Lancashire Mountaineering Club

Lancashire Mountaineering Club
July 2015 - E-News

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One of the great things about being a member of the LMC is friendship. You know exactly what I mean; no back biting when things go wrong and always friendly support when facing difficulties.

Recently I booked the SMC's Ling Hut for some of our senior members. It's a place that makes The Loft seem like The Ritz. With some justification, abuse might have been heaped on my head yet hardly a word of complaint was uttered. In truth there was just little bit of high spirited name calling and I thought it prudent to check that my parents had actually tied the knot but no problem there. Friendships a wonderful thing; it makes the LMC what it is and writing the newsletter a real pleasure. I hope you enjoy it.

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


Meets and Activities: July to October 2015

Dolomites Alpine Summer Trip

Dolomites Scenery

Spectacular scenery

This year we are planning to go to the Dolomites in northern Italy for our traditional alpine holiday. We might be based around Cortina d'Ampezzo, or one of the other Dolomite centres, and will be going in late July into August.

Dolomites Climbing

and spectacular climbing

There are several people who are already interested in going so let me know if you are also interested and when you would like to go. I will then put together a consolidated list.

Roger Gott

It is a spectacular mountain area with fantastic climbing (trad and sport); exciting via ferratas; great walking plus excellent weather (usually) and campsites. Cycling is also popular and this area is ideal for mixed groups with varied interests. Interesting 1914/18 wartime archaeology can also be seen.

Meets - July to October 2015


  • Late July and August - Dolomites
    Roger Gott - 07768 138 330
  • Sun 9th Aug - North Wales climbing
    Roger Gott - 07768 138 330
  • 14th - 16th Aug - Northumberland
    Joanne Whiteley - 07766 557 063
  • 28th - 31st Aug - Pembroke
    Kate Toon - 07800 561 338


  • 4th - 6th Sept - Wiltonfest
    Tim Greenhalgh - 07769 041 345
  • 11th - 13th Sept - Grampians
    Jason Whiteley - 07765 004 222
  • Sun 20th Sept - Penmaen Head/Gogarth
    Kate Toon - 07800 561 338
  • 25th - 27th Sept - The Loft, Hut Maintenance weekend
    Clare Stafford - 07720 722 201
  • Tues 29th Sept - Rock Jock's Dinner
    Jason Whiteley - 07765 004 222


  • 2nd - 4th Oct - New Members Meet
    Tim Greenhalgh - 07769 041 345
  • Tues 26th Oct - Annual General Meeting
  • 10th - 17th Oct - Kalymnos
    David Toon - 07764857221

Letters to the Editor

In the review of the LMC website, I was attracted to the poem "Goodbye Grandad" by Les Patterson. Enjoyable, and a good post. I would like to learn about Patterson but I had no success searching for the poet. Dame Edna and Sir Les Patterson, was the best I could do, Ha!

Should you have any information on the poet, I would appreciate any lead you could offer. Could I impose on you for guidance please?

The survey of your website was most enjoyable, especially the photos.

Looking forward to your reply,

Kind Regards,
John Deane
Southern California, USA

Ed's comment: international recognition at last! Can anyone provide John with an answer to his question?

Och aye, I your active representative Robbie MacEdgar Burns - writer of text, prose, script, and poetry - have to report having received the following explicit instructions from some southern Sassenachs trying to teach us how to speak! And, what is more, expect me to spread the news throughout the Club. So, plug in the electrix, pin back your ears, and switch ON, for I have a tale to tell!

The text goes rather like this:
Enjoy Olde English while you can - - - the European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union, rather than Esperanto, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spelling has some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, 's' will replace soft 'c'. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servise jump for joy. The hard 'c' will be dropped in favour of 'k'. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik awareness in the sekond year when the troublesome 'ph' will be replased with 'f'. This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to attain the stage where more komplikated alterashuns ar possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters that have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent 'e' in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away!

By the 4th yer, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing 'th' with 'z', and the duplikut letter 'w' with 'v'.

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary 'o' kan be dropd from vords kontaining 'ou', so after ziz fifz yer ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis, and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united Urop vil finali kum tru!

The above instructions are to be considered at an LMC committee meeting before calling an SGM, to set up a time-plan for the modified script to come into force - in the club Constitution, Meets Cards, hut Rules & Regulations and, ultimately, the LMC Newsletters. In due course, Euro-English will creep into maps & climbing guides.

After that, I don't think I'll ever get my poems to rhyme again!

Och, aye the noo,

Has that well-known LMC member and renowned stand-up bingo caller, Bernard Smith finally taken leave of his senses? I have suspected mental failure for some time, but his attempt to cycle the full length of the UK takes the biscuit. Apparently he chose to cycle from south to north neglecting the obvious downhill advantage of the north to south route. Unbelievable! I say "stick to bingo lad".

My wife and I are holidaying in France this year.

Yours till hell freezes over,
Mr B Beard,
Nr Preston

Committee News

Chairman's Ramblings

Polar Bear

A polar bear

I have been rambling in a variety of places in the past three months, not least completing the 'Dales Highway' with the 'Wednesday Wanderers' section of the club. I have also had a week of ski touring in Switzerland/Italy and most significantly four weeks (almost) in Greenland.

Richard and I joined some others for a trip to North East Greenland where we camped on the glacier for three weeks. This area in almost unexplored and we succeeded in climbing four unclimbed mountains which also gave us the privilege of naming them. We travelled into our camp via ski-doo and trailer sledge transport and out by Twin Otter ski plane. Very interesting; fortunately we did not see any of the local residents (polar bears) but did see fresh tracks less than a mile from our camp. Gulp!

Our new hut Cae Ysgubor is now fully functional, although we need to do some more work to make more beds available. It is very well appointed and comfortable.

Hut Warder relaxing

The hut warden and his lady wife relax in
the comfort of Cae Ysgubor and wonder
"it's a pity there isn't a stove;
should we set fire to the bookcase?"

You too can stay there; order a key via Web Collect. We have received a new lease for our Blea Tarn hut in the Lakes, although there are a couple of question outstanding.

Kate and Dave have run the 'Progression to Rock' programme once more with four events in Lancashire, the Lakes and Wales, with attendance by about 50 prospective/new members. A great result!

Also we are running our training programme sponsored by Sports England. We have held several courses for our current members and further ones for the 'Satellite Clubs' we have recruited. There will be more of both course types later in the year.

We are planning the foreign summer trip to the Dolomites in the middle of August. You will have seen the emails. If you have not already responded and are interested, send me an email.

Have a good summer and, subject to mountaineering being a risk sport, go for it, but be careful out there!

Roger Gott

Hut News

The LMC has been successful in a further funding application to Sport England to help complete the external work at Cae Yscubor. The money, £6k, is to:

  • complete the paths and drains;
  • construct a boundary stone wall to separate the centre from the road and
  • buy and erect a shed to provide storage, additional clothes drying and toilet facilities.

Hut Warden, Nigel Lyle, said "We are delighted with the award; the work will enhance the safety of the site and give us additional facilities that we were unable to incorporate within the main building."

Japanese Garden

An atrists impression of
the Japanese Garden to
be created at
Cae Ysgubor

Inspired by his love of old films and particularly "The Inn of the Seventh Happiness", shot on location near Bedgellert, Nigel has ambitions to create a Japanese botanical garden at Cae Ysgubor. His well advanced plans includes installing a traditional Japanese bridge over the stream to a finely crafted ceremonial cocktail lounge and terrace. The whole is to be lit with paper lanterns. A bid is being prepared to Sport England to fund the work.

Ed's note: Nigel, it is worth having a look at the Japanese Gardens at Attadale?

Meet Reports

LMC Morocco Meet 2015

The Thumb

The Thumb - 1,000 metres
of perfect quartzite

Almonds are Forever

Cathy on the 1st ascent of
Almonds are Forever

The Club held its first Morocco rock-climbing meet in the Anti-Atlas mountains in 2014. It proved to be so successful that another meet was arranged for March 2015 when 10 LMC members & friends joined in.

For those who have never been, the mountain ranges of Jebel Taskra and Jebel el Kest, north of Tafroute, are a wonderful complex of valleys and crags, with probably more accessible rock than anywhere else that any of us have ever been to. The rock is weathered quartzite [metamorphosed sandstone] which is superb - very sound, great friction, lots of cracks for protection and amazing holds! Most of the crags are within half an hour's walk from a road, with some being only a couple of minutes away. Routes range in grade from Difficult to about E5, and in length from single-pitch to 1,000 metres! As they say: "What's not to like?"

There are two excellent guide-books to the rock-climbing, both published within the last three years, and with on-line supplements to keep them up to date - something that is needed as development continues apace with lots of new routes and new crags being discovered each year. All the climbing is trad climbing, but in the popular areas abseil stations are being established to avoid some prickly descent scrambles - the vegetation definitely has "attitude" in some areas!

We stayed at the amazing Kasbah Tizourgane which has become a centre for British climbers in the area. It is run by a Moroccan couple, Jamal & Malika, who are now accustomed to the strange ways of climbers and greet and treat their visitors as old friends.


Kasbah Tizourgane

As previously in 2014, the climbing was superb, with many different crags being visited and routes ranging from E2 to V Diff being ticked off. The Kasbah in the evenings becomes a buzzing information exchange as people swap tales of adventure and exploration - plans are made, plans are changed, the New Routes book gets updated, topos are sketched and photographs studied. Great stuff! And the weather is pretty reliable too, though this year there were three days of unexpected cold weather which resulted in some snow on the hilltops, and some exploratory walks in place of the usual dash to a crag. All useful for future climbing forays, of course.

Waterfall Righthand

David on the 1st ascent of
Waterfall Righthand

If you fancy some wonderful rock-climbing in a location that is still 'exotic', where locals smile and wave as you drive past, and the local economy is not inflated for tourists, then sign up early for the next Club visit, being planned for March 2016.

David Medcalf & Cathy Woodhead

Mingulay, The Windy Island

Well, we managed to get to Mingulay after being delayed by a couple of days - an email from Donald on Thursday informed me that the wind was too high for our arranged Sunday morning pick up from Castlebay. We managed to bivvy on Friday night next to the road on the way to Glen Etive - a beautiful star light night was our reward for chucking the bivvy bags in the car.

Freak Out

Freak Out, Aonach Dubh

The Kings House

The Kings House,
overshadowed by
Bauchaille Etive Mor

On Saturday we drove past slim wall wondering whether it was worth trying to get a route in on there - the wet May meant it was still holding true to its name. So on Stuart and I drove to Aonach Dubh - as we drove down the valley the crag looked fine, as we approached Freak Out seemed damp in places, but would probably go. As I shoved more paracetamol and Ibuprofen down my neck due to my sore neck and headache - Stu set off the first pitch. A bit damp in places - he managed to get to the belay pumped and wondering if it was as dry as we thought.

We are sailor boys

Enjoying the ride on The Boy James

As I arrived at the belay having used holds which are probably rarely used, mainly due to the soaking nature of the crack. I set off the next pitch thinking it would gradually get better, after the crux succumbed and hanging on to massive holds - I said the words - "Only a couple of moves then it eases". The next couple of moves where to soaking wet holds, not the jugs that I had hoped... Placing more gear before committing to the next section, which was drenched - I thought of the famous Jerry Moffat saying "If in doubt run it out", I was feeling fresh so got stuck in to the next section of climbing. Clambering as fast as possible I managed to get to another soaking jug, slotting a wire in quickly as I slipped off the wet finger locks and jug - I fought to the downward pointing spike out left. This climbing in the dry would feel easy I'm convinced now it felt like well 5c in the wet! Yes, a dry, clean hold. My forearms where raging with lactic acid - the next couple of moves where easier - just recompose, shake and commit. The moves at the top are fantastic - what a position and what a route!

Dressing for the cold

How to cope
with the wind!

After that epic we decided to retreat to the pub. We camped near the Kings House as it was now raining and met up with some of the other contingent in the pub...

We arrived at Oban to catch the Barra ferry over, and finally where all assembled as a group. Richard, Christian, Stu and I catered for ourselves - so we carried quite a few bags (probably too much food) - on the boat. While Matt & Andy, Nick & Paul (aka - were self sufficient. Andy didn't cope very well with the boat travel out to Barra as it was quite rough - he managed to get his lasagne down in 3 sittings and I believe he managed to keep it down too! Although, he had to spend the majority of the journey in the fresh air.


Matt Nuttall on Sirens


Seals looking a bit wary;
who are these
buggers approaching us?

Donald met us off the boat and loaded most of our kit in to the back of his pickup, and said he'd meet us at 8:30 the next morning. We camped in the ever luxurious field next to the police station, with the many lumps. As always we ended up in the Castlebay bar where the local pool shark managed to 7 ball a couple of our party, it was a relative tame night in the pub - with their 4 electric heaters on...

Monday morning arrived and we managed to sneak a cup of coffee the next morning in the Castlebay Hotel, and Donald arrived promptly to carry us to Mingualy. As we talked on the commute over - he said that he had cancelled a party the previous week due to the weather - this all sounded omninous. However, he'd keep in contact as there is now a permanently stationed National Trust warden on Mingulay from May to September - how things change?!

Camping in a slightly different location to last time I meant that the portage of the bags was slightly shorter, but the landing was more interesting! As there was quite a bit of swell - Donald had to keep running is smaller boat in and out of the rocks to ensure that we could unload! We did the obligatory setup camp and then set off to find the crags. Stu, Matt, Andy and I headed off to Dun Mingulay - the major cliff on the crag, with a 100m abseil on. We had enough rope protectors to protect the rope this time!

Stu and I managed to climb Voyageurs which was dry and had massive jugs everywhere - with only 1 bird en-route! It was pretty cold climbing as the wind bit through us on the route. We decided to leave the 2 100m ropes at the crag... Andy & Matt left most of their kit in a dry bag - unfortunately we didn't have one so we lugged the kit back to the tents.

Nick and Paul had explored the island and discovered the wildlife and rangers wrath as they tried to get too close to the seals! Which were in ample supply on the beach.

Next day we planned to get a couple of routes dun on Dun Mingulay - as the weather forecast for Wednesday was poor. We setup the abseil rope again - with the addition of a rigging rope to hold the rope protecters in place. Tying the rope protectors to the rigging rope and then only having to unvelcro them proved an ingenious idea as the buffeted off to right in the stronger wind. Full thermals and most of the clothes had now been donned. We managed to get The Lobster Men and Sirens done.

As predicted the rain came the next day - we walked to a couple of crags but decided against abseiling down as you could see the rain coming in off the Atlantic. We had a wet early lunch at the top of the Boulevard and went back to the tents to drink tea and to get out of the wind. It brightened up in the afternoon, so we got the big 3 metre kite out on the beach and had a play until we got hungry for tea!

Thursday came and the weather was still mediocre so we headed over the Boulevard. The swell and wind was stronger than previous days - so Andy checked the tidal ledge - it's dry. So we valiantly threw the abseil rope over and picked a route - Stu didn't seem to keen to climb so I re-climbed a route I'd done with Kate previously. A quarter of the way up the rain appeared - nothing one could do but hug the rock and wait for it to pass and then let the wind dry the crag. Matt and Andy had been hit by another shower - even though they were only 20 metres away from us! We'd had enough of the wind and rain by this point, so left the rope for the boys and headed back to the tents.

Another night of cooking for Stu and I - we decided to have Corned Beef hash with plenty of butter - as we seemed to have enough butter to grease ourselves up to swim back to Barra if needed!

Windy Times

OMG - It's f** windy up here!

Stu was adamant that the next day we climb out of the wind and on the sunny side of the island - I agreed so we set off to discover new routes; we managed a pleasant E1/HVS, a more notable E2 at potentially a new crag and then a chossy corner... We also had to come to the rescue of Nick and Paul as they battled their way through some choss!

We had some fun flying the mini kite in the high winds - amazing how a 1 metre kite can drag you off your feet!

The final day we headed for a great crag where Kate and I had finished our last trip with two amazing routes. Knowing the crag didn't mean I got the abseil completely wrong. Unfortunately, Stu ended up dangling off the end of the abseil rope with very little left and in complete free space - he managed to somehow get in. All whilst being watch by the rangers and Christian who had come to pick up some tips on how harder routes are climbed - which wasn't to be the case. I joined Stu amongst the bird eggs (eek) and birds - we decided upon a route off the crag and went about creating an absolutely master piece of choss and dirty climbing. The final pitch is entirely different to how we climbed it, as Stu tested all the holds after completing the crux and proved that none of them would hold any great weight. The grade probably HXS 5b/5c - probably not worth repeating - oh and pretty scary too boot!

We did manage to abseil in quickly to do the Fulmar that Squawked which is an amazing E3 with massive holds and overhanging all the way. Truly amazing positions all the way up. Probably the best route we did all week. We trudged back over the island to pack the rest of the gear away and await Donald to pick us up - this meant that the fishermen had another couple of hours trying to beat the seals and trying to not catch the seals.

An amazing trip, although the weather wasn't as good as previous times - but sometimes you win some and sometimes you manage to get stuff done!

David Toon

Wasdale June 2015

Once again large numbers of the LMC descended on Nether Wasdale for the June meet. The field at Church Stile camp site was soon awash with members old and new. On Saturday for those capable of strenuous activity, the Braithwaites led a walk to Great Gable and round the head of the valley to Scafell via the Corridor route.

Corridor Route

The Corridor route has its moments

The more limited wandered over/around/ Muncaster Fell and returned by train. Cloud to ground level made navigation more than usually tricky. Roger Finn only managed to save his party by using his GPS.

By late afternoon the weather had cleared and President Chris was able to make to make his official tour of the camp site meeting and greeting. He then returned to the presidential caravan to light his newly acquired barbeque. This produced so much smoke that the camp site proprietor rushed over to see what was on fire. The Strands provided excellent hospitality on both Friday and Saturday nights, whilst the families did their own thing on the campsite. An excellent weekend thoroughly enjoyed by all.

One small matter of etiquette needs to be brought to the attention of all members. Whilst Chris was on his official camp site tour, only one lady curtsied. One younger male member even continued to change a nappy whilst being addressed by the President, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "don't give a shit." Please note that a polite nod of the head, and a firm handshake from gentlemen and a short bob rather than a full curtsy from the ladies is the correct way to greet our President.

Penelope Ripstop, Society Correspondent

LMC Training Opportunities

Pike o'Blisco

Climbing on real rock,
Pike o'Blisco

Progression to Pub

Progression to the Pub

A recent article in Summit has drawn attention to the decline in BMC club membership and asks the pertinent question "are clubs dead?" In 2013 the LMC, with only 12 members under the age of twenty five, began to question its own position and concluded that a metaphorical kick up the arse was in order. Its answer was to introduce a project designed to develop membership via providing training. This was something the LMC last did in the late sixties!

First to kick-off was Progression to Rock. Inspired by Kate and David Toon and supported by a team of mentors, this is now in its second year and proving very successful. This year courses have been held at Wilton, Pike o'Blisco, Windgather and Idwal Slabs, Feedback is excellent. The LMC now has 47 prospective members largely due to Progression to Rock.

As Kate says "The club's Progression to Rock is over for 2015. Thanks to everyone that attended this year. It has been a great success. We were thrilled to see so many 'indoor-wallers' climbing on real rock! "

Also the LMC has adopted three satellite clubs (SCs). These are West View Climbing Wall (Preston), Eccleston D of E Group and Compton School (Oldham). The scheme is seeks to give young people pathways into mountaineering and access to individual membership of the LMC and all the benefits of belonging to a BMC affiliated club. Following discussion with the SCs, a range of training has been provided designed to give young people the confidence, skill and knowledge to start becoming proficient walkers and climbers. The idea is that, eventually, some of these youngsters will become members of the LMC.

Ecclestone DofE

Members of LMC SC,
Ecclestone DofE Group
with instructor Mike Rosser
on the summit of Moel Siabod

Finally the LMC is providing training for its own members. The isummit of Modea here is to encourage members to become proficient mountain leaders and contribute to the training of others. Additionally it is an opportunity for members to develop their own mountaineering skills.

To some extent the scheme is in its infancy and how successful it is in recruiting and retaining members remains to be seen. The jury is still out and will remain there for some time!

LMC - Progression to Rock Wilton 3 - Saturday 21st March 2015

Progression to Rock

Progression to
Rock in action

Advice from Mr Blood

Advice from Mr Blood

My son and I have climbed indoors for the last seven years cautiously venturing out onto real rock over the last two years. We have wanted to improve our skills and confidence levels to be able to climb outside with a view to leading, so we can be more independent and actually "get out and climb!"

When the LMC announced that they were going to be running another Progression to Rock, following such success the previous year, we were delighted and excited. We have literally been counting the days. What an amazing opportunity provided by the club to encourage climbers to get out and experience the "real thing".

Looking Good

Looks good!

Impressive Numbers

Impressive numbers

The day finally arrived and we could not have been given a better day! The work and organisation that had gone into such an event was obvious and so appreciated. We were allocated an experienced climber who dedicated his entire afternoon (and a sneaky bit into the evening - we were keen) to take us through a good, solid and detailed introduction to climbing. We were shown: The types of gear, how to and where to place gear, how to remove the gear when seconding, rope management, setting up a belay and a whole array of tips from an awesome guy! We practiced the theory and, although starting with Elvis legs (bit shaky) gained confidence as the day went on. No pressure was given just 100% encouragement.

The atmosphere was ace, with good company, good banter and being well looked after with hot drinks thanks to Kate.

The day was amazing and I would recommend it to everyone and anyone who will listen. Thank you so much to everyone who organised it, special thanks to Kate (I witnessed the graft at West View bringing people on board) and to Mike our experienced climber. Top day! Bring on Windgather.

Marcia and Liam Henshaw

Thank You

The LMC welcomes contributions to its newsletters. Please send text and photos to Roger Finn Copy for the next newsletter should reach him by the end of September, 2015. Very grateful thanks to all those who have contributed to this newsletter.

Roger Finn, Newsletter Editor

If you would like to contribute to the newsletter or e-news then please contact the editor.