Sit on Top in Torbay

Another day with the group from The Hamp Estate and this time for some kayaking in Torbay. Small numbers again and we had a paddle around on a dropping tide, playing around the rocks and trying (not very hard) to stay upright. After lots of falling in and climbing out on rocks the session was over. We even saw a seal today.

Rock Climbing Instructor Assessment Day 2

Today was the second day of a Mountain Training Rock Climbing Instructor Assessment that I am directing for Wet and High Adventures on Dartmoor. We started at Dart Rock in the warm and dry for some climbing, belaying, bouldering and problem solving before heading to The Dewerstone where it was very wet (and my camera stayed in my pocket) for some abseiling skills.

Rock Climbing Instructor Assessment Day 1

Today I have been directing a Mountain Training Rock Climbing Instructor Assessment for Wet and High Adventures on Dartmoor. We started at Hound to with personal climbing, top ropes and bottom ropes. Unusually (due to forcast tomorrow) we went to Chudleigh for the evening rather than a climbing wall for some more personal climbing and set ups. We will start in the wall tomorrow and hope for a drier afternoon

Outdoor and Indoor Climbing

Out at Haytor today working with a group from Hamp Estate in Bridgwater. Unfortunately rain stopped play by midday and we ran to the shelter of Dart Rock where it was warmer and drier. All 5 young people managed to climb and belay and learnt to put on their own harnesses and tie themselves in. At the end of the session they even had a little trip through the Dart Rock cave system.

Working with Robin and Ben for Wet and High Adventures Ltd

1:1 Climbing Coaching on Dartmoor

I have been out on a sunny but windy Dartmoor today for a bit of 1:1 coaching with a regular client of Wet and High Adventures. He led 3 routes at Greator and 1 at Houndtor before the wind chill got to us and we beat a retreat to the food van.

Windy Atlantic Way

Just because the title is Windy don't assume it wasn't raining, I just couldn't use the same title again.

A wet and windy start turned into a drier finish. Before the mist really came in I saw a few sea stacks but for some of the ride, I couldn't even see the road properly let alone the sea. Strong side gusts left over from yesterdays storm gave me a bit of a battering during the morning before my first stop.

Breakfast was had in 3 countries (well not quite). I was at Spanish Point, in Ireland with Africa playing on the radio. Spanish Point (Picture 3) is so called due to the wrecks off its coast from the Armada fleet. You will be relieved to know that not all the sailors drowned and they were helped ashore by the Irish and then executed!

After an hour or so in the cafe, the weather brightened a little so it was back on the bike and continued following my friend the WAW (N). A detour out to the dead end road at Tawin and then into Galway. I didn't really want this to be the end point in the middle of the city so I road out to Spiddal before returning to my B & B here. I was going to camp again but all a bit wet and I have to work tomorrow afternoon in Dublin, so need to look presentable.

And so endeth my relationship with the Wild Atlantic Way, I may or may not blog tomorrow depends on what I see as the words of my host tonight was "middle Ireland has nothing of interest, just get on the motorway and get it over and done with"

Wet Atlantic Way

It was a wet start to the morning on the south side of the Dingle Peninsula but not to be deterred I headed for the very end. A quick stop at the beach my sister told me about (I sat in a cafe watching the rain) and then I carried on to Dunmore Head, Ireland's most Westerly point (and Europe's most Westerly in some people's eyes). Unbelievably, the weather cleared just long enough for me to park the bike and walk to the very end to take pictures of the Blasket Isles before it closed in again.

As I continued on the WAW through Conor Pass (I could not see a thing due to the mist) I was beginning to question whether to continue or find somewhere to bail out. However on the north side of the peninsula, the weather cleared and the sun was shining, the roads were dry so it had probably not rained there at all. After Tralee, I went to the beach for a break an watched some surfers before carrying on to my decision of the day. Ferry for 9 Euros or 150km detour inland to the other side. Hmm, only 9 Euros so ferry it was.

Sadly the last hour of so of the trip to the campsite here has been Wind Farms and a Power Station but the cliffs will start again tomorrow within 30 mins ridiing.

Two Rings and a Gap

Another day of no sat nav I just follow the WAW (N) signs and see where I end up.

The morning as spent on the Ring of Beara, which including going right out to the headland where you could get the cable car to Durnsey Island. I didn't go on it as the bike wouldn't fit. Sadly I was too early for the cafe so had to continue following the route a way to get mid morning snack and fuel.

I even passed though a town that could be Balamory's stunt double as almost every house was a bright colour. I was riding quite slowly at times, either because of the view or the herds of cows that just stood in the middle of the road just looking at me.

Then I went up to Molls Gap before heading back down to pick up the Ring of Kerry which is about 180km round I even had a time to walk upto and take a photo (picture 4) of the Kerry Cliffs. It was very windy on the exposed headland so I didn't stay up there long.

A short ride from there, and I was at my accommodation for the night here just west of Glenbeigh. Bit of a winning site as for only 11 Euros you also get a campers kitchen and lounge/dining room with free WiFi.

Wild Atlantic Way

This is why I came here, to ride the Wild Atlantic Way - you just take the road closest to the coast

After yesterday's poor weather I was hoping for something a little drier and that is what I got. After a quick blast down to Schull to meet a friend (who is also in Ireland on holiday) for a coffee, I found the blue and white signs for the WAW. Basically you turn the sat nav off and follow the signs (marked N or S). I am heading North.

I went out to Mizen Head, Irelands most Southerly point (by road) and then round to The Sheep's Head which is another headland for lunch. I am now here at Eagle Point for the night.

I have finally cracked the formula for the time it takes to ride the WAW. It is as follows:

Sat Nav time x 2.5 - 10%. You add the 10% back on if you want to stop and take pictures and then add another 15% if you get stuck behind an elderly driver. On top of this you need to factor in time for coffee and cake.

Wet in Wicklow, Windy in Wexford and Cr*p in Cork

Well the title describes the weather!

Yesterday I rode up the edge of Wales via Hereford and Wrexham to the Liverpool P&O Ferry Terminal for the night crossing to Dublin.

After a 4am wake up, I was first off the ferry at 5am and rolling in Dublin. A bit of fun in the multiple one way systems and then I got onto the R115 into the Wicklow Mountains. Such as shame I couldn't see much (Picture 1 and 2). Never mind, I thought I will head to the coast but I then got a battering from the wind as I went past Wexford.

Breakfast on The Strand at Rosslare cheered me up before heading to my lunch stop at Clonea (Picture 3) where it actually stopped raining long enough for me to eat outside. To be perfectly honest, that wasn't a choice, they weren't any inside tables.

Another 90 mins of wind and rain and I made it to my campsite here near to Cork where I am currently hiding in my tent debating weather to walk to the showers or just stand outside for the same result.

The sat nav went mad in the last few km and took me down the lane in Pic 4. Glad I had some semi off road tyres on as that grass was very slippery

So Ireland, whilst your roads are nice, your weather so far has not been great. Any day on a bike is a good day though so not all bad.

NNAS Gold Training

This weekend I have been on a very wet Dartmoor running a Gold NNAS Training course for two keen candidates who despite the weather and wet pants, were able to concentrate long enough to get through the syllabus.

This is the top level personal navigation award and they will now need to go away to consolidate before presenting themselves for a one day assessment. Lets hop it is a drier day for them when they come back.

Lake District DofE

After a very busy few days sorting out a lot of admin after my 2 weeks away on the bike, on Sunday I drove up to The Lake District with 2 groups from Bristol Cathedral Choir School for their assessed Gold DofE expedition. They have had a real mix of weather from wet and grim (Picture 1) through to some awesome evenings out wild camping (Picture 2).

This is my last planned DofE work this year (though you never know about last minute bookings) and it has been good to see so many students complete their expeditions.