Fri 2nd May - Mon 5th May, 2014
Big Bank Holiday Beltane Birthday Meet
Members: Christine Beeston, Helen Boothman, Trish Cranston, Lucie Crouch, Cathy Gordon, Graham Haslehurst, Tim Howarth, Al Metelko, Oi Ding Koy, Dan O’Brien, Dave Shotton, Meirion Tanner, Gareth Williams, Dave Wylie (arrived Friday); Mark Garrod, Michelle Harvie, Emily Pitts (arrived Saturday); Andy & Jo Stratford (arrived Sunday)
Guests: Laura Bond, Conrad Bower, Katy Cairns, Andy ‘Fruit’ & Lorna Fewtrell, Dan Moore, Jo Perry (arrived Friday); Nils Elgar, Aleksandra Pawlik (arrived Saturday); Rob, Dawn & baby Thomas Embry (arrived Sunday)
We had an excellent long weekend with a good turnout (31 for Sunday night) and a range of activities (climbing - of both traditional and sport varieties - and hard scrambling at several locations, various walks including the Nantlle ridge, and even some sea kayaking off Anglesey, as well as tea drinking and cake eating in multiple locations). The weather also stayed pretty much dry (if cloudy) until the journey home on Monday evening when the rain finally arrived!
Meirion was in fact already in Snowdonia, having attended a workshop for MIA trainees at Plas y Brenin on Thursday and stayed at the campsite in Capel Curig on Thursday night. He arrived at Ty Powdwr around 6.30pm on Friday only to find the hut locked, and having no key walked down to Llanberis and then back up again later!
Meanwhile, Dave Wylie had arrived in Snowdonia earlier on Friday and walked over the north end of the Carneddau (including Foel Grach) on Friday afternoon. Later at Ty Powdwr (but obviously not coinciding with Meirion’s initial arrival) he fitted a new carbon monoxide alarm in the lounge and inspected the window frames for future upgrading.
Fruit & Lorna also travelled to Snowdonia in the daytime and managed to get in some climbing at Dyffryn Mymbyr (near Plas y Brenin), where Fruit led Direct Route (HS 4b) and Zig-Zag (VD) and Lorna led Slab & Crack (VD) which also received a solo ascent by Fruit. They then drove to TP but were already asleep in their van by the time the meet leader arrived with Ding and Dan Moore after 11pm! Others had already arrived from various directions over the course of the evening.
The weather was dry but cloudy for most of the day.
Dave S, Ding, Fruit and Lorna went for a walk in the Dinorwic slate quarries. They followed the tunnel from the far side of Dali’s Hole through to California, and negotiated a tricky scramble up the slope at the back of that quarry (involving a nasty moment with a large loose block which came away in Dave’s hands – fortunately no-one was below as it fell some distance with a resounding crash). On reaching the top, they followed the level to find a rigging crew from London setting up a slackline across the vast chasm of the Lost World, to be ready for a filmed crossing later in the day by a circus artiste – a lengthy professional discussion of the technical and engineering aspects then ensued between Fruit and the chief rigger! (We missed the actual slackline walk but subsequent Googling revealed that the performer in question is apparently called Ellis Grover, who has worked with NoFit State Circus and the appropriately named (and intriguingly spelled!) Pirates of the Carabina – so look out for a film of the event, possibly in the adventure film festivals of the coming winter season!). Further exploration of the old workings and abandoned buildings followed until the party finally continued up above Oil Drum Glacier, then descended the track and inclines back to the hut. Dave S and Ding later drove into Llanberis for a quick trip round the supermarket and gear shops (purchases included the handy ‘A55 Sport Climbs’ guide), while Fruit and Lorna returned to Dali’s Hole where Fruit soloed Kinder Sport (3), La Famille (4+) and Emerald Dyke (4).
Gareth spent the morning in Vivian Quarry ‘working on a project’, namely Gin Palace (F7b+/F7c), while Lucie went for a walk via the quarry (she assures me she did wave to Gareth on the way) into Llanberis to enjoy her book over a mug of hot chocolate. They then spent the afternoon in and around the Looning The Tube area of Australia, where Gareth led Off The Beaten Track (E3 5c) and Lucie nearly got to the top of Deceptive Dyke (bolted 5).
Jo Perry, Graham, Dan O’Brien, Tim, Laura Bond and Conrad went to Clogwyn yr Oen (in the Moelwyns near Tremadog) and climbed Slick (VD), Slack (S 4a) and Kirkus’s Climb Direct (S 4a).
Nils arrived at the hut at about 7.30am, and accompanied Dave Wylie on a walk up Elidir Fawr, over Y Garn and continuing down above the Devil’s Kitchen to Llyn Y Cŵn, then heading right down to the path into the Llanberis Pass and back up through the slate quarries to the hut.
Christine and Cathy Gordon went off to the East Face of Tryfan where they climbed Pinnacle Rib (D).
Helen, Meirion and Dan Moore went to Clogwyn y Grochan where all three climbed Nea (VS 4b) and Helen and Meirion climbed Spectre (HVS 5a).
Mark and Michelle came from Manchester during the day but stopped for a walk in the Carneddau (over Llwytmor and Foel-fras) on the way, arriving at TP in the evening.
Emily also arrived during the day and picked up Aleksandra from Bangor train station in the late afternoon.
Dave S had turned 50 some days before and laid on veggie curry and rice for about a dozen people who wanted it at the hut in the evening, as well as some cakes, one very kindly made for the occasion by Mark!
Al and Trish meanwhile were having something of an epic day. They had set out at around 9-10am and ascended Jammed Boulder Gully on Dinas Mot (a slimy and awkward scramble with a tricky squeeze through a hole, in which Al got stuck). They then moved on to the Parson’s Nose on Clogwyn y Person, which again proved unexpectedly tricky for a scramble with the rather daunting exposure causing them to rope up several times. Al’s hip and Trish’s leg again delayed them on the long walk up and they descended the Miners’ Track as darkness fell, although fortunately they then managed to get a lift back to their car with a local member of the Pinnacle Club. By this time the other occupants of the hut were becoming increasingly concerned, but unfortunately Al and Trish had both left their mobile phones behind so all attempts to contact them were in vain. With superbly dramatic timing they finally got back to the hut at about 11.20pm, just as Christine and Dave S were in the middle of phoning in a missing persons report to the local police, which ended with the words “Oh, they’ve just walked through the door!” All were certainly very glad to see them safely back!
The weather was dry and cloudy with some sunny spells, but also windy at times.
Andy and Jo Stratford arrived early from Manchester. Andy then teamed up with Emily for the decidedly ‘old-school’ option of a climb on Lliwedd, namely Horned Crag Route (V Diff ‘going on E1!’). Both parties later became quite animated in recounting their adventure – sections of ‘easy scrambling’ actually turned out to be ‘revolting’ wet grassy choss with 500m fall potential involving the use of fingernails in the grass. Emily also reported that Andy had ‘stuffed his face throughout the climb’! Meanwhile Jo S had been out photographing lambs.
Gareth and Lucie returned to the slate quarries again. Gareth led Comes The Dervish (E3 5c) and Last Tango In Paris (E1 5b/E2 5c depending on guidebook) in Vivian Quarry though Lucie didn’t follow either route. After a cup of tea in Llanberis they moved up to the Ritter Sport Level, where Gareth led Two Tone (E2 6a - no follow), The Madness (E2 5c - Lucie followed) and One Step Beyond (E2 6a – no follow?). This was Gareth’s first double figure E points in one day – at least 10, or 11 if LTIP is counted as E2!
Meirion and Helen went to Carreg Wastad where they climbed Lion (VS 4c) and Bole Way (also VS 4c), the latter of which they described as ‘particularly esoteric’!
Christine and Cathy climbed Flying Buttress (VD) on Dinas Cromlech, which Christine described as ‘ace’ and reported that they had both been ‘very brave’.
Dan Moore was feeling tired so just walked down into Llanberis, while Graham was apparently suffering too much from the effects of the night before to do even that much!
Dave S, Dave Wylie, Ding, Nils, Mark and Michelle walked along the Nantlle Ridge, from Rhyd Ddu to Nebo. Dave Wylie, Ding, Nils and Michelle started walking at about 11:20, while Mark and Dave S followed on at about 12:10 (pausing only to rescue a lamb stuck in a wire fence in the layby) after a return trip to leave Dave’s car at Nebo. The group were reunited before the first summit (Y Garn), then continued over Mynydd Drws-y-coed, Trum y Ddysgl, Mynydd Tal-y-mignedd and Craig Cwm Silyn (from where Mark and Michelle returned to the start and then headed back to Manchester). Dave S, Dave W, Ding and Nils continued over Garnedd-goch and finished walking at Nebo at about 17:00. Conditions on top were dry, but becoming misty and windy towards the end.
Conrad, Aleksandra, Fruit and Lorna went to Craig Bwlch y Moch at Tremadog. Conrad and Aleksandra climbed Oberon (S 4b), while Fruit and Lorna bagged Merlin Direct (HVS 5a), Borneo (VS 4c) and Tro (HS 4a) and opted to stop over at Tremadog in their camper van.
Tim, Laura Bond and Jo Perry went on a geocaching hike round Llyn Padarn, while Katy and Dan O’Brien visited Portmeirion! Rob, Dawn and baby Thomas Embry arrived at the hut via Llandudno Beach.
The weather was again kind during the day, dry with sunny intervals until the rain came in the evening.
Helen, Meirion, Dave Wylie, Lucie and Gareth headed to Australia in the slate quarries. Conditions were very windy but they tried a few routes anyway. Helen and Meirion climbed Sad Man Who’s Sane (VS 4c), Gadaffi Duck (F6b) and The Deceptive Dyke (F5+). Lucie also led The Deceptive Dyke, and Gareth led Goose Creature (E3 6a). Dave Wylie didn’t climb but took photos.
Dan Moore, Andy S and Nils climbed the very traditional Grooved Arete (VD/HVD 4a), with its (in)famous ‘Knight’s Move’ pitch, on the East Face of Tryfan.
Christine reported “I did more climbing [over the weekend] than I have in years - Cathy and I did Pulpit Route [D] (with Ivy Chimney finish - very funny) on Milestone Buttress on the Monday which rounded off the weekend nicely.”
Rob, Dawn and baby Thomas headed straight back to Manchester as they had things to do. Al, Trish, Tim, Graham, Dan O’Brien, Laura, Jo Perry, Katy and Conrad all climbed at Little Tryfan - Jo did her first leads, wasn’t completely sure which routes but most likely Crack 1 and Crack 2 (both D) towards the LH edge of the crag.
Jo S, Ding, Aleksandra and Emily headed into Llanberis and treated themselves to coffee, salad and ice-cream, after which Emily had a nap.
Dave S, Fruit and Lorna meanwhile had a great day out on a guided sea kayaking trip off the coast of Anglesey, meeting up at Adventure Elements at Brynsiencyn, and then heading up to the north coast of the island with their guide Steve and the requisite number of kayaks. They launched the kayaks from the small pebbly beach at the tiny harbour of Porth Llechog (a.k.a. Bull Bay) and paddled round the coast to the disused Brickworks at Porth Wen, where they stopped for lunch and Fruit and Dave did an awkward unroped ascent of a small but rather loose rocky pinnacle. Total distance paddled was about 6km, taking around 5 hours. Various sea birds such as fulmars could be spotted on the sea cliffs, as well as some nesting ravens; a porpoise came up several times about 100m from the kayaks; and the group was followed for quite a long distance on the way back to Porth Llechog by a curious seal who regularly stuck his head out of the water to have a look at the strange humans.
Everyone had headed off by Monday evening, apart from Andy and Jo Stratford who stayed on for an extra night.
Scott Sadler and family turned up at the hut at around 12.30am, but the meet had already ended so too late for a meet tick!
Andy and Jo S then got up at some ungodly hour in order to drive back to Manchester in time for work!
Ride a white swan like the people of the Beltane,
Wear your hair long, babe, you can't go wrong
T Rex "Ride A White Swan"
Come along to Ty Powdwr for the usual May Day Bank Holiday fun - lots of scope for climbing, hillwalking, mountain biking etc as usual.
It will also be the closest weekend to a Significant Birthday for the meet leader - not saying which but the fact that I can remember T Rex (the group not the dinosaur...) may give a clue. There may be cake...
And it is of course also close to the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane so even more reason to let your hair (long or otherwise) down!