Monday, 21 April 2014

Ben Nevis

Good Friday is not the best day to travel  The roads were gridlocked and there were huge tailbacks just to get through Callander. After a full day on the road we finally got to the campsite in Glencoe and parked the van.

It may not be wild camping but the view from the site is awesome. We walk into the village and catch the local shop just shutting and get the last loaf of bread.  Sandwiches sorted for the walk.

Easter Saturday and we get parked up in the Visitor Centre car park and cross the beck on the way to Ben Nevis.  At this stage I'm a bit confused.  Some people, like us, are carrying ice axes and wearing boots.  Some people are wearing trainers with a coat tied around their waist.  Must be getting old and too cautious.

The path is easy going and zig zags up the fell.

The views open up.

Then it's not just the odd drift of snow but deep stuff.  Some, but not all, of the trainers turn around here.  We stop for refreshment.

We reach the summit and mingle with the crowds before having another cup of tea and a wander around the plateau taking photos.

The summit from across Observatory Gully.  I wonder how many people realise how close they are to a huge drop.

We head down, this is a big hill as you climb it from almost sea level and there's a danger Morrisons might be shut by the time we get there.

We met an old friend and his wife and daughter ( Ben and Hannah and Sophie) on the way down and did manage to catch Morrisons,  but we were pretty tired.

We drove home the next day as we needed to get some things sorted before work.  But we did of course stop at the Green Welly for our dinners.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Powder snow in the Helvellyn Massif

We were in the car park at Greenside Mine by 08:50hrs.  By the time it took to get the the gear on the car park was full,  but at least the heavy sleet shower had stopped.

Catsycam looking wonderful under the cover of snow.

Round about now I'm wondering why I kept my fleece on under the cag.  I sure as hell am not going to stop and take the sack off.

Eventually we arrive at the hut.  In the distance the people who either set off earlier or overtook us on the way up are digging out the tow.

After some tea and sandwiches in the hut I start doing some runs "Way Out West. " There is 50 cm of powder on a firm base and even I can do some nice turns.

It's a good job I have my Aldi helmet on as the snow is so deep some of the pylons are almost buried and  I keep banging my head on the cable.

After picking up the rucksack from the hut and giving the camera to Dawne I head up one last time to ski down as far as possible.

Dawne photos me as I get lower trying to avoid the grass and rocks.  This is actually great fun and beats walking any day. 

A great day out with the Lake District Ski Club.

We rounded off the day with some very strong coffee and a toasted teacake in Glenridding.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Allen Crags

The snow is probably deeper on the eastern fells but I can't be bothered with the longer drive.  So I end up at Seathwaite with no particular objective.  As I leave the farm yard Allen  Crags appear.  The  crag below the skyline,  looks like there's a diagonal rake below it.

And it's a lot more interesting than that terrible man made cobbley path that they seem to go in for in the Lakes.

Must have mis heard the forecast as I thought it said sunny frosty start.  It's cloudy and windy and I have to put my buff over my head to stop the hat blowing away.

There's a wonderful shelf running around Allen Crags with little tarns dotted along it.

The weather  clears a little to reveal Great Gable and Sprinkling Tarn.

Another tarn on the shelf.

View down the other side to Langdale Pikes where a friend from work, Dave McGregor was walking today.

There's a shower coming in as I head down. By not crossing over to the main path and by zig zagging through the crags I get down to Low How and manage to avoid the cobbley path for quite a distance.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Arnison Crag and Hexamid Trial

It's after tea when I get parked up in Patterdale and head up Arnison Crag behind the hotels. Instead of keeping to the wall side I stupidly head for the ridge and pay the price of wading through deep bracken. It's getting dark but I need to keep going to finally find water below  Trough Head in Hag Beck.

Dawne has given me some pre cooked stew to heat up for my tea .  This is not a success as my cooking system is designed for boiling water, pouring it on a dried meal and leaving it in the pot cosy for 20 mins.  Thin titanium pans and thick stew don't work on an uncontrollable meths stove.

The tent performs well as it's quite windy in the night.  It has an open mesh floor which is  draughty.  So maybe if it was raining it would blow through.  The draught did seem to prevent condensation on the single skin Cuben Fibre.  At 500g the tent is very light.  I've used my Leki pole as the support, but had to lengthen it with a home made section from an old Black Diamond pole.

Next morning after 2 bowls of porridge I power up into the mist on the east ridge of St Sunday Crag.

No views off the summit but as I head towards Birks I get a super view of  Nethermost Cove.
A knee jarring descent off the end of Birks sees me quickly back at the car and home in time for dinner and cutting the grass in the afternoon.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Cam Crag Ridge and Z Packs Hexamid.

A bright and breezy morning and heading up Langstrath for Cam Crag ridge.  The idea is to drop down into Comb Gill and put up my new tent.  Have n't had time to sleep in it yet but want to see what it's like in the field.  It will be somewhere to eat my sandwiches in.

I head left off the path to scramble up a little gill.

The ridge ahead is a classic grade 2 scramble originally classified as a moderate rock climb.

I've just done the introductory buttress and am sat having a rest when a head appears over the rocks and it's an old friend: Murray.
He's with some other lads and they've bivvied in the shelter below the crag.

After a chat I let them get on with the next buttress as they will be far quicker than me.

As I reach the top it's already clouding over and I make a steep descent along the edge of  Dove's Nest into the Combe.

The bottom of Combe Gill.

 So I ordered this tent/tarp from the USA earlier in the year.  It took 5 weeks to come but is an incredible piece of technology.  I've gradually lost weight with my tents, Akto 1600g , Power Lizard 1100g,  but Z Packs Hexamid above is only 454g.
So I'm just having my dinner in it and seeing what it's like.

 I've got the beak, the cuben ground sheet and complete bug protection.  It probably does not cope with wind like the Trailstar but  for summer use I'll give it a go.
I could not see the point of forking out for  the Trailstar as  according to my reckoning by the time I'd added a nest or bivvy for bug protection and included the stakes I might as well use the Powerlizard.

So I'll need some practice at pitching it correctly as I had a crease in the back.

I may need to find a way to extend the trekking poll as it was way beyond it's limits.

Well it didn't leak, I just need some time to try it for real.