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Friday, 11 May 2012

Jan 2012 - 11/5/12

Decided to start a blog again. Figured it would be good to have a log of our adventures. I'm also stuck at home due to hurting my back, so I'm feeling pretty bored. It's annoying, I can just about do stuff, but then pay the price by being in agony afterwards. Today it was operation sort my allotment out. I felt like I achieved a fair amount, took out all the weeds, cut down all the grass round the edges, planted my lettuce (which is probably going to make a tasty dinner for the slugs and snails which have come out in force after all the rains), planted Kale, planted seeds of spring onion and carrots, earthed up the potatoes and started to rake and clear the last sections. Feels good as it now means I can kick back for a few weeks without having it on the back of my mind.

Yearly round up - thought it might be nice to post a few photos of what I've been up to it 2012

In January I took the bus to Clevedon with Emma to walk with our two friends Mike and Dan. It was a lovely crisp warm sunny day. Very warm for January. Emma enjoyed making mud splats under the pier, and it was good to get underneath to take some photos. We then ventured up Dial Hill - a small hill, but with good views.- it even had a trig point much to Emma's delight! We then went to look for Swiss Valley Cave. Dan and I were the only ones keen enough to have a look see, it wasn't very nice, full of rubbish and spiders. I wussed out when it was quite narrow.

The following week it was off to Ogof Clogwyn - a cave in the Clydach Gorge. Essentially one long stream passage. I was a bit concerned if we would be able to reach the entrance okay as there were allot of reports on the web of people struggling to get to it. Luckily we chose the right approach and didn't take long to find our way down to it. The Gorge itself was very impressive - I'd like to come back and have a bit more of an explore. Emma complained allot at the start because her feet were cold. When we'd left Bristol it was about zero, but up on the higher ground in South Wales it was much colder, more like -5 so we all got very cold getting changed into our kit. It had to be wellys on the feet due to the depth of water, but if I was taking kiddies on this trip again I would go for a summer trip, or at least a warmer air temp outside! The cave felt quite balmy in comparison to outdoors..

Also in Jan I went walking in South Wales. I'm working my way through the Nuttalls, going up all the mountains over 2000 ft in England and Wales. Mynydd Llysiau was one I'd missed out on quite a few walks due to it's position and the conditions on the walks I'd done previously up there. We decided to combine it with some smaller hills round there - Pen Tir, Mynydd Llangorse and Mynydd Troed. It was a chilly day, the wind was esp cold on Mynydd Llysiau and we didn't stop long to enjoy the top. Pen Tir had some lovely pools and lakes which I'd like to return to on a longer day. The walk was pretty long, with as much ascent as  going up Snowdon!

In Feb I'd arranged for Emma to stay with family whilst myself, my friend and brother went up to stay in Capel Curig in North Wales for some winter walking. We were hoping for snow to practice winter skills, but instead we got no snow and storm force winds. 

We arrived late afternoon and decided to head up Moel Siabod, we'd all been up it a few times before, and had headtorches in case it got dark, As we were up we were lulled into thinking the wind wasn't too bad. As soon as we reached the last scramble to the top we felt the power of the wind. It was so windy on the very top we virtually had to crawl to the summit shelter. It was that bad none of us felt inclided to touch the trig point which was near the drop through fear of getting blown into it! The shelter gave an amazing amount of shelter and we had snacks and shared my brothers bog mirtle tea, I wasn't too sure, but it was good to have something warm. We left the shelter as it started to shower snow/graupel down on us - the speed it was hitting our faces really hurt, I felt smug in my balaclava and goggles. Think we probably descended in an hour or so then it was off to the pub for some stodge for tea.

This picture does not convey how windy it was!

The next day it was off to Aber Falls to do Bera Bach and Bera Mawr. Their summits are quite similar to the   Glyders in much smaller scale. I have a real hankering to do them in the snow, but it was not to be on this trip. We parked in the Aber Falls carpark. The falls looked really impressive, much bigger than when I'd seen them the previous April.

Our way up onto the plataeu of the top was a very steep relentless slog to begin with, I really struggled with it and was on the verge of giving up as I was struggling to breathe (had forgotten to bring my inhaler with me) We took it steady though and eventually got out onto the flat moorland. Taking in the two Berra's in a bit of a blur to be honest, it was again very windy, and foggy, the rocks had quite a menancing feel to them. We weren't too sure which was the actual summit so we went up and over quite a few things. Eventually we found a shelter to have our lunch in and it was a real relief to get out of the wind. As we descended the skies cleared a little so we do extra hills to take in some of the views of the menai straights etc. Last two were called Gyrn and Moel Wnion (we kept calling it Moel Onion..)

Our third day saw more strong winds Forecast. We decided to head to the Moelwyns and play it by ear. In summary it was very very windy. We had to vary the route a few times to avoid more exposed climbs. The lowest peak of the day was actually the windyest, it felt if I didn't keepp hold of the rock I was going to be blown off my feet. I descended most of it on my bum! It was a lovely day though with good visability, dramatic skies and the interesting mining history which your surrounded by when up there. I pretty much fell in love with the wildness of the area and would like to return.

Spot the rainbow^^

Nobody for miles

The following day we met a bunch of people from the walking forum we post on to do a walk. I struggled a bit as I'm quite shy at first with people I don't know and at times I was a bit unerved by the strength of the wind and insecurity of going higher than the previous day.We took in Drum, Pen Y Castell, Foel Fras, Llwytmor & Llwytmor Bach. Foel Fras is 942 metres high, and the slog up the grassy slope to the top was very tiring, the summit was especially slippery esp combined with the wind! On our way back down we encountered a fire in the heather which was out of control, our path passed very close to it, and it was a bit scary looking back to see how near the flames had been to us. I was glad I had my balaclava to block out the worst of the smoke inhalation. As we arrived back at the cars the fire brigade had arrived.

Windy Pen Y Castell

Our last day we headed over to the Ogwen Vally to head up Carnedd Llewelyn, Carnedd Dafydd & Pen Yr Ole Wen. The path onto the top looked a bit scary on the map, it actually wasn't as bad as I imagined it would be, but the last scramble took all my courage to acheive. Once we got up to about 800 metres the rocks very all covered in a fine layer of ice/snow, it was very windy and bleak. We met another walker who was wild camping who we walked with for a while. It felt like the sort of conditions it would be very bad if an accident was to happen. Thankfully the walk was without incident. There was just fog and cloud up high so another place to return to on a fine day...

Not long after getting back I visited Sandford Levy - a mined passage near Churchill Ski Centre (just outside of Bristol) It's aparently haunted and the place did have a creepy feel. Not helped by the green shop dummy head we came upon at the end of the tunnel! It was very pretty in places, suprisingly so given it's location. It had an amazing echo so I did some singing too

Full set of shots

Also in Feb I went to the Brecon Beacons with Tim and Steve. I've not uploaded my photos from this trip so no shots. We had snow, but conditions on the second day were bad - snow, fog and winds = white out conditions. We turned back half way through our walk as we were making slow progress and daylight hours were still an issue.

Slightly sore from not getting any decent photos on that trip we headed back up there again whilst Emma was at school on the Friday. We got very lucky and had possibly the best ever conditions I've had in the mountains.

Headed back the following weekend as had a taste for more snow. A short drive to Abergavenny to go up a hill called Blorenge. I think it should be classed as a mountain really as it's impressive enough..

The glacial lake called the Punchbowl was passed on our way up - we swam here last summer

I returned to the Beacons again at the end of Feb - it was roastingly hot and I spent most the day just in my long sleeved base layer! This time it was a short round of Pen Cerrig Calch and Pen Allt Mawr - took a different route to ones I'd used before and it was a beautiful day

Heather bed

And again I returned to the Beacons, this time with Emma. She's been up Pen Y Fan etc before but I fancied approaching from the lake side of the tops

We walked over ten miles on this walk ^

Proud of my little mountaineer!

March saw another child free weekend, so it was up to Mid Wales to go up Cadair Idris and bag some Nuttals. We stayed in a very excentric self catering place, kind of like being back in the 1970s. Sadly we had fog going up Cadiar, but the following day we had amazing conditions in the Arans - I think I have fallen in love with another mountain area....

Full photo set

Later on in March our travels took us to Llangattock nr Crickhowell - I love this area too - lots of caves, and the cliff enscarpment is very impressive. There's a good lake on the top for swimming too. We were there to do another kiddie caving - this time Eglwys Faen

April took us to the Lake District - for my birthday. We stayed in Ambleside backpackers
We had snow on my birthday! We were very lucky with the weather, barely any rain and some amazing sunny days. My best walk was going up Rossett Pike and Allen crags just after the snow. We were planning on going higher - up Esk Pike and Bowfell but the winds were too strong so we ended up on Allen Crags which was equally as good and a great view point to the other mountains in the area.

I've not got time to list all the walks we did but another fave was the Fairfield Horseshoe, it still makes me proud thinking how well Emma did achieving the walk especially given the length of the previous days adventures.. She loved pelting us with snowballs...

At the end of the walk Steve and I swam in the snow melt water in Buckstones Jum (p)

May has seen me struggling with medical problems and awful wet weather. I have managed a few short excursions though.

First was to Symonds Yat - nr to Forest of Dean. Another great walking area full of interesting things. We found some geocaches, met some fellow geochachers, found a geocache in a cave and found some very pretty little caves too.. Shame the river was too fast flowing for a dip!

After the heavy rain I went to check out the River Frome at Snuff Mills with Steve. It was very fast flowing!

And that takes us up to date..

1 comment:

  1. So much I could comment on here. The photos are just stunning, looks like you've had some wonderful times :)