Mountain Biking, Quantocks

Today was another wet and muddy day up on The Quantocks with a group of 8 Bridgwater College students and their tutor. We had a great day and got extremely wet and dirty. Some of the students have clearly never ridden that far before and were suitably exhausted by the end of the ride. Not sure they will be able to walk tomorrow! No pics again today, I must remember to put new batteries in my camera.

Bank Holiday weekend starts tomorrow and I will be out teaching climbing for 4 days. Hope the weather is kind to us and I will remember to take my camera with me.

Goblin Combe Climbing

I was working for Bridgwater College again today and the plan was to climb at Uphill Quarry. On arrival however the signs informed us that all of the belay stakes had been removed and were being replaced over the next two weeks. A quick flick through the guidebook and we relocated to Goblin Combe and set some ropes up there.

All the students managed the 3 top roped climbs and the abseil and a few of them even managed to top rope a harder (around 4c) route. This was all in trainers (not a rock boot in site) so a good effort all round. Well done guys!

Back on the bikes tomorrow.

Sunny Exmoor

Waiting for Students on Selworthy Beacon

Amazing Exmoor Colours

Students walking off towards Minehead

Bossington Hill above Porlock Beach

Today I was again working for Bridgwater College and took 11 students out to Porlock on Exmoor to practice Navigation before we go to Dartmoor and Snowdonia in the next couple of weeks. The weather was good to us (unlike yesterday) and both groups were able to sucessfully navigate themselves from above Porlock and around to Bossington Hill before following the coastal path into the finish point at Minehead Harbour.

Tomorrow will be a climbing day

Mountain Biking, Quantocks

What a wet and wild day it was today. I was working for Bridgwater College and took a group of Outdoor Ed students onto the Quantocks for some off road training. The 10 students and I headed off from Ramscombe uphill to Dead Woman's Ditch where we did some skills training. After that is was all downhill back to the minibus for lunch. Unfortunately two students took a tumble (one was quite impressive and as a result the bikes needed some TLC. I spent the afternoon repairing the damaged bikes whilst the students took themselves off round and easier route on the spare bikes that were conveniently in the trailer. The weather was challenging to say the least with a couple of hail storms hitting us during the afternoon.

We are going to Exmoor tomorrow for Navigation practice.

Teaching Climbing Workshop, Snowdonia

It was a bit damp on the first route

But brightened up for the second route of the day

Today Matt, Mike and I were on a teaching climbing workshop organised by AMI and run for us by Dan. We headed to Ogwen Valley where we worked out the scenarios set for us. Although the climbing was very slow (as were did a lot of talking) and we only got two routes done, both slabby Diffs and perfect teaching routes, I gained a lot from the day and will look to do some more workshops before my MIA assessment later this year.

Just arrived back in Somerset and will be out Mountain Biking tomorrow.

Trail Cycle Leader Assessment, Snowdonia

Today I undertook the Trail Cycle Leader Assessment with Jonathan Collins from 1bike1. I have been trying to do this for about 18 months but injury and other work have delayed it. Finally I made it onto a course.
The assessment started with a written paper and then moved on to orienteering on a Mountain Bike with trail side repairs to be done in between legs. This took most of the morning and then we planned the afternoons ride and skills we were going to teach. The afternoon was spent on a ride on the Marin Trail near Betws Y Coed and the sun was out which made it a very pleasant experience.

Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera with me so no cycling pictures but I added one of the Snowdon Horseshoe that I took in the evening

Tomorrow I am due to be out climbing. Fingers crossed the weather holds.

Off Road Cycling, Quantock Hills

This week I have been working for Bridgwater College teaching on the Foundation Degree Public Services and Outdoor Education Course. Although Mon, Tues and Weds were spent on site teaching cycle maintainence and planning trips for the rest of the term, I finally managed to get out onto the hill today with a group of 10 students from the BND Publice Emergency Services Course and another staff member to enjoy the sunny weather on the Quantock Hills. In all honesty, it was probably to hot and sunny for riding but it was clearly better than if it had rained.

Ogwen Climbing, Snowdonia

Me on Bochllwyd Butress

Someone enjoying the summer weather high above

Mike on Rowan Route

Today Mike and I headed into Ogwen Valley to get some practice for our pending Mountain Instructor Assessments. It was so hot today we decided to head to a shaded crag and chose Milestone Buttress where we climbed Rowan Route (Diff) and worked on being efficient and slick with our rope work and getting down safely afterwards.
We then moved round to Bochllwyd Buttress (to catch the afternoon sun) where we practiced rescues and lowers for stuck climbers on Arete and Slab (Diff). I looked up from where I was suspended and saw the paraglider flying above us.

AMI Navigation Workshop, Snowdonia

Llyn Ogwen in the sunshine

Practising micro navigation

Tryfan in all its glory

I arrived in North Wales last night and was too late to find accomodation so spent an excellent night sleeping in the back of the car (again - it is becoming a bit of a habit). I woke up to find another car alongside and the occupant introduced himeself as Rich and he was doing the same course as me today so we went and had a fry up before meeting up at Plas Y Brenin.

As a group of 8 Trainee MIA's plus Instructor we went out on an AMI Navigation Workshop in the Ogwen Valley. It was an absolutely stunning day and we walked around Tryfan picking off some small points to show we could still navigate and discussing how to teach navigation to other people. Although there was no opportunity to really test ourselves (we could see for miles) a good day was had by all and the day ended back in the bar with a mug of coffee. Excellent.

Tomorrow I am out climbing in the Ogwen Valley

Chapel Stile Boulders, Langdale

Looking down Pocket Slab

Diamond Left V3

Campbell showing the locals what to do on Quarry Entrance V0 5a

Me bridging on Quarry Traverse V0 5a

Today Campbell and I went down to Chapel Stile in Langdale for a spot of afternoon bouldering in the sun. We worked our way round the circuit and successfully completed the following routes:

Quarry Entrance Vo 5a
Quarry Traverse Vo 5a
Pocket Slab Far Right V1 5b
Pocket Slab Centre Vo+ 5b
Pocket Slab Far Left V0+ 5b
The Diamond Right V1 5c
The Diamond Left V3 (my personal best and an excellent problem)
Easy Slab V0 4a
Tea Break V0 5b
The Slab of Death Vo 4c
The Slab of Life V1 5a
The Arete of Life Vo 5a

I enjoyed my short spell in The Lakes and am now heading off to North Wales for the weekend

Shepherds Crag, Borrowdale

Today I lived up to my promise and treated myself to a new pair of Red Chilli Rock Shoes from Needle Sports in Keswick. I also bought the Guide for the Walkers Haute Route which I plan to do in June. After the shopping spree, Campbell, John and I went to Shepherds Crag in Borrowdale where we climbed Eve VS 4c and Fisher's Folly VS 4c. The rock today was not so good as yesterdays possibly due to the amount of use it gets.

Tomorrow we are due to go bouldering if the weather holds out

Raven's Crag, Langdale

View from the 1st belay

Raven's Buttress

Looking down on Campbell from Top of Centipide

Me on the first pitch of Billberry Buttress

I arrived in The Lakes last night to stay with a friend who has recently moved there. Today Campbell and I went to have a look at Raven's Crag in Langdale. The weather was absolutely stunning apart from a passing shower and we got a number of quality routes done. We did Billberry Buttress VS 4c, Revelation HS and Centipide S. All were 3 pitch routes on lovely rock.

Thought for the day: I must buy some new rock boots ASAP.

Dorset Climbing

View from Blacknor South

Bottom of Boulder Ruckle

Adam and I contemplating our route

The long abseil in

Over the last 2 days Adam and I have been down on The Jurassic Coast trying to get some climbing in.

Day 1 at Portland started badly as Adam forgot his harness and had to run back to the car to get it. Unfortunately on his return I realised I had forgotten my Rock Boots and in the end I spent the afternoon in the sun belaying Adam up a number of Bolted Sport Routes before spending an hour sitting on Chesil Beach.

Day 2 at Swanage started no better as I forgot to pack the Quickdraws so had to run back to the car to get them (spot the re-occurring theme here). We abbed down and dodged the waves to get to the bottom of the routes. We decided to climb Bottomless Buttress at HS 4b. This was a nice route (even though a hold came off in my hand whilst I was leading the first pitch) and we topped out into sunshine whilst watching the Coastguard Helicopter training. We then abbed down to do another route, decided against it and had to jumar back up 40m of rope.

Dartmoor Bouldering

Me coiled like a spring on Shark's Fin ready to dyno for the top hold

Cruising 4c Jugs

Part of Hound Tor

Adam topping out Shark's Fin

Having agreed to meet Adam at Chudleigh this afternoon, on arrival it was raining so we diverted to Hound Tor to do some bouldering. Hound Tor was in the sun and there was an abundance of blue sky. We managed a number of Boulder Problems such as Sharks Fin V1 5b, 4c Jugs and Adam onsighted 5c wall. Not having a guide book with us we just continued to play around on some traverses before spinning round to Bonehill Rocks where Adam knew some routes.

At Bonehill I failed miserably on a V1 5c problem on Baby Slab until I ran back to the car, got my other rock boots out and that did the trick, I managed to get up it fairly smoothly after the boot change. We moved on to Warm Up Slab and I did an 4a crack followed by a V1 5c and V0 5b. After that we moved to The Dark Side where I climbed a V0 5a and looked blankly at the wall alongside that alledgedly goes at V8 6c/7a. Adam manged a V1 5b on this wall.

It was a great afternoon and looking forward to doing some proper climbing (with ropes) over the weekend.

Walking Group Leader 2

Well it rained last night and we had some proper Dartmoor mist making the night navigation a proper test of ability. After around 4 hours of nav we made it safely back to the tents at around midnight.

This morning, it was another bright sunny day and we had a pleasant walk around the South Moor taking in some of the boggy bits before heading north back into Princetown. The candidates have their final day with Andy tomorrow so I hope the weather holds out for them.

Walking Group Leader

Today I am making this blog entry via my mobile phone in the middle or Dartmoor. Isn't technology great! I am working on a WGL Assessment for Andy Holborn and have spent the day navigating round the moor with a couple of candidates. We have just pitched tents and are cooking tea prior to going out for some night time navigation. It has been sunny all day but has just clouded over so I hope it doesn't rain.

Dartmoor 2

Tuesdays students have been out on the moor by themselves over the last 30 hours and although Andy, Hannah and I have been remotely supervising them they have mainly been left to navigate around Dartmoor on their own. They all made it safely off the moor earlier this afternoon and I am recharging my batteries before working another two days with a different group. Again today I was working for Bridgwater College.