week I am at home. I diarised a quiet month to spend some time with Kate and the boys and to get my admin straight at home. I am in Wales for a learn to lead course this weekend and will be spending this week trying to get the house straight. We have it up For Sale at the moment as we are planning on moving to North Wales next summer. Fingers crossed for a buyer!


Monday, October 01, 2007

Picos Climber 2007

This is a slideshow presentation of last weeks trip to the Picos. It will open in a new window. Click on the little box and select fullscreen for best results and then close the window when finished. More details on the course are available at

Picos Climber Sept 2007

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Where am I now?

I have just spent another couple of days in Wales with Mark and Gareth on an advanced scrambling course followed by an AMI meeting in Manchester last night. Today has been spent on the computer and tomorrow I am off to the Picos for a week with Simon and Paul. I am back on 1st October.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rock Climbing in Snowdonia

I have just got back from 4 days work in Snowdonia. On Thursday and Friday I was with Steve and Roz who had joined me for a two day rock climbing refresher course. Steve had previously done a little leading with me but wanted a refresher before taking Roz out. We went to Holyhead Mountain on Thursday and then Milestone Buttress on Friday and Steve led a variety of pitches along the way.

On Saturday I joined Mark & Ben for a 2 day multipitch climbing course. Both had been out with me on other courses before but it was Bens first time rock climbing. We did 2nd Pinnacle Rib on Tryfan, a 6 pitch V Diff with a Severe final pitch. We then met up in the pub with Steve and Roz who had been to Tryfan Bach and had a good day. We also met a couple of my friends doing their summer ML and Andy and Sid who had been out having fun on Dinas Mot!

Sunday saw a wet day but we headed to Tremadog and the rain held off until mid afternoon. We did some more multi pitch climbing and looked at equalising belays, abseil retreats, an intro to leading and how to set up top ropes.

I am home today and back in Wales tomorrow and Wednesday.

Monday, September 10, 2007

King Kong, Wintours Leap & Cemetry Gates, Dinas Cromlech

These two routes have been on my ticklist for some time now but for whatever reason I have not got round to doing them - until this weekend.
This is the first weekend that I have had free for a long time with a good weather forecast so some frantic ringing around to get a climbing partner sorted saw Simon arranging cover at work and squaring it with the wife to join me for a raid to the Wye Valley on Saturday afternoon and then the Llanberis Pass on Sunday afternoon.

King Kong - HVS 5b? - 3 pitches
A couple of years ago this route had a fairly major rockfall and the guidebook grade has not been re-assessed since. Their is therefore some debate as to what grade it is now with internet speculation ranging from HVS 5b to E2 5c! It was pretty warm when we geared up at the foot of the route on Saturday but within about 8 metres of climbing I had sweated buckets - and I am not a sweaty person! The start is very physical and does not ease you into the route in any way whatsoever. You climb up under a roof, traverse below it and then pull up through/past it into a groove. That bit is fine. The groove is then reasonably sustained and I found it the most difficult bit of the climb before stepping out into a cave for a breather. The rest of the 1st pitch is pleasant but not in any way hard.
The second pitch has another roof on it and it took me a couple of minutes to figure out the sequence through it. I will not tell you what that is but needless to say feet are the key. Once solved the sequence was not hard but it is intimidating when you are looking up at it. The rest of the route was then pretty smooth.
Cemetry Gates - E1 5b, two pitches, Dinas Cromlech, Llanberis Pass
I had climbed Cenotaph Corner in April and so was looking forward to how this compared but in actual fact spent more time comparing it to King Kong to try and ascertain the grade of the Wye Valley classic. The approach to Cemetry Gates is fun involving an exposed scramble from the foot of Cenotaph corner and and squeeze down a chimney to the belay ledge. There were two folks ahead of us on the route so we had to sit and wait with fingers getting increasingly cold in the overcast weather. A fim crew had turned up that morning to film someone on Right Wall but it had been deemed too wet. Nevertheless we were surrounded by rockstars with folk climbing the Corner, Left Wall and Resurrection.

On belay at the top of the first pitch of Cemetry Gates.

As I started climbing it started drizzling but the route remained pretty much dry and it did not come to much. The first pitch is the 5b pitch and it is sustained but all of the holds are their. There was no single part of the climb that had me stumped, holds appeared where you wanted them and gear was plentiful. I took my time and rested as much as I could and enjoyed it. The last few moves to the belay ledge are pumpy and the world slowed down a bit as I made them but it went without drama!

The second pitch is 4c and is very pleasant taking you to the beautiful grass garden that is the belay ledge at the top of the Gates, Right Wall and Cenotaph Corner. It feels like a hallowed place to be and the abseil off is spectacular.

At the top of Cemetry Gates - buzzing!
So back to King Kong. What grade is it? The crux moves felt physically harder than anything on Cemetry Gates but it was less sustained. The majority of the first pitch after the crux is straightforward Severe. That said if you were an HVS climber I think King Kong would feel on the limit and hence the 5b grade. I would say its now a tough HVS 5b or lower end E1 5b. But then what do I know!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Arolla to Zermatt Walkers Haute Route

I have spent the last 2 weeks working in the Swiss Alps. I drove out to Arolla on Saturday 18th August and arrived about lunchtime. I had a day and a half to spare before the course started and decided to go and play on the local Via Ferrata at Evolene. I remember thinking that I must have been spending too much time bouldering indoors - at one point I used the rock instead of a metal rung for my left boot and acused myself of cheating!
I met up with the Evans family who were my clients for the first week and we headed off on the Monday from Arolla to La Sage in beautiful sunshine. We arrived as the heavens opened and woke up Tuesday morning to a fresh covering of snow. This made for some stunning views as we headed over the Col du Tsate and the clouds would part every now and again to show us snow capped peaks and tantalising patches of blue sky.

That night was spent at the Cabane de Moiry, an Alpine hut that is perched at 2800 metres and looks out on the Glacier de Moiry. We had stunning views the following morning with blue skies and sunshine. The whole family did very well and we arrived in Zermatt on Friday afternoon to well deserved views of the Matterhorn.

On Saturday morning I headed up the Klein Matterhorn on my own and took some lovely photos of the Matterhorn itself from 3800 metres before meeting up with a friend for lunch and heading back to Arolla.
The second week was spent with Sean and Annette and Simon & Claire. The week ran smoothly although a big lightening storm meant that we could not head over the Col du Sorbois and had to use the bus!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Off to the Alps

I am off to the Alps tomorrow for 2 weeks so will be off the radar for a while. I am running our Alpine trekking courses and so have my fingers crossed for some sunshine to top up the tan and enjoy the views! July saw a lot more snow than is usual for this time of year and so the tops should be glistening that little bit more than usual!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Summer Holidays

I spent last week on holiday with Kate and the boys in Dorset. Unusually we seem to have picked the best week of the summer holidays to go away as the weather was stunning all week and we spent most days swiming in the sea and building sandcastles!

Yesterday I was at The Roaches with Sid and Andy but climbing was limited due to heavy rain. We climbed Pincer and Damascus Crack with the 4c finish.

Tomorrow I am working at a school in Wolverhampton doing some site specific training for a teacher whose new job will include working on the in school climbing wall and then off to the Roaches with him on Wednesday if the weather holds out.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Roaches

Yesterday was a lovely day chilling with friends at the Roaches in the Peak District. The sun was shining all day and it seemed a real treat. Sid and I climbed Sauls Crack for the second time this year to see if it had got any easier - not much! Sarah and Becky were keen to do some leading and the photos show Becky on her first ever lead on Black and Tan and Sarah on Right Hand Route - both Severes.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Alpine in Snowdonia

As we were planning on being in the Alps this week, but the weather changedour plans, Alec and I decided to squeeze a 2 day alpine climbing trip to North Wales in between more heavy rain.
We drove up yesterday morning, had a late breakfast/lunch in the cafe and then walked into Cwm Eigiau having parked at the end of the reservoir. We decided to climb Ampitheatre Buttress which is a V Diff alpine style route which had 10 guidebook pitches. We were at the foot of the route for 2:00pm and were basking in sunshine on warm dry rock for the whole route.
The buttress offers a great mix of top end scrambling, slab climbing and Alpine style gendarmes with just enough interest throughout. We had a lunch break half way up and enjoyed the views across the Conwy valley and out to sea before topping out at about 4:00pm as the first rain showers arrived.
We strolled across to the Foel Grach summit shelter where we cooked tea - army ration packs left over from a job we had done for them at Easter. As the weather closed in and the day came to a close we headed down to the bothy and curled up in front of an open fire with a bottle of scotch.
This morning was wet and windy again so I am home in the warm and dry again!

Monday, July 23, 2007


It was my 30th birthday on Friday and we had arranged a barbecue for friends and family, unfortunately the weather had other ideas!

Thanks to everyone who has sent messages of support during the flooding over the last few days. I have been at home thankfully and Kate and I have been very lucky that our house has not been affected.

I drove home on Friday afternoon and live in a small village just outside Evesham. I had to leave my car outside of the village and wade through the floods to get to our house which sits on high ground and so was not affected.

Many of our neighbours were flooded and Friday night was like living in a war zone, helicopters were buzzing all around us, relatives and friends were missing in flood water, the mobile phones stopped working, our power went off, the phone went down and it felt like the world was coming to an end!
Thankfully friends and relatives were found, some made it home and others sought refuge in strangers houses and the local leisure centre.
Evesham is still very badly affected but the River Avon is now falling. This week I was originally going to be in the Alps but it looks like I will be at home for a few days now!


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Busy times

July is always a busy month and this year is no exception.Last week I spent Thursday and Friday with Valerie & Pete on a Learn to Lead course in Snowdonia. We had a mixture of rain and showers but still managed to get them both leading by the end of the two days.
The weekend was spent on a Hill Skills course with Gerry, Joanna, Susan and Anja which was a lot of fun in good weather. I managed some evening cragging on the Saturday with a friend of mine, Bryn, in the slate quarries.
Monday and Tuesday were spent at Symonds Yat and today I have been putting my new brochures into envelopes for posting. If you would like a copy visit

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Trip Report - Rock Climbing in Lofoten June 2007

A few years ago I bought a Colin Prior poster entitled “Midnight Sun”. It showed steep sided granite mountains bathed in sunlight – at midnight! The small text at the bottom said that it was taken in the Lofoten Islands, Norway. I had never heard of them but decided I had to go.

Having talked about it often enough I decided 2007 was the year. The guidebook recommended June as being a warm, dry month (relatively speaking) and so some willing friends were found to enjoy a climbing trip in 24 hour daylight 150 miles north of the Arctic circle off the West coast of Norway. The photos that I had seen showed beautiful granite mountains rising dramatically out of the sea, long multi pitch rock climbs, scrambling along knife edge ridges and golden sandy beaches.

I put the time in my diary and booked flights to Oslo. Folks that had been before were divided on the best way to get their but we decided to drive from Oslo in a hire car. This was the cheapest option and flights would have been spread over 2 days so in theory would not take any longer than flying.

Car hire desks are always a nightmare inevitably having long queues of people moaning in several different languages and hassled staff remarkably similar to the Little Britain travel agent. Oslos Budget desk was refreshingly different and we were greeted with friendly laughter when 4 blokes with excess luggage arrived to collect the budget Suzuki hire car. 4 beers saw an upgrade to a Nissan Almera which meant that climbing ropes did not have to be used to secure bags to the roof of the car after all.

We left Oslo at lunchtime to catch the ferry from Bodo, about 1500km away, by 3:00PM the next day. Some swift driving on roads that we were surprised to find had absolutely no motorway or dual carriageway and very little sleep meant that we made it with a couple of hours to spare.

I had unwittingly booked us onto a Cruise ship across to Lofoten which doubles as an expensive car ferry. This costs about £50 each more than the humble ferry but did mean that we enjoyed a fine 3 course meal in the ships dining room! The German couple that I was sat with over dinner, we all got split up to minimise impact I think, were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary and I like to think that my t shirt and trainers helped them relax a little in their fine dinner outfits.

We arrived on Lofoten to blue skies and sunshine, the last week had seen heady temperatures of 20c and 24 hour sunshine. We found a free campsite at Kalle, about 20 minutes drive from Svolvaer towards Henningsvaer. The campsite offered water and a compost toilet as well as a sandy beach and stunning views that lived up to the photos that had inspired me. Our backdrop was the imposing summit of Vagakallen (943m) which has no easy route to the summit and some of the best medium grade Alpine rock routes on the Island. My tent door looked out onto a sparkling ocean across an almost tropical beach and there was granite bouldering all around us.

Monday morning brought heavy rain so we spent the day exploring the local area. Henningsvaer is the centre of climbing on Lofoten. There is a climbing school and café with a new routes book and small gear shop. They have a plentiful supply of the guidebook if you could not get one in the UK – “Climbing in the Magic Islands” by Ed Webster. Food shopping was done at a CO-OP in Svolvaer and as a general rule most things were twice the price of the UK except booze, which was about four times the price. We used our duty free allowance at the airport to buy two crates of beer at near UK prices that lasted us the first wet day.

We then had 3 beautiful sunny days and enjoyed some fine climbing on perfect granite. Our campsite was a 10 minute walk from the sea cliffs of Paradise. This area gets a mention in the guidebook but local climbers want to keep the routes un-recorded to maintain a spirit of adventure. You just turn up spot a line and climb it! We did routes from about VS 4b through to E2 5c. They were all single pitch and mainly crack climbing, some on the sea cliffs and some slightly set back from the sea. None were tidal and all could be walked into rather than needing an abseil. We also found a route at the campsite that Rockfax gave E1 5c and proved to be a brutal fist jam up a curving crack.

Me climbing at Paradise.

Paradise gives a good introduction to the style of climbing and is easy to get to which is why we chose it for a first day. With hindsight I would recommend jumping straight onto the longer mountain routes that the Island is famous for if the rock is dry and the weather good. It soon changes as we were to find out! Save Paradise for evening cragging or easy days resting.

We spent a day around the Heningsvaer area and climbed Gandalf, Norwegian grade 5, (about VS4c) a 3 pitch crack and face climb that climbs the right hand side of the cliff known as Gandalfveggen. The first pitch is the crux and is very typical of the climbing that we did on the Island. The route involves laybacking and jamming up a variety of different sized cracks from finger cracks to full hand jams. The second belay is quite small but there is good gear throughout. That afternoon we managed a swim in the sea – not bad for the Arctic!

The next day saw us heading for the Goat. This is a pinnacle of rock that sits above the town of Svolvaer and is in all the tourist brochures and on the front cover of the guidebook. We were expecting something good! We chose the 1910 route, which is 3 pitches and graded at HS 4a. It was very cold and windy and we topped out in heavy snow. Recent rockfall meant that the route was harder, probably about VS4c. The start of the second pitch was on chossy rock that was loose and horrible but does give a fantastically exposed traverse out over a big drop. There is a bolted abseil descent and we were glad to get back down and thaw the hands and feet. Hot aches in June! In good weather the route Forsida looks good with 5 pitches at about HVS 5a.

On Thursday we headed back to Heningsvaer and climbed Applecake Arete, a 2 pitch HVS 5a, Light & Shadow another 2 pitch route at the same grade and Piano Handlers Route, a 4 pitch Hard Severe. The latter route is described as being an extremely poular beginners outing and it was often teeming with people from the nearby climbing school. We climbed it late in the evening and had the route to ourselves and it was very enjoyable. All of the climbs are trad and the climbing tends to be crack climbing with lots of smearing for feet. Consequently the climbs we did in the rain felt nails! If you want to train for a trip then get on some Peak grit and practise jamming, if you are a lightweight like me then practise laybacking as well! All of these climbs were roadside and had good gear. Cams are really useful, take a full set and double up on the mid sizes. We managed to place number 4 cams on most routes upto E2.

The rest of the 2 week trip was wet. I learnt how to play Stop the Bus & Nomination Whist, dreamed of owning a camper van, moaned about the price of beer and sat in the climbers café – a lot. I also managed to squeeze in a day climbing Vagakallen despite the guidebook telling me in CAPITAL LETTERS – DO NOT ATTEMPT THE CLIMB IN BAD WEATHER. The easiest route was a grade 2 scramble and the others were not keen on a day in the rain so I went solo and had the whole mountain to myself all day. The route finding was a lot easier than the guidebook suggests and the difficulties would not be an issue to anyone happy on Grade 2 scrambles in the UK. The first ascent team went from the sea near Kalle so I decided to try and find a way back down that way. I descended to about 100 m above sea level to find steep cliffs dropping into the sea, which resulted in hacking back up hill Indiana Jones style through trees and bushes to get back to a col at 550m. I was knackered by the time I did get back but had not seen another soul all day and barely seen a path. Old school!

Saturday and Sunday night were spent out on the town. The bowling and the swimming pool were both closed at the weekends so it was off to the cinema. The combination of a dark room that was warm and dry seemed the ultimate in luxury so we blew the budget and saw films both nights!

We also managed to sneak in some more climbs on Gandalfveggan, all 3 pitch routes from VS to HVS between showers and sometimes climbing in the rain.

On our last day I managed to persuade the others that the heavy rain was only a bit of sea mist that would soon lift and we walked into Only Blueberries on Pillaren. This was one heck of walk in, hacking though dense trees up hill in the rain. Needless to say the sea mist did not lift and we did not fancy slab climbing in the rain but the route looked great and I would recommend it to anyone on a dry day – 6 pitches at about VS on a friendly angled slab.

On the journey home we caught the car ferry which goes from Svolvaer to Skutvik, a couple of hours drive North of Bodo but much cheaper than the cruise ship at about £10 each. 18 hours of driving saw us in Oslo where we stayed with friends of Rich in a luxury Penthouse apartment in the city centre. The contrast was incredible. We had gone from cooking over an open fire on the beach without washing for a fortnight to luxury city centre living. We enjoyed a fantastic meal and then 3 minutes walk took us to an open air concert with Mel C and Natasha Beddingfield amongst the line up. We survived a minor altercation with the law for drinking and dancing in the streets and flew home the following day.

I had high expectations and the island did not disappoint. In all we managed 6 days out on the hill, which is not bad in a 2-week expedition rock climbing in the Arctic. At times the weather was frustrating but if you go expecting to spend a lot of time waiting then you will be fine. We hoped to climb at night if it was wet during the day but unfortunately it stayed wet at night too.

I will definitely go back but would look at loading a car with food and booze and catching the ferry from Hull to Bergen and then driving from their. You can hop aboard the cruise ship at Trondheim and that would limit the driving.

Before I went I emailed a friend of mine, Twid Turner, who had put a new route on Vagakellen with his partner Louise a couple of years ago. I asked him for advice and ideas and his response was “take plenty of booze”. I should have listened!
You can view my photos at

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Off to Norway

I am heading off to the Lofoten Islands in Norway tomorrow for 2 weeks climbing with friends. I have not been before but have long admired the sheer granite mountains that rise spectacularly out of the sea so fingers crossed for some good weather - I am told it can be Scottish!

I will be out of contact until 24th June.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Home again

I am back home again now. Friday was spent sea cliff climbing at Elgol on Skye - a beautiful venue in equally good weather. Below are some photos of the week.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hoorah for sunshine

After a couple of wet days it was nice to see the sun again today. Tuesday was spent at the seacliffs at Flodigarry whilst yesterday we did Pinnacle Ridge on Sgurr nan Gillean in constant rain.

This morning the clouds were low as we left Glen Brittle but they lifted and the sun came out as the day progressed. We went into Coirie Ghrunda and went up Sgurr nan Eag, Sgurr Dubh Mor and then traversed below Sgurr Alasdairs screes to the top of the Sgumain stone shute. On the way down we took Collies route to the Cioch.

A good day!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Back on SKye

I am back on the Isle of Skye again. I have been every year since I was 17 and try and spend at least 2 weeks here every May. This year work and family committments have meant that the 2 weeks have been split - which means lots of driving!

Today we have been lucky with good weather in spite of a poorish forecast. The rain held off all day and it has not been too blustery.

We did the Clach Glas traverse onto Blaven, enjoying fine views across Skye, Torridon, the Outer Hebrides and even across to Ben Nevis.

Photos will follwo next week as I have forgotten my camera lead!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Climbing all week

It has been a nice week of sunshine and rock climbing. On Tuesday I was with Tony and Robert at Symonds Yat and we had a very enjoyable day culminating in a sun bathe on the top of the Long Stone Pinnacle.

Wednesday and Thursday were spent in Snowdonia on an intro to climbing course with Jo, Vicky and Jess and we had 2 beautiful days of sunshine. We went to Holyhead Mountain on Wednesday and climbed Pigeon Hole Crack, Wandering Primrose and Black Owen. On Thursday we went to Llangollen and at the Trevor Area for the day.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Misty Isle

The Isle of Skye lived up to its reputation last week giving us a healthy dose of Scottish weather! I was joined by Alan and Gabby on a Skye Scrambling week from Monday to Friday.

Monday saw a dry day with some sunshine and we headed up Sgurr a Mhadaidh, Greadaidh, Thormaid and Banachdich.
Tuesday was the best day of the week with some beautiful sunshine and no wind so we made the most of it. We headed up the Sgumain stone shute to summit Sgurr Sgumain, Sgurr Alasdair, Thearlaich, Mhic Choinnich and then finished on the summit of the Inaccessible Pinnacle. An 11 hour day taking in the best of Skye.
Wednesday was drizzly all day with no visibility but we enjoyed Sgurr nan Gillean and Am Basteir with Gabby and Alan leading the latter.

Thursday saw a bright morning followed by strong winds and rain so we headed up to Window Buttress and managed to get some rock climbing in before the bad weather arrived. Friday was a wash out with heavy rain and gale force winds so we headed to the coast for some sea side coasteering!

All in all a good week.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Intro to Scrambling

I spent the last two days in North Wales with Jo & Mark on an intro to scrambling course. It was pretty windy and we had some heavy showers, a real change from April!

We went up Seniors Ridge and down the Gribin (see photo) on bank holiday Monday and hardly saw another soul. The only people we saw were from a distance in Cwm Idwal and again on the tops of the Glyders.

Yesterday we went up Little and North Gullies on Tryfan which were nicely sheltered from a strong Westerly wind. Again we did not see another soul until we reached the summit.
A great couple of days in good company.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Last week was spent with Rachel and Simon on a 5 day learn to lead course in Snowdonia. Simon had done a little bit of leading before and progressed through to leading VS4c at the end of the week. Rachel had not lead at all before and progressed to leading Severe. The photo shows here making the exposed step onto the arete of Scratch at Tremadog - a 4 pitch classic Severe. Well done both!
The weekend was spent with Tom and Gareth on an intro to climbing course. We spent a sunny Saturday at Holyhead Mountain and then climbed Ordinary Route on the Slabs on Sunday. Best wishes to Toms daughter who went into labour on Sunday morning!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

In Wales

I am working in Snowdonia at the moment. The good weather has come to an end this afternoon with heavy rain set for the next couple of days. Friday and Saturday were spent with Bill and Andy. We climbed Crackstone Rib, Skylon and Dives/Better Things on Friday and then Tennis Shoe & the firts two pitches of Ordinary Route on the slabs on Saturday. I climbed Cenotaph Corner on Friday night with a friend of mine, Pete.
This morning was spent at Tremadog on Striptease and Christmas Curry.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Wow what weather

Another beautiful week of sunshine. I have been working from home most of the week and have managed some cragging in the sunshine as well as playing in the garden with the kids. On Thursday afternoon I joined up with Simon and went to Shorncliffe in the Wye Valley. Not a sould was about and the limestone reminded me of the sort you find in Spain - coarse and weathered - not the usual Symonds Yat polish at all! We did 3 routes but I can only remember the names of two of them - All for One and The Luaghing Cavaliers. The latter is a 3 star HVS 5b and was wonderful - one of my favourite routes in the valley.

Friday night was spent up at Bishops Cleeve and then Saturday afternoon Alec and I climbed White Knight, a 2 pitch HVS 5a, that was very sparse for protection and got me sweating! We then did an "Alec" route that was not in the guidebook but went at about VS4c over the roof of a cave - I will say no more!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Spring has sprung

I spent last week working for Hereford & Worcester Army cadets. They were a great bunch and enjoyed a week of climbing, caving, canoeing and walking in the Brecon Beacons. Here is a photo of some of them on the top pf Pen Y Fan last Tuesday.

After work on Friday I headed to Windcliffe with a friend and we spent a very pleasant couple of hours climbing on warm limestone - we could easily have been in Spain.

We headed up to North Wales on Saturday morning and left the crowds behind by doing some good mountain routes, the best of which was Grey Slabs Arete, above and right of the Idwal Slabs, which goes at HVS 5a and is on wonderful rock.

I joined up with another friend, Andy, on Sunday and we headed into the Llanberis Pass. We did Diagonal on Dinas Mot and then Skylon on Carreg Wasted.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sunny Sunday

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I was with friends climbing at the Roaches in the Peak District. Andy and I climbed The Sloth, Damascus Crack with the 4c finish, Sauls Crack, Left Hand Route and Right Hand Route. Hands are a little sore this morning!

I am working at Symonds Yat and on the Brecon Beacons all week this week with a group of Army cadets.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Photos from last week

Paddy leading off on the second pitch.

Paddy topping out on the first pitch of Red Gully.

Sneachda from the roadside. As you can see there is not much snow about!

Friday, March 23, 2007


Yesterday was naff. It was wet, warm and everything was dripping so we didn't get anything done other than an afternoon at Scott Muirs new wall in Aviemore. I can recommend it as a wet weather alternative, there are lots of routes at lots of grades to suit all abilities.

Today was glorious and made the drive worthwhile. Pictures will go up on Monday but we had blue skies, cold weather and sunshine. Paddy and I climbed Red Gully in Sneachda II/III which was thin but doable and enjoyable! Belays were great and the ice was complete with the first pitch meriting the III. Paddy had to get off early so we had an enjoyable stroll down in the sunshine and an early finish.

Looking warm again tomorrow so off home!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Back in Scotland

I spent last weekend and the latter part of last week up in North Wales doing a bit of rock climbing in the rain.

I am now in Scotland again for a few days winter climbing. I am over on the East Coast and there is fresh snow down to the roads but the hills still look a little bare. Category 4 avalanche report is predicted because of a rise in temperatures and the heavy winds we have had over the last few days. Oh well, we'll just have to go and see!


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Winter Skills

Last week was spent running a winter skills course with Ben, Simon and Claire. We had excellent weather on Monday with bright blue skies, sunshine and no wind. We headed into the White Corries and spent the day getting used to axe and crampons, looking at snow pit analysis and avalanche avoidance and also managed to get a summit bagged.

On Tuesday we went up Buichaille Etive Beag in heavy snow and with little visibilty. It was an excellent day for practicing navigation and getting used to operating in more typical Scottish weather conditions.

Wednesday saw us head up to Creag Meghaidh in more strong winds and heavy rain and snow. We gained the snowline below the Window and managed to seek shelter from the winds whilst practising buried axe belays and self arrest.

On Thursday we used the Nevis Range gondola to gain some uplift before walking over Aonach Mor and down to the col below Aonach Beag. We spent 4 hours building a shovel up snow shelter and spent the night in it. An early start on Friday saw us on the summit of Aonach Beag by 8:00am and then back to the cottage in Fort William for lunch.

On Saturday I went climbing with my Dad and we climbed Sron na Larig, an excellent grade II Alpine style ridge in Glen Coe. The conditions were not great, lots of new powder sat on rock but we had a great day.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I'm in Scotland again now. The weather was good over the weekend and I had a fantastic day doing Ledge Route on Ben Nevis on Sunday with lots of snow and ice, blue skies and sunshine.

There is still plenty of snow about higher up even though we currently have Southerly winds raising temperatures. The current thaw should refreeze over the next few days and bring excellent climbing on good neve.

Out on the Ben for the next few days.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Winter in Scotland

First off I apologise for the gap in updating my Blog. For some reason I have not been able to access it for the last 2 weeks.

I have been up in Scotland. The first week was spent with Graham and Sue on 7 days of winter skills training.

When we first arrived the snow was confined to Westerly aspects above about 900m. The photo is taken on Aonach Nid getting used to ice axe and crampons in the sun shine.

We had a mixture of weather, from blue skies and sunshine to heavy rain and wind. Generally the weather was wet and warm and a lot of the snow and ice was stripped off the mountains.

I have then enjoyed 5 days of climbing with friends. The temperatures dropped and the sun came out to play and although we did not have any real snowfall we had a great week of perfect snow ice and neve. The photo on the right shows us frontpointing up Boomerang Gully on Stob Corie Nan Lochain. The highlight of the week was Tower Ridge on Wednesday with perfect views. The lack of snow meant that it felt hard for the grade but we had an awesome day.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Back from the Alps

I am home now having spent last week in Cogne in the Italian Alps. The weather reports before I left did not look great and indeed there were a lot of routes that were not in nick but we enjoyed the ones that were.

Easyjet managed to lose my luggage on the outbound flight and so the first day was spent sharing my mates climbing kit and the second day skiing.

We then got some good routes in including Acheronte, Flash estivo, Il sentiero dei troll (pictured) and Tuborg but it was all getting pretty thin by the end of the week.

You can get a current conditions report from Cogne from:

Friday, January 12, 2007

Where am I now?

Just a quick note to let you know that I will be away until 22nd January now. I am off to Cogne in the Italian Alps tomorrow. The plan is to have a week of ice climbing but it looks unseasonably warm at the moment so I may just be sunbathing!


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year

Well thats it for another year! I hope that you had an enjoyable Christmas and wish you a Happy New Year.

I spent the week at home with my wife and 3 kids. I managed to sneak a few days out cragging in the Roaches and the Wye valley. Pictured is a friend of mine, Sid, seconding the 2nd pitch of Valkyrie at the Roaches. This must be one of the hardest VS routes I have done, or perhaps I'm just a Southerner!

I am in the office for a few days sorting out the 2007 programme, insurance etc. This weekend will be spent in the Wye Valley climbing again and then off to Italy Ice Climbing at the end of next week.