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Sunday, 6 January 2013

Mountain walking roundup 2012

I already posted an update earlier in the year so won't include much of the earlier stuff in this round up.

I visited the Arans for the first time this year. They really left an impression on me, wild, deserted, minimal paths and a beautiful lake. Stunning views were had which probably helped. I am keen to return to do more walking there in 2013

I also went up Cadair Idris for the first time, the weather was really poor and no views were had. I need o return on a hot summers day for the views and the swimming.

We had a trip to the Lake District in April and stayed in Ambleside Backpackers, first time in an independent hostel, it wasn't too bad apart from a few noisy nights and was a bargain for the price we paid. We had some amazing weather including snow on my birthday which lasted a few days of the trip. We had to abandon the route in the picture below as the wind was gusting over 50pmh at the approach to Esk Pike, we were only about 600 metres at that point so knew it would be too severe on the top for Emma. We instead did Allan Crags which was a lovely top and had astounding views. The noise of the wind roaring up the face of Bowfell was light the sound of a jet engine, I've never heard anything like it on the fells before

The highlight of my year was finally getting to do some backpacking weekends, something I'd been wanting to do properly for a little while and hadn't got round to bar one night out in the Brecon Beacons.

A weekend of camping was had on Dartmoor, we'd planned quite an ambitious route considering it was a backpack. I was so tired on the last Tor of the day I nearly fell asleap on the top. Aside from one very bleak lengthly crossing of the more the trip was excellent, Darmoor was full of interesting things to see and we barely saw anyone all trip.

Soon then followed a wild camp in the Arenigs, another exhausting trip with many Nuttals bagged. Ascending up the pathless heather on a boiling hot day to the top of Arenig Fach was a killer as was a long roadside walk at the end of the backpack because a footpath was closed.

Seeing the sunset over Snowdon on Arenig Fach

Also had my first trip to Yorkshire which concluded in a walk up Inglebrough for the Jubilee. Amazed how well Emma stormed up to the top - she went so fast we were early for the celebrations and got to see the sun go down from the top

First time in the Rhinog mountains too. Lots of people had told me how rough the terrain was there I didn't quite believe them. I'd read that a mile in the Rhinogs would take as long as two anywhere else. Everything they say is true! The terrain is tough going, but you are rewarded with a very wild and remote feeling landscape, some fantastic wildlife and great views of coast and mountain. You are also so near to the coast you can swim in the sea after a day in the hills. The day we did Rhinog Fach to Rhinog Fawr was an epic day, never have I been more proud of my daughter. We walked from first thing in the morning until nearly 8pm. Descending between the two mountains was one of the most tough going walking experiences I've ever had.

Foel Penolau

We spent the second week of our summer holiday in a lovely bunkhouse in Rachub - would highly recommend it as a place to stay, really lovely people and well located to the hills. You get it as a sole booking also so don't have to share with others which is good when away with kids.

The weather was not so good as the winds were very high that week so we stuck to lower hills until they calmed down. We did have a good high level walk doing Foel Goch and  Y Garn with some friends when the winds did calm down though. Some scary drops up there, would not want to be up there when there are cornices about.

We had a weekends camping in Hay on Wye where we did the Radnor Nuttals. It was a lovely sunny day thankfully as it could be quite bleak on a foggy day.There was a big group of us on the walk, we bumped into another walked at one point who walked there regularly, he hadn't ever seen that many people up there before and I don't think we saw anyone else that day

After a nights drinking everyone headed home the following day, we decided we wanted another walk so headed to the main Beacons. We'd left our map at home for that area but Steve knew the route well enough to do without. We had a pretty dismal start and barely saw anyone on the summit of Pen Y Fan, thankfully the day cleared towards the end and we had some lovely views. Emma did about 16 miles that day which was her longest ever walk. I was shattered but she stayed happy and bubbly throughout which was amazing!

Us on the diving board - brave Emma!

I had a scrambling weekend minus Emma in October where I conquered some fears (I am scared of heights) doing the Nantlle Ridge, Crib Lem Spur & Tryfan North Ridge.

Crib Lem Spur - the walk in is lovely - isolated and desolate, just what I like

It was a year of firsts as we also went to the Peak District for the first time. Lots of Clough scrambling was had (which Emma LOVED) and we reached the top of Kinder Scout on a fantastic clear icy day. We both fell in love with the area and the variety of things to do. The scrambling is excellent for active kids, you can make it as easy or as hard as you like with lots of options. We also visited the Roaches and Luds church on our way up there which was something we'd been wanting to do for ages and didn't disapoint.

Kinder Scout

There was some early snow in the Brecon Beacons in November so I took Mike up the quiet route to the top of Pen Y Fan. We didn't see anyone on our way up aside from two guys in the distance. The summit was a little busier, but once we headed on to do more of the ridge again we barely saw a soul. We stayed high for a long time enjoying the snow, and experienced one of the worst boggy bridleways I've ever been on coming down in the near dark. It was worth it though.

The year ended with a weekend up North enjoying the cold conditions. A glorious day in the Lake District ticking off Esk Pike and Bowfell and a day of ice scrambling in the Peak District

Spikes came in handy in the Peak District

Happy New Year everyone and thanks to everyone who made these exciting times possible and enjoyed them with us. Here's to many more in 2013 :)

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