Newsletter 30 – February 2009


NEWSLETTER 30                February 2009


Edited by Colin Green

PROGRAMME               FEBRUARY – SEPTEMBER 2009   Matt

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  Friday 24th                               NMC 10th Anniversary meal.  Check it out with Eileen.

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.

Aug – Sept 2009                                   Pyrenees with Eileen or another cunning plan.

September 2009 TBA                           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

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?


An invitation and a date for the diary.

A meal to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Nuneaton Mountaineering Club will be held on

Friday 24th April 2009 at The Chase Hotel, Higham Lane, Nuneaton.

All past and present members, husbands, wives, partners and guests are very welcome.

Early indications of the numbers would be helpful so, if you could let me know if you will be able to attend, it would be much appreciated. I will need final numbers by 17th April. I will circulate the menu, which is quite extensive, nearer the time. As a guide an average 3 course meal will cost in the region of £15.

I look forward to hearing from you.


An ever popular walk with Debra out in front following her lead ascent of Tryfan last year.  One not to miss.  I wont.

SPANISH PYRENEES  Aug/Sept 2009    Eileen
I would like to put the above proposal forward for the Nuneaton Mountaineering trip abroad.
I have looked at flights and the cheapest I can find are:-

with BMI Baby from Birmingham to Barcelona, Monday 24th August £26.04 returning on Thursday 3rd September £26.04.
With Easyjet from East Midlands to Barcelona, Wednesday 26th August £25.99 and returning 3rd September £36.93.
(We could of course go from East Midlands on 26th August for £25.99 and back to Birmingham on the 3rd September for £26.04)
I have not as yet looked into accommodation or route but would anticipate spending a day or so in Barcelona, then hiring a car and heading for the mountains.
I would like to hear from anyone interested in this or any other proposal as soon as possible, to get the cheap flights we must book soon.  Cheers Eileen.


Nuneaton Mountaineering Club’s Group YHA membership has been renewed reference no.018 8619227.  See David if you wish to make use of it in 2009.


Friday, 6th February 2009, 8:00 PM at Atherstone Memorial Hall
*The Last Resort* presented by *Strangeface Theatre Company*
A darkly comic folk tale with masks, puppets and live music.  A remote village on the verge of ruin is visited by a soldier with a fortune on his back and a devil at his side.  Think /Spitting Image/ meets /Wallace and Gromit /!

Tickets – £8.50.
Friday, 6th March 2009, 8:00 PM at Atherstone Memorial Hall

*Cat’s Cradle* presented by *Miracle Theatre Company*
Film, music, comedy and clever theatre in this tale of mad scientists and a promised apocalypse. Who will save the planet?  Tickets – £8.50.
Saturday 28th March, 7.30 PM at Nicholas Chamberlaine School,Bedworth

*Bedworth Symphony Orchestra* – Spring Concert
Programme includes Greig, Brahms, Holst.  Tickets £5 on the door.

NEWTONMORE BUNKHOUSE TRIP 19th-22nd February    Matt

If I haven’t spoken to you yet please let me know your plans for travel.

For those still undecided about accommodation the other independent hostel in Newtonmore may be worth a look.  They have a decent web site.
Strathspey Mountain Hostel, Main Street, Newtonmore, Inverness-shire, PH20 1DR.  Telephone: 01540 673694
For those who have booked into the Newtonmore hostel I have picked out some key information.  If you require any more the web site has a seemingly unending list of do’s and don’ts.  Address is as follows: Craigellachie House, Main St, Newtonmore, Inverness-shire, Scotland. PH20 1DA. Telephone 01540 673360.
The hostel supply all bedding, wood, tea towels, cleaning cloths, pan scrubbers, toilet paper, and washing up liquid.
The kitchen is well equipped so you just need to bring yourselves, your gear, and your food.
Provided that you arrange it in advance, it might be possible to arrive before 3pm.
If you are delayed and likely to arrive after 10pm please phone to let the hostel know.
Playing cards and board games are provided.
There is no TV, by request of our customers. The Glen Hotel has a ‘big screen’.
There is a small ‘hi-fi’ system in the lounge (radio, tapes and CDs).
There is parking space for four vehicles side by side facing the Hostel. You are welcome to squeeze more vehicles in behind them at night but please remove them in the morning.  See you soon.

Stop Press – There seems to be at least two group meals being planned.  One by chief chef Matt and the second by Keith and Michele.  Do your own thing on the Thursday.  Ed.



No responsibility is taken by the Editor for the face in the bottom right corner of the above map from the hostel website.   I would certainly have deleted it had I the computer skills to do so.  Bah Humbug.


EDALE  13th December   Eileen

Six club members (Eileen, Keith H, Colin, Ann, Saul, and Anna), and two guests (Yvonne and Craig) set out from our free street parking in Castleton on a rather grey and damp day.  The weather was better than forecasted, (no wind), but wet weather gear was the order of the day against the persistent drizzle, which Colin assured us would stop by 11 am.

Our route took us over fields up to Hollins Cross and then down into Edale.  We followed the Pennine Way path up Grinsbrook Clough.  Because of all the recent rain there was a lot of water in the brook which made crossing the brook interesting, especially as we had just seen a guy from a group in front of us fall in.  The route up the gully is made interesting by having to pick your way through boulders to reach the open moorland at the top.  Unfortunately the steepness of the gully proved a little too strenuous for Craig and he and Keith opted to return to Edale.

The drizzle turned to sleet for a little time then cleared up but there were still lots of snow and ice patches left over from the recent cold weather which allowed for a bit of snowballing fun.  The walk over the moors affords great views into the valleys and also has the added interest of a series of impressively large and fantastic shaped gritstone outcrops which, with a bit of imagination form shapes of fish, chairs, anvils etc.  After passing one such outcrop the path starts to descend and then joins the Jacobs Ladder path back down to the valley.

At Upper Booth we left the Pennine Way and continued on the road to Barbers Booth.  It was starting to get dark so we made the decision to continue on the road rather than back across the footpath to Hollins Cross, and completed the walk by returning back to Castleton down Winnats Pass.  20km 12 ½ miles.



December 20th      Malvern Link to the car park below Herefordshire Beacon (British Camp) via North Hill and Worcestershire Beacon and back to Malvern Link with the aim of getting some exercise and testing out my new winter mountaineering boots.  Overcast and breezy but mild. Diversion to The Map Shop in Upton upon Severn for some pre Christmas retrial therapy.

December 28th      Bredon Hill from Elmley Castle with Eileen.  A short diversion in the morning to see Hawfinch (scarce birds) in nearby Croombe Park.  Successful outcome on both counts.  Bright but cold in breeze at top of hill.

January 17th         Lathkill Dale with Eileen, Anna and Saul.  Started from Youlgreave and walked the River Lathkill to Monyash spotting a number of Dippers on the way.  We resisted the café, despite muddy boots being welcome, and returned to Youlgreave via the River Bradford.  Mostly sheltered in the valley but cool and breezy on top.  Home in time for Total Wipeout on BBC1.  It makes you wish you’d have walked much further.


STIPERSTONES   2nd January  2009     Colin

Colin, Les, Anna, Keith, Michele, Andrew, Nick, Eileen, Len and Keith H.  Started from Snailbeach in cold, frozen and misty conditions.  We climbed into some woodland and from there Keith K took us on a meander to the north of Stiperstones.  Higher up on the moor there was some cracking sunshine on frosted trees but it wasn’t until getting on for 2pm that the mist lifted to reveal any views.  It was worth waiting for and we then headed for the pub in Stiperstones village where some of the Hinckley Mountaineering Club were also trying to get to the bar.  Afterwards we resisted the temptation to re-ascend to the moor again and instead returned to the cars for 4.10pm.



Three Canadian men have claimed a new record for the fastest trek across Antarctica to the South Pole.

Ray Zahab, Kevin Vallely and Richard Weber said they had completed the 1,130 km (700 miles) journey in 33 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes.

They say they suffered white-out but survived on a high-calorie diet of deep-fried bacon, cheese and butter.

The Canadians’ journey took them from Hercules Inlet on Antarctica’s Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole.

“If you took a cloud, wrapped it around your head and then duct-taped it, that’s what a white-out is like,” Mr Zahab, 39, told The Associated Press by satellite phone from Antarctica.

He had previously run across the Sahara desert but told reporters his feet were more worn out by his latest adventure.

Tom Sjogren, founder of, a New York-based Web site that compiles statistics on adventurers’ feats, said the men beat the previous record of 39 days, 7 hours and 49 minutes, which was set by American Todd Carmichael just last month.

The Canadian trio used their satellite phone to post photos and podcasts of their journey as they did it.

They pulled 170-lb (77-kg) sleds of equipment, with Mr Zahab travelling on foot and on snowshoes while the other two men skied.  At night, they slept in a tent.

They endured altitude sickness, vertigo and massive, painful blisters.

They kept themselves fuelled with a 7,000-calorie-a-day diet of deep-fried bacon, cheese and huge chunks of butter.

“I’m dying for some pizza,” said Mr Zahab, who added he was too excited to sleep.





CONISTON WEEKEND 9th – 11th January 2009     Colin

Nine members made it to Coniston Holly How Youth Hostel on the weekend that the weather changed from cold and clear to wet and misty!  Richard, Mark and Michele arrived in the day and got in a walk as far as Torver where sadly (well, at least Richard was) the pub was closed.  David, Keith and Mo; and Rachel, Chris (a very close Canadian friend of Rachel) and Colin arrived simultaneously and found the others – in the pub drinking expensive beer.

Saturday – Richard and Mark headed off to Tarn Hows and a low level walk while the rest made for the mist and Coniston Old Man 803m.  The ground was frozen and it was damp without actually raining as we climbed to the quarries.  Keith, Michele and Colin temporarily lost touch with Rachel, Chris, David and Mo (excess speed on behalf of one team) but we all made it to the summit in just over 2 hours where it was icy underfoot, misty and there was a cold wind blowing.  The original intention was to go on to Swirl How but as the head of the group took a left path towards Goat’s Hause in the mist and wind no-one really objected.  Lower down the path was covered in ice and for a hundred metres we descended open frozen grass and rock slopes.  At Goat’s Hause there was no real desire to go on to Dow Crag and we passed a frozen Gaot’s Tarn to the Walna Scar Road.  With the hour still being young we started to contour back to the quarries where Rachel and Chris descended to Coniston.

Shortly afterwards I had a call on my mobile for David!  It was David’s wife Belinda passing on the news that Mark was sitting in an ambulance having collapsed (not far from a pub).  Consequently we all headed down to sort ourselves out and see what could be done.  Thankfully the hospital in Barrow in Furness declared Mark fit to leave so we picked him up, got him back to the hostel, and after something to eat he went to bed while the rest of us (who were not already there) went to the pub.

Sunday – Not a day to encourage an early start as it was raining, misty and blowing.  The boys were up first and all breakfasted.  Chris dutifully waited for the arrival of Rachel in the kitchen while Keith left Michele to her cereals.  That’s 15 or so years of marriage for you!

Richard and Mark started off for home while the rest of us braved the mist and rain walking in the Grizedale Forest.  Keith was handed the plastic map and GPS taking us on a tour of the forest and nearby moor.  It’s surprising just how wet you can get in 3 ¼ hours of drizzle and mist but always very satisfying to dry off and then go to Ambleside and watch other people engage in some retail therapy.

Thanks to all especially the drivers.



Having been entertained by Chris with stories of close encounters with grizzly bears it turned out that the bears are not the only critters out there you may not wish to meet in the dark – or light.  Top of the list, apparently,  is the wolverine.

Wolverines are one of the larger species in the weasel family. A stocky, muscular animal, the wolverine averages about 13 kg (30 lb.) in weight. The wolverine has been credited with the ability to defend its food against wolves and even grizzly bears.

Like other weasels, wolverines are pugnacious, bold and curious. It is primarily solitary, is active both day and night, and seldom seeks shelter even in the most severe winter weather.

The wolverine is omnivorous and consumes a wide range of edible roots and berries, carrion, small game and fish. They have been known to kill animals as large as caribou and mountain goats. They often follow migrating herds of caribou and clean up carcasses left by wolves and bears, crushing the bones with their powerful jaws.

The wolverine’s range is extensive: individual animals often have a movement pattern that exceeds 30 km (18 mi.) per day. In North America, the animal is found primarily in the northern regions of Canada, between the tree line and the Arctic coast. Wolverines also occur in Europe and northern Asia.


SNOWDON 24th January 2009    Colin
Keith, Michele, Matt, Eileen and Colin arrived at Nantgwynant to find that the car park now had a £4 daily parking charge.  No extra facilities of course unless you pay extra in Snowdonia for having no water in the men’s toilets and no light either.

We set off on the Watkin path and at the quarries decided it was time to head for the col with Yr Aran.  Soon we got into the snow and higher up into the mist which came and went.  As we approached the narrower part of the South Ridge conditions became more wintry and care was needed on the firmly packed snow as there were significant drops on each side.  There were plenty of other people out and about and at the summit dozens.  The café is yet to be completed, delayed due to poor weather conditions – well who would have thought that!  Nevertheless it proved to be a useful weather break for us to have a bite to eat and put on our crampons for the descent.

Sadly, Eileen had forgotten to bring her crampons and ice axe so additional care was required on the descent.  For the rest of us it provided useful practise in proper winter conditions and certainly made the descent easier.  The top of the Watkin path was very steep and dropped into the mist, so as Eileen didn’t fancy it we returned by the South Ridge which was no loss as there were numerous photo opportunities and some cracking sunshine lower down.  Excellent day and you can see the photos on our Facebook site (Nuneaton Mountaineering Club) but you only get to see them all if you become my friend.  Thanks to Keith for driving and to Michele for letting him use her car.




At the club on a Thursday in the middle of December the conversation turned to our distant member Eddie Logan from Flint.  Matt then pronounced to Michele, ‘You know Eddie’.  ‘No we don’t’, she replied, ‘we’ve never met’.

There then followed a pantomime of ‘Yes you do’, ‘No we don’t’, followed by Matt’s assertion that they met on a walk on Y Lliwedd.  ‘We weren’t on that walk’, replied Michele.

Here Colin interjected with the suggestion that he refer to his diary and that should resolve the issue.

The missive below was written by Colin and sent to Matt and Michele in the festive style of Genesis.

In the beginning there was the Diary and the Diary was the Word,

And verily it came to pass that the Word of the Diary was True,

As it was written at the very time of Ancient Happenings.

And the Diary said that on the 8th Day of February AD 2004,

Thirteen men and women Good and True did set forth from Nant Gwynant.

And it came to pass that David, Eddie and Ian did go another way.

But Colin, Les, Keith H, Ann and her friend Chris, Len, Eileen,

Ben Goode and his friend Mark, and Matt did go the right way round.

For the right way round is Clockwise not Anti-Clockwise!

For if God had intended Anti-Clockwise circuits,

He would have put Wales in the Southern Hemisphere,

And the wind did blow and there was Great Tempest but all was well in the End.

Therefore, verily it can be said, that Keith and Michele do not know Eddie from Flint,

At least not from this occasion, as they were not there, for it is Written,

In a Black n’ Red book for all to see,

So Matt must eat Humble Pie or provide all present next Thursday with Minced Pies,

For they are Good, and only by this means can all be Well.

On the following Thursday there were minced pies and they were good.  Colin.


Well it seemed a funny story at the time anyway.


GLYDERS  24th January 2009  David

David, Mo, Paul, Saul, Felicity, Eddie and Anna.

This was an early start – 5.30 am to maximize the day and to meet Eddie who has not been walking for a long time near Pen y Pass.  The plan had been to go up Snowdon from the north.  It is a route I have been on twice before, once leading a party, which in summer conditions is fine, and on another occasion with Eddie in full winter conditions.  On the last occasion it had had its moments on the two Grade 1 scrambles.  On arriving, the winter conditions were such whereby for a party of our size and not everyone having the right gear it was best to change the plan.

Instead we parked at Idwal Cottage to tackle the Gylders.  The snow line was just at 500m.  Until the top of The Devil’s Kitchen the conditions were good, the wind then started and it was very cold.  The ice and snow made the going difficult and in places dangerous.  On reaching the top of the first hill the wind dropped and we even saw the sun with the cloud base lifting.  The snow conditions were great with many good photo’s being taken (thanks Saul for the copies received).  Eddie broke open a bottle and provided seven glasses for a wee dram in celebration of Robbie Burns (for the day after).  There was lots of laughter as be wended our way to Capel Curig and the tea rooms.

This was an exceptionally good day out, with winter conditions all the way and good views.  6 ½ hours, 905m.


WEBCAM    David Foster

An interesting webcam for the newsletter – not only shows the traffic in Scotland but also the up to date weather conditions.


THE ARANS  31st January 2009     Colin

Now, not that I’m one to gossip, but this trip turned out to be a Nuttall bagging walk for Keith and Michele, with Colin being above such things as you know.  From the bottom there appeared to be little snow but higher up there was quite a lot of patchy stuff.  It was also cold and very windy and the ground varied with plenty of soft grass but also some crunchy hard stuff and patchy ice.  Walking into the breeze was quite an effort and we took breaks wherever there was shelter.   Not a day to stand around much we kept on the move taking in various smaller tops but resisted the temptation to go on to a wintry and cold looking Aran Fawddwy.  By the afternoon the wind seemed to moderate so we took the rather longer return route down the little walked Cwm Terwyn and back to the usual starting point at the head of Cwm Cywarch.


FACEBOOK – YOU KNOW IT MAKES SENSE  (or Colin needs more friends)

If you haven’t joined the Nuneaton Mountaineering Club Facebook page then you’re still in time.  View pictures (lots of mine and a few from Keith, Saul and Debra etc) and don’t forget to become my friend and write lots of informative and uplifting messages, especially to me.

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