Newsletter 32 – July 2009

NUNEATON MOUNTAINEERING CLUB

NEWSLETTER 32                         July 2009

Website http://www.nunmc.org/

Edited by Colin Green

PROGRAMME               APRIL – SEPTEMBER 2009   Matt

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

Aug 24th – 3rd Sept                              Pyrenees with Eileen.

September 5th                                        North Wales Cadair Idris with Colin

September 17th – 21st                            Highlands Crianlarich SYHA. See  Matt or David.

October 9th-10th                                     Lake district YHA 2 dayer. Details TBA see Eileen

November 20th-22nd                               Novemberfest, Bulch, Brecon Beacons.  See Matt.

December 12th                                       Peak District with Matt.

January 8th – 9th                                     North Wales YHA weekend. See David

Feb half term week                               Highlands Glen Shee area. Details TBA. See Matt.

June 2010                                               Ann & Mike’s Corris BBQ. Details TBA. See Ann

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/

NOVEMBERFEST Brecon Beacons 2009   Matt

I have booked the Star bunkhouse for 20th – 22nd Nov. This was the only weekend available for exclusive use in November.  Please have a look at the web site.  http://www.starbunkhouse.com/  Details to follow.

Crianlarich 17th – 21st Sept 2009   Matt

Due to problems with access due to stag hunting we have decided against going backpacking as usual this September. We have decided instead to travel by car and stay at Crianlarich SYHA. This should give us maximum chance of  bagging a few Munro’s. Cost will be £15.00 per night. If you are interested please let me know.

NMC SOCIAL PROGRAMME   Michele
Please suggest places to go, things to do – I am looking out for comedy nights, outdoor theatre performances, ceilidhs….. If you have an idea, do let me know…..
Further ahead – Saturday 31st October, Hallowe’en Hoedown in Hinckley.

COMING UP    North Wales YHA  8th – 9th January 2009  David

The YHA have a bad habit of closing for the winter. Especially YHA’s where we would like to go. For January 2010, the only ones open in North Wales will be Capel Curig and Bestwy Coed.

I would suggest that we book for Capel Curig. Everyone will know where it is, being close to everything we would want to tackle in winter, with a reasonable possibility of snow. It is not as far to travel as originally planned, and is close to places where re-hydration is possible in pint glasses.

Can you please let me know as soon as possible whether you are interested so that this can be booked well in advance.

SNOWDON HORSESHOE 4th April 2009  Colin

Parking at Pen y Pass can be difficult unless you get there early so with the best intentions we set out at unearthly hours such as 5.20am.  With a group that turned out to be 15 things did not quite go to plan as not everyone got onto the car park and contact was difficult as mobiles get no signal.

To cut a long story short Ann, David, Felicity, Stuart, Len, Mo, Matt, Debra and Colin set off not quite knowing what had happened to the others.  Below Crib Goch summit whilst taking a break familiar voices were heard in the mist, out of which emerged Anna, Sheila, Saul, John, Simon and Paul.  Together we climbed to Crib Goch where the crossing was made in breezy, misty and greasy conditions.  On the final climb to Snowdon summit a climber was sadly receiving resuscitation and things did not look good. (Story from BBC News below).

At the top it was busy but also cool and misty.  With the extra time it takes for a larger group to climb; only David and Stuart decided to go for the complete round.  The rest of us descended with the noise of the rescue helicopter clearly nearby returning to Pen y Pass at the same time as David and Stuart.

Good turnout but pity about the hour we all lost at the beginning of the day.

Man dies despite difficult rescue               Story from BBC NEWS:

A man has died after suffering a suspected heart attack after being taken ill whilst walking on Snowdon.

His death came despite the efforts of a search and rescue helicopter which had hovered 10ft (3m) above a railway line in low cloud to reach him.

The man, 51, was flown by a crew from RAF Valley on Anglesey to hospital in Bangor after Saturday’s incident.

Capt Mathew Gower said the skilled manoeuvre was something the crew had trained for but it was “not nice”.

“We were flying in cloud, quite close to the railway, and it is something we are trained for, but it’s not nice,” he said.

“We were about 10ft (3m) from the ground, from Clogwyn to about 100m short of the summit, which took us about 10 minutes.

“We did it in stages and then stopped every so often focusing on the ground beneath our feet,” he added.

Winch man Lee Clark was then deployed to run the 200m to the casualty, before they were both winched back into the aircraft.

The helicopter then climbed vertically and broke through the cloud to fly to hospital in Bangor, Capt Gower added.

TOMINTOUL (Northern Cairngorm) 11th-17th April 2009    Colin

Self catering with long time walking friends Trevor and Sue.  Decent week but cold overnight.

Saturday – drove up starting from Nuneaton at 4.45am and took in the Graham Creag Dubh 756m near to Nrwtonmore.  Then moved on to RSPB Loch Garten where a capercaillie was bagged.  Excellent.

Sunday – Cnap Chaochan Aitinn 715m another Graham.  (Hill between 2,000ft and 2,500ft with at least 500ft of re-ascent all around).

Monday – Carn Mor 804m and Carn Ealasaid 776m.  Two Corbetts.  (Hill between 2,500ft and 3,000ft with at least 500ft of re-ascent all around).

Tuesday – Cook’s Cairn 756m a Graham, and Corriehabbie Hil 781m a Corbett.

Wednesday – Ben Rhinnes 840m another Corbett.

Thursday – Carn nan Tri-Tighearnan 615m a Graham.

Friday – Hills of Cromdale – Carn a’ Ghille Chearr 710m and Creagan a’ Chaise 722m.  Two Grahams.  Wore spare boots for the first time this week and regretted it as I got blisters on both heels.

Nice quiet hills and good company.  Now you know what Munroists do with their time after completion.

LLECH DU SPUR  18th April 2009       David

In attendance, David, Anna, Saul, Mo, Keith H, and Debra.

This was not such an early start as two weeks beforehand.  The weather was good – sunny with a bit of cool wind on top.  The name of the game this time was to tackle the Llech Du Spur.  We met at Bethesda.  One party travelled by the northern road and the second via the A5.  Both arrived at the same time notwithstanding that the A5 group started earlier and the northern route was much further.  As to which is the best way to get there is a matter of taste.

The walk starts up the valley of Afon Llafar on a good and largely level path to the head of the cwm which took over an hour.  The fun then started on the ascent.  We saw another party of two make a number of mistakes by misreading the ground and had to retreat.  The pathway to the spur was located and the scrambling started.  This was great fun and fairly sustained.  Only three went over the slab which is exposed.  To reach the top of Carnedd Dafydd included a first, second and third lunch, which took about four hours.  We carried on to the top of Carnedd Llewelyn and then to Yr Elen to complete the horseshoe.  This included Saul finding a bunch of balloons which he tied to his pack which seemed to propel him down the hill at a fast rate, running off into the distance.   This was a really good day out.  7hrs and about 4000ft.

GIRLS’ BACKPACKING WEEKEND 23rd-24th May 2009     Eileen

(or The Number 1 Ladies’ Backpacking Expedition)

Anna, Sheila and myself (Eileen) left Anna’s house at 7 pm on Saturday morning to drive to the Lake District.  The weather forecast was good so all boded well.  Despite it being a Bank Holiday weekend traffic was fairly light and we reached the village of Seathwaite in the Duddon valley by 11 am.  We parked in a small lay-by opposite the church just outside the village.  We shouldered our rucksacks and headed out through the Dunnerdale valley, skirting the forest, Harter and Birker Fells to cross Hardknott Pass at the Jubilee bridge and up into the Esk valley.  We made camp besides the river near Scar Lathing, a site I have used before.  As it was still light Sheila suggested that we go for a walk which somehow developed into an assent of Scafell Pike.  Unfortunately half way up the Broadstand path the mist descended and I did question what I was doing and, “was this such a good idea after all”, but having got that far I was not going to turn back.  We made it to the summit without a problem.

There were lots of people on the summit plateau most taking part in the Three Peaks race.  It was now dark and visibility was still very limited making it difficult to find our way back on to our path.  Fortunately, because there were several other groups on the mountain we were able to get assistance and a GPS grid reference and eventually located the correct route back down and back to the camp site.  We arrived back into camp at 1 am, cooked some food then went to bed.  After our late night adventure we slept late on Sunday morning, breakfasted, packed up and started back down the valley returning down Mosedale to Cockley Beck then followed the River Duddon and various other footpaths to return to the car at Seathwaite.

The whole objective of the weekend was to give Anna a taste of backpacking and wild camping.  I chose the area as it is a bit off the beaten track and I thought would give more of a wilderness feel.  The trip did not go quite as I had intended, as I had planned to get up early on the Sunday morning to climb Scafell Pike, but the way it turned out was quite an experience and much more adventurous.  We were blessed with good weather, lots of great scenery and wild life (we saw a grass snake) and a very enjoyable weekend.  Total of 26 km walked with full packs (16 miles).

SPECIALIST BOOK SITE       Andrew

I received a letter from Bob Hampson about triplebbbooks.co.uk.  Bob is a mountaineer and the site specialises in mountaineering, climbing and guide books.

The site is very accessible, with a wide range of sections from ACCESS to YETI.

If any one buys from Bob and can comment favourably on the service, let me know and I’ll suggest a link on our web site.  The book firm is on http://www.triplebbbooks.co.uk/

TRYFAN & GLYDER FACH      30th May 2009     Colin

Colin, David, Anna and Andrew ascended Heather Terrace on Tryfan on a cracking day.  Once the North Ridge was behind us we left most of the people behind as well.  The ascent was made by Little Gully, Grade 1 and North Gully Grade 1.  David knew the route and Andrew had been on it before so they took the lead.  The scrambling was interesting and continuous and we came out right at the top of Tryfan to meet the hordes.  After descending to the bwlch we made for Bristly Ridge, Grade 1.  I always think that this has more to it than most Grade 1 scrambles especially on the first steep gully.  Here Anna had a bit of a fright as stones began to fall from above as she was on the steepest part of the gully.  Once up all was well and the rest of the scramble went without incident.  At the top we had to endure one of the noisiest groups I have ever encountered on the hill with some twenty something woman holding court to her friends and all within hailing distance.  Sadly we encountered them again but it didn’t detract from the day.

From the top of Glyder Fach we sidestepped Castle of the Wind (now regarded as 3,000ft) and descended down the Gribin Ridge, Grade 1.  This is easier than the other scrambles and though loose and steep in places is fine in good visibility.  At the bottom we re-hydrated at Ogwen before returning to the car at the end of a fine day.

RECESSION-BEATING INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY     Andrew

Is anyone interested in coming in with me to set up a second-hand mountaineering kit shop?  Someone told me it’ll be money for old rope.

ALVIE, CAIRNGORMS       12th – 18th May 2009  Colin

Leaving home at 4.45am meant that after exactly 400 miles I was ready to climb a hill even though it was a rather leisurely 12.35pm start.  The target was the Corbett Beinn a’ Chuallaich 891m conveniently climbed from a high road to the east.  It may have been a bright sunny day at the bottom but at the top there was a cold biting wind.  Views to the west showed that winter was not yet a thing of the past as the Ben Nevis range was covered in snow.  I even contemplated phoning Matt and David to suggest they take an ice axe on their upcoming backpacking trip.

After camping at Alvie to the south of Aviemore I set off the next day for a bit of a walk.  The target was Monadh Mor 1113m but it was a long way across the other side of the Cairngorm plateau from my starting point in Glen Feshie.  On the ascent I caught up with a group of 18, almost the only other group out on the hill, only to discover that they were going in the same direction as myself.  Eventually I got ahead on the far side of the remote top of Tom Dubh 918m when we all had to ponder the crossing of a rather forceful river/stream even though we were at 850m.  On Monadh Mor there was a lone backpacker who had walked even further from distant Braemar.  Returning by a similar route I had intended to take in another Munro but though the mind was willing sore feet and cramp told me that my body was not so sure.  Back at the campsite Derek, Eileen and Poppy the dog had arrived from Mull so we got to catching up with the news.

The next day we all headed for Cairngorm, not to climb and particular hill, but to search for Dotterel and Ptarmigan and whatever else on the plateau.  The wind was unpleasantly strong but once high up we headed for the relative shelter of Cairn Lochan and duly located said scarce birds for us all to observe and Derek to photograph.  The wind moderated a little in the afternoon as we trudged through some extensive snow patches to complete a circuit.  We resisted the temptation to continue to Cairngorm itself so we spent a day in the mountains without visiting a major summit!

The following day the weather changed from windy with blue skies to overcast and drizzly.  Derek and Eileen had an early start as they were to be at RSPB Loch Garten for 5.30am in a search for Capercaillie.  I on the other hand had a lie-in though I did generate enough energy to get out to climb the Graham Creag Liath 743m near to Newtonmore.  I had hoped to go on to the Munro beyond but it was much further across wet ground and as the weather was already cold, breezy and drizzly it didn’t take much to persuade me that my time would be much better spent with a cup of tea back at the campsite.

The following day we all settled for a birdwatching day along the River Findhorn and to Loch Ruthven.  Nice drive but a pity it was generally overcast.  Viewing the Slavonian Grebes in breeding plumage was worth the drive.

The next day myself and Eileen took to the hills while Derek took his camera and Poppy on a local tour.  Glen Feshie looked uninviting early on but it brightened up and we made good time to Mullach Clach a’ Bhlair 1019m.  On the descent we caught sight of a Peregrine along a line of cliffs and lower down by the Feshie you could almost believe it was summer.  The bridge across the Feshie at Carnachuinn was interesting with its warning notice concerning the state of the bridge.  On this day it wasn’t too much of a issue but the Feshie is a proper river and in spate conditions I would certainly have walked the 2.5km downstream to the next bridge.

On the final day we all went for the birdwatching option again, this time to Lochindorb and the coast near to Nairn.  I wont bore you with a species list lest to mention that we all eventually got to see a Capercaillie at Loch Garten.  Only modesty prevents me from mentioning who actually was first to spot the birdie in the heather.

Nice trip.  Thanks to Derek, Eileen and Poppy for their splendid company.

GREAT LANGDALE CAMPING WEEKEND 19th-21st July 2009     Eileen

By Friday evening 12 club members plus one baby (Isobell) and a dog (Max) finally made it to “Midge City” the NT camping site in the Langdales.  We were on the group field so could all pitch together, with the exception of Alastair, Kim and Isobell who chose to camp on the other side of the field from the rest of the group, in case Isobell did not enjoy her first camping trip and became noisy.  Not that this would have mattered as the group camping adjacent to us were none too quiet.  We did retaliate with Keith H’s snoring and Richard’s 3 am mattress inflating, but some of the other group finally got the edge by getting up, flashing lights, packing tents and mini vans at 3 am on Sunday morning. However none of this spoilt a great weekend.

Saturday dawned a bit grey and showery.  The weather forecast was for it to brighten later, so we prepared for the mountains.  Keith and Michele opted for Bowfell and the various Nuttalls in that area.  Richard and Max chose a valley walk, Kim Alastair and Isobell did their own thing and the rest of us – Colin, Saul, Keith H, Les, Anna, Liz and myself went up to Stickle Tarn.  We did not attempt the scramble up Jack’s Rake on Pavey Ark as weather conditions were still very wet and the rock slippery, but we carried on to Sergeant Man and High Raise contouring down to Stake Pass.  Here we had intended to take the path to Angle Tarn but managed to miss it and continued down Stake Pass into the valley and back to the Old Dungeon Ghyll for a quick refreshment break before heading back to camp.

The weather did improve as the day went on, the showers stopped and we had a warm dry night much to the relief of Keith H who’s tent leaked on the first night.

Sunday morning was warm and sunny.  We packed up, leaving the cars at the camp site.  Keith H, Les, Anna, Liz and myself left the camp site at 9.15 to climb Pike O’ Blisco.  Got some great views from the top, we returned via Oxendale getting back to the cars at 2 pm for the return journey home.

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