Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Wednesday 10 March 2010 – A Great British Ridge Walk – Number 7 – Moel Hebog by the North-East Ridge and a Traverse of the North Ridge over Moels Yr Ogof and Lefn

Setting off up Moel Hebog

A leisurely start saw Graham and I ambling away from Beddgelert car park at 10.30 am.  The start described in Bill Birkett’s book was simplified by new paths beside the recently restored Welsh Highland Railway.  The sun was shining and everything was very peaceful.

There was a lone walker ahead in the distance who we never caught up, but we soon overtook a group of six trainees (they all had map cases, boots with the sizes inked onto their heels, and a weary looking leader who kept halting them for his next words of wisdom).

There was no other sign of human life on the hill.

A position was reached where much needed elevenses could be enjoyed, with a panoramic view towards Snowdon, its nose in cloud, and snow capped Moel Siabod to its right.  Cnicht and the Moelwyns are out of frame to the right.

Looking back towards Beddgelert and Snowdon

A pleasant, scrambly ridge conducted us to the summit by 12.30, mainly along a thin path through the rocks, though we made our own way really, avoiding hard-frozen slabs of ice and snow – there was not enough to warrant crampons on this occasion.

The views from here are excellent, though the shadows cast by big clouds over the Snowdon massif meant we didn’t enjoy the brightness of our last two ‘Great British Ridge Walk’ outings.

Bright shafts of light lit up Tremadog Bay, beyond Porthmadog.

On the 782 metre summit of Moel Hebog

After slithering down a steep bank of snow that was just right for a lengthy standing glissade, we found a lunch spot sheltered from the cold north-easterly, near the col leading to Moel Yr Ogof.  Then we zoomed on up Moel Yr Ogof through a steep looking but easy on the ground defile to the summit, with views back to the broad snow slope down which we had earlier glissaded.

Looking back towards Moel Hebog from Moel Yr Ogof

From this second summit we continued through a geologist’s paradise, with big chunks of rock (bombs) embedded in the concrete like consistency of a band of ancient lava.

A ladder stile at the next col led us on to Moel Lefn.

The ladder stile at the col leading to Moel Lefn

Once down at the next col – Bwlch Cwm-trswsgl – a slightly complex route, vaguely waymarked, led back down to the camp site at Meillionen, where the human activity indicated that the ‘season’ has started.  We even saw a Dutch touring car today.

We missed a turn after the camp site and finished up on a boggy path by the river, with an illegal walk down the railway line to finish (instead of a legal but possibly slurrified – and our boots were clean! -path through a farm).  It was 4 pm – we were in plenty of time to drive home and enjoy a fine repast prepared by Sue.

I will insert a route description in due course, as Bill B’s needs amending to take account of the restored railway line.

Here’s where we went, in a fairly leisurely 5.5 hours – 12 km with about 975 metres ascent.  The more correct route should have been down the path that links point 5 back to Cwm Cioch, but I suppose our accidental variant made for a truer circuit.

Our route - 11.5 km, 974 metres ascent, 5.5 hours

It wasn’t the best day for snapshots, but a few piccies, including some of Graham’s (thank you, Graham) are available to be viewed here.

It’s Skiddaw next – meeting at 10.00 am at NY 237 311 on Tuesday 16 March.  Be there or be square, as The Pie Man would say.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Mike’s House – A Project

Mike's house in Northern Moor

Here’s my son Mike outside the first home of his own, just down the road from us in Northern Moor.

The living room is as big as his current flat, so he’s quite pleased (an understatement).

There’s a bit of work needed – new boiler, various bits of minor repair work, perhaps rewiring, and complete redecoration.

We start on the ‘Music Room’, the priority for any musician, tomorrow, probably.

I’m not a DIY sort of person, so Gayle (for one) can expect some ‘How do you do that?’ type of emails and discussions.

Meanwhile, crocuses are sprouting beside the canal towpath, despite the cold east wind and constant frosts (there was ice on the canal in Altrincham all day today).

Crocuses beside the Bridgewater Canal near Lymm, on 4 March 2010 The Bridgewater Canal near Agden Bridge, on the outskirts of Lymm

New Shoes! HI-TEC V-Lite Thunder HPi ‘Adventure Sports’ Shoes

HI-TEC V-Lite Thunder HPi Adventure Shoes

Regular readers may ask:

“Why go for HI-TEC footwear again – the last lot failed?”

The answer can be found in the footnote to this recent posting.

So, I’m the proud owner of these ‘Adventure Sports’ shoes, and will be recording their every move over the coming months. A full review will follow in due course.

Initially the 800gm V-Lite Thunder HPi shoes feel fairly comfy, and rather more substantial than the 650gm Roclites that they are replacing.

They have sole, as well.

The sole of the V-Lite Thunder HPi

Saturday 6 March 2010 – An Edale Circuit

Today Ken had set the agenda – a classic circuit from Edale for his ‘YHA Techies’, up Grinds Brook to Crowden Tower, then north past Crowden Head to Kinder Downfall for lunch, returning by the Pennine Way past Edale Cross to Upper Booth and Edale.

The fair weather that was forecast turned out to be a light sort of mizzle, but by the time Sue and I had reached Ken’s ‘secret’ free car park in Edale it was merely cloudy. 

We had passed one erstwhile member of the group who had parked  below Rushup Edge and was not seen again, so it was just 14 people and two dogs who set off up the Grinds Brook path, studiously ignoring The Old Nags Head as they passed by that hostelry.

Just as if it was one of my walks!

The YHA's new breed of 'techies' stride manfully past the nearest hostelry

It was pleasant enough, as we ambled on, but then the Manchester mizzle returned, very lightly, so we paused for tea and CCS at the snowline and donned our waterproofs.

Tea, CCS and Funny Hats

It was cool all day, so the waterproofs stayed on though the mizzle soon subsided.

Ken skillfully led from the rear, occasionally waving his GPS in the ether, muttering a few words, and stumbling on over snow laden peat hags. 

"Take me to the Moon...la la la"
An agile dog called Boogie appeared to have a much bigger brain than her owner – a chap who kept plunging into deep snow up to his waist. 

“He’s doing it for fun” Ken observed.  Certainly none of the rest of us could find holes so deep as we trudged on through the gloom.

Kinder Scout

Several people had GPSs (mine was just a decoy as I’d loaded some Geocache data, but had forgotten to upload the route – no Geocaches were found today), and between us we bimbled seemingly aimlessly past unseen Crowden Head to encounter a well trod path through the snow that led to Kinder Downfall.

Lunch was taken with an icy easterly on our backs despite the relative shelter of the rocks in the Downfall area.  I think we were at the Downfall, anyway.  Ken said we were.  It wasn’t visible.  Despite the binoculars.

Ken, consuming a box of fruit

The afternoon’s stroll saw us heading south along a dirty brown path in the snow called the Pennine Wee.

Past Kinder Low, Ken’s route didn’t meet with universal approval, as the chap with the more intelligent dog became agitated, thinking we were going the wrong way.  We weren’t.

“Techies” muttered Ken.

Down at the path that leads to Jacob’s Ladder a tent full of people seemed from the sounds emanating from their tent to be expounding the virtues of watching water boil.  Had they come all the way up Jacob’s Ladder just to pitch camp and watch water boil?  No, the sight of some trousers draped over a signpost indicated that this may well have been their ‘wash-day’.

Wash Day below Swine's Back

Anyway, we continued on down an alternative descent to that of Jacob’s Ladder.  Perhaps Ken was protecting his group from being mown down by the mountain bikers who hog that route, though only their tyre tracks were visible today.

Approaching Jacob's Ladder along an icy path

In the haven of a bridge over the River Doe the group paused again to drain their flasks and chew their last crisps, whilst watching Holly (a dog) attempt to clear rocks from the river.  She was surprisingly successful, but then her owner reinforced the rest of the group’s view on the respective intelligence of the dogs and their owners by disappearing for the rest of the walk.

“We’ve lost someone, Ken!”

“Oh dear, we’ll finish the walk and then inform the Mountain Rescue” quipped Ken. “He was only a Techie”.

So we finished the walk along this incredibly narrow section of the Pennine Way, today sadly subjected to further erosion by an elderly gent in breeches fruitlessly searching for deer for his pot.

The Pennine Way above Barber Booth

Luckily, Mark and Holly reappeared outside the café, by which time the weather had become quite fair.

But sadly it was time to go home.

Here’s our route: 15 km with 600 metres ascent, taking us about five and a half hours plus stops.

Our route - 15.5 km, 623 metres ascent, 5.5 hours including 45 mins stops (Naismith 4 hrs 8 min)

Great that Sue coped with a full day out – her first for many months.

More photos, for those who can stomach them, are located here.