Friday, October 30, 2009

SARDA Wales Needs Your Body!

The Search and Rescue Dog Association is a voluntary organisation responsible for the training of Rescue Team Members and civilians to become Handlers of air scenting Search Dogs, enabling them to search for missing persons, in the Mountains, lowland, rural and urban areas of Wales.

Regular readers will know that I am training my 9 month old Collie Skye with SARDA Wales and you can read all about that on the Dog Blog - see the link on the right.

Every month we have a weekend of training and we need your help, or more particularly your body! We need people who are willing to spend the weekend hiding from the dogs, perhaps playing with the young dogs. It is the perfect excuse to lie in a field with a good book! You need to be over 18 and the next weekend is the 13-15 November, SARDA can provide free food and accommodation. For more details read here.

If you would like to volunteer then email our secretary:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Family Rock Climbing Course

I have been out with the Galvin family for the last two days, they were out with me in the summer and fancied a couple of days rock climbing during the half term break. Yesterday we went to Tryfan Bach and did some multi pitch routes whilst today they climbed more than a dozen single pitch routes and some bouldering at Conwy slabs. A great couple of days in warm weather.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wild, wild camping weekend

Well it has been quite a weekend of weather here in Wales with 80mph winds at 900m and lashing rain and I was camping! This weekend was my annual wild camping course and I nearly cancelled due to the weather but Mike, Jack, Jacob, Seb, Jim, Frank and I toughed it out and headed up into Cwm Tregallan on the back of Snowdon. We did some navigation skills and survived a night of very wild weather which really put the lessons taught to the test! Well done to all for staying cheerful and dry-ish!

Friday, October 23, 2009

North Ridge of Tryfan

The merry team and I headed up the North Ridge of Tryfan today to complete our 5 day navigation and scrambling course. We had a great day taking the most challenging line wherever we could and then descending the South Ridge. I have had a really excellent week thanks to the company of Rosie, Mick, Ed, Dave and then on the last two days Heidi & Sam and Frank (who is a Mountain Leader on my mentor scheme). We have had lots of laughs, some great days out and some lovely views so many thanks to all of them and happy mountaineering!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Seniors Ridge & The Gribin

Today we headed up Seniors Ridge and down the Gribin Ridge for the scrambling element of our 5 day course. We were joined by Frank who is on my mentor scheme and by Heidi and Sam who are repeat clients who fancied a couple of days scrambling. It has been a great day with some clouds on the tops allowing the group to practice navigation skills and some nice views lower down.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


The team and I were joined by Skye again today as we enjoyed a walk in the Carneddau. I gave them a start and finish point and between them they planned a route in the pub last night. We reviewed the route this morning in the cafe and then went and did it! It has been a lovely day and we spent the whole day navigating off the paths in the wilder mountains of the National Park.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Ed, Rosie, Mike, Dave and I headed up Cnicht today with some strong winds forecast and heavy rain on the way. It was perfect weather for navigation as you can see in the photos and we spent the day navigating in poor visibility on and off the path using the skills that we had learnt yesterday. We were then rewarded with some stunning views as we made our descent.

Monday, October 19, 2009

5 day navigation and scrambling course

I have been joined by Rosie, Ed, Mike and David for a week of navigation and scrambling here in Snowdonia. We kick started the week with a day of micro navigation skills on the hills above my house in Llanfairfechan. This meant we avoided the rain in the mountains and stayed dry all day. Skye tagged along and enjoyed stretching her legs.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

SARDA Weekend - Skyes Stock & Obedience test

This weekend I have been out with SARDA. Yesterday Skye had her stock & obedience test - you can read more on Skyes Dog Blog - just follow the link on the right.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Trail Magazine Article

The current (November) edition of Trail has an article on Mountain Navigation that may be of interest. I took Trail editor Matt Swaine out earlier this year with a reader who wanted to be able to plan and follow his own routes in the mountains. The article sums up some top tips and advice and can be read here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Advanced Scrambling Course

Mike, Dan and I have headed up the Cneifion Arete today. As we walked in we had some lovely views with the cloud whisping around us and the glorious autumnal colours. We climbed our route in the fog and then dropped down and used the Gribin Facet to look at abseiling.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Advanced Scrambling Course

I have been out with Dan and returning client Mike today for the first day of a two day advanced scrambling course. Today we parked at Pen Y Pass, walked up the PYG track and then across the bottom of the North Ridge of Crib Goch on the foxes path. We then climbed the Clogwyn Y Person Arete (grade 3) and came back via Crib Goch, descending its East Ridge back to the PYG track. It was a great day out and we had some fantastic views and most of the route to ourselves.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rock Climbing at Tremadog

I have been out with Jim today who is on my mentor scheme. Jim has been climbing for 12 months and wants to progress his grade from Severe to VS4c. We headed to Tremadog and enjoyed warm rock and sunshine, climbing Shadrach (VS 4c, 4c) this morning and then Jim leading Christmas Curry with the Mica Eliminate finish (HS4b). A great day out climbing in a t-shirt!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hill Skills & Navigation

Today we headed onto Pen Yr Ole Wen and Carnedd Dafydd. The weather was perfect for navigation with the cloud down to about 500m this morning, constant rain and high winds. For Sibylle it was her first mountain and a great achievement in some pretty filthy weather. Sibylle had travelled all the way from Germany specifically to do the course which is quite a lot of traveling for a weekend of navigation but at least she should be able to find her way home now! The team navigated the day themselves to put into practice the skills we learnt yesterday with me throwing in some extra tips and advice throughout the day. Skye came along and joined us and Pen Yr Ole Wen was also her first 3000ft summit.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Navigation & Hill Skills Course

I have been joined by Anton, Dave & Sybil for a weekend of navigation and hill skills here in Snowdonia. Today was a little drizzly first thing but brightened up as the day went on. We headed into Cwm Tregallan on the back of Snowdon for a day of micro navigation and skills.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Bochclwyd Horseshoe with Trail Magazine

I have been out with Trail magazine again today. The last piece of work that I did for them is out in the new issue that hit the shelves over the last couple of days. Today we have been out on the Bochclwyd Horseshoe, a great mountaineering route that takes in the North Ridge of Tryfan, descends the South ridge, ascends Bristly Ridge to Glyder Fach and then descends the Gribin Ridge back into the Ogwen valley. The photographer was over the moon with the light as it has been another stunning autumnal day and a lot of fun.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Ultra Fit Magazine

I have been out with Ultra Fit Magazine today putting together an article on scrambling. We headed up and down Tryfan in super quick time via the North Ridge and then down Little & North Gullies. The issue will be out in December and I will put a copy of the article on the site then. It has been dry and bright and a massive contrast to the wetness of yesterday!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Advanced Scrambling Course

For their second day of advanced scrambling we wanted to get Martin & Gez on the sharp end, sharing the leading. We headed back into Cwm Idwal to shelter from the high winds and spent a day heading up one side of the Idwal Slabs, across the top and then down the other side, all on grade 2 ground. The boys lead the entire day and were able to practice the skills needed for ascent, traversing and descent.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Advanced Scrambling Course

I have been joined for two days by Martin and returning client Gez for an advanced scrambling course. It has been another beautiful day with warm sunshine and no wind. We headed up North West dace route this morning and then the Cneifion Arete this afternoon looking at the skills required to stay safe and move efficiently over this type of ground. A lovely day out with views as far as the Isle of Man today.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

What a lovely day

A good friend of mine, Terry, visited us today from Worcestershire. Terry and I shared a house together many years ago in Worcestershire before I was married. I used to drag him out climbing, often against his will and often to practice some sort of rescue technique or try some filthy horror show in the Wye Valley. Nowadays he climbs for himself and recently did his first trip to the Alps. Today we took my eldest son Josh to Tremadog and climbed Bramble Buttress in 3 pitches. It was a beautiful sunny day with fine views and that wonderful Autumn crispness in the air.
The first winter snowfall has fallen on Ben Nevis and the Cairngorms with a dusting of snow down to about 2500m so winter does seem to be on the way - woo hoo!!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Family Day Scrambling

I have had a fun day out with the Lamb family today. Dad Kevin and daughter Becky have previously been out with me on a rock climbing course and today they brought the rest of the family back with them for a day of scrambling. The weather has been atrocious with 70mph winds on the summits and consistent rain. We kept low and headed up Seniors Gully, across Seniors Ridge, down the side of the Idwal Slabs and then around Llyn Idwal. We had plenty of laughs along the way and the sun even made an appearance later in the day.