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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.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Building Rory Update

I have just been back through the photos of us building up Rory into a camper and thought you might like to see what we did and the process we went through.

Link: Rory Update

As you can see it does now have a bed in but that is going to change soon. The lining, floor and ceiling are staying the same for the time being...when we can afford to but a window or two in we will but for now there are no spare pennies.
Rory needs a clean but this was
taken on our recent biking trip.

The next build is going to add some more storage, to add a dedicated cooking unit, fixing up some silvers for the windows and hopefully we will be able to add the leisure battery to run lights, charge camera batteries and bike lights ect. We recently bought a bike rack and on our most recent trip it has made a huge difference to our comfort. The bikes will not be living inside from now on which means the inside can now be change to suit that...watch this space!!!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

A spot of mining - Penarth Mine

I've been working in an infants school recently so have not been out as much over the last 3 weeks.

I was on my own today but as I have my Mine leader assessment coming up a trip down a mine was needed just to make sure ... 

Penarth Mine

Entrance (left hole) from open pit. 
Me working the winch.

Some pretty funky slate ceiling feature.

Some artefacts plus beer cans.

Add caption

An old cart

 A 'Caban'

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A bit of an exploration

(Kelly, Claire and Me)

''Its gunna be an interesting ride, a bit of an exploration''
Claire avoiding the bog

A pretty good way to sell a ride.
All I really knew was that we would ride up past Carreg Alltrem and then join a bridleway to take us up onto open access land. From there I guessed it would be good to head over to the top of Rhiwbach Mine and ride down through the workings and from there head back to the car, which was about 7km away as the crow flies, through the forest and trails of Penmachno.

Steady option out the valley
As we left Dolwyddelan, heading up the forestry roads we climbed most of the height to exit the back of the valley but to do so would require a small push up a bridleway which is probably wet and greasy in all but the driest periods of weather. It was a few hundred metres of pushing but it did me we had wet feet fairly early on in the ride. Once on the top we exited onto open access land and tried to find a vague track leading over to Cwt Y Bugail mine. We must have missed the proper track and made our own way over until we found the right route which lead straight to the huge hole in the ground (Cwt Y Bugail). Back on fast double track for a brief descent before turning East towards the mines Manod and Rhiwbach. the double track leads straight to the top of the incline leading down to and through the rhiwbach workings. above the forest is straight forward, beyond that the double track is fast and full of little drops, ruts and a couple of gates to watch out for. once past the third (i think) gate it becomes much more exciting with the riding on a mix of loose stone and bed rock. If its wet it is slippy and will keep you on your toes in all weathers.just follow your nose down through the workings and stay on the double track, don't ride the incline, it will end badly.

Once you have joined the road its up to you we road along the road toward Penmachno, and took a path through a farm and up into the forest, it happened to lead to bottom of  the last but one descent on the Penmachno trail. From here we used the forest roads to cut across to join the 4th piece of single track. following the trail to the road and heading up and over to a crossroads, turning right onto a forest road leads all the way down to the bottom of the Lledr Valley and Claires van. Claire and Kelly say that its one they wont be doing again. I will be giving it another go when the ground is not so water logged.
Descending through the top sections of Rhiwbach mine workings

A natural shot following butties and Hoola hoops

Does my bum look big in this!

Double track across to Rhibach from Cwt Y Bugail

From the top incline down to the forest, if there
 were no gates you wouldn't need to pedal

Looking back up at Rhiwbach

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Testing out the new Llandegla trails

(Kelly, Claire and Me) There are no photos due to a dead battery, nice one Claire

An excellent decision by Claire to go and test out the new trails opened this month at Llandegla Trail Centre. They have done lots of work on the trails throughout, repairing, adapting and building some excellent sections. It is still quite bumpy to start but once you start on the new trails they are smoothed out but still jam packed full of features, drops, jumps, high banked berms, north shore and of course some steep climbs.

It is well worth a visit!!!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Beicio Mynydd - Wet, Muddy and Sunny - Is it really November!!!

(Kelly, Claire and Jess)

During September I got out riding 2/3 times a week with these guys but since then, the weather has changed, Kelly and Jess have been busy on PGCE placements and Claire has been swanning around in Nepal.

The Girls; View over Castell Dolwyddelan
Leaving the A470

Jess with Siabod in the background
 We started just off the summit of the Crimea pass and took the double track around and down to the Roman Road. It was warm with lots of mud and puddles which meant we were soaked and filfthy straight away, an excellent start.
Me covered in mud
After continuing on down to Dolwyddelan we headed up over on the Sarn Helen back into Betws
Lady Claire demonstrating why she
will not become the cover girl of Cosmo

Jess enjoying the final descent into Betws

Kelly enjoying the leafy, slippy and rocky descent.
Cheers for a good day, looking foward to next time already!!!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Lakes Trip - back in the Van

Being out of full time employment does has its advantages, I have been out biking, road and mountain, climbing, scrambling and I have actually done a few bits of work on DOE trainings. It also means that I was able to go to the Lake District for a few days for a bit of climbing in a new area. Until now I have never had a good weather day in the Lakes, It drizzled on Thursday but climbing at Sheperds Crag was possible and pleasent, from classic VD to an E6 6b or 6c (we didnt try these two but a couple of lads were working the 6c one.

I had stolen Rory of Kelly and spent a very comfortable night on my own in the van and even work to a tea delivery from Sian, winner.

Friday was the best weather I have had in the lakes, there was an orange/yellow thing in the sky, the SUN. We went for a mountain crag and headed up to Grey Crag, 1.5hour approach but well worth th 6 pitches which can be easily linked to gain the summit, you can descen to the foot of the crag by the gulleys nearby but we chose to follow the ridge back allong the tops before descending back to the van.

Cheers Leo and Sian, for the climbing, cooking and 'cariading'!!!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Augusts Amazing Adventure

Slightly late in actually publishing this but...
31 October 2011

The morning of our departure was  pretty hectic, the bed still wasnt fitted and that was my job...being a man, Kelly packed everything apart from the biking box...which i messed up. She did very well. We missed the 11 oclock estimated departure by 5 hours but managed to get dinner at my Grandparents on the way down. After spending the night in Reading we headed to Folkstone to board the Train.

From Calais we went cross country, litrally, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, France (again) and into Switzerland. We met Leo and Sian and spent the next day climbing (like a Giraffe in my case) and travelling to Pila.

In Pila we met the Kendells, who I had met the previous year in the Pyrenees and are a lovely family ;-). I had expected that 1 day of downhill biking would have been enough for Kelly and then a day of cross country would have been perfect. It turns out Kelly rather likes downhilling...so we decided to continue on with Leo, Sian, Mali, Justin, Rhian, Siony, Tesels, Mel and Evi for some more biking in Tignes.

Leo, Kelly and I went climbing, Kelly and Leo did most of the climbing after Leo Stitched me up with a shocking first route. Justin took the girls (seperately) to do some Via Ferrata, they both did extremeley well apparently. When we all met back at the vans Justin suggested a quick blast around the other via ferrata, I hadn't done it before so I was keen, everyone else went to the local pool. A cracking route and I was keen for more. The next day saw Justin and Leo head to Tignes where the lifts are FREE( 5euro deposit pp) this year, and Kelly and I spent the morning doing the rest of the via ferrata the girls had started and YES the girls did do VERY well. The 3rd part of the route is 'the hardest route in France' and yeah it had some pretty exciting sections and was fairly long. We then joined the biking boys, did a couple of routes to get into it and then headed off down a harder (for us) route. Kelly was flying so I let her go ahead whilst I took some photos, I jumped back on and normally its not too long before I catch her back up...not this time she was gone so I started to chase her down, once I was about 10metres behind I sat in and followed, she was flying with a huge smile on her face, a warning sign flashed by followed by 2 swooping switchbacks on loose stoney ground, skidding sound followed by yelp, followed by silence...not me this time, Kelly. She didnt respond to my first couple of calls, not good, then she kinda mummered something and got up holding back, side, knee, ankle and the smile had gone. We headed down steadily, got Kelly cleaned up and set off to go beck up... I discoverd my brakes are a little bust up and Kelly discovers the lifts have shut, 5 o'clock already. Justing and leo met up with Kelly whilst I wondered around trying to find them. All was well and on to Valloire tomorrow.

En-route to Valloire, Justin, Sian and Sionad on a Via ferrata that finished by climbing the castle wall and through a window, Tesni and Rhian toured the castles whilst Leo Kelly and I went ... CLIMBING...it was bloody hot but I did manage to climb a 6a+ which was an achievement based on recent form. After a scenic tour of the village we set up in a carpark by a river, its turns out a very cold river.

Leo was keen and left early for biking, Justin left to join him a little later whilst Kelly and I arranged to take the girls climbing after they had been shopping for the morning, we headed off to go climbing on the crag over looking Valloire. A good crag with some interesting climbs. During the morning we saw the  Gendarmeries 4x4 vehicle racing around looking a little lost, I thought to myself that someone might have had an off on the VTT. It turned out they had, Justin. We went back to the van unaware of the goings on to find the Kendells van had disappeared, odd considering Rhian doesn't drive it. Immediately we felt something was wrong, I then had a series of texts and missed calls from Leo as we got signal...something was wasnt right. When we got in touch we found that Justin had come off (not badly) and had gone to hospital with a suspected broken leg. I then had to find Sian who had gone for run...almost to the top of the Galibier...an impressive feat. Sian headed straight down to the hospital and meet with Leo to find somewhere to stay for the night for the girls and Rhian...It turned out that the injury was worse than expected and several nights in hospital were needed before he could be 'shipped' home. We headed down to the hospital to say hello once everything had sunk in a little and then headed off to the campsite (the only campsite of the trip). We had an amazing BBQ which

The next day we took the girls climbing which i think they really enjoyed, although they were still understandably concerned about Dad. We headed back to the hospital said our farewells to the Justin before spending the night at the bottom of the crag. The morning came and we left for the last part of our trip, Climbing in Ailefroide. We arrived just after 2 and decided that we had time for a quick route, a 6 pitch 200metre, mostly 5a pitches with a final 5c pitch.An excellent start to the week we had left. We managed to get 4 more routes including a 16pitch 500m 5c route. It was an impressive place and somewhere I could easily go and spend the etire trip there.

We decided that we would try to avoid the tolls on the way back and stop off at a couple of crags ont he way back...as we descended out of the mountains the tempreture climb, we struggled up and climb near La Grave and then bailed on climbing the next route, it felt like being in a sauna. That evening we poottled back towards Calais and made good progress. The next day was spent driving and we ended up getting the train back that night.

Cant wait for next time. Thank you all.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Building Rory (Kellys Van)

Rory has been a very long time in coming for Kelly and now we (yes WE) have a very nice VW Transporter

Have a look to see what we have done so far, Building Rory.

Leave your comments on here or there.

Ta tar tan toch

Thursday, 28 July 2011

July...What a Month!!!

I have only just got around to checking back in with the blog, I have been fairly busy... I have managed to get out to do some stuff of the outdoor variety like climbing 'Ampitheatre Buttress'

Graduated,  from a PGCE, I am now a teacher, primary school!!!

House hunting, a very long process to get a house that was different to the shabby place we have been in this year.

Van hunting, another very long process not helped by a 'swwet talking' salesman until we met John at Slaters (Colwyn Bay) who is a sweet talking saleman but actually came through with his words within the hour.

Insurance hunting, painstaking, enough said.

ML assessment, success.

Packing all of our 'stuff'

Moving all our 'stuff', 5 van and 2 car loads of it.

Unpacking all our 'stuff' ... ongoing

Hope everyone is all well and if you want to go play then let me know.

Monday, 27 June 2011

The end is in sight...Snowdonia for July & Alps for August.

With the PGCE drawing to a close, I will shortly be unemployed. IDEAL. Anyway, to celebrate the successful (hopefully) completion of the year Kelly and I are heading of to the Alps for August where we shall meet up with some friends and hopefully meet so crazy new people too.

If the strikes affects my school then I finish on wednesday.

If anyone wants to meet up over the summer either here or there then let me know...

Enjoy the sun!!!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

After a shocker of a week: Coasteering at The Range

(Kelly, Margaret, Holly and I)

Kellys Mum has been up this weekend and I have had a shocker of a week so, as a treat to myself  and Margaret, we indulged in some playtime. Hollybee was lurking in the depths of Bangor and burst through the door when I arrived home of Friday night. She then hung around like a bad smell and came coasteering too.

I have gone for the video option today... Nothing special, its 3mins of photos and video clips. I tried and arty start and finish but you can be the judge of that.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Half Term Adventures - Coasteering, Biking and Woodfest

(Will, Moose, Sam and Steph)

It has been amazing to get away from the work for 3 days. I have felt great all weekend. Sadly its back into Uni tomorrow!!! Cheers to everyone for a cracking weekend.

Saturday - Coasteering at Nefyn
Stephs first coasteer started nice a gently, then got a little bit rough just before she got out she took a bit of a beating. Sounds alot like my first coasteer...Oh and Moose gets wiped out, watch the 10 second clip.

Sunday - Biking -

Mooses should not ride bikes!! Will has photos to add soon!

Monday - Woodfest -
Cracking day out seeing lots of great stuff, recommend it to anyone for next year!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Climbing on Clogwyn Llo and Craig Ponc...Bank Holiday People Avoidance

Kelly and I.

Great day climbing in amazing weather. In trying to avoid the crowds in the pass we decided to go for an abscure crag, Clogwyn Llo and Craig Ponc are possibly the closest to the CC hut but we deserted today. Probably because the routes are fairly non-descript but good enough for a bank holiday.
Routes Climbed -
Inoculated Wall Clogwyn Llo - had to retreat as a holly bush was growing out of the crack on the 2nd Pitch.
Heilyn Ponc Knoll - Delicate footwoork required
Back in the Fold Ponc Knoll - My first proper route in a while, a few twitchy bum moments
Raging Thesaurus Ponc Knoll - Kellys Project

Good to go and visit if everywhere is heavy and you cant afford petrol to the Moelwyns.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Francis Hayes - Climb On.

Just watched the Psych DVD and I had forgotten how good this song is.

Find more artists like Francis Hayes at Myspace Music

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Clogwyn y Clipiau - Climbing on real rock!!!

Kelly and I.

My first time out on real rock for a while and the first time I have climbed above 4m since last summer...A winter of bouldering/PGCE has taken its toll. It was great to get out but i had issues with reading and remembering descriptions and had a mare on 'Mole'. We climbed Usha's Dilema (with a Dave Variation) and Inverted Staircase. Both were good, Mole was interesting and after that I had had enough...

Saturday, 2 April 2011

MTB - Penmachno

Kelly, Will and I.

Great day out in the sun after a full on week back in school, cheers for a quality time. My favourite photo is this one.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Amazing Day Biking - Telegraph, Nantlle, Fron and Moel Elio

Me, riding solo.

A day out in amazing weather and amazing riding. What a day, rode up telegraph valley, and down the Ranger path, down the road to Rhyd Ddu, short climb into the Nantlle Valley then BOOM, 4km in 6minutes, swooping down the road. A bite to eat then the climb back up to Y Fron, and up into the quarries, a track leads out the back towards Betws Garmon and a sneaky 'not so legal' footpath practically designed for bikers. There is a peat bog at the bottom, a little warning for you as I found out the cold wet and dirty way!!! following the path and back road leads back to Waenfawr, 2nd Right, then its up, up, up onto Moel Elio, and then a nice fast descent with the interuption of a couple of gates leads back into the top of Llanberis.

Should have taken some more food and water as I am suffering now.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Mince Pies....Amazing Recipe

So this recipe is mine and if you know me you know I like cake... My mum refused to send up some of her baking on Sunday so, I made mince pies this evening.

Makes 18 (12BIG)
Room Temp Butter 200g
Plain Flour 290g
Brown Caster Sugar 101g (yes, that 1 gram is important!)
Pinch of Salt
1/8 Cup Water MAX
Dash of milk
Oh and of course,
Mincemeat 220g, I made my own last time but I bought a jar this time.

1) Sift Flour, add diced butter and rub togeather.
2) Add Sugar and Salt
3) Try to knead into a ball, if it is very crumbly, add a touch of water (scare it a little). Knead, play with it for a couple of minutes.
4) Break off enough pastry mix to create a ball just smaller than a ping pong ball, flaten in palms and place into baking tray mold. Repeat several times.
5) Add a teaspoonish of mincemeat.
6) Break off balls the size of rasberries and flaten these out for the lids.
7) Brush the milk over the lids, poke a tiny hole in the top.
8) Place in reheated oven at 180c for 20minutes or until suitably golden.
9) Take out and wait 5 minutes, turn kettle on, make cuppa, take pies out of tray, deliver tea, delivery pie, eat and repEAT!!!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

MTB - Marin and Elsi 'Old Classic'

Kelly and I, plus Leo for part 2

Part 1, loop round the Marin trail, missing out the dragons back  pigs might fly sections and the climb up from llyn parc meant a quicker loop with less climbing.

Part 2, was an 'old classic' Leo in his youth used to ride these routes before the likes of the marin and even he admitted that it is a real challenge to ride without putting a foot down...personally, it is more of a challenge to not fall or get off, steep, rocky, drop ridden and diffinitely a lot worse if your get your line wrong. The route is from the memorial at llyn elsi down to the junction at betws y coed motors or cotswold rock bottom.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

MTB - Elin's Revenge

Kelly, Claire, Martin and I. Thanks Claire for the video and photos.

Another Bikefax special but this time my gripe is 'using movable features as a waypoint'. Download the route in the 'Route Download' section

Frosty start at Betws Y Coed, with Claire opting for shorts, it soon warmed up as we got going an eventually made it up onto the open moorland below Siabod, exellent clear views for miles around, sun shining and great biking. sweeping forest track roads lead down to Dolwyddelan. Picking up the Sarn Helen route back over towards Betws via some 'killer puddles' and plenty of gates, to the final descent which is pretty special, an fantastic rocky, line picking fest with fast bouncy sections and sudden drops, twists and turns. over the crossroads and the trail leads to a bridge with a 'eugh ohhhhhhhhhhhh' ending to it.

Martin tolds us we had burnt in excess of 1000calories so we had chips for lunch. Nice.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Quick Blast Around Moel Y Ci

(Only Me)

I had to get out of the house today so I went for a quick loop from the house, around MYC and back, up the road and down towards Rhiwlas from Mynydd Llandygai on the byway reminded me of being on holiday last summer, my introduction to downhilling. The route was rocky, flowing and fast, it gave that arm pump feeling and a real buzz. Definitely worth the uphill.

View towards the Carneddau from just above Sling

Arthur Daily! First ride in the Clwyds

Had a really good ride on this route from the Bixefax north east wales guide. Unfortunately, the weather was poor so no photos as I couldn’t see much. The route is good, only took 2 hours when the guide suggests 3-5hours and the track was pretty boggy, the descriptions also don’t match their map. But hey, it was a good bit of exercise.

I will upload the route to the 'Route Downloads' Section

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Birthday Biking Bonanza

(Kelly, Rachel, Sam Will and I)

A great day out with a long ride planned, fantastic start and then it all went wrong. At the furthest point from Llanberis (where the cars were) my rear mech decided to jump into my wheel and rip off, so I was left with bent hanger, useless chain, no rear mech and damaged spokes....still it was only 25miles by road the cars...

I had a good day, Cheers

Rachel - Telegraph Valley

Rachel - Telegraph Valley
Kelly - Telegraph Valley
Sam, at the top - Telegraph Valley Bwlch
The leftovers - Somewhere between Caenarfon and Porthmadog

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