newsletter 29

NUNEATON MOUNTAINEERING CLUB

NEWSLETTER 29               December 2008

Website http://www.nunmc.org/

Edited by Colin Green

PROGRAMME               DECEMBER 2008 – August 2009   Matt

December 13th                                      Peak District with Eileen.  Edale area.

January 9th-11th 2009                           Lake District.  Coniston YHA weekend.  Book it up with David.

February 19th – 23rd                             Scottish Highlands.  Southern Cairngorm area. Newtonmore Hostel. We have exclusive use of the hostel.  Limited to 10 places.  See Matt.

March 7th                                               Arenig Fawr.  10th anniversary of NMC.  A repeat of our very first walk.  See Colin.

April 4th                                                  Snowdon horseshoe with Debra.  You’ll kick yourself if you miss it.

April  TBA                                            NMC 10th anniversary meal.  Check it out with Michele.

May   TBA                                            Ullapool, Scotland.  Camping and/or SYHA plus lots of Munros.

May   TBA                                            Brecon Beacons day walk.

June 19th-21st                                          Great Langdale, Lake District.  See David for camping and/or seeing the sun up on solstice weekend.

July 10th-12th                                          Kettlewell, Yorkshire Dales camping weekend.  See Michele – you know it makes sense.

August 7th-9th                                        Peak District with Debra.  Weekend camping or just come for the day.

September 2009  TBA                          Possible trip to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.  Or somewhere else warm.

Backpacking in Scotland.  Matt or David.

Also                                                       Saul has expressed an interest in doing the length of Hadrian’s wall.  Any takers?

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 http://www.nunmc.org/

MEMBERSHIP

I’m sure that if you haven’t re-joined yet it’s just an oversight.  So to put that right drop a cheque for £17 into the post to: Eileen Walsh, 102 Copsewood Avenue, Nuneaton CV11 4TG.

Alternatively visit us any Thursday from 8.30pm at Attleborough Liberal Club, Bull Street Nuneaton.

SOCIAL SCENE   Michele

There is plenty going on over the next 2 months so please get in touch if you want tickets for any of these events.
Saturday November 29th    Bedworth Symphony Orchestra plays Beethoven  Leonora Overture, Mozart Piano Concerto No.23, Dvorak Symphony No.6 at Nicholas Chamberlaine school, Bulkington Rd, Bedworth. 7.30pm.  Tickets £5 on the door.
December/January    Panto? let me know if you’re interested then we can fix a date
Sunday December 21st    Carol Concert – Our Lady of the Angels church, Coton Rd, Nuneaton.

NMC CLUB FACEBOOK GROUP PAGE   Debra

Calling all club members and those who wish to get down with the kids!

We are planning to set up a Facebook Group Page for the club.  This will allow everyone to download their trip photos straight to the facebook site, an easy sharing option and apparently easier than downloading photos straight onto the NMC web page.

We plan to link both of the NMC web page and the Facebook site.

Facebook groups are a great way to spread the word about your organisation and maybe even recruit a few new members.  Keith and Debra ask you to watch out for forthcoming details.

UPDATE FROM DEBRA

The Facebook site is up and running.  NMC members can find it by logging onto Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/login.php and searching for the group.  It’s listed as Nuneaton Mountaineering Club page.

I’m going to be down loading all my photos onto the site from now on and others will be able to do the same as it’s an open group page which means anyone can join.  This will be better than sending photos out to everyone’s individual mailbox’s.

The Facebook page holds all relevant club details and a brief synopsis of ‘what we do’, activities, where we meet and membership price.  We have also linked docs to the NMC webpage including this years events list etc…and more will be added as info goes out.  Cool! We are definitely down with the kids!

COMING-UP      13th DECEMBER    EDALE            Eileen

Planned destination for the day walk on the 13th December is Edale and Jacob’s Ladder.  Starting at Casltleton, then north to Edale, up the Grindsbrook Clough onto the Pennine Way following the head of the dale round then dropping down via the Jacob’s Ladder path back to Edale.
I will be back to sort the meeting time and transport arrangements on 4th or 11th December.  (She’s away in Egypt Ed.)

COMING-UP      LAKE DISTRICT WEEKEND IN CONISTON   9th-11th Jan 2009

Seven places have been booked so far but there is plenty of room for more.  See David to secure your place or for more information.

COMING-UP      NEWTONMORE, SCOTLAND   19th-23rd February 2009

Long weekend with the expectation of some proper snow.  Winter gear plus ice axe and crampons required.  Check it out with Matt.

COMING-UP      10th ANNIVERSARY WALK  7th March 2009     Colin

Day trip to Arenig Fawr 854m just beyond Bala for a repeat of the first recorded club walk which took place on 27th March 1999.  My diary recorded 13 Nuneaton hillwalkers.  Can we beat that?

COMING-UP       10th ANNIVERSARY IN 2009        Michele

Next year Nuneaton Mountaineering Club will be celebrating its 10th birthday.  The committee are in the early stages of planning the celebrations.  We hope to have a function towards the end of April.  We would like to have as many past and present members and friends and family there.
It would be really helpful to have an idea of how many people would be interested so please would you let me know if you are interested (there is no firm commitment needed at this stage).

TRYFAN & GLYDER FACH  Saturday 20th September 2008  Debra

Debra, Mark, Anna and Ken.

Departing from Hartshill at 7.30am we began our walk just after 10.30am.  Parking in the small car park opposite Llyn Ogwen we walked the short distance to the marked footpath which lies to the left hand side of the dry stone wall. The weather was dry and clear, almost perfect for the day ahead.

The ascent followed a path marked with stone steps and after a few catching of breath moments the first scrambles of the day began to appear.  We stopped to take a few pictures and have a drink and then slowly picked our way up and over the grade 1 scramble.

Reaching the top in just over 3 hours we found ourselves in the mist of hordes of people!  What! I though.  Grannies and children of all ages!  And I thought I was special but alas no.  So with the crowds amassing we decided not to attempt Adam and Eve just in case I fell off or even worse made a fool of myself in front of the crowds….so we just sat contemplating while we ate our lunch looking at the views across to Y Garn and surrounding hills.

In front lay the Glyder’s and Bristly Ridge and after a short discussion it was decided that we should go for it up the scree path to the left of Bristly Ridge.  After lots more stops for breath we found ourselves at the top of Glyder Fach with the beautiful views down the Nant Francon Valley all the way to the sea.  From here it was straight across over the tumbling stones and slabs to a moment of frivolity on the Cantilever resulting in some strongman picture moments.

From there our descent took the route of Y Gribin which Mark described as more frightening than on the way up!  We scrambled a little and then found the path which lead us slowly down to Llyn Bochlwyd and across and down again to the exact spot where we parked the car!  It was great day, the weather was superb some of the best I have ever experienced in Wales and I was pleased as it was my first walk leading.  Hopefully not the last!

NMC CLUB DISCOUNT WITH COTSWOLD  David

It seems that our club discount is still available with Cotswold under the club account number of N2031.

This can have a saving of up to 15% on most of their range of goods.  If you are to purchase anything it is worthwhile checking that the discount is applicable to the type of items being purchased.
Each year they offer an increased discount of up to 20% but only for one day at their stores in Betws-y-Coed providing that they are notified in advance.
If any club member wants to take advantage of this discount, can you please let David know ASAP at so that I can negotiate the date with Cotswold direct.

SCOTLAND BACKPACK – SEPTEMBER 2008  David

In attendance, David, Matt, Ian, Paul and Graham.

We traveled by train to Aviemore to stay at the YHA for the third season.  The Indian restaurant closest to the YHA was our venue this time which was good, and was perhaps better than the one closest to the station.

This year we were able to keep to the proposed plan.

Friday – Having traveled by bus to the ski centre we ascended Cairngorm.  The height ascent was just about 2000 feet which I completed in one hour with the others coming up half an hour later.  The weather station on top although erected by a University still managed to include at least one spelling mistake on their plaque.

We then headed towards Benn Macdui, but to the west to try to contour around.  Although described as a plateau, Cairngorm is anything but one.  There followed a long walk.  To cut the walk shorter we descended very steeply towards our camp site at the east end of Loch Etchachen for about 3pm.  The camp at 900m was established amongst the many midges that should have long since disappeared.  Ian, Matt and myself then ascended Beinn Mheadhoin for a two hour jaunt with good views. 1225m + approx. 16k

Saturday – the weather had changed in the night.  The mist was down and it was wet and cold with strong winds.  We all left together and descended past the Hutchinson bothy, and having walked down the valley and crossing the stream Matt, Ian and myself made to head north whilst the other two spent their day walking in the valley.  We then ascended Beinn Chaoram in really poor conditions.  It was very cold in the strong wind and wet – almost winter conditions without the snow. There was then a very long walk over the plateau towards Beinn Bhreac which was hard going in the same conditions with deeply rutted and awkward ground with numerous bogs everywhere.  It as a relief to reach the top. There was then a descent directly into the valley with a long walk back up Glen Derry with a 650m re-ascent to reach the camp site in poor conditions arriving for about 5pm.  No one ventured from their tents until the next day as it was grim outside. 1100m 18.5k

Sunday – The other two headed off back to the ski centre whilst myself, Matt and Ian took in Derry Cairngorm.  To get back to the ski centre we had to go over Benn Macdui.  It was cold and windy with low cloud over the first hill.  It was then back to the YHA and a fish supper (having had a few pints). 700m, 13k.

The best mountain for myself was Derry Cairngorm.  We took in 6 Munro’s, 4 were new ones for Ian and myself and 5 for Matt.

I would recommend Expedition dried foods (800 cal) which were tasty and filling rather than the usual meals we take and to take fresh batteries for the Steripen!

 

THE REAL PENNINE WAY  15th November 2008  Andrew

“I’ve put my money down for the Novemberfest, darling,” I said when I got home after the AGM on Thursday night.  “I’m really looking forward to it – I can’t remember the last time I went out with the club.”

“That’s the weekend the German exchange party are here,” said Angela immediately.

BLOODY HELL!    ACHTUNG!!   DIE DEUTSCHEN KOMMEN!!!

How could I have forgotten that?   And why that week of all weeks?

But by the time the German teachers arrived three weeks later I had had time to get used to the idea and was ready to do my bit for international relations.  They are great people and I always enjoy their company.  Best of all – it came out in conversation that they had a chapter in their English schoolbooks about the Pennine Way, and were keen to use their free Saturday to see what it was really like.

Plan A for that day had been a trip to Tryfan, Bristly Ridge, Glyder Fach and Castell y Gwynt, but the forecast was so bad that I was happy to change to the Dark Peak and at six-fifteen that morning we were heading north like a bunch of kids just let out of school.

The day started well but as we reached Chesterfield there were two sun dogs in the sky and sure enough we encountered driving rain as soon we climbed out of the town.

By the time we got to Edale there was nothing of the surrounding hills to be seen.  I was glad to get out of the car – sick of being shaken and bumped on the increasingly narrow roads after Hathersage.  It must have been much worse for the passengers, Jörg and Christian.

We set off through the village, up along Grinds Brook and soon reached the access land.  The old familiar sense of joy and exaltation began to transform us all.  Like us, the walkers we met also gloried in the wind and the wet.  The Lancashire voices and friendly banter put me in mind of my parents, who so loved to get out of Stockport and walk here before the war, and of the Mass Trespass and ‘The Manchester Rambler’ and everything else that proves how essential the moorlands of the Dark Peak were and are to the well-being of people in the industrial towns around.

The gentle ascent was made more interesting by the amount of storm water coming off the plateau.  Normally you would follow the path across from one side of the stream to the other without a thought, but to-day every crossing had to be planned and carried out with care.  But the gritstone boulders were always a delight to walk on – often wet but never greasy.  The water was a golden peaty brown, capped with a cream foam.  It sounded and tasted beautiful.

Once on the plateau, we followed the path west for about one kilometre to the head of Crowden Clough, then struck out WNW across the top, aiming to reach the point where the Red Brook flings itself cheerfully off the western edge.

The peat was saturated and the water courses much fuller than usual, but by not sticking slavishly to the compass bearing, and following the water courses up-stream along the peat groughs we made quite good progress.

At the watershed I was embarrassed – it was impossible to ignore just how much damage man has done to this country:  by destroying the forests in prehistoric times, by over-grazing and not least by the pressure of the sheer number of walkers in the twentieth century.  I only found out recently about the extent of the harm.  Apparently as the degraded peat banks are exposed to the atmosphere they release the carbon dioxidethey hold, with the result that the Kinder Plateau and Bleak Low now give off an amount of CO2 equal to over a third of that emitted by the entire city of Sheffield.

Once over the watershed, the wind grew stronger and the rain peppered us.  “Go back! Go back!” called the odd red grouse, but otherwise there was no sign of animal life at all.  What we did see were white sacks full of the empty plastic plug packs which had contained young bog cotton plants.  These seedlings are air-lifted in their millions on to the plateau and planted out by volunteers to stabilise the peat and reduce erosion.  This work is something we could join in as a club.  It must be tremendous to feel you have done a little to undo the harm and leave the place better than you found it.  The further west we went the more the wind-chill became a factor to be reckoned with.  We hit the western edge of the plateau more or less where we expected to and turned NNE to complete the short step to Kinder Downfall.

At the Downfall a river plunges off the plateau into the teeth of the prevailing westerlies.  Sometimes these winds are so strong that none of the water reaches the bottom: as soon as it falls over the edge of the plateau it is whipped back aloft by the up-winds striking the escarpment.

It felt cold enough to seek the lee of a large rock and also get out the group shelter to have our dinner (fresh fruit, Dr Oetker’s pizza, pepperami and cheese and pâté sandwiches for any one who gives two hoots).  Then we got the map out and had what is known in Lancashire as an eyladsey.   You say “‘ey, lads, ‘ey!” – call the lads together and talk over what you will do

Our decision was to head south, lose some height down Jacob’s Ladder and follow the Pennine Way back to Edale.

The western edge of the plateau is well walked.  We met fell-runners and ladies’ rambling groups as well as the usual hairy-arsed types.   Everyone greeted us with the same Northern warmth, openness and humour.

South we went past Kinder Low and Edale Rocks.  As we gradually fell below the cloud base it was apparent that the weather had improved:  we could see clearly now the rain had gone.  The Edale Horseshoe was revealed in stunning glory, and also the prospect westward across the Cheshire plain to Alderley Edge and beyond.  These extensive views were an unexpected revelation, and so instead of descending by Jacob’s Ladder we agreed to stay high for a bit, turning NE past Edale Head and Crowden Tower before dropping off the plateau down Crowden Clough.

This way down involves a bit of scrambling which stops you getting bored or remembering you are little tired.  We lost height quickly, but then went back to help a couple with two children going the same way.  We offered guidance and supported their boys with a bit of discreet spotting.  The two young lads acquitted themselves extremely well in situations where a slip could easily have resulted in serious injury.

After that the walk off ran due south down the valley then back eastward in the dark along the minor road to Barber Booth and Edale.

Jörg and Christian said there was no high moorland like this in Germany.

Sometimes it takes visitors from far away to make you realise just how lucky you are.

 

COLIN’S DIARY

11th October          Cannock Chase with Keith K

18th October         Church Stretton with David and Anna.  Whilst sitting having lunch a group passed us and we exchanged a few words about whether there was an M&S or café or something on Ragleth Hill.  Later I received an e-mail from the main trig bagging man who asked if it was really me having lunch at the bottom of Ragleth Hill.  Seeing me out of context had thrown him.  Being more interested in a warm coffee I hadn’t noticed him at all.  Makes you wonder just how many times you might pass or just miss someone you know.

25th-31st October   Scotland with Trevor and Sue.  Self catering cottage at North Connel 6 miles from Oban.  Monsoon conditions on the way up.  Loch Lomond road awash with water and some pretty impressive streams and waterfalls visible from the road.

Something done every day but there were beefy wintry showers early in the week and a biting NE wind.  Proper snow covered the upper parts of Ben Lui and Ben Cruachan (very impressive as always) and all the Munros, but not much below 700m.  Early in the morning the Glen Orchy road needed caution as there were icy patches.  If you ever consider climbing the Graham Meall nan Gabhar resist the temptation to drive to the farm at Succoth (despite the pleasant greeting and parking in the farmyard) in favour of preserving you car suspension.

TARN OUTDOOR CENTRE WEEKEND November 14th-16th 2008  Colin

Nineteen members made it in the end and a good time was had by everyone.

En route walks on Friday were undertaken in the Peak District, Forest of Bowland, Kentmere and Orton – though as this last one is an overshoot it may not quite count as en route!

The centre was modern, spacious and well equipped and positioned for easy access to various hill areas we rarely walk.

On Saturday most headed for the Howgills from the Cross Keys.  A good choice as the ground is mostly dry and there are plenty of easy going paths once you have made the steep ascent.  The fact that the group were off the hill by 3pm had nothing to do, of course, with the Rugby Internationals being on TV.

More sturdy folk (Eileen, Ann, Mike and Colin) set off directly from the Centre and ascended Wild Boar Fell before going onto Baugh Fell.  No namby pamby paths here I’ll have you know but plenty of squashy North Country bog and a return to base under cover of darkness.

Keith and Michele were hitting the Nuttalls so drove round to the south of Kirkby Stephen for High Seat etc.  Good walk but wet (understatement) underfoot.

The evening buffet went very well.  Mulled wine and mince pies started us off followed by far too much food, but it was a lot less trouble for our regular chefs.  Evidence of the entertainment that followed can be found in part in Saul’s photos and video clips.  Also, we now have it on the good authority of Alasdair that Keith H’s favourite film Alien v Predator is rubbish.  There were then some drinks consumed before most sensible people went to bed.  Others seemed to stay up for half the night – I should have hidden my Ardbeg – but apart from Matt falling into our room at 2.40am all was well (so far as can be ascertained).

On Sunday most of the group returned to the Howgills with a linear walk from Sedburgh to the Cross Keys.  A bit cool but fine and clear.  Keith, Michele and Saul walked over Gragareth, Green Hill and Great Coum north of Ingleton.  A bit further than Colin’s estimated 7 ½ miles was the conclusion but at least it slowed Saul down who had been up until 5am or something!

Thanks to all who set up and organised the weekend and to all who got stuck in to the clearing up.

 

CLUN YHA WEEKEND  17th-19th October 2008   Debra Debra, Michele, Keith, Eileen, Mark, Richard and Sheila.

Michelle and I left Nuneaton at 10.30am on the morning on the 17th.  We took a steady drive finally parking at The Offa’s Dyke Centre in Knighton, Powys.

The Centre opened in 1999, forming the focus for activities based on the 8th Century earthwork built by Offa, the King of Mercia.  The dyke follows the Welsh English border from the hills above Prestatyn to the Severn Estuary near Chepstow.

The weather was bright and sunny, really perfect as we walked out along the river bank and up the steep grassy hill to meet the dyke.  Photos taken during the day included falling beech leaves that dropped from the trees that lined the river bank at the beginning of the walk, amusing sheep and of us on the dyke.

The walk took a roughly circular route, crossing fields and other footpaths.  Unfortunately the return path we planned to take had been permanently closed with an official notice, an old rusty gate plus barbed wire just in case one was tempted to cross.

So quickly consulting the map we took a slightly different route cutting back on ourselves just a little to bring us out above the town, we then walked further on debating which descent to take.  Some looked so steep they looked unsafe so we carried on a little to find a much better route down which lead us though the town centre and back to the car park with perfect timing to meet Richard and Mark who had just left the local pub.  The walk that day was appox. 7 miles.

We then departed for the YHA arriving just as the doors opened.  The Mill itself was a beautiful building which had been fully refurbished to a lovely standard, the only downside if there was one, was that the dorms were a little cramped with all the beds taken.

Friday night saw us eat in and head off for an early night to rise again the next day for a longer walk over the local Shropshire hills.  We walked out from the YHA through Clun village passing the castle to firstly join the Shropshire Way.  The weather was bright and sunny as we headed off along the route passing through farming fields and then on and up to join Offa’s Dyke again but this time from higher up along its length.                                                                                                                                                    We walked several ups and downs along the 11 mile route which finally brought up directly back to Clun village.  As we walked back into the village we decided to take a short diversion into the village church.  It was really lovely inside, the fruit, vegetables and wheat dollies were all still in place from the last Harvest Festival, all every well put together we thought.

We the took a well deserved tea and cake stop at the local tea shop which sits next to the lovely stone bridge in the centre of Clun.  We departed to make our way back to the YHA to see the local ducks swimming around under the bridge arches.  Some of the ducks were very unusual indeed with pom poms for headdresses.  I really have never seen anything like it!! I was laughing my head off.  I have included some photos but like so many things in life you had to be there to truly see how funny it was!

Saturday evening saw us all making our way to the pub for a group meal and a few drinks.  Sunday I headed back early to Wolverhampton to see my family and the others went for another walk, all in all a very good weekend.

HIGH SUMMITS ‘COULD HARM BRAIN’  From BBC News via David

Top mountaineers may be suffering subtle brain damage each time they reach the upper slopes of the world’s highest peaks, say scientists.

Italian researchers scanned “world-class” climbers before and after expeditions, publishing their results in the European Journal of Neurology.

They found changes in brain tissue even though, outwardly, the climbers had no obvious new neurological problems.

The most likely cause was a lack of oxygen at high altitudes, they said.

‘Most climbers are aware that if you are going over 8,000 metres, there may be a small amount of damage to the brain associated with that’.   Dr Mike Grocott, University College London.

At the summit of Everest, the world’s highest mountain, the concentration of oxygen in the air is reckoned to be only a third of that found at sea level, more than 8,000m lower.

All of the nine male climbers involved in the study, at the IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia in Rome, had reached their summit without the use of a supply of extra oxygen, a frequent practice among leading mountaineers.

Before the trip, they underwent MRI scans, and were checked for any neurological illnesses, then matched against “control subjects” of the same age and sex, who had never climbed above 3,000m.

Three of the climbers reached the top of at least one 8,000m peak, while the remainder reached altitudes of at least 7,500m, spending in excess of 15 days above 6,500m.

When they were scanned eight weeks after returning, compared with the “controls”, there was a fall in the density and volume of brain tissue in two parts of the brain, the “left pyramidal tract” and the “angular gyrus”.

Memory worry

However, Dr Margherita Di Paola, who led the study, said that this reduction did not appear to have a direct impact on their neurological performance.

“The climbers in our study did not suffer any significant neuropsychological changes after the expedition,” she said.

However, some abnormal results on both the “before” and “after” tests, she said, might be the result of small, progressive brain damage caused by repeated trips to high-altitude.

These included tests on memory and brain functions such as the ability to anticipate outcomes and adapt to changing situations.

Dr Mike Grocott, from University College London, who has himself helped carry out research high on Everest into the effects of altitude, said that there was other evidence of the potential impact of high-altitude mountaineering on the brain.

He said: “Most climbers are aware that if you are going over 8,000m, there may be a small amount of damage to the brain associated with that.

“Even a year later, people might not be as sharp as they were before.”

He said that the research did not show this type of climbing to be unacceptably dangerous, but should be viewed alongside other sports such as football, where studies suggests that even too much time spent heading the ball could cause subtle brain injuries.

 

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