Newsletter 24 – October 2007


NEWSLETTER 24                   October 2007

Edited by Colin Green

PROGRAMME    SEPTEMBER 2007  – FEBRUARY 2008    Matt Liggins

October 4th (Thursday)                     Quiz Night, 8.30pm. Attleborough Liberal Club.

October 14th                                          Cadair Idris with Keith and Michele

October 18th (Thursday)                    A.G.M. at the Liberal Club, Bull Street.

November 16th – 18th                           Betwys-y-Coed.  Bunkhouse for Novemberfest.  Get this in your diary.

                                                                  BOOKINGS NOW BEING TAKEN.  SEE MATT.

December 8th                                        Edale with Colin.

January 12th – 13th 2008                     Lake District weekend.  Windermere YH.  See David.

February 7th – 11th 2008                      Scotland long weekend.  See Matt.

                                                                BOOKINGS BEING TAKEN SOON.  DON'T MISS OUT.

Other Events – all welcome!

And there's much more than this going on.  Visit us on a Thursday evening from 8.30pm at Attleborough Liberal Club, Bull Street for impromptu activities, or ring Andrew on 01827  717 648 or Matt on  024 76 758 322 if you can't get down. And don't forget our website at


NMC Fringe Events

These events have been planned so as not to clash with the published programme.  They should complement the official trips and not compete with them in any way.

Sat and Sun – Sept 29th and 30th  Canoeing week-end

2 possibilities:

i               Middle and lower reaches of the Wye.

ii              One day on the Welsh Dee, followed by one day on the tidal section of the Conwy.

Each of these options has one day suitable for beginners one day requiring a little experience.  Join us for both days with overnight camp, or dip in for just one day as you wish.  Please contact Andrew or Nick soonest if interested.


There are a number of books that have come into our possession over the last few years.  It is proposed that they be disposed of either to other members (donations added to those from Debra's Quiz Night for Mary Ann Evans Hospice/Edale MRT) or to charity shops.  They will be available for inspection at the A.G.M.  Views welcome.


Proposed policy on club meets (pricing and bookings)

1)             Residential trips will be costed on a break-even basis, but the organiser may add up to £2.00 per head to cover unforeseen expenses.

2)             You will need to pay a deposit at the time of booking to secure your place.  The amount of the deposit will depend on how much the organiser has to pay in advance to secure the accommodation.

3)             Deposits are not returnable.

4)             You will be expected to pay the balance between 4 and 6 weeks before the trip.  If you don't, the organiser may offer your place to someone else.

5)             If you have paid in full for a trip, and then drop out, any money paid will not be refunded unless the club can sell your place to someone else.

6)             Any amount left over when all expenses have been paid will be added to the club funds.

COMING-UP QUIZ NIGHT   Thursday 4th October 8.30pm  Debra

I'm in the process of putting together the questions for the quiz.

I've already kindly received 10 mountain questions from Colin's friend Trevor, thanks!  I've also spoken to the people at the Mary Anne Evans Hospice to inform them of our forthcoming event.  They will be able to put together a poster for us to display.  I will be popping up to see them to finalise this ASAP.  Please ensure you support the quiz, friends and family welcome, teams of 4, £1 each entrance fee, raffle, all donations welcome!!  All monies raised will go to the Edale Mountain Rescue and the Mary Ann Evans Hospice of Nuneaton.



COMING-UP A.G.M. Thursday 18th October 8.00pm Andrew

Dear All,

The AGM is set for Thursday, November 18th at the Liberal Club at 8.00 p.m.  Here are the items on the agenda so far.  If you wish any other matters to be discussed, please let me know by September 18th. 

I'll ask Matt to send round an e-mail if there are any more agenda items.  If you would like me to post a copy out to you, please give me a ring on 01827 717648.

Please bring this copy of the agenda with you to the meeting to save paper.

It's your club, so come along and have your say.  All the best.


A G E N D A for the annual general meeting to be held on Thursday, October 18th, 2007 at 8.00 p.m. at the Attleborough Liberal Club, Bull Street, Attleborough, Nuneaton.

1              Apologies for absence.                      

2              Minutes of the last AGM.                                                                 

3              Reports:                 chairman


                                                meets secretary


4              Setting the subscription rate for 2007/8.

5              Election of committee for 2007/8.  Nominations are sought for all of these positions:

                •  Chair                                                                                  

                •  Vice-chair                                                                                          

                •  Treasurer                                                                                           

                •  Secretary                                                                                           

                •  Meets secretary                                                                                               

                •  Social secretary                                                                

Election of officers for 2007/8.  Nominations are sought for these positions:

                •  Newsletter                                                                                         

                •  Web site                                                                                            

                •  Quartermaster                                                                                   

7              Appointment of auditor                                                                     

8              Residential trips policy – pricing and booking

                This is the proposal:

                1)             Residential trips will be costed on a break-even basis, but the organiser may add up to £2.00 per head to cover unforeseen expenses.

                2)             You will need to pay a deposit at the time of booking to secure your place.  The amount of the deposit will depend on how much the organiser has to pay in advance to secure the accommodation.

                3)             Deposits are not returnable.

                4)             You will be expected to pay the balance between 4 and 6 weeks before the trip.  If you don't, the organiser may offer your place to someone else.

                5)             Any amount left over when all expenses have been paid will be added to the club funds.

10            Dates of future meetings:   committee


                                                                   AGM 2008            

11            Any other business.

COMING-UP  BETWS-Y-COED  16th – 18th November   Matt

A date for your diaries for the weekend commencing on the 16/11/07. 

We have managed to secure a booking for a bunkhouse for our Novemberfest club bash.  This year by popular demand it's good old Snowdonia.  The Eagles bunkhouse is in the village of Penmachno, which is 4 miles from Betws-y-Coed.  A good location to reach the whole of Snowdonia.  It also offers a variety of Forest and mountain biking trails.  The bunkhouse is situated behind a real ale pub and if the web site below is anything to go by it looks quite cosy.

COMING-UP    CADAIR IDRIS  14th October with Keith & Michele

Check-up with Keith or Michele as to the starting point.  First person to spot Larry, reported have a new pad in the vicinity, can have the honour of asking him if we can all pop round for a cup of tea.

COMING-UP    SHROPSHIRE   8th December   Colin

There will be a cunning plan in due course but as it's on a need to know basis and you don't need to know yet just make sure you get the date in your diary.

COMING-UP    SCOTLAND February 7th – 11th 2008     Matt

After a few changes the present plan is to go to Onich in the Central Highlands based at Corran Bunkhouse.  This is located between Glencoe and Fort William just a short distance beyond the bridge over Loch Leven near to the Corran Ferry.


Reports reach me via the RHB website  that seven Scottish hostels are about to go, including Killin, Glen Devon and Loch Lochy.  Kirkwall seems to be moving from an all year round opening pattern to summer only and it is not the only one apparently.  I expect all will be revealed in due course but it may make booking hostels for groups such as ours much more difficult.

NORTH WALES CAMPING WEEKEND  16th – 17th June   David

David and Matt set out from home early on Saturday morning to reach the campsite chosen by Andrew, who by that time had gone with Tim, his son and Paul and his son for their climbing tuition.  At the campsite was Nick.

Matt and myself headed to the west side of Snowdon and up the south ridge and down the Snowdon Ranger pathway to the pub at the bottom (which had a open fire – in June!).  We had a drink outside where it was a more normal temperature. The new cafe on top of Snowdon is now being built – but why?

This was a relatively easy day compared to last weekend's heat. 6 hours 1040m.  The evening meal was at the same pub that is next to our Bunkhouse for the November trip.  We can report that the food and beer were cheap, the later being better than the former. 

Sunday – this was another good day with a trip to Moel Siabod ascending up the grade 1 scramble on the SE ridge and coming down the NE ridge. 5 1/2 hours 760m.

BLACK MOUNTAINS 10th June  David

David, Keith and Michele.

Having parked at Cwmdu in the Black Mountains we ascended steeply up the shoulder of Pen Gloch Y Pibwr in full sun which made the going pretty hard.  We then progressed on to Pen Allt Mawr and down to Myndd Llsian.  On the way Keith acted as the hero to save the life of a sheep which had become wedged on its back and was being attacked by a crow.  The sheep once on its legs made a shaky retreat with its lamb without even a thank you!  A visit to Castle Dinas earthworks was well worth while. We contoured to the north of Mynydd Treod to walk back over Pen Tir. The heat made this a very tiring day. 26k. 8 ½ hours and 1035m. A meal was taken at Raglan.


The campsite booked was Hollows Farm at Grange, 3 miles south of Keswick on the Borrowdale road.  I arrived in the lakes first but waited until 2.30pm for the rain to stop then did a walk from Grasmere towards Fairfield.  I only got as far as Grizedale Tarn before bad visibility persuaded me to go and survey some pubs instead.

I reached the campsite at about 5.30pm and met Keith and Michel who had just put up their tent.  A meal was cooked then we walked for 40 minutes along the river path to the Scafell Hotel at Rosthwaite for a few drinks. This place is in the good beer guide, a bit pricy though.  At about midnight Alasdair and Kimberly arrived at the campsite which woke up all the dogs (all the other tents apart from ours had at least 2).

For Saturday Keith planned a walk taking a bus to Buttermere then walking back across the hills to the camp site.  This took in Robinson 737 m and Dale Head 753 m.  At this point I was far ahead of the others and took a wrong path and ended up in a pub garden.  The others turned north and did High Spy and Cat Bells.

Saturday night was spent at the hotel again and we had a meal.  I ordered gammon and got about one pound of meat.  The others chose local ostrich.  Did they get a leg or a breast?  Did they hell, they got a little slice that weighed about 5 grams.

On Sunday the weather was beautiful.  We all split up.  Keith and Michel went up Glaramara 783 m.  Al and Kimbo went down a slate mine and I did the full circuit of Derwentwater.  This takes 4 hours of walking but I did it in 6 after watching a Houdini type chap escaping from chains in Keswick town square.  A good weekend all in all.  The campsite is really unspoilt, surrounded by trees with red squirrels scurrying about and the crystal clear river Derwent bubbling by.


This was a very well attended event.  Derek, Poppy our dog and I arrived Friday lunch time, in our rather ancient, (we bought it 20 years ago and it was second hand then), but still very serviceable camper van.  Although we had not used the camper van for the last two years we were pleased to say that it was still water proof and in surprisingly good order. Mark and Richard arrived early afternoon pitched their tents and then went off to cycle to Ashbourne on the High Peak and Tissington trails, whilst Derek and I enjoyed a freshly baked baguette with bacon and brie, highly recommended, and a swift pint at the Royal Oak before going on a shortish 8km local walk.  Keith and Michele had arrived when we returned to the camp site, followed a little later by Tony and Rachel. Nick completed the numbers expected for Friday night.

Saturday was a beautiful day, with blue skies and sunshine. Colin, David and Paul had driven up for the day and Mo, Keith and Debra completed the camping party.

Nick set off with Richard, Mark, Keith, Michele, David and Mo cycling down the High Peak trail which was adjacent to the camping site. The rest of us walked from the camping site over the fields to Monyash and then followed the Limestone Way for several kilometres before heading north to the village of Over Haddon in perfect time for a lunch time drink in the Lathkill Hotel.  Having told Colin that there were no trig points on this walk, he spent his lunch break searching his map and found one only a short deviation away and set off to bag it. The rest of us, after getting re-hydrated, walked down to Conksbury Bridge to start the return journey along the exceptionally attractive Lathkill Dale back to Monyash, where surprisingly enough, there was another pub and a café selling ice creams.  Suitably refreshed we walked back over the fields to join the cyclists at the camp site.  The walk was approximate 22 km, with very little climbing on well defined footpaths.

Eight of us, plus a couple of Keith and Michele's friends, ate at the pub whist the rest set up their BBQ and enjoyed the lovely warm summers evening, joining us later for a drink.

The weather forecast for Sunday was not so good and we had had rain during the night but it cleared up sufficiently for Richard, Mark, Keith, Debra, Mo, Derek and myself to drive to Alstonefield for a 9 km walk through Overdale, where incidentally, there is a new YH, down Gipsy Bank to the river Dove and along Wolfscote Dale to Beresford Dale where we crossed the footbridge to find an ice cream van parked.  Duly refreshed we returned on footpaths over the fields back to Alstonefield for a swift drink before setting off for home. We did get a couple of showers during the day, one when we were in the wooded valley and the other whilst we were in the pub so we all managed to stay dry, which was a big bonus.

This was billed as a social weekend, and thanks to the weather, and the numbers that were able to attend, it could not have been better.  I had a great time and I hope that every one else enjoyed their weekend.  Many thanks to Michele for booking the camping site and for everyone who made the effort to come, even if it was only for the day.


The final instalment of Alastair's popular recipe collection. 

For autographed copies and/or the leather bound collectors' edition please see Alastair.


Cobb loaf (or other loaf of crusty bread, unsliced)

1C mayonnaise

250g cream cheese (aka soft cheese)

2C grated tasty cheese (aka mature chedder)

~1C frozen spinach, defrosted, or maybe more

1 onion, finely chopped

Cut the top off the loaf and scoop out the insides.  Toast the insides and save for later.  Heat other ingredients in microwave and then pour into foil-wrapped loaf.  Replace lid, complete wrapping in foil and bake for 1 hour at 180°C .

Serve with toasted insides and vegetables such as carrot sticks, sliced capsicum and celery sticks (to try and fool yourself that it's healthy).


And just when you thought you were safe this happens.

The website of John and Ann Nuttall reported on 2nd September 2007 that:

Following meticulous surveying by John Barnard and Graham Jackson two new summits have been proved to merit inclusion.

Carnedd y Filiast North Top (SH617631) After three surveys we originally dismissed this top as having only 49ft of re-ascent, but precision levelling now gives it 52.5ft.

Castell y Gwynt (SH654581).  We originally dismissed this also as having only 49ft of re-ascent, but precision levelling gives it 51.5ft.  It also has the distinction of being a three thousander.

Basically in layman's terms this means that there is another top at the end of a ridge NW beyond Elidir Fawr.  The other is between the two Glyders the ‘Castle of the Winds' which is interestingly over 3,000ft and therefore the 16th Welsh three thousand summit?


The way that the groups on the Blair Atholl trip split up was not dissimilar to the plot of Lord of the Rings.  It is left to the reader to decide who matches which character.


Lord of the Rings

Nun MC Blair Atholl trip

Start with the Fellowship:

Aragon – Human

Boromir – Human

Frodo – Hobbit

Gandalf – Wizard

Gimli – Dwarf

Legolas – Elf

Merry – Hobbit

Pippin – Hobbit

Sam – Hobbit

Start with:











Gandalf dies in the Mines of Moria.

On the morning of day two Ann and Colin leave, having already spent most of the week walking.  That's two people, so perhaps one is the Elven princess left behind?

The Fellowship crosses windswept mountains. 

After arriving at the campsite at 13:00, the remaining eight spend the afternoon standing in the cold wind talking and hiding in our tents during the showers.  We sleep for 12 hours because there's nothing else to do. 

During fighting with the Uruquai Boromir is killed, and Frodo and Sam leave the Fellowship and are soon joined by Gollum.

The next morning, after heavy rain, Eileen, Matt and Tony leave to head back towards Blair Atholl.

The remaining five continue to fight, but Merry and Pippin are captured by the Uruquai.

Alastair, David, Gary, Ian and Shelia break camp as the river rises.  They leave the bulk of their gear stashed at the campsite walk to the top of Carn Ealar.  Rather than attempt An Sgarsoch, Alastair and Gary leave to collect their gear and try for the Tarf Hotel bothy.

Aragon, Gimli and Legolas do things like visit the Rohan and fight at Helms Deep.

David, Ian and Shelia get to the top of An Sgarsoch, return to retrieve their gear and then camp a bit closer to the next day's hill and further from the rising river.  The next day they return to Blair Atholl via Carn a' Chlamain (I think).

Merry and Pippin meet the Ents and are with them when they destroy Isengard.

Alastair and Gary meet some mountain bikers in the bothy and help get the fire going.  They return to Blair Atholl via Glen Tilt.

My memory of the books and films gets a bit hazy.

Everyone bar Colin and Ann meets up for dinner at Blair Atholl.



Driving from St David's to Solva Steve and I parked the car (for free) at Solva harbour and took the first bus of the day back to St David's.  From here we took a second bus to the top of the lane which leads to St Justinian's (Porthstinian) and walked back on ourselves along the footpath that leads to the far end of Whitesands Bay.  From here we followed the coastal path for the rest of the day at what some would describe as a dawdling pace.  The weather was cloudy and with a little breeze but good for walking.  We stopped half way round for a coffee at the tent, as we found we walked straight past the camp site where we were staying at Porth Clais.  A lovely day was had and this walk comes highly recommended.  We also managed to do a high speed boat trip around Ramsey Island where I saw the biggest waves of my life.  Also there were the more sedate historical bits of St David's cathedral and village centre (yes I know it's supposed to be a city).

QUIZ NIGHT 4th October

Thought I'd mention it again just in case you hadn't noticed.

Bring all your friends and family as it's in a good cause and it should be a nice sociable evening.

FOINAVEN MISSES OUT ON MUNRO STATUS – but watch out for Beinn Dearg!

Received from David Foster via BBC News

A summit in the far north of Scotland has failed to measure up to Munro status denying it entry on an exclusive list of peaks over 3,000ft (914.4m).  Larbert-based surveyors CMCR Ltd used new technology to check Foinaven in Sutherland to see if it qualified, but found it falls short by 12ft (3.4m).  The study was commissioned by the Munro Society.  At an announcement in Falkirk it was declared to be 2,988ft (911m).  Another mountain Beinn Dearg in Torridon will be measured in August.  (This is currently recorded as 2,999ft. Ed)

Two surveyors from CMCR, along with members of the Munro Society and various mountaineering clubs, took the measurements of Foinaven on 12th and 13th May.

The expedition surveyed the Corbett, Foinaven, and its summit Ganu Mor using satellite positioning equipment.

A Corbett is the name for peaks in Scotland between 2,500ft and 3,000ft. (With 500ft of re-ascent on all sides.  Ed.)

Team members revealed their findings at a media conference in Falkirk.

The Munro Society was formed in 2002 and has more than 3,000 members who have climbed all of Scotland's current Munros.  Debate over whether Foinaven is a Munro or one of Scotland's 220 Corbetts has raged for a number of years.

English translations of its Gaelic name include a wart hill and white mountain.

This re-surveying however poses more questions than answers according to that excellent publication ‘The Angry Corrie'.  If Foinaven has been downgraded from 914m (Ordance Survey aerial survey) to 911m (more accurate ground surveying) then how many other Munros might loose a few feet or metres as a result?  The consequences could be that any Munro in the 914m to 917m bracket could be in danger of loosing its status.  Out of interest that's seven – Sgurr nan Ceannaichean, Ben Vane and Beinn Teallach 915m; Beinn a'Chleibh and Beinn a' Chlaidheimh 916m and Geal-charn (Drumochter) and Carn Aosda 917m.  Alternatively it might just be a rouge result.  In any event the low Munros might not be required as sea level rise will demote them all in time – if you can wait long enough.  Ed.


7th September.  Beinn Dearg, Torridon has been measured at 913.675m so there is no change there.  The hill's height will be rounded up to 914m so still short on the 914.4m needed for Munro status.  Looks like the OS can make accurate measurements after all.  (Report from RHB website)

IRELAND – CYCLE TOURING June 13th – 21st   Ann

Ann and Mike. 

The plan was for a short tour in Northern Ireland, the north-east coast, Larne, the glens of Antrim and the Antrim coast before moving into Inishowen and up to Malin Head (the northerly point of Ireland) and across the north-west into Donegal.  Then we started to return across Londonderry to catch the train to Belfast and return to the start in Larne.

The highlights of the trip – the wonderful weather.  No, I'm afraid we did have a lot of rain.  But apart from the rain, that didn't deter us, we had a really good tour.  We cycled to Glenariff to see the waterfalls.  Glenariff is the best known of the glens of Antrim and has been dubbed the ‘Queen of Glens'.  There were wonderful views from the visitor centre of the wide valleys, green pastures and lots of rocky gorges with tumbling streams.

Then we went to Cushendun where we had a coffee stop.  Cushendun is an architectural oddity almost entirely designed by Clough William-Ellis the architect of Portmeirion in north Wales.

We cycled through wind and rain to Carrick-a-Reed.  The island has an impressive rope bridge which was unfortunately closed due to bad weather as the winds were at 30 mph.  Then we went on to the Giant's Causeway to see the columns of basalt clustered on the shoreline.  It's been designated as a World Heritage Site.  The only other place in the world where such columns can be seen is on Staffa off the coast of Scotland.

We cycled to Malin Head – the most northerly point of Ireland.  The roads were very quiet and in good condition for cycling.  Distance – 52 miles.

Next we went through a village called Kerrykeal.  This is where I saw a corncrake after hearing the call.  My first sighting of a corncrake was on Iona on my trip with Colin.  It's fairly rare and now I've seen two.

We cycled to Dungloe on the west coast.  Here we saw ‘Bungalow Blight' as the locals call them – a ruined coastline with half built bungalows, some finished but with no sense of community or even a church to be seen!

We cycled to Londonderry and caught a train to Belfast.  We had cycled 300 miles in total ending in Belfast city, where we hoped to celebrate in a posh hotel.  It was 6.15 pm and still no accommodation.  We had to go back on the train to Larne where we had B&B.

Next and last day we left our bikes in the B&B for a day of rest.  We became proper tourists and went to Belfast.  We took a city tour bus and it rained!  But all the same it's a fascinating place steeped in history.  We went up the Falls Road and Shankill Road.  We saw the Peace Line, wall murals, Titanic quarter, parliament buildings (Stormont) and the botanic gardens.  The guide spoke of the troubles, now in the past.  I think it's a wonderful achievement – so much bloodshed and killing but now peace.

We visited the most famous pub in Belfast.  The Crown Bar is a Victorian public house with gas lighting and snug rooms still in tact.  Mike had a cup of tea – no not really he had a pint of Guinness and I had an Irish liqueur!

We then got the ferry back to Cairnryan where we'd left the car at the B&B.  On route we shopped in Port Patrick which is a lovely harbour town where we saw a Black Guillemot.

Ireland was really good.  I'm not one for clichés but I found Belfast interesting and the people friendly.  Our next cycle tour will be on the Outer Hebrides in 2008.

MANX ADVENTURE Saturday 9th June  9 miles.  Debra

South Barrule Hill Fort

The long weekend of June 8-11th saw me travel the short distance across the Irish Sea to the lovely Isle of Man.  Flying from Birmingham in a small 30 seater plane it delivered me in 45 minutes to the arms of mom and dad.

My mom had arranged for me to walk with a friend of hers who was a member of the local "Manx Footpaths Conservation Group".  The full days walk was planned for the Saturday of my stay.

Parking in the car park of the South Barrule plantation above the village of Foxdale I met the other members of the club. The weather was warm and sunny with a cooling breeze ideal for the walk ahead.  All were very friendly as I made my introductions strolling our way up through the mixed deciduous and evergreen forest.  The path brought us out at the edge of an old mine and on up into the open heather covered moor.

From here we joined the main path up and on to the first top of the day South Barrule at 483m, stopping here for a short break and to admire the view.  The old hill fort dates from the Iron Age was once the main defence for the south of the island.

Descending we crossed the A36 and made steady progress across Cronk Fedjag.  From here it was up again for lunch at the second top of day of Cronk ny Arrey Laa 437m.

South Barrule and Cronk ny Arrey Laa both overlook the south of the Isle of Man and lie closest to the western coast of the island.  On a clear day, when standing in within the bounds of the historic hill fort, one can see five nations; England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and of course the Isle of Man.  On this particular Saturday you could see the whole south of the island to the Calf of Man and further on into the blue sea.

After a good 45 minutes break! we started on our return down past the Slieau Mooar plantations to the beautiful Glen of Rushen.  This glen is 1 of 17 on the isle and all are little valleys with protected streams and rivers. Native flowers and plants differ due to the unique effects of the Gulf Stream producing micro climates and specialised ecological niches.

Once past the glen we walked up again to find ourselves in the barren waste lands of Old Beckwith mine workings.  Closed for the production of lead ore in 1877, the main shaft was 1,100 feet deep, the bottom of which being considerably lower than sea level.  What remains today are the impressive ruins of the mine buildings and lopsided chimney.

After resting in the shade for a short while we finished the circular walk passing above Foxdale village, through the cool forest and back to the car park.  It was a lovely day made only better by the friendly club members and the glorious weather.  I offered to return the favour if any of them found themselves passing by the way of Nuneaton.

COSTA BLANCA   September 2007  Richard

This years trip was to the mountain area about two thirds of the way down Spain, twenty miles inland from Benidorm.

Richard, Les, Debra, Tony, Eileen and Keith flew from Coventry to Valencia.  For a change neither Keith nor Les tried to take knives aboard but Deb had a knuckleduster taken off her.  Well actually is was a small D ring on her rucksack, but the jobs worth security guard said she could have put it over her finger and smashed someone's face with it.  Landing in Valencia we hired two small cars for the week.

The accommodation was a villa in a mountain village called Alcalali.  This was perfect for us with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a swimming pool and all mod cons for about the price off a YHA hostel at home.  Keith elected to sleep on the sofa in the lounge so as not to disturb anyone's sleep.  He made the mistake however of covering himself with an old dog blanket and was bitten to hell by fleas.  The garden even had an overhanging fig tree, a pomegranate tree, a walnut tree and an orange tree and with only the oranges not being ripe.  I bought 5 litres of red wine at the supermarket for 5 euros; Keith drank 2 litres that night and had a hangover all next day.

The mountains were limestone and averaged around 1100 metres high with the highest in the area at 1560 metres.  Although maps had been ordered in advance none arrived in time and we could not find a shop selling them, so the only walking guide we had was a book of walks.  This was fairly good but lacked some detail and would cause problems later on.

In the mountains you can legally walk virtually anywhere except private gardens, but practically this is very hard because of the spiky vegetation, in Spanish (garigue).  Because of this, shorts are not recommended walking wear.  The local walking club only walk from October to May because of the heat.  It was 27 degrees C while we were there, so we wore shorts, this also caused problems later.

On Tuesday we went up the Alt De Ample.  This was a circular walk with 410 metres of accent.  It followed old Mezarabic trails.  These date back to when the Christians accepted Moorish rule.  Most of the tracks are over old  olive terraces, but the trees are long gone.  At one point the path was blocked by a large spider in a very large web.  Deb nearly had a dickie fit getting past.

Wednesday we visited one of the local tourist traps, a series of waterfalls called the Fuente Del Algar.  This river flows down from the high Sierra.  The water is crystal clear and many people, including me, had a swim in it.  The drive to this place is also a well known attraction called the Coll De Rates road.  It goes over a high point of 780 metres with endless hairpin bends and spectacular scenery.  On the return journey we popped into a beautiful village called Guardalest.  The centre of the village is a large rock with an old Moor castle on the top.  We paid for a tour of this.

Next day we picked a 5 and half hour walk called the Cordilleras De Almadich.  The accent is 700 metres climbing gradually up to the head of a valley then a ravine is scrambled to a high plateau.  The track to here was very narrow and legs were scratched badly.  The return was along ledges on top of a cliff with another 500 metres of mountain above us.

Because we had no map finding the way back down after the ledges was difficult.  My GPS pointed towards our cars down a ravine and as the going looked OK from the top we scrambled down a scree slope before following the dry riverbed.

This was the start of our troubles.  The path petered out completely being replaced by a jumble of boulders overgrown with rough scrub, brambles and worst of all wild roses.  The GPS said it was only 700 metres to the car from this point so we continued.  Tony was leading and received the most injuries from the thorns.  We climbed down a couple of 2 metre boulders and at one point Keith grabbed a large dead tree for support but it snapped in half and nearly took him down the gorge.  Les fell down a hole and nearly broke his leg.  After this it levelled out but Deb at the back lost touch so shouted, "Which way is it lads," to which Keith replied, "Just follow the trail of blood".

We then regrouped on an old olive terrace thinking the worst was over with 500 metres to go when we found we were trapped by a large bramble bush.  Tony did a brave thing by crawling on his hands and knees under it.  Unfortunately he popped up before he had reached the other side and had brambles entirely wrapped around his head and body.  When he eventually got free he had blood oozing from all parts of his body.  Luckily this was the last obstacle and we were at the cars in 20 minutes.  We were picking thorns from our bodies for the next 3 days.

On Friday after the tribulations of the previous day the coast was visited again to soak the injuries in sea water this time to a town called Calpe.  Eileen,Deb and Tony had a short walk then headed to the beach.  Rising strait out of the sea is a large rock called Penon De Ifach.  This is about 300 metres high.  Les, Keith and Richard ascended it via a zig-zag path for 50 metres then through a tunnel to the other side followed by 250 metres of rough shiny limestone ending in a scramble.  There was a family of feral cats living on the top.  Everyone then met up for lunch by the beach and had an hour festerin, before a thunder storm sent us packing back to the villa.  The road back was like a river.

Saturday was market day so Keith was dragged there to buy some shorts because he was still wearing the ones with a  hole in that he wore last year.  Tony bought a bum bag and Deb some knickers.  I don't know if they were to replace holy ones.  Keith nearly purchased a watch but was too tight to spend the £2.50 asking price.

Les ,Keith, Eileen and Richard then drove up to the Coll De Rates previously mentioned where there was a very good German restaurant and walked up past two radio transmitters to a high point of 1000 metres.  This walk had a lot of wild life to view ie hawks, eagles and many strange bugs not previously seen.  Before driving back we visited the village of Castell De Castells.  This is the where we planned to stay originally but it was a bit quiet, so we had made a good decision to go to Alcalali.

Sunday was the last day so the tourist guide book was searched for something not too far away and a show cave was chosen followed by another trip to the coast. The cave called Cova de Calaveres had only 400 metres of tourist passage but was well presented with a touch screen video screen telling the history from when Neanderthal man lived in it.  The only things living in it now are bats swooping past your head as you passed by.  We had a drink at the cave bar and Keith fancied the waitress and before she had served his beer asked her if he could share a room in her flat.

The town at the coast called Denia was supposed to be very pretty, but we drove to the wrong end of town and had a walk.  It was a bit like Camp Hill in Nuneaton.  Driving out of the other side we found the good bit.

Every evening of the holiday was spent in one of about 5 restaurants in town and was always good quality and value, usually around £10 for two or three courses including half bottle of wine.  We were attracted to one bar by the promise of Spanish dancing.  It turned out to be one man on an organ and a 90 year old English bloke singing old crooner songs.

The only memorable thing about the flight home was that I concentrated so much on leaving just enough water in my hand luggage so I could have a drink just before putting my bag through the x ray machine that I completely forgot the litre of brandy I also had.  So rather than hand it over for the security people to drink I queued up for another half hour to put it in the hold.  Well, it did cost me £4.


Steve and Julie were spotted in Nuneaton by Colin – or rather the other way round, as I was in a daze at the time having just had to splash out on a new mobile phone.  Looking bronzed like a couple of old sea dogs you could almost imagine that they had just sailed around the coast of Britain.  They actually did have a sea dog with them but I forgot to ask his/her name.  It was reportedly having trouble on land as it had spent so much time at sea it thought the world was continually rolling from side to side.

The main purpose of the visit seemed to be to see their new grandchild (Michael's).  I forgot to ask much about this too but there's a single bloke for you who really wanted to moan about having to purchase a mobile phone.

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