Silver D of E North Wessex Downs

Saturday, Sunday and Today I have been working with Abbey School, Reading on the Silver D of E Assessment Expedition in the North Wessex Downs Area. I have never been so confused as to what county I am in as I was flitting between Berkshire, Hampshire and Wiltshire 3 or 4 times a day. Well done to all the teams who completed the expedition in a mini heatwave.

More Lundy Seal Diving

 This is Sue, not a seal

Back out on Obsession today with Somerset Divers for another dive with the seals at Lundy. I will let the pictures do the talking but another great day. Thanks Sue for being my buddy today.

Hound Tor Climbing

The infamous lying down move on Pulpit

Today on the 4th day of his course I took Andy to Houndtor and again we were joined by Dan. During the day Andy lead Paddy and Pulpit as well as doing some bouldering to improve movement and more belay construction work. For a bit of fun the guys both climbed Liars Dice on a Top Rope. This is a short but very steep Severe climb. The weather was kinder today with only the occasional shower.

Dry afternoon at Haytor

A wet start

 A dry finish

Today I headed to to Haytor with Andy and Dan to continue with Andy's climbing week. On arrival the weather was atrocious so we spent some time looking at gear placements from the ground. However the weather driend up and we progressed to leading routes with a top rope "just in case". The rock was almost perfectly dry fopr teh last route of the day. Andy and Dan climbed Zig Zag, Step Across and Bulging Wall.

Rope Tricks at Goblin Combe

Abseiling for "stuck" gear

Today Andy and I headed to Goblin Combe to look at building belays and placing gear. We placed rocks, hexes and cams both from the floor and on a top rope. Apart from a quick shower in the afternoon the weather was fine although the rock was a little greasy from last nights rain.

I have just been to The Bicycle Chain to pick up 4 more new bikes to increase the Wet and High Adventures fleet to 20.

Avon Gorge Climbing

Today I took Andy on the first day of his climbing course to Avon Gorge where we climbed The Arete, Original Route and Easy Route at Main Area, A total of 11 pitches of climbing. We were climbing well to the right of the nesting perigrines and although we had made an effort not to disturb them the same could not be said for the crows who buzzed them all day. We got away with the weather with the showers coming in just as we were finishing.

This evening I met with my group who I will be taking to Borneo in a few weeks time. I now have 57 student names to learn!

Year 9 Camp, Exmoor

Threatening clouds over Bossignton Hill

Me (and Matt)

 Friendly Robin at the tea rooms

Thursday, Friday and Saturday were spent on Exmoor with Haygrove School on their Year 9 Camp. We had a evening of activities and a day of walking. The second evening was spent sheltering from the rain whilst the pupils were singing campfire songs. The rain didn't really dampen the spirits and a good time was had by all.

Advanced Rider Training

 My Transalp nearest the camera

Having just got back on a Motorcycle for the first time in 3 - 4 years I booked an Advanced Riding Refresher day with Gordon from PRIDE Motorcycle Training. I wasn't as rusty as I thought and we had a good few hours out on the roads in dry weather looking at everything from slow speed riding to sweeping bends.

Climbing Wall Supervisor

Today I was working at a local school putting some of their staff through an in house climbing supervisor training course. All 4 staff put in a good performance during the day. Luckily for us (as the wall is outside) the weather held and we had some fun in the sun.

Portland to London in 36hrs

Sunny start in Wareham

Paddling down The Frome

A lonely paddle back into the wind.

This weekend I have been working for Adventure Cafe on a 36hr Portland to London Race. The clients started at 5am in Portland on Saturday morning and ran and cycled their way to Wareham where I met with them and we started the paddle stage along the Rover Frome and into Pool Harbour before disembarking at Lower Hamworthy. Fortunately the tide and wide were behind us and we made excellent time. As the clients headed off on foot, I paddled back against the tide and a head wind to Wareham to get me car before joining them in the New Forest for a run stage. After a nights sleep (for me no them. I rejoined them in Guildford for a run and a couple of cycle stages to the finish. Well done to all of them

Lundy Seal Dive

Common Dolphin

Seal waiting for me to come and play

Nath, Paul and I

 Seal eating my fin

Today I headed off to Lundy with Somerset Divers for my first Open Water Dive in 12 years. I last dived in July 1999 and apart from a doing a Scuba Review last October (in a pool) have not dived since. WOW what a way to restart my diving career. Dolphins at the bow on the way out and seals coming to play. They actually swim upto you and ask to be stroked. Best part of the day was tickling a seal under the chin which it clearly liked, in return she chewed my fins.
What made the day even better was that I was diving with friends who I haven't seen for a while.

Underwater photos courtesy of Ken Fanson.

Exmoor Sun Run not that Fun

Today Tyne and I headed to Exmoor with the intention of a days running. Although we started early enough it was clear by 11am that this would be a hot hot day. The running stopped and turned into a walk in order to actually be able to breathe. 27miles and 1000m height gain later we arrived back at the car to see the temperature guage reading 27degrees. So having spent the day getting blasted by the sun I am now hiding indoors both burnt and dehydrated.

Swanage Sailing

Yesterday Tim, Jon and I headed out west from Poole for an afternoon/evening sail past Swanage to Dancing Ledge. We then caught the tide back in and anchored south of Brownsea Island. A very restful night was spent on anchor before heading back into Wareham this morning in glorious sunshine.