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I am a Primary School teacher just about to move to the Bristol area and after two years of posting very little I am going to make an effort to post a little more often.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Kelly skiied, I walked!!!

After Fridays snow we managed to get my car out and down the hill with snow chains on but Kellys car was left.

So Saturday following even more snow meant that there was no chance of routes being in so we walked up through Mynydd Llangygai and out up towards Elidir Fawr, Knee to Waist deep snow meant that it was pretty hard going, Kelly skiied down from the resivoir and I walked. From the bottom of the road we choose to take the road option all the way home. After walking through the villages we think there should be more snow because of all the social and community spirit that comes from it...

Sunday was a day in Betws, routes still covered with snow and an effort to get to.

Today has been LAZY for adventures but good for Uni work. Well kind of.

Tomorrow is going to be a day of effort, hopefully the keen beans today will have made tracks to the routes so it might be easier for us. We will have to wait and see. Update after tomorrow!!!

Friday, 17 December 2010

I missed toy day...but have my first SNOW DAY off school!

I woke up early this morning knowing that when I went to bed the snow was NOT sticking. I had decided not to move my car to the main road because of this. I had a planned on driving to Bangor and then training it to school as a few drinks were to be consumed at the staff xmas do. I was dressed ready to walk in snow with school work clothes, presents and lunches packed.

Out the front door meant stepping into 6-10 inches of snow. Oh, this could be interesting. The road is normal well gritted, but according to a neighbour the snow plough had been through at 4.30, only 1.5hours earlier. The road had 6inches of powder on it and there were no signs of traffic, no footprints, just white...my first thought was WOW, skiing. Second thought, how the hell am i getting down there, a quick jog about the road made me think that with the chains on i would be fine, a 4x4 came past coping well but still a little slide on a tight corner made me wonder, a fiesta was heading towards me with the front wheel pointing one way and the car pointing another, it wasnt looking good, and it wasn't as it clipped the wall on the way down. my mind was made up. No school for me.

I started clearing the drive a little as i knew the snow plough would be back but i would still have to get to the road, a good 50m from our house. A few neighbours were starting to emerge so with my best welsh i said hello...and introduced myself, i think they appreciated the effort but we spoke English from then on. after a wander down the road i decided i probably should have got my car out with the chains on before everyone else chucked their cars down, there is no hard pack snow across the road all the way down.


Its lunchtimes now and i have just measure 10inches in the garden!!

Mr and Mrs Hillyer's Visit ...eventful - Guest Post by Kelly

Mum and Dad arrived Friday night for a weekend of hill walking. Unfortunately most of the snow from the previous week had melted so it had turned from a winter walking weekend to a wet slushy weekend. I planned a route Friday night in the Carneaddau as both mum and dad had never walked there before.
Up and ready to go by 9am but needed to wait around for Dave to get back from Bangor from the night before…he didn’t turn up so left without him. Our route started at the foot path up into Cwm Lloer where Dave managed to catch us up. We took the ridge line up onto Pen Yr Ole Wen. A little bit of ice and consolidated snow to negotiate but definitely not enough to justify any crampons. The summit was pretty chilly with strong winds so not much time was spent here, just carried straight on towards Daffydd. When almost at the summit we had our first glimpses of a view, the clouds were whipping around us and provided some awesome views in an eyrie atmosphere. Following a summit photo we descended down back towards Cwm Lloer. We were almost back at the farm track when dad slipped on a rock and twisted his ankle. After hearing him shout my mums name we realised something wasn’t quite right and when we found him on the floor we realised he had hurt his ankle pretty badly. With Dave’s help, my walking poles and the moving of the car we managed to get him into the car and decided to drive him to A&E…..the result……a broken ankle!! Oh, and a very short weekend visit.
Photos to be added

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Snow in november, winter climbing already, How long will it last?

Another long week at school and kelly going to see some friends in Yorkshire for a few days meant a lie in was in order followed by a leisurely breakfast on poached eggs on toast. Amazing. Realising Kelly was leaving fairly early I decided to have a day on the hills. It was 10.45 by now and the sun is setting by 4.30 so I didn't have long. I thought of going to Cwm Cneifion (Nameless Cwm) but I have bad memories of being marched up there last year so opted for Cwm Fynnon Lloer. Visit here for more info but the topo in Welsh Winter Climbs is better.

 I got the layby by 11.30, set of by 11.35 and seemed to have much smaller bags than everyone else (<10 people) on the 'slog' up. The ascent into the cwm went well, I had a chat with a few of the people as I passed but didn't want to waste time as I knew I didn't have much of it. I was thinking that some of their ideas were ambitious, especially at the pace they were walking. As I was heading to the base of the gully I passed a route I had done last year, Broad Gully, which was no where near in condition, not looking good for my route either.

Cwm Ffynnon Lloer - Broad Gully

 From a little feature I could see a red jacket on the summit of North Arete, I hadn't realised this was a route until today as I had only looked at the Welsh Winter Climbs guide for this area.
View into Cwm Ffynnon Lloer from a
smal rise just inside the cwm

I was hoping to do Right Hand Y-Gully and then if Left Hand Y-Gully was looking good and time permitting. When I got to the base the red jacket climber appeared with the news I kind of already knew. Right hand was 'snow on ledges with on interesting step' and left hand was obviously too bare. Moongroves, was also bare.

Right Hand Y Gully, Left Hand Y Gulley -
Looking up, left hand looking empty,
 right hand looking poor.

Right Hand Y Gulley - Looking back down  

Looking up towards Eastern Buttress,
 Y Gullys and North Arete. Looking bare.

Me at the top of Right Hand Y Gully

As I decided to head up Right Hand and then come back down via Pen Yr Ole Wen.

Tryfan from Pen Yr Ole Wen

Here is a picture for my Grandparents, Thank you.

DMM Rebel Ice Axes - Xmas Present 2009

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Welsh Winter Potential

There is a definite buzz at the moment; there is an excitement which only means one thing. WINTER!!! The forecasts are suggesting that it could be an interesting few days to come. When I left for school this morning there was snow in the garden and on the car. As it got lighter the mountains have shown that they have more than a dusting down to maybe 500m.
Metcheck was suggesting tempretures on Friday night of -10c and described blizzard conditions. Met office were not predicting it to be quite as cold but still -5c isn't bad for November. The signs are starting to suggest we are in for a good winter.

There are loads of great sources of information out on the World Wide Web but I have found:
Baggy Richards Blog – great for route reports conditions of areas in northern Snowdonia.
Huw's Gilberts Blog – Great for route reports and conditions generally from southern Snowdonia.
Welsh winter wiki – Route descriptions and topos, to be very useful.
(If you have any other good sources let me know and I will add them)

Here is to a good winters season of excitement.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

MTB - Mountain Biking at Penmachno

After a seemingly long week I needed to have a good break. Last night Rachel suggested mountain biking and Penmachno, I still haven't done loop 2 so thought I could get that done. Being Hollys' Birthday last night Rachel was a little hungover, I had been designated driver so was feeling good. Today was the first day for me in SPDs and as soon as I got on to the first bit of singletrack the back wheel skidded on a nice greasy slab, I stopped and in slow motion toppled over...Lesson 1, you cant just put your foot down.
Maps - Loop 1  Loop 2   (right click, save as. PDF Files)
PENMACHNO: Rachel at the end of the 4th section of ST

PENMACHNO: Rachel with 'concentration' face on.

PENMACHNO: Rachel and her newly built stead with brakes and suspension.

PENMACHNO: Rachel smiling even though she now has cold,
wet feet after a typical path/stream section.

The camera stayed in the bag for the rest of the ride as on the next section, a long greasy boardwalk (no Chicken wire) decided to spit my front wheel off one side sending me down the other which then meant my still slipped in bike came back over the boardwalk and joined me on the floor. Lesson 2: Don't ride greasy boardwalk sections. Lesson 3 was sure to follow and it wasn't long before my rear mech spat itself in to my wheel. BRILLIANT, get a new bike. A successful trailside repair, a deflated Rachel and Dave decided that was enough, followed the trail on the last ST section to the road up and over (Rachel avoiding the oncoming car) down to Penmachno and back to the car.

Overall a cracking day out, big thanks to Rachel.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Aber Falls – Drum – Garnedd Uchaf Loop

The proposed route:
Mermory-Map File (.MMO)


After looking at the forecast I decided it would probably be best to do work in the morning and then ride in the afternoon. It wasn’t a hard decision, thunderstorms and gale force winds in the morning, easing to a calm day in the afternoon. During the night there was a fairy big storm, hail and all, in the morning, the sun was out towards the coast and Aber so, I decided that I would go in the morning.

I parked at the by the bridge just before the Aber Falls CP (a new Pay and display machine was there, I don’t know how much it costs). Got the bike out and set off up the hill, you will see it. After about 3/4mins I was in 1,1 and my new chain on my old set up was playing havoc. It was ok in 2,1 so that was that, this hill seems to be longer than before, if you meet a vehicle you will have to stop and getting started again isn’t the easiest. I got to the car park at the top (no charge), and the windproof was off, sweat running down my face…its been a long time since I have done much exercise. The road turns to a stone double track (Roman Road over to Rowen) this is mostly steady going and I have done it twice before so new what was coming, a couple of steep loose sections. I still haven’t made it up them both, I made it up neither today and a lot easier stuff, as soon as any kind of uneven pressure on the pedal was needed my chain skipped and I was walking. It is a nice steady uphill section on a good day.
Crossroads on the Roman Road from Rowan to Aber Falls

At the crossroads take aright towards Drum, uphill again. Left takes you steeply down to Llanfairfechan and straight on heads on to Rowen in the Conwy Valley. Stick on this double track all the way…that was the plan. However, the wind had picked up and I was hidden from the sun, windproof on, the bike still playing up and I was getting frustrated calling it all kinds of names which I’m sure the neighbouring sheep will not have heard before. There were a couple of sections which were loose and for me unrideable.
Just Keep Going

A bit further

Rainbow following a sort sharp shower

I pushed and rode for a bit took a few photos thinking that the loose bouldery sections would be quite good if I was going the other way.
Awkward on the way up but good on the way down

I got round the corner and reach a col where I could look across to the second have of my route…SNOW.
The moment I contemplated turning around
Definitely turning around

From my house I can see the other side of those mountains and there is no snow on them… my route was to traverse across them. It started raining…Decision made…waterproof on turn the bike around and fly back to the car. If it wasn’t for the wind on the flat sections I wouldn’t have had to pedal at all. I was right about the loose bouldery sections, they were very good.

I was gutted to not have done what I wanted but the 8minutes of downhill meant I was buzzing. I headed back towards home, wet and muddy, and wet and had a quick play near Moel Y Ci and the Mynydd Downhill track. I should have stuck with my plan of riding in the afternoon because the sun is out, no low clouds and a light wind. Oh well, I think it would be best to do the route on a fine day and not after a heavy rain. 

Monday, 1 November 2010

Amazing News - Jbel Toubkal in Winter

Mt/Jbel Toubkal
I’m off to Morocco, flights are booked and I just can’t wait. The main reason for the trip is to summit Mt Toubkal (4167m) in winter and I will be going out with Kelly, her Mum, a friend Holly and her Dad.
Selected routes on Jbel Toubkal

We are going to be in country for 12 days which will include day in Marrakesh and 2 days of getting to and from the mountain hut. With potentially 9 days at the hut we are hoping to get more than just Jbel Toubkal done, there are a couple of neighbouring peaks and a couple of gullies I have my eye on.

More to come I am sure!!!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

In the Beginning - Introduction

Well, this is my first post. How exciting!!! Well not hugely but it could be the start of something special. Anyway, the idea of the blog is just to let people know what I'm up to. It’s also for me to act s a reminder of all the awesome adventures, mates and good times. With that in mind, it may not be what you’re interested in but hey, start your own blog and I'm sure someone will be interested.

I suppose I should tell you a little bit more about me...
I grew up in Reading, its flat and not massively exciting, I visited Bangor Uni on an open day, there was snow everywhere. I didn't really need to actually go into the uni, I had already decided I liked it here. So I applied to do Sport, Health and Physical Education. I was already into the outdoors and had spent quite a bit of time on Dartmoor. Bangor was ideally situated with the mountains, rivers and crags on its doorstep, sorted. After graduating I worked at Nant BH on their Trainee Instructor Scheme, highly recommend if you want to work in the outdoors, where I met Will, who will feature fairly regularly, and got a few tickets and training courses. I am now on a PGCE Primary course so time for adventures has been limited but I'm enjoying it and in the long term it’s the right thing to be doing.

Oh and my English is terrible, I can’t spell and have ZERO grammar talent.

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