Lancashire Mountaineering Club

Lancashire Mountaineering Club
May 2013 - E-News

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Doubtless you will have been asking yourself "Why is the newsletter so late, what has the idle bugger been doing?" "Not a lot!" I can hear you say. Well on the principle of better late than never, here it is with news and articles on a range of topics and an inspirational piece on winter ski touring by Dave Buchanan. This just might whet your appetite for a Spring visit to Scotland - the snow conditions could not be better.

I have had a number of suggestions about the content of the newsletter some of which are unprintable and others frankly libellous. Among the more sensible suggestions is a request for more rock climbing articles and photographs. Can you help? Another is for some historical articles. You know the sort of thing, d�j� vu moments from those of advanced years who have become fountains of knowledge on positively everything.

The next newsletter is likely to be in late July 2113. Articles, meet reports, letters, news etc. are very welcome. Once again, a very big thank you to all who have kindly contributed to this newsletter.

Please send info to the Newsletter Editor, Roger Finn (tel: 01600 773203)


Tuesday Evening Climbing Meets

Tuesday Evenings - Mid-Week Meets - When Out Becomes the New In!

As the evenings start drawing out and the last handful of indoor Tuesday climbing meets is upon us, it is a good time to look back over the winter sessions. As last year, the Preston (Westview) meet each fortnight, has again been popular with both established and prospective members, which is encouraging. The 'variety' venues i.e. Manchester, Warrington and others have provided alternative environments and welcome new challenges and they have encouraged a steady turnout throughout the indoor season. It is noted that indoor climbing returned to Bolton (in the Bolton One centre), unfortunately too late for the list, however this will be one to visit next winter.

Thoughts now turn to the Summer outdoor list, for Tuesdays. Thanks to those who have made suggestions on possible venues, the new list should reflect some of these. Thus we have a mix of the traditional favourites along with some less visited by the LMC, a mix of 'local' and further afield for the longer June days and a mix of grit, limestone and more rock types. The list aims to provide a bit of something for everyone. So, as I sit here looking out at the damp and the drizzle let's hope for a summer unlike the previous two and that sunshine and warm rock are a regular Tuesday feature!!

Hope to see you out (rather than in) climbing!

The next outdoor meets are:

  • 30th April - Denham
  • 7th May - Wilton 3
  • 14th May - Witches
  • 21st May - Pule Hill
  • 28th May - Summit

You can download the complete list here

If you want to come along then please contact Jon Banks - 07790 484358

Upcoming Meets

Public Announcements

The Medcalf/Lenehan/Whiteley 'Bus Babies'

David Medcalf writes...

That's just 'life' isn't it? You wait ages for a grandchild and then two come along together.

February 4th 2013 was the magic day when sisters Joanne Whiteley and Sarah Medcalf did their bit towards over-populating the planet.

First out was the Lancastrian... Seren Faye Whiteley was born at about 7.15am in Bolton Royal Hospital, weighing in at a healthy 8lb 6oz [Bolton has not yet heard of foreign stuff like kilograms]

Hot on her heels was the Lancashire/Cumbria/Northern Ireland/Welsh hybrid, Eben Jack Lenehan (Medcalf) who arrived in the birthing pool at Whitehaven Hospital at 10.45pm on the same day - making a splash at 8lb 3oz [No kilograms in the lost world of Whitehaven either.]

Eben was distraught later in the week when [one of] his team[s] lost to Seren's team at Rugby. His new shirt has been sent to Oxfam - and Seren is learning the actions for "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot..."

The new arrivals with granddad The new arrivals with granddad

The new arrivals with granddad

Balloon Race!

At last, our "virtual" balloons set off from close by Cae Ysgubor, our new Welsh hut, in the afternoon of Christmas day. Those who had bought balloons (for a very reasonable £5 each) were then able to spend the next week or so transfixed to the laptop, watching their progress as the winter winds drove them northwards.

They were soon heading back to Lancashire, passing over Queensferry. After a couple of days, there were clusters over the Ribble valley and further west. Failures started as they popped and fell to "virtual" earth.

I got to checking the wind directions and the weather forecasts every day to see where my own might land up!. Some still stuck around Crafnant, mysteriously caught in flat calms or never-ending eddies. But the miles piled on and leaders began to emerge. One of mine took a sharp change in direction and headed south for a while towards Doncaster before returning to its steady drift to the North Sea.

It was fascinating to watch them track via Google maps - you could pan in very close to see exactly which field your own balloons were drifting over. By New Year's Eve, it was nail-biting time as the potential winners were well out in front, yet the daily attrition was maintained as yet more balloons popped. One of mine, the "Coppull Rover" popped well before the deadline, but it had achieved a good lead as no others overtook it as the clock wound down to midday on the 1st January.

I'm not apologising for having the winning balloon - I did after all buy lots of them!!! Sorry Brian, your Christmas present didn't stay the course! So I won a week in Nigel and Janes' Chamonix flat for an "off peak" week. Once I've worked out just when that might be, I'll offer spare places to the rest of the LMC.

The overall winners were:

  1. Richard Toon - 508.1 miles
  2. Karen Dawson - 455.4 miles
  3. Mike Haines - 445.21 miles
  4. Stuart Stacey - 438.61 miles

Thanks are due to those Club members who donated some excellent prizes.

We sold nearly 350 balloons but many members chose to give a straight donation rather than getting a virtual balloon. In all, we raised around £3000.

Richard Toon

Letters to the Editor

Dear Sir,

I am in receipt of your recent request for comment for our esteemed organ and I must say it could do with a move to the more cerebral format. I note you are still giving space to that Red Jake fellow. I am simply appalled that you foolishly persist in allowing letter writers to hide behind anonymity. Hasn't Red Jake got the courage of his convictions? My friend and fellow LMC member, Graham Welch, knows how to deal with people like him. A flat-pack guillotine in the boot of every car would swiftly cleanse England of malcontents and restore this green and pleasant land to its former glory. I am fairly certain of Red Jake's identity and intend to confront and expose him at the next Club Dinner. Let's see what he says with a frozen Venky's chicken stuffed up his arse!

Yours until Hell freezes over,

Blue Beard

Hut News


The new hut in a mantle of snow

The new hut in a mantle of snow

The building of the hut at Beddgelert continues to progress well. Half the slate floor has been installed, lots of pipes for underfloor heating have been added and all the studding upstairs completed. In addition the duct for the electricity has been fitted through the wall and to the position of the pole which will bring wires to us and will shortly be installed on our site. The stairs have been ordered and studding downstairs started. It is expected that we will be ready for fitting wires and water pipes in early May.

With the Welsh Assembly grant we will be able to pay for a mains water connection, a digester for sewage and an electrical connection, so hopefully the hut will be ready to use by the end of the year.

Thanks to everyone who has been hard at work at Beddgelert this year and to Richard who successfully applied for the WAG grant and Roger Finn, who is applying to Sport England for another grant, which will enable us to finish the hut to a very high standard if it is forthcoming.

Who says craftsmanship is dead

Who says craftsmanship is dead

Jim Cunningham

Committee News

Chairman's Ramblings

We have had an outbreak of babies in the last couple of months! Nigel Lyle (honorary vice president) has been blessed by two new grandchildren - one to daughter Christine and another to daughter Bridget; remarkably Jason Whitely (vice chairman) and Jo (meets secretary) have had their first daughter and on the same day Jo's sister Sarah Medcalf had a son. Amazing.

The LMC Annual Dinner, at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal, was a great success with 80 members and guests enjoying a fine meal and dancing late into the night. Great thanks are due to the club's Dinner Ladies, Cat and Joanne who kindly organised the event. Next year sees a change of venue and a return to old haunts, the Victoria Hotel in Llanberris. The date for this event is the 15th to 17th November 2013.

The President with entourage

The President with entourage

Post Dinner walk at Arnside

Post Dinner walk at Arnside

The LMC Committee has been focussing on two principal issues. The first concerns our difficulty in getting the National Trust to come up with a new lease for Blea Tarn. Although we have secure tenancy the lease has yet to be renewed. The second is our ongoing search for funds to complete building of the new Welsh hut. Here we have had a major success. The LMC, led by Richard Toon's Funding Sub-Committee, has being awarded a grant of £47,955 from the Welsh Assembly. We are now in the process of going through a few (entirely reasonable) due diligence hoops to crystallise the money into electricity supply, digester etc. However, we have not finished out pursuit for funds and Roger Finn is leading the development of a bid to Sports England which will enable us to complete the hut to a very high standard. Chris Walker and team have recommenced build work on the hut now that Spring is here, or at least over the horizon. We aim to have the hut habitable, if not complete, by the end of this year.

Several of our members have been enjoying the winter conditions in Scotland, and even in the Lake District. I have not been able to get to Scotland myself partly as a result of a virus, but I did manage a week of skiing followed by a week of ice climbing in Gressonay in Northern Italy. Very pleasant. I am looking forward to a week ski touring shortly (virus notwithstanding) and a number of LMC meets in the early summer especially Skye and Wasdale. Also I will soon be looking at arrangements for the alpine meet to Ailefroide, in the French Dauphine, at the end of July. Perhaps some of you would like to go. It would be nice to see a few new faces on the Alpine meet. Why not come along? It is area which has walking, sports climbing, big easy mountains and more difficult mountains! It is suitable for all standards. Importantly, the weather is (almost) invariably better than the more northern Alps.

Since taking over as Chairman, I have been well supported by the whole committee although I would like to thank particularly our Treasurer, John, who does a huge amount of work which is not always very visible to most of us.

See you on the hills! Take care.

Roger Gott

LMC Membership Survey, November 2012

In November 2012, Membership Secretary, Kate Hawkins produced a questionnaire asking what the membership thought about the LMC. The response was unprecedented with 79 members returning completed questionnaires. The majority of replies were obtained at the club dinner. Here, the threat of no pudding until the papers were correctly completed and handed in, seemed to concentrate minds. Some even illustrated their handy work and coloured various bits.

The results were interesting. Perhaps unsurprisingly members felt that the LMC's huts were sub-standard and not fit for purpose. There was overwhelming support for the development of the Welsh hut. Membership was seen as an issue. Concern was expressed about lack of growth and various suggestions were made about attracting new people into the club. Among these was a breeding programme which I know certain members have taken seriously with positive results. The lack of provision for families in the club programme was seen as a particular issue.

There were some dissenting voices. A number, echoing John Major's "Back to basics" philosophy, felt that the club had "gone soft" and asked why we should pander to the soft and effete who demand showers, indoor lavs and jaccuzis. What was wrong in spending the weekend in a bin bag? They had done it for years and it had done them no harm. One member thought the club had become boring and lamented the lack of fights in chip shops and being thrown out of pubs. Another branded the whole thing as a "propaganda exercise".

A summary of the main findings is listed below: In general members want:

  • better facilities in the huts;
  • the new Welsh hut;
  • a focus on membership development (particularly younger ones);
  • events and activities for families.

Kate Hawkins

Meet Reports

The President's Do, December 2012

The President's Meet started off inauspiciously when the sand and palm trees for the Beach Boys themed event failed to materialise. Nonetheless a full squad assembled in the Loft for a hugely enjoyable weekend - I think! Recollections are a little hazy but the photos seem to suggest that a good time was had by all. My grateful thanks go to Josie for kindly doing the catering .

Chris Walker

The Beach Boys on Tour

The Beach Boys on Tour

The LMC President with Dave the Rasta

The LMC President with Dave the Rasta

The Bochlwyd Horseshoe botch up? February 2013

From the lay-by at Milestone Buttress we made our way up Tryfan via the North Ridge route and enjoyed scrambling on the sound if rather damp rock. Thankfully the large holds afforded secure grip and ensured that we didn't take flight to the winds. Lunch being taken in the lee of Adam and Eve before we headed South to Cwm Bochlwyd and the welcome shelter of a wall where the decision to abandon was made and we returned to the A5 via the path on the East of Tryfan thus avoiding the gale force westerlies. It was a disappointment not to have completed as planned but given the strong winds Bristly Ridge was perhaps better avoided and saved for a dry and sunny day. Thanks go to the ten hardy members who attended this meet on a cold, wet and windy Sunday.

Dave Sudell

No Cake for Richard! Nov 2012

It was Simon's meet to Millstone. Well no, there was no Simon and we didn't go to Millstone. I was standing in, and, despite trying to lure the LMC away from shopping, television, eating or whatever other alternative activities people do on a drab Sunday in November, the attractions of three breakfasts and climbing did not seem to appeal. By Friday, with no takers, I'd decided to have a day playing with the bike - and then shopping, watching the telly, certainly eating and maybe some other alternatives!

But Rachel texted ,"Hi Richard. I just emailed u re millstone meet. Is it going ahead and if so can I come? I don't have a partner tho so wld be on my own and looking for safe belayer. Cheers rachell". So the meet was on. We spoke to make arrangements. "The weather is better in Yorkshire than the Peaks. What about Giggleswick - I've got some mates going...?". Of course, I'm always up for a visit to God's own County!

Later on Friday evening, out of the blue, on the way over to look at Jason's boots, another phone call - not a number that the mobile recognised. I mention the change of plan. A broad scouse accent says "Oh great! I was meeting a mate at Trowbarrow tomorrow but he's cried off, so I think I'll come over to Giggleswick. What gear do I need?"

Jason shows mild interest in the plan but doesn't take the bait - presumably deciding to sort out one of the three bikes lying around the house (and then go shopping, watch the telly etc, etc).

I'm now a fully-fledged LMC meet leader again with arrangements to make and people to meet. "Let's go at 10am to get there for 11am", Rachel says. Great - a late start, so the rock might be warming up; and I've time to sort stuff out in the morning rather than the night before. "I'll pick you up on the way, as I'll be going past Whalley" I tell Rachel. Leo was going on his motorbike, as he wanted a run out.

I was late! Despite being up early, there was a huge downpour as I loaded the car, so a wet waterproof needed sorting; I needed to clean the grease off the windscreen; I needed another toilet stop; and a tank of diesel; and so it went on. I'd been warned that the satnav wouldn't get me exactly to the right place in Whalley. It didn't. "You've reached your destination," my charming machine declared. I turned into the car park of a hotel cum restaurant. (I remembered being picked up, by a bloke with less-than honourable intentions, from exactly the same spot 40+ years before, while hitching back to Liverpool Uni , - a weird experience!). I ring - "I'm outside a restaurant.... ". "Don't know where that is," was the reply. "Just put into the satnav the junction of ....". The screen on the satnav shows I'm exactly at that junction. "That's where I am!". "Oh well, you must be at my place then!".

We meet and Rachel pops her sac into the boot. "Sorry I'm late, but....". "That's O.K. I got up early, baked a cake and ate half of it" she tells me. "But I've not brought any for you though!". No cake for Richard.

The roads stay wet as we pass Sawley and wind around the bends to Settle. We might need a Plan B. "We could go to Malham and top rope some 7B routes" she suggests. I can't do 7B and most likely never will. The thought of snapped finger tendons crossed my mind. I can't even see holds on 7Bs, never mind use them. But the sky shows some blueness and Giggleswick does face the sun. We stick to Plan A and park opposite the golf club on the dot of 11. I'm told exactly how to park, to preserve places for others. Quite right.

Then it's off up the steep path, covered in a thick layer of golden leaves. Rachel has her stick - not a walking stick, but a clip stick. Serious stuff is to be done!

We do a warm-up grade 5. Not so easy - steep last moves, with a touch of dampness and a wobbly hold. Leo arrives with his green plastic bag. "Are you the Lancashire club?" he says. "Saw some people at the car park and asked if they were LMC". "Yes" came the reply, "the Lincolnshire Mountaineering Club." The (alternative) LMC were on a dinner meet close by. We manage a couple more routes which are a bit harder. I'm climbing pathetically - and after all those routes in California. Just a few weeks of little climbing and it's back to basics again. Must put some hours in at the walls.

Leo tells me he's been in the LMC for several years. He has used the caravan in Tyndrum and the hut in the Lakes and keeps intending to go to the Black Dog meets. He's from darkest Wigan!! I mention the Belmont Bull, the great photo competition, the dinner meet etc etc. We exchange full curricula vitae and eat bananas. Someone has tied a Yorkshire terrier to a tree. It shivers and wags its tail in glee - a very happy pooch - and no yapping at all!

"I want to red point a 7B - is that OK?" Rachel says, "I've not yet done a 7B." she continues. "OK, fine". I'm happy to hold the rope and learn even more about Wigan. The clip stick is out and the first two bolts are clipped up. The first moves off the ground look impossible and prove to be very difficult and technical. The next bolt is clipped from below, and more tricky moves tried on a tight rope. It's a project alright - not a route to be easily won over. The light will not last too long. The remainder of the bolts get their tie-offs and Rachel lowers off after getting a feel for the difficulties.

We return to one of our ropes, left in place from one of my failures. The other LMC had been invited to use it if they wanted to bag the routes on that bit of the crag. I manage to get the sequence eventually but hardly with any grace. Ah well, next year maybe!!

Back to the 7B and Rachel manages a recce again, seeing where the hard bits are and finding the only jug on the finishing moves. It will be a bold lead, as the route trends leftwards and the bolts are well spaced. It will take another visit or two to get the sequences just right, I guess.

It's after four and the daylight is coming to a close. Leo wants to get off soon for the trip back - the wet leaves on the road have made the bike twitch a few times on the way up.

We track back towards Pendle Hill and a busy A59 and on the Whalley.

But there's no cake for Richard!

Richard Toon

Mastiles Lane in the Snow: Bike Meet Report 24th February

Four members ventured from Grassington on a 32km ride over the Yorkshire Moors. A lovely circular ride taking in part of Mastiles Lane over to Hetton, Cracoe, Linton then back to Grassington, a classic rated as an epic in the guide book. The weather was kind to us with light snow flurries on the tops and blue skies later in the day. Jason was cycling well considering his sleep deprivation! Peter showed off his acrobatic skills on the ice and Dave did a fine job navigating. A super day out taking approx. 4hrs with various mechanical stops followed with tea and stickies which were much appreciated at the end.

Julie Sudell

Laggan Lads: March 2013

Regretfully only twelve places were booked in the Laggan Bunkhouse and the meet was fully subscribed within a couple of days of the information appearing in the meets list. Huge apologies to those who could not be accommodated; next year we will have to take over a whole bunkhouse.

The LMC shared the bunkhouse with the Braeside MC from Edinburgh - an interesting experience! On the Saturday evening, following cocoa and medicants, our boys were all tucked up in bed by 11 pm. Outrageously, the Scotts drank late into the night. Riotous singing and clog dancing on the lounge table persisted well into the wee small hours. What were the Scots thinking? Have they no consideration for those wishing to take their mountaineering seriously?

Some mountaineering was enjoyed, some Munros climbed, some Munros nearly climbed and all in excellent snow conditions.

Roger Finn

Ian and Steve exit from Desperadoes Gully, Creag Meagaidh

Ian and Steve exit from Desperadoes Gully, Creag Meagaidh

Steve nears the summit plateau, Creag Meagaidh

Steve nears the summit plateau, Creag Meagaidh


Spring Ski Touring in the Cairngorms

To ski tour in Scotland you must be an optimist, an opportunist, and often be prepared to carry your skis quite a long way to the snow-line. Over the years, I have skied in Scotland in every month from October through to June - although not all in the same season. 2011-12 was poor until the end of April. Then, amazingly, after everyone had given up, a huge dump of snow arrived in the Cairngorms, and I had an excellent week of touring.

Telemarking above the Lairig Gru

Telemarking above the Lairig Gru

Pat and I have a time share in Aviemore which we go to at the end of April each year. Occasionally, we have managed get on to skis, but usually we enjoy the great on and off-road cycling and walking that is available. This year was different! After spending Saturday climbing at Dunkeld, I headed off to Aviemore. The view from Aviemore was extraordinary, clear skies and the snow level at about 900 metres. I was looking forward to the next day.

Coire ant-Sneachda

Coire ant-Sneachda

Keen to get a tour in before the snow melted, I left the upper Cairngorm car park at about 7, and took the path below the corries towards the west side of Coire an Lochan. Then boots, skis and skins on, and off towards Ben Macdui. There was good cover all the way, and being a sunny Sunday, many people about on skis. From the summit I enjoyed great views towards Braeriach and Cairn Toul. Nowadays I find leaving the summit of Ben Macdui on nordic skis a little unnerving. Its quite a gentle slope, but there are usually lots of people about to observe my lack of skill. This time my conservative stem turns went fine, and soon I relaxed into the long easy traverse to the slopes above Lurchers Meadow. A few long traverses and stem turns got me down to the top of Lurchers Gully. A few more big turns down the gully, and then a long traverse into Coire an Lochan. From the coire, straightforward kick and glide skiing took me to the outflow from Coire an t-Sneachda. By linking patches, I got almost all the way to the path before I had to give up skiing and walk. A superb day.

Monday was rather dreich with the cloud low on the high hills, so Pat and I explored some woodland walking around Carbridge. Tuesday dawned fine so we set of to enjoy possibly the best easy mountain tour in the Cairngorms. Quite a lot of snow had disappeared since Sunday, but we didn't have to walk far from the car park before putting on skis. Pleasant kick and glide skiing took us into Coire an t-Sneachda with an interesting cloud formation visible above the cliffs. We then traversed across Fiacaill Coire an t-Sneachda into Coire an Lochan and up to its two lochans below the. After enjoying the views, we returned by our outward route to the car park. Yet another great day.

Pat in Coire an Lochan

Pat in Coire an Lochan

On Wednesday I was joined by a friend from Edinburgh JMCS, Davey More. We skinned and walked up the wind scoured ridge of Fiacail a Coire Cas. Then from the cairn we skied easily across the plateau to the site of the demolished St Valery Hut above Stag Rocks. The weather was again good and we had fine views south towards Derry Cairngorm. After lunch we skied uphill to Cairn Lochan. Here we were entertained by two snow-kiters (skiing or boarding with a small parachute). From there Davey and I took different routes into Coire an Lochan. I skied down to Lurchers Meadow and followed my route from Sunday. Meanwhile, Davey, on alpine skis took a more direct route down the west wall of the coire. We then skied out of the coire to the path back to the car park.

Good snow cover all the way to Monabh Mor

Good snow cover all the way to Monabh Mor

One of my favourite ski touring areas is the high plateau of the Great Moss above Glen Feshie. I had skied Monadh Mor at the same time of year two years previously, so it seemed a suitable objective. It is a technically easy, but long, tour with a great feeling of remoteness. So, early on Thursday I set off on the walk up from Achlean in Glen Feshie - longish, but on a good path. Just before the edge of the plateau, I put on skis and skins and headed towards the little bealach to the south of Carn Ban Mor. From there I could see across to Monadh Mor and the cover looked complete. However, a lot of ground was hidden from me and as I descended I found that a lot of that ground was snow free and boggy. Two years previously I had almost uninterrupted skiing and the rivers had been bridged with snow. That had been at the end of one of the best winters of recent years, when the ground had been frozen, and covered by snow for several months. This day, the snow that I was skiing over had fallen on comparatively warm sodden ground and had been melting for over a week. Nevertheless I persevered and I was rewarded with a summit ridge was that better covered than it had been the previous time. From the summit I skied due north and got a good run down towards the Allt Luinneag. Crossing it was interesting (as it had been on the way up Monadh Mor). I then linked patches along the edge of Glen Einich towards the path down to Achlean. A long day, with more walking than I wanted, but worthwhile. The melting snow also provided some interesting photo opportunities.

Friday was not a day for the tops, but we had a great cycle through Rothiemurchus Forest. Saturday was much better, and despite diminishing snow, I had another tour of Ben Macdui with my son Stuart and another JMCS friend, Brian Donaldson. There had been an overnight frost making the snow icy so under-ski conditions were not as good as on the other days. This time we walked up Fiacail a Coire Cas, and skied fairly directly across the plateau to Ben Macdui. Our return route was essentially the same as mine had been the previous Saturday, except we skied as far as we could down Lurchers Gully. This gave Stuart and Brian plenty of opportunity to show off their Telemark turns. A good end to a poor season. Actually, good conditions for ski touring on the Cairngorm plateau continued well into May (see SAIS Northern Cairngorms blog), but I didn't take further advantage.

Dave Buchanan

Climbing with Johnny Dawes

Johnny Dawes, conqueror of the all mighty Indian Face graded E9 (6c) on Cloggy, came to Gloucester Climbing Wall to offer a series of courses for those wonting to improve their climbing. I was lucky enough to get my self on his course. As I was told by my father that I was on the course, I was massively excited. I thought to myself that it would be full of people and I wouldn't have much time with him. The only embarrassment was that my granddad, who provided the transport from Monmouth to Gloucester, was personally invited by Johnny to come and climb as he was sat watching.

We were around five to ten minutes early. To my amazement there was only one other person on the trip. It was a man around the age of 24 and he was relatively shy. He didn't ask many questions.

Johnny Dawes with me and my granddad

Johnny Dawes with me and my granddad

The session started by having a coffee and a discussion on our climbing ability and what we would like to improve on. We drunk up the last of our beverages and walked up a rather large staircase to the top of the complex ending up in the bouldering area.

We started by showing Johnny what we could do. He then asked us to do a route that we were working on or a problem that we would like to do. He then took us on a little tour around the room showing us the most efficient way to use particular holds. He showed us how to jam in a crack. Obviously we didn't have a proper crack so we found a gap in one of the roof supports. We then moved on to a big slab. Johnny stressed how important is to use your feet properly. Your feet are generally a lot stronger then your arms, he told us that we should take the weight off our hands and use your feet as much as you can. He also said that it is important to stand on the holds properly.

We then moved on to the campus board. The aim of a campus board is to climb up the slats using only your arms. These are mainly used for training. He told me and the other man to see how high we could get. The man went first up the fairly big slats and made it to the top and jumped down. It was my turn. I went on the small slats as I thought I would give it a go. I made it up four slats out of eight. I was thoroughly chuffed with my attempt. He went up and down with great grace.

We then tried some hard problems around 6b-6c+; indoor climbs are a bit over-graded. Most of our time was spent trying to "send" a 6c+. In only a couple of attempts Dawes topped the route. I later worked it out and realised that Johnny had done it in some random trainers. I was impressed, not like me in my stickys. The night was almost over.

Johnny and my granddad got chatting. We then found out that he is raising funds for a project. £40.000 to be precise. That is why he is doing the sessions. We then went downstairs and I managed to con granddad to buy me a Johnny Dawes book Called "Full of Myself". It's a brilliant read I highly recommend it. I got it signed and a picture with him. It was a brilliant experience.

If you are interesting in a session please e-mail:

Thomas Finn

Clean Slate

Mike Halpin, Stonesty Pike

Mike Halpin, Stonesty Pike

November 2008 and I have just completed my second round of Nuttall's and my wife, Liz her first. For a number of weeks after we wandered around like lost sheep wondering what to do and then went off to our Xmas ski holiday. The year before I had bought Liz a copy of Wainwright's Outlying Fells and so in January 2009 we started on a new venture. Looking through the other Wainwright books we decided that we might as well try and do all of them as well. At some stage on a wet Sunday afternoon I wandered into a book shop in the lakes and picked up a copy of the "Birketts" it offered alternative routes to get some Wainwrights and added a few hills (214) and ridges I had not explored before. Soon most outings consisted of bagging Wainwrights and Birketts but Liz did not know it most of the time.

Mike celebrating on Stonesty Pike

Mike celebrating on Stonesty Pike

By October 2010 we had completed the "outlying fells" and were pushing on with the main Wainwright peaks grabbing a few Birketts in between. Come March 2011 we topped out on The Nab to complete the last of the Wainwright's with a fine group of friends and so comes the great decision. The week after Liz had some other commitment and I went off to the Lakes on my own for a few days, the seed was set. The only trouble with this plan was that I had so many places to revisit to get those smaller tops that I had not done during the Wainwright's.

Liz had now given up on me and while she would do some walks with me I was often left to my own devices to climb walls and fences on cross country pathless jaunts. Some were great days out on others I felt like one of the horses doing the Grand National there were so many fences. At the start of the year my plan had been to finish at the Hill Walkers' Register Weekend so that I could complete with like minded friends but an injury through the summer meant that that was not going to happen and the final summits have mainly been done in the wettest autumn on record.

A word of warning to all you baggers out there, make sure you keep accurate records. On one atrocious day in Ennerdale I fought my way to the summit of Herdus 562M in heavy drizzle and 50mph winds, took my summit photo and returned to the car to ring myself out. A couple of evenings later I came across an identical summit photo taken when we had done Great Bourne during our Wainwright round.

My finish is on Stonesty Pike 765M, why? Well when I got down to my last 30 or so it was the only one left with no fences, easy to get to and had a decent hostelry to retreat to at the end. After all I can't afford to lose anymore friends.

Mike Halpin

Ed's note: Congratulations Mike! We wonder what Liz has got lined up for you next.

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