A conclusion in Wales.

16°C, woke to rain, brighter by lunch.
It’s a shame to pack the tent away wet. Once decamped, a visit to Caffi Gwynant is the obvious thing to do.
As I have discussed here before,  I have a fascination for the Migneint. It’s a plateau (which was the centre of an ice sheet in glacial times). A rolling area of grasslands cut by meandering rivers. Last June, I checked out the start of a walk to the bothy near Arenig Fach.
The route started tricky, but is easy to navigate later. Strangely, the marked footpath deviates from the track on the map, but nothing was apparent on the ground. Simply walk along the track then!

This a fairly high altitude area, though it doesn’t look like that while there. These hills are between 400-500m, as high as the ridge I used for the last wild-camp. One clue was the fresh, cooler air.

The bothy was fairly typical, perhaps a little rougher than others. There was a newspaper from the 5th June on the table. The place was dirty and had few sleeping areas. Outside, the sides obviously used it for shelter although the door was well barricaded against them.
Not a very inviting place to stay, I’d prefer a tent. However, if you want a bad weather shelter, or you’re travelling light, this could be a solution. I would clean the place first thought.

Posted in Hiking, Hill & Moorland | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Descend from Yr Aran.

16°C, strong W, clouds from 600m.
Be warm and comfortable, those bits I got right. What spoilt my night’s sleep was the roar from the wind. At fairly regular intervals, the gusts would shake and whip the tarp. Awake at midnight, I pondered over- we’re a month away from mid-summer and it’s surprising how long light lingers, there was still a faint milky glow at midnight.
By morning, the weather was the same, so decamp.
The route: head west along the ridge and find am unnamed reentrant that forms a valley  through complex moraines. Then ago to pass a disused quarry and mine. The only problem here was finding a wall crossing; the tall stone wall followed contours regardless of how steep. The walls were very tall, and not a flaw, gate or stile was to be seen.
In the end, I’m sorry to say, I climbed over. I chose a shorter section with a smaller drop on the other side. It worked, without even a pebble dislodged.


The quarry offered a good place to filter water and quench my thirst.
These places can be horrifying, especially those mine entrances. This one was just as ominous as any, dark into its endless throat. Inside was flooded from torrents dripping from above. There must be all posts of life forms in there, but it’s no place for human. Out of the derelict buildings was an easy path snaking towards Beddgelert, visible in the valley.
By the time I got to the bottom and the lake itself, my energy faded. Later I decided that on this trip, I hadn’t taken enough food.
Thoughts of a food stop at the excellent Caffi Gwynant drove me on.
Then I got there, the first thing that I noticed was the closed sign.

In conclusion: next time, take more food and ear plugs.

Posted in Quality Mountain day | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Under a tarp.

11°C, brisk W. Just below cloud base.
Searched for hours for somewhere to bed down. Now I’m on the Bwlch between Yr Aran and an unnamed hill to the east. Altitude about 500m. Inside the bivvy is warm and the tarp is flapping noisily in the wind. This was the most still pocket of air I could find.
The forecast suggests low chance of rain.
It’s a pity the tarp is such a bright green. I prefer something better camouflaged. It’s great to be able to peep out and see the mountains. There has been nobody on this side of Snowdon all day. Unless you want to count a noisy twin rotor military helicopter.


The Stone wall makes for a good wind break.

Posted in Quality Mountain day, Weather | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ready with new kit.

Morning drizzle, 17°C, brighter this afternoon?
Bivvy: the tarp and bivvy combination look okay, they were easy enough to set up.
The idea is to go up Snowdon and make camp up there tonight.


Just hope I don’t forget to take anything.

Posted in Hiking, Quality Mountain day | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Snowdon, arrived.

17°C, Clear with light W.
Betws-y-Coed: used my DofE discount card to buy some kit. Firstly, an expedition rucksack. After trying on many, I got the Lowe Alpine 65 litre. It seemed to fit the best. Next, a Rab bivvy bag. I’m looking forward to trying that one out. It’s quite roomy inside, I know because I climbed inside it tonight in the safely of my tent. The length is 7ft which should mean it puts no pressure on the sleeping bag thus reducing its warmth.
Walk up some of the Watkins path. Set off at 20.00 and got up to the 400m amounts at the quarry beyond the Gladstone Rock. Snowdon was all quiet and peaceful, barely anybody was seen. The natural beauty of this place was all there, plain to see.


Watkins Path.

This time of year, there is not any real need for lights, even at 10pm, but to be on the safe side, I did. This is not the time to stumble.

Posted in Hiking, Weather | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Caught in kite tails

22°C with a brisk SW. I’m bright sunshine.
I rode Racelite-8 with MapMyRide+! Distance: 58.20mi, time: 03:52:32, pace: 4:00min/mi, speed: 15.02mi/h.

Sunday Ride to Bosworth Water Park. As I coasted in, a guy with kids held into their kite. The tails were long enough to get caught in my rear cassette. No tempers were frayed however. I tore the tail off because is was thick with oil and didn’t want any to get on the kids’ clothes.
I probably say this every year, but this bike is so comfortable on long rides, and reasonably quick too.

Posted in Cycling | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Hiking season.

Very dry spring into summer this year.
To come: planning some trips to have some adventures and to build up my Dlog. I want to take the Hill and Moorland assessment early. Work wants me to do so too. For them, they can cut the cost of Silver and Gold award DofE. Currently, only the middle-class kids can afford them.


Loch Assynt

To broaden my horizon:
Wild camp in a bivvy,
Night walk,
Better my journey time ETA,
Get some more kit- bivvy bag, lighter roll mat, 65 litre rucksack, and a few little things. Finally, use the tarp.

I will aim to get assessed in October so our centre is ready for next season. We only need one qualified out of the six staff. It’s easier for me since home circumstances don’t prevent getting more Quality Mountain Days.

Posted in Hiking, Hill & Moorland, Quality Mountain day | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Saturday favourite CX.

I rode The Jake with MapMyRide+! Distance: 14.5mi, time: 01:17:05, pace: 5:20min/mi, speed: 11.25mi/h.
Canal loop; same as previously but found little energy in my legs. The slightly later start meant more people were about. Some green snot on the rear tyre indicate a few punctures recently, as I suspected.
power socket is now re-located and set flush to the wall. That was surprisingly easy. Now it needs finishing and cleaning up. The plaster is terrible in this house. Beneath the skim coat is very crumbly dusty original rendering. These houses were built to good standards but there was a skills shortage after the war.

Posted in cyclocross | Tagged , | Leave a comment

DofE 2015: ‘Tanter’

17 to 22°C. Light rain to sun.
Twelve groups of whom 8 failed their first practice expedition. They were terrible, with fairly minor problems they simply gave up. Navigation was a common problem and panic set in with little warning. All groups had to head broadly north to meet the return coach. One group went West and immediately phoned home to say they were lost. They gave their location, the name of a farm and expected rescue from the minibus.
Another group went south, passed the big sign for Worcester, and kept going!
There were more reasons and we staff spent many hours soul searching and analysing.
Heuristics is the study of decision making. In other words, why intelligent people make stupid mistakes. We read up on this field.
The problem, I believe, is that the kids have too few techniques to draw upon. When their map reading was not enough to indicate where they are, they panicked. Stress inflated and their ability to make a clear decision was lost.
There was my focus for this week’s repeat Practice Expedition. At every opportunity, I introduced a new technique to add to the group’s repertoire, or to practice a previous one.

All groups passed. They were obviously happy with how things went and the weather continued to improve.


The group I was assigned to work with could not have been better. What a privilege to work with such able, enthusiastic and optimistic teenagers. On top of that, they were such tremendous fun. Each time I stopped them to ask “exactly where are we now on the map?”. Their answers were as good as satnav, they pinpointed to better than 25 metres.
Later in the day, they came to the staff hostel to ask whether they were allowed to sleep out under the stars, not in their tents. I wracked my brain and could of no reason to refuse. Carl and I fixed up a tarp for them and they arranged themselves beneath in an asterisk. The picture taken at 6.30am shows that none had given up and scurried back into their tents by dawn.
If I were to have children, they’d be good enough to be one of them!

Posted in Hill & Moorland, Work | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Spitfire.

I rode Paddy fixed with MapMyRide+! Distance: 54.6mi, time: 03:24:45, pace: 3:45min/mi, speed: 15.99mi/h.
Unremarkable in some ways. I used a familiar route in reverse and climbed Dalton from the north. It was easier than I anticipated.
Passed this Spitfire parked at Woodvale. It could the Battle Of Britain machine, though it’s a late version, perhaps a Mark XIV.

Posted in fixed gear | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment