At last. Winter!

It seems to have taken it’s time coming and there’s no guaranteeing that it will hang around for long but a touch of winter weather has lifted the spirits.

John Anderson and I took to the hills for some skills practice. You just can’t beat learning navigation actually on a hill. No matter how many books you read and how many course you go on, putting it into practice is the best way by far. Despite the paths being icy in places and a lovely dusting of cold fresh snow, passage was easy, so beautiful surroundings added to the pleasure.

John became used to using timing and bearings to make sure he was on the right track. Just as important, he learned how to use terrain shape and features to move around on the hill especially away from the paths. In an area that he hadn’t visited previously John became confident and assured when checking his position and planning his next move. Well done!IMG_3096 IMG_3102 IMG_3104

Dates for your diary

Good morning all and a damp one at that.
At least it makes catching up on the admin a less arduous task!
Some of my course dates for your diary before the winter takes a hold.
Freetime Outdoors – North Cumbria 8th October. Walk Into Dark £15.00 pp minimum four people.
An evening session with the emphasis on map and compass work. 1 booked, 8 available.
Adult Education Carlisle – Trinity 17th October. Navigation and Hill Skills Workshop £48.00 pp
All you need to know in one day on the hills. Easy terrain.
Freetime Outdoors – North Cumbria 14th November. Mountain Skills Day.£25.00 pp minimum six people.
A full day on the hill including higher fells. More detailed look at navigation and hill skills.
Adventures ML(s) Training – North Lakes split weekends. 16, 17, 18 October and 6, 7, 8 November. £395.00 residential / £325.00 non-residential.
Professional training in all aspects of mountain skills. 2 booked 6 available.
For booking and more details of course content please get in touch.
Here are some other notable dates which may interest you:
The Real3Peaks Challenge. Litter pick on the three peaks – Ben Nevis Sca Fell Pike and Snowdon. 10th October 0800hrs. Doing the responsible job that charity walkers think is too demeaning for them. See Facebook link for details.
Remembrance Sunday Service.  Great Gable 8th November 1100 hrs.

ML Assessment expedition September 2015

The mountains can be a scary place and so too can exams so combining both sources of terror in one can seem somewhat masochistic!

Never fear, by the time you’re ready for Assessment you will have trained and practiced so that your skills have become honed and instinctive. You’ll actually be expecting and even looking forward to some rough weather as a challenge. You will camp out in the wilds escaping the buzz of civilisation and experience off path travel in fantastic surroundings.

Over two long weekends you will cover everything in the Mountain Leaders repertoire and more besides. Conversations vary from football and cars to work and life experiences and general knowledge. There’s always something new to learn from each other. Nuggets of fascination information come to light whether it’s about the lore surrounding the Rowan tree or how soil moves in  the landscape. You never know what you’re going to get.

Book onto a training course and see what you’re made of. You may even find a new you

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The Summer in Summary

I am happy to report that going out and doing stuff has come between me and my posting and blogging duties during the summer. A heavy shower of rain this afternoon has obliged me to be indoors and I have taken the opportunity to update my Facebook pages and sort out to some degree the many pictures residing in folders, dropbox and on the camera card.

However, I’ll be brief! Too many photos and plenty of “in between” walks and rambles with the dog. My first summer off work for many, many years and it was great to go on holiday and come back to having the days off!

Early on the summer John, David and I had a good walk up Ben Ledi. The day after John and I went to the British Open Golf practice day. Our next big trip was to North Wales visiting old haunts and a treat for John and Jane to enjoy the delights of the Snowdon tourist path. Misty on the summit but that was good to hide the masses queuing and arguing to the top. Coed Y Brenin next and a blast around the Dragons Back mountain bike trail in wet conditions. Ducking and diving the inclement sqaualls meant a drive through Blaenau Festiniog. The Welsh have probably their own word for it but Dreich says it for me. In Pembroke the conditions improved and coastal walking was delightful. It might be next to the sea but that doesn’t rule out steep little hills!

A break back home then out to Italy including the cultural mecca of Pompeii and the much more enjoyable Herculaneum. Overshadowed everywhere by the local Big Yin, Vesuvius dominates all of the sea views from Sorrento to Naples. It’s a volcano of course and dusty and dry with little vegetaion high up. Nonetheless, the crater is spectacular from the rim. (Not allowed to go down there and frowned upon to wander to the actual summit!).

Visiting Bristol next we took off for more coastal exploration. A very scary drive past Pontins Burnham on Sea takes you to a National Trust car park and access to The Brean where a distinctive ridge sticks out to sea taking you to an old coastal fort and views of Weston Super Mare and opposite to the Welsh coast. Banksy knew what he was doing when he created Dismaland!

Finall, and most recently, came a journey to Knoydart for the compleation of George Devereux Round of Munros and Tops. A great effort over the years. Wet underfoot but just enough visibility to keep spirits up George, his son Mike and myself took the long route over Meall Bhuide along rough ridges and cols to meet with David Ward and Arthur and Sue Glencross on the top of Luinne Bheinn. A very long walk out but back to the bunkhouse in time for a shower and a visit to the most remote pub in mainland Britain.


Home again now and getting the autumn programe under way.

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A Corbett for lunch

Taking advantage of a gap in the summery weather we popped over to Callander for a walk up Ben Ledi. I have driven (or been driven) past this lovely hill above Loch Lubnaig for nigh on 55 years and never walked up it.

An hour or so of steepish steady plodding in sultry conditions, alleviated by a gentle breeze on the upper ridge, saw great views over the highlands and even as far as Arran. The hills over to Glencoe and Cruachan still have spots of snow visible but we didn’t hang around too long for midges were making themselves felt even on the summit. Quite a few folk out and about even though it was midweek. Holiday time I presume. On the way down we came across the intake for the Callander Community Hydro Scheme.


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Three consecutive days with Warlingham School introducing year sevens to the delights of Lake District mountains.

Well behaved kids (on the whole! It would be a miracle if there wasn’t a few boisterous boys!). Up and around Stickle Tarn from Great Langdale campsite. Climbing Pike Howe, crossing the stepping stones, crossing the Bog of Eternal Stench, stone skimming contest, a little ghyll scramble and back to base.

Tired but happy and good feedback from staff

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On the hill – a lot!

Busy times lately with lot’s of great activity.

All well and good except it has slowed down the input of information here.

MTAF was a great event. well organised and only a few showers and midges to spoil the beautiful border scenery. Two groups of walkers keen to learn the intricacies of hill skills and navigation. On the downside, two hours isn’t a lot of time to cement the learning that went on but on the upside those that came along were eager and quick to learn. Some good groundwork put down for later detailed training! Well done all.

Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award practice expedition. A small group from William Howard School walked from Keswick to Buttermere first night, Buttermere over Haystacks to Stonethwaite for the second night and finally back to Keswick on the third day. Quite hot weather and very competent candidates. It was almost as if they knew where they were going!

Back to a Langholm connection next and a team from Langholm Academy with an assault on England’s highest mountain. Enthusiastic walking in misty weather made short work of the ascent of the Pike and were rewarded by clearing clouds and some loveley views of Lingmell and the corridor route scenery on the return journey. They were going so well we took the scramble down past Taylor Ghyll Force with ease.

A quick visit next to Staffordshire and some walking and scrambling along the Roaches one day. On the way home a stroll along to Lud’s Church chasm.

Next came DofE Bronze qualifying expedition for three groups again from William Howard School. teesdale walking from the watershed past Cow Green reservoir to Middleton in Tessdale for one day. Next day continuing south along the Tees via Eggleston, Romaldskirk and finishing at Cotherstone.. Knackered kids but happy that they all passed their award.IMG_2377 IMG_2380 IMG_2385 IMG_2452 IMG_2454 IMG_2476 IMG_2396 IMG_2401 IMG_2411 IMG_2429 IMG_2430 IMG_2433 IMG_2436