At Last! Gowan Bridge was officially opened today. More “Gowan Bridge – Open at Last!”
I thought I’d have a bit of a do for my big Five Oh.
I’d planned well in advance to try and get as many of my friends and family together, so invites went out months ago.
The venue was a no brainer. We have the fortune of living very close to the excellent Hawkshead Brewery, which has a great space for parties, and of course, has fantastic beer.
I did spend a bit of time pondering whether I should do the catering, but the logistics seemed a little too daunting, so I went with the obvious choice of asking Wilf’s to supply a warm buffet of slow roast Kentmere lamb and slow roast local pork. It was a very good decision.
I supplied the desserts, which seemed to disappear in nano-seconds, but my sister, Caroline, provided the most amazing birthday cake. What an absolute star.
To get people into the party mood we also had the most amazing singer, Grace Davies. She was absolutely fantastic.
I had a wonderful time, because so many of my friends could join me. It was great to catch up with people we hadn’t seen for years.
A big thank you for all the presents you bought. You shouldn’t have… but I’m really very appreciative.
In no particular order, here are my amazing family and friends….
The 2017 BMC AGM was held on the 22nd April at Plas y Brenin, coincidentally Earth Day (more on that later).
The AGM promised to be an extraordinarily complex event with two major motions on the agenda including a motion of no confidence in the BMC executive. Perhaps it was these issues, and the CC’s campaign to get its members to provide their proxy vote to the club’s president, that led to what I think might be the CC’s biggest ever proxy vote…
As it turned out the motion of no confidence was heavily defeated. However, at the end of the AGM Rehan Siddiqui resigned as BMC President. He stated that he was resigning due to the level of personal attacks, which were impacting on his family and business. The damage, pain and suffering caused by the daft motion is really sad. I reckon most in the room (including me) were crying when Rehan resigned. But I think the strength of the BMC is probably proven along with people’s love of what it does for us all…
After the AGM, which finished a little late but still early enough to get out in the sunshine, we headed off to the Milestone Buttress. Steve and Ted enjoyed the Superdirect route. Laetitia and I decided to follow. However, perhaps the emotional events of the day were in my mind and I managed to slip off the starting polished footholds. Having not yet placed any gear I plummeted maybe three metres to the ground! It could have been very serious, maybe fatal. Luckily it was just a case of being winded, a little embarrassed, and knocked about. I got back on and was fine, if a bit shaky. Anyway, that’s what happened on my Earth Day!
Sunday was a fine day too! So after the BMC National Council meeting in the morning Fiona and I joined Laetitia, Steve, and Keith in Australia in the Welsh slate quarries for some more climbing. It does Make a BMC business day far nicer to also squeeze in some climbing! Sorry there’s no pictures though.
Finally, here’s a shot of the gang on route back north after a day on the Welsh slate…
Last summer in the Cirque of the Unclimbables we met David Russell… David is a prolific big wall climber and a mural artist. More “CC AGM Mountain Art Mural at Kendal Climbing Wall”
Last weekend was the Kendal Mountain Festival, the biggest event of its type in the world! Laetitia and I often work as volunteers at the festival, however, this year I asked my boss for the weekend – Andy Perkins – to only give me a small number (1) of presenting jobs as we had our friends, Rebecca and Mathias, visiting. Rebecca and Mathias had finally succumbed to my endless enthusiasm for Kendal and had made the journey all the way from Germany to sample the madness that is the world’s most attended festival of all things mountain…
I always think the KMF Trailer is one of the best bits of film at the festival, it captures the mood, excitement, and of course some of the best moments from a select few of the films…
On Thursday Rebecca, Mathias, and I went up to Tarn Hows for a look around and a short walk to appreciate the views across to Langdale and the Coniston fells. It was pretty moody weather as you can see below. Then on Friday the weather was still dry so Mathias and I enjoyed more of the Lakeland landscape by squeezing in a quick scramble up Jack’s Rake on Pavey Ark before nipping over to Harrison Stickle and on down for lunch at the Stickle Barn.
Of course the main event is really the craziness of the festival’s main day, Saturday. With over a hundred films in the competition I can only imagine how hard (and at times fatiguing) the judge’s job is to select the winners. But for me the main attraction is the massive gathering of fellow outdoor enthusiasts, the networking opportunities, and the fringe events like the BMC’s lunchtime presentation and Glenfiddich’s whisky tasting…
In my humble opinion last year’s CC AGM was a fantastic success. For me there are a lot of boxes to “tick” when deciding where to have the AGM. A location that offers: outdoor activities for all weathers and all pursuits; a quality indoor climbing wall that will join in the fun; an AGM and dinner venue that is big and comfortable enough and is able to provide good food; all that, and it needs to be relatively near to where a large enough number of CC members live. This isn’t an easy combination of attributes to put together. And unfortunately realistically there aren’t that many major climbing areas that can provide all of these ingredients. So this year the CC AGM machine made a repeat visit to Kendal. However, there’s likely at least two other venues that can also fit the requirements: Bristol and Sheffield. Watch out for where the AGM will go to next year…
Friday night, Hawkshead Brewery, Staveley – The President’s Quiz
Friday night saw the start of the opportunities to have fun with a light hearted quiz, with our President Richard as the quiz-master, at Hawkshead Brewery in Staveley. Amazingly Pete put in his best ever performance in any type of quiz; a winning score of 21 out of 25! Ye ha, a couple of spangly new colourful carabiners as prizes!
Saturday morning, Mountain Biking around Kentmere
Saturday’s weather forecast was quite pleasant. That is, pleasant in a particularly damp winter in a particularly damp part of the country, the Lakes. So rather than going to the indoor climbing wall in Kendal we opted for the mass mountain biking adventure around Kentmere, led by one of our Vice Presidents, Steve. I’m sure the wall would have been great – there were coaching sessions and climbing challenges with big prizes. However, the lure of the great outdoors was stronger for us…
Saturday afternoon, The Climbers’ Club Annual General Meeting
Saturday afternoon was time for the AGM itself. There were some big issues to cover at this year’s AGM: a big rise in annual subscription charges to cover the rapidly escalating costs of running eight club huts; and Pete’s election to Vice President! 😯
Saturday evening, the AGM Dinner
The dinner at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal on Saturday evening, organised by Alison Athroll and Steve Crossley, was of course another amazing party. The word must be getting around that CC AGMs aren’t as stuffy as they might once have been perceived to be – numbers were up significantly on last year.
Duncan Bourne’s artwork for the dinner cards were to his usual incredibly high standard! However, I was a bit shocked when people started asking Pete to sign it thinking it was supposed to be him! 😯 Of course it isn’t. But Duncan hardly helped when he started laughing and encouraging the notion! 🙄