Year 8 of the Blog

Highlights from the Blog’s 8th Year, 2013

2013 – another year of adventure and another year of the blog! It’s a shame that many of the blog’s regular authors have found themselves short of time to write a few words and share their photos. I guess it’s a reflection of modern day pressures on our time that finds us preferring to tap away on Facebook instead. ๐Ÿ™

However, there has been loads going on. Here’s my annual round up of what stood out for me…

thailand climbing
Laetitia and Pete kicked off their new year with an amazing trip to Thailand – rock climbing alongside the Adaman Sea and sight seeing in Bangkok.
Lots of Skiing
Loads of skiing in Kentmere (surprising), Chamonix (of course), Mayrhofen, and on Mont Blanc…
kentmere skiing chamonix ski mayrhofen mont-blanc ski
An Awesome Scottish Winter Season
The harsh winter made for possibly one of the best Scottish winter seasons and certainly the best I’ve known!
pumpkin point five smiths
Epic tales from the Frendo-Ravanel
Jon placed himself in mortal danger solo on a classic Chamonix area winter route!
cave exploration
Continuing Spanish Cave Exploration
Colin and Jim continued with their dedicated exploration of the Matienzo cave system in Spain. Anyone who questions the dedication required to be an exploratory caver need go no further than reading these reports.
Anna keeps on enjoying her competitive running and I hear that even Ian is thinking of taking up competitive running. We’re looking forward to the UTMB draw results…
And, I wonder if they will give Rachel and Richard a challenge one day?
Work might suck, but not for Richard
It seems that while most of us suffer with the drudgery of turning up at work every day Richard just gets to travel the world attending various exotically located conferences. Well, that’s the impression one might get from his excellent posts…
lizard great wall
Amazing Summer Weather – for once!
Following on from the most amazing winter season 2013 delivered a late but fantastically sunny, hot, and dry summer. Brilliant for rock climbing! Who could doubt that Britain offers some of the best traditional climbing in the world when the weather is a good as this?
gimmer esk shelterstone wales
Setesdal, Norway
Richard, Paul, Pete, and Laetitia made a trip to Norway to sample some slab-tastic granite rock climbing. Superb long (up to 800m long) routes, but being all based around long sweeps of slabby rock they were all very samey!
Moroccan Rock
Elsie and team continued their exploration of classic rock destinations with a trip to Morocco…
red rock Red Rock
Red Rock, Nevada
Red Rock is supposed to be “one of the top five rock climbing destinations in the USA”. It’s certainly one of ours and Terry’s favourite US destinations. However, our plans were a little tempered by all-time record low temperatures.
A massive thank-you to all the blog’s authors, comment contributors, and readers!
Keep Visiting, Get Out, Have an Adventure, and Keep those Reports Coming
Have a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!

The Blog’s 7 Year Itch?

Highlights from 2012, the Blog’s 7th Year

After another year of enthusiastic blogging here’s my annual round up of a few personal favourite reports from the past twelve months. It’s never easy picking out the highlights, so feel free to chastise me for missing yours. I hope these highlights help us all celebrate the blog’s seventh birthday, plus also hopefully go some way towards inspiring another full year of travel, adventure, and blogging following the excesses of Xmas and New Year…

January delivered poor winter weather (especially with our expectations being so high following the bumper snows of 2010 and 2011), so I set about delivering a better blogging experience for the site’s authors and readers with Automatic Excerpt Thumbnails and Adventure Location features. The latest mapping capability being current location tracking (if enabled in your browser) shown left.

Also, don’t forget to check out the growing number of adventure locations recorded on our World Wide Adventure Venues map

However, the snow did make an appearance in February! Of course there was plenty of snow in Bardonecchia, Italy for Rachel & Richard’s ski ski ski

In March Ian was coming to the end of his working trip to Antarctica (he must love the place though, he’s gone back again this year too); Richard & Rachel were in New Zealand; Terry was in Canada; while the rest of us were enjoying fine weather at home…

April saw Elsie, Koon, Pete, and Laetitia visit the awesome sport climbing venue of Antalya in Turkey; Terry had stayed in North America; Ian, Anna, Zac, Steve, Brian, and Jo were ski touring in the Vanoise (having already been to Andorra!); Dalma was visiting Dracula in Romania; while Colin was on one of several trips in 2012 to Spain exploring undiscovered caves!

Maybe it was the itching of the seventh year of the blog’s existence that made the Governor feel it needed scratching when he tried to ruin our fun. It took several weeks to recover and secure the site after the attack, and I have to admit to nearly giving up and not bothering for fear of a recurrence. Of course in the end I’m glad I bothered!

May also saw Rachel start her secret campaign to become a triathlete swimming outdoors at Bosworth. While Anna’s running team triumphed in Edinburgh.

June was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and she was kind enough to let us all have an extra day off work to enjoy the fantastic weather in Scotland (while she suffered the rain in London!). Bill made a stop on the blog posting about the Queen too, when he and Artemis attended a Buckingham Palace Garden Party. Richard & Rachel enjoyed one of several international fell-running victories in the Republic of Ireland.

June also saw the Olympic Torch, on it’s way to London, pass through Bowness!

Pete, Richard, Brendan, David, Ian, Rachel, Keith, and Laetitia at the Rhosydd exit
Following Rachel’s TV news debut, we had perhaps the best ever, and most well attended, Blog Rendezvous meet in Snowdonia. The meet included a classic through trip of Croesor and Rhosydd mines (brilliantly captured on video by Keef).

Escaping from the torrential rain that never seemed to end (in what is now recognised as the wettest summer in the UK in over a 100 years) Richard & Rachel went to the Lofoten islands; Terry and Bernie were in the Dolomites; Rebecca & Mina reported from Switzerland; and Astrid, Laetitia, Ian, and Pete were in the French Alps climbing … and painting shutters!

I tried out being part of the Kendal Mountain Rescue team in September, and I had a great time playing my small part in the East Cumbria Search Panel exercise near Shap. However, I soon realised that the Kendal team and I weren’t suited to a long term relationship…

Anna too had had enough of the crap weather this year and set off to the Canary Islands seeking the sun in October; Paul sneaked a trip to Cornwall; Istvan wrote his first (unaided by Dalma’s translation skills) report from the Monta Rosa group; Terry started learning to fly; while Laetitia and I squeezed in one last rock climbing trip to Chamonix (nearly getting benighted failing to find our way down from l’Enclume at les Fiz).

In November I had my first experience of Canadian Canoeing; the Kendal Mountain Festival was as amazing as ever – (perhaps) the worlds biggest “tribal” gathering of outdoorsy people; Elsie visited the spectacular Wadi Rum; and Pete & Laetitia enjoyed a week of hot-rock in El Chorro.

Winter seems to have arrived a little early this year and so far the first half of December has seen us skiing on Raise and climbing on Great End! What will the rest of the month provide (other than Xmas)?
A massive thank-you to all the blog’s authors, comment contributors, and readers!
Keep Visiting, Get Out, Have an Adventure, and Keep those Reports Coming

Welsh Blog Rendezvous

Croesor-Rhosydd Through Trip

The Croesor Rhosydd through trip connecting these two extensive and ancient slate mine workings has been on my list of must-do adventures in North Wales for ages. However, we only generally go to Wales when the sun is out, and then we go rock climbing. This time was different though, the through trip was the main objective for Saturday’s adventuring on the blog rendezvous weekend…

Although I’ve done the trip in to Rhosydd and out of the top exit in West Twll many times, as this only requires wellies (although I have done it in sandals, albeit with very very cold feet, and just a mini-maglite for illumination) the trip through from Croesor requires much more commitment, skill, and equipment, but the rewards are far bigger!

Rachel, Brendan, Richard, Keith, Laetitia, Ian, and David near the Croesor mine entrance
Brendan on the first bridge obstacle. Before this there had been two 30 metre abseils and a fantastically exciting 50 metre cable zip-line across the first flooded section.
Laetitia and Keith coming across the final 50 metre flooded section, the Chamber of Horrors, in the in-situ canoe! Utterly amazing!
David crawling through the breakthrough point between the Croesor and Rhosydd mines. This was walled to demarcate the two mines and therefore two independently owned sources of revenue.
Pete, Richard, Brendan, David, Ian, Rachel, Keith, and Laetitia at the Rhosydd exit

Were the years of procrastinating about the through trip worth the wait? Yes! What a brilliant and exciting trip! The zip-line and boat crossings were particularly fantastic. Oddly some of the cavers in the group were saying things like, “I’m so glad I’ve ticked this trip, now I never have to come back”! Conversely, I can’t wait till the next wet day in North Wales! No longer will it be a case of wondering what to do in-lieu of climbing, we’ll be straight in to Croesor-Rhosydd.

What else? Oh yeah, a big thank-you to Keith and Brendan, for having half an idea of where we were going! ๐Ÿ˜›

Rendezvous Dinner & Helyg

We’d booked one of the CC‘s hut, Helyg, for our sole use over the weekend to hold the fourth rendezvous-meet of authors of reports on this site. With the highlights of the meet being a celebration four course meal, a (hopefully humorous) review of the past year of blogging pictures, events, and stats, and a quiz (with prizes) all held on Saturday evening. I thought the celebrations were great fun, I hope everyone else did too. Unfortunately I had so much fun I forgot to take many pictures! But we did get this one of the awesome chocolate dessert! :yum:

Chocolate dessert with special gold stars for champion bloggers!

Before we all set off on Sunday for various climbing and walking adventures I snapped this group shot in front of the Helyg garage…

Pete, Laetitia, Richard, Jon, Paul, Ian, David, Rachel, and Brendan outside the Helyg garage


As predicted the weather on Sunday was dry and sunny! Having had such a terrible summer so far this year with record rainfall the climbers were keen to get out and climb a few routes. Tremadog was selected as the venue as it offered climbing options at all grades should the cavers fancy a go. As it turned out though the caving team headed out to walk a section of the Nantlle ridge instead, leaving us to climb a few routes on Tremadog’s sun kissed rock in between trips to Eric’s Cafรฉ.

Pete on Chwys
Laetitia showing that she is “smarter than the average bear” on Yogi
Pete on the first belay of Merlin Direct
Paul approaching the belay on Merlin
Paul climbing the superb crack of Merlin Direct
Paul nearing the finish of Merlin Direct

Blog Birthday #6

It hardly seems possible, yet another year draws to a close and just like all of us the blog grows a year older!
Incredibly the site now gets around two million hits every month! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Of course these readers come from a diverse range of sources, stuff like: WordPress Plugin users; disappointed BMW run-flat tyre drivers; cake eating connoisseurs; and most importantly, adventurers! ๐Ÿ˜› And what a lot of adventure and fun we’ve all been having in the past year…

Some Blogger Highlights from 2011, the Blog’s 6th Year

Anna sprint

Anna Runs to Glory (repeatedly)…

Anna got serious about running and was winning all over the place! :clap:

Anna’s RSS feed

Muddy Colin

Colin kept on Diving and Caving…

Colin went caving, cave diving, and even took some photographs! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

Colin’s RSS feed

Dalma in Paklenica

We met our Hungarian friend Dalma…

Terry met Dalma in Croatia, France, and Wales. While the rest of us met up with Dalma in the Peak District, where we scared her and Elsie with a trip in to Giants.

Dalma’s, Eslie’s, and Terry’s RSS feeds

Ian at Halley

Ian’s Polar Adventures Continue…

Ian returned from Antarctica … and then went back again! ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

Ian’s RSS feed

Happy Rachel

Rachel’s Enthusiasm for Adventures is Unabated…

We took part in our first Mountain Marathon, and, on another level entirely, Rachel and Richard (despite a recently broken arm) were first mixed team in their class at the OMM. :star:
Jon put in a good effort at the OMM too. ๐Ÿ˜€

Rachel’s and Jon’s RSS feeds

Richards Broken Arm

Richard Broke his Arm…

Richard broke his arm in and got rescued from Darren Cilau. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Richard’s RSS feed

Tahoe Camping

Meanwhile we carried on Rock Climbing…

Paul, Laetitia, Boris, and Pete went to Tahoe, California where it snowed a lot and Rachel made us an entertaining puzzle. ๐Ÿ˜€

Paul’s, Laetitia’s, and Pete’s RSS feeds

Yet another amazing year.
A massive thank-you to all the blog’s authors, comment contributors, and readers!

The blog’s sixth year has been as active as ever with authors travelling far and wide:
Antarctica, Austria, Canada, Croatia, England, Falklands, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Jersey, Morocco, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Turkey, USA, and Wales.

Keep Visiting, Get Out, Have an Adventure, and Keep those Reports Coming.

Gauging interest …

This December I will be celebrating a birthday that is divisible by 10 and hence I thought that perhaps I should organise a party. Hence this post is to gauge your interest…

I was thinking of a blog rendezvous-style weekend, but with more cake and a few other invitees, but most certainly with a focus on ‘doing something fun outdoors’.

So, the options are:

Derbyshire: stay in a bunk barn, go climbing, walking, caving, running, orienteering

South Wales: stay at Whitewalls, go climbing (there’s some in the quarrys above Whitewalls apparently), walking, caving, running, orienteering (less likely)

Let me know your preferences via the poll below, or alternatively send me an email.

Would you be interested in attending?

  • Yes (100%, 13 Votes)
  • No (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 13

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Which location do you prefer (if no preference tick both)?

  • Derbyshire (59%, 10 Votes)
  • South Wales (41%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 13

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What dates are you available (tick all that apply)?

  • 17-18th September (24%, 10 Votes)
  • 15-16th October (21%, 9 Votes)
  • 22-23rd October (21%, 9 Votes)
  • 1-2nd October (17%, 7 Votes)
  • 8-9th October (17%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 13

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What is your favourite cake?

  • Chocolate (46%, 6 Votes)
  • Fresh and fruity (23%, 3 Votes)
  • Spongy (15%, 2 Votes)
  • Dense fruity (8%, 1 Votes)
  • Alcoholic (8%, 1 Votes)
  • Pastry-encased (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 13

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I’ll call the poll finished once this post falls off the front page into oblivion.

Blog: Birthday #5

Yet another year of adventuring is drawing to an end. ๐Ÿ™ However, spring isn’t that far away and the rock climbing shoes can come out to play again soon! ๐Ÿ˜›

So for now lets hope the rest of the winter is as cold and fair as it has been so far. Just as soon as Xmas is out of the way we can get on with the serious business of climbing ice – which we all know is just (arm) training for rock climbing. Then all we need to do is hope that spring 2011 is as dry as it was in 2010. Who’d have thought the Lakes could suffer a hose pipe ban?

My Highlights of the 2010 Blogging Year

A Cold Start to 2010


Last winter was much like this one – cold and snowy! We’d left our ice tools and skis in France so that drove us crazy, but everyone else had a great time…

Big Powder in the Alps


We started our sabbatical with Birthday Rock in the the Lakes. But mostly we skied and ice climbed (Cogne was particularly ace). We also had Laurence & Madeline over learning to ski!

Moroccan Adventure


Wouldn’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakech Express…
The next destination on our sabbatical adventure was Morocco. We met up with Jon, Mina, and Rebecca too!

More Snow


Before the three month sabbatical ended we managed a whole load of extra ski tours, including the classic long day tour – the Three Cols. We also started to get our rock climbing heads going in the improving spring weather.

International Rock Climbing Meet


I’ve been to three BMC International Meets now. They are quite simply brilliant!
Lets hope I can get myself organised (and away from work) for next year’s…

Welsh Rock


Before I finally gave up the life of a full time lay-about (aka rock climber) and went back to work, Jon and I headed to North Wales to sample some of the world’s best traditional rock climbing… Jon sent his first E5, no less than the world-class Right Wall on Dinas Gromlech! Way to go Jon! A lesson for the rest of us – must train harder.

Blog Rendezvous


Despite six months of hard won adventures to celebrate and plenty of notice (not to mention lots of positive votes for all sorts of activities), support for this year’s rendezvous dropped off severely.

Rachel by the formations near the sump at the end of Bridge Cave

Perhaps the Best Laugh of the Year?


Rachel & Richard (with Keith’s help) gave me perhaps the best laugh of the year with this awesome video (look near the end of the post). What was your best laugh?

There seems to be a wedding to attend most years, and this year was no exception, Vic & Michelle got married (and despite August’s endless rain they had a sunny day too).

My First Guidebook: Tremadog


After nearly two years of work I published my first climbing guidebook; the new Climbers’ Club Tremadog guidebook was an amazing project to lead but without Steve, Don, and Andy it wouldn’t have been possible or nearly as much fun!

Laetitia Becomes a Qualified Mountain Leader


Planning for a possible future lifestyle that doesn’t involve so much work (which as we all know sucks) Laetitia set about getting qualified for a life in the outdoors…

Kendal Mountain Festival


Perhaps the highlight for November was the Kendal Mountain Festival?
It’s certainly an amazing event – the biggest of its kind in the world – and helping out is a privilege.

Ian’s Polar Adventures

December …

Ian’s Polar Adventures kicked off in December. With regular updates we’ve all been getting an incredible insight in to Antarctica (including getting there!) that will continue to keep us all totally enthralled right through to March…


The eagerness to check the blog every day to see what adventures people have had is still there; the excitement when thereโ€™s a new adventure report is as big as ever, itโ€™s like playing a small part in or experiencing a little of that adventure too!

:star: Another successful year. :star:
A massive thank-you to all the blog’s authors, comment contributors, and readers!
Keep Visiting
, Get Out, Have an Adventure, and Keep those Reports Coming.

Blog Rendezvous?

A Damp Start…
Despite six months of notice and lots of positive votes for all sorts of activities support for this year’s rendezvous dropped off severely. Was it because of the weather? Not sure really – more likely just a lack of enthusiasm and commitment! ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

Anyhow, Saturday started dry albeit very grey and overcast. So we took the opportunity to quickly (Huh? Two hours later!) cut the grass and harvest a bumper crop of red currants (another two hours of tedious work).

However, even with all that gardening there was still time to get the mountain bikes out before the Rendezvous-proper kicked off… Ah, the benefit of living in one of Lakeland’s best mountain biking valleys! ๐Ÿ˜› Although by now the rain had arrived and we spent the whole journey in the rain. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Kentmere Mountain Biking

Not much of a rendezvous! :angry: The second blogger’s rendezvous was very poorly attended – only the uber keen Rachel & Richard joined us. ๐Ÿ™ That said, clearly word had got out, even Alan Hinkes had heard it was the event of the year and made an appearance… Oh OK, he was here to enjoy himself like everyone else at the growing Staveley Beer Festival. How much bigger will it get? We wondered if in years to come if it might becomes the South Lakes ‘Glastonbury’!

Alan, Rachel, Richard, and Laetitia

We enjoyed some Manuka Beer inspired by a recipe from New Zealand, Richard’s homeland…

The Manuka Beer site seems to be offline, so here’s some background:

Manuka Beer was brewed for the first time as long as 200 years ago. The sailors under Captain James Cook, British explorer, seafarer, and cartographer, were the first to taste manuka beer, made from the leaves of the manuka plant or the New Zealand ‘tea tree’. They were introduced to the plant by New Zealand’s indigenous population, the Maori, who for countless generations had used the manuka plant as a medicinal herb both on its own or added to their cooking. Today, manuka honey is known for it’s wholesome, health giving qualities due to its high concentration of natural antioxidants which protect the body from negative outside influences.

Staveley Beer Festival

The festival was quite lively despite the now drizzly rain…

Sunday’s weather turned out much better than Saturday (as forecast) and Rachel wanted to get out rock climbing – well that’s my favourite activity, so it was game on! ๐Ÿ˜€ The old reliable Shepherds Crag was selected…

Rachel on the fine fingery Creeping Jesus (HVS)