I’m up in Scotland now running the stores for PYB at there hotel base – Alltshellach. The views have been stunning and my first week here was spent on winter mountain leader training with Stu and Spike.
The course was really good fun with challenging weather throughout (well except perhaps the first day). My roomy for the week has his own blog so why not head over there and check out what he thought of the week – http://bees-beans.blogspot.co.uk/
After the course I had my first day of work and a day catching up with some old friends who were up in the area for the weekend before heading out for a climb and a munro tick today. More of that to come over the next few weeks hopefully!
Anyway that’s it for now. I’ll try and update again soon.
This week has absolutely flown by. I’d originally intended to write a blog post daily as a bit of a diary of what I’ve been up to but quite literally haven’t had a spare moment to put it together until now. Revised plan is now to make it a weekly diary.
So it all started with arrival on Monday night. As I was pulling into the car park I bumped into my new fellow Centre Assistants (CA’s). They were all heading out to the RAC boulders for a quick hours bouldering before dinner at 19:30. Needless to say I quickly parked up and joined them without even unloading. We started with the warm up slabs and some chatting to get to know each other then got stuck into the classic traverse. That went just before dinner and we then headed back un-packed and settled in to sleep ready for our first full day.
In the morning we found out a bit about our week. We’d be eased into life here gently with the first day shadowing the adventure days instructors on the water. We headed out with a great school group and I got my first experience back in a kayak for many years. This proved really good fun as the weather was kind and we joined in with the games and skills the instructors set for the kids. In the afternoon we were in canoes with the same group and learnt a lot (as did the kids) about moving about the boat in order to effect trim so that it was easier to paddle into/away from the wind. Finally being super keen we headed out to the Cromlech in the evening so that Niels (one of the other new CA’s) could have a go at leading one of my favourite climbs – Cemetery Gates. He dispatched this with aplomb and we rushed back to make it just in time for food. Our psych still not sated we then headed out to the PYB Boulder
Day two was an induction day – in the morning half of us went out driving the Galaxy’s to be assessed as competent to pick people up, the other half had fire safety training. In the afternoon we swapped over. I was in the morning group. It turned out to be a really informative session learning a lot about the functioning of the centre and some tips on how to make the most of our time here / help clients enjoy their time here. This finished up a bit early and the weather was still good so we headed out to Llanberis pass so that Jen (another CA, and a paddler) could take her first steps into multi pitch climbing. We did Wrinkle, a classic climb of the area and really good fun.
By now it was Thursday and this was a mock assessment day for the rock component of the British Mountain Guide scheme. We were to be clients and have an agenda for what we could get out of the day. Myself and Niels teamed up, both having similar goals for the day. The weather had turned a bit worse so we opted to improve our rope skills and keep warmer by practicing short rope techniques. This is a method of moving with a good degree of safety over technical ground while maintaining speed to cover a lot of ground. It was an incredibly fun day with lots of skills learnt. We did four scrambles on Tryfan of grade three; using methods such as pitching, using natural protection with a shorten roped, firm stances and the like. In the evening having heard it was balmy and warm at Tramadog which is near the coast we headed over that direction and did six pitches; two on the VS Grim Wall and four on the Severe Poor Mans Peuterey. The descent was finished in the dark.
Friday, we had a tour of the centre in the morning to meet some people and get more familiar with the place. This also include some playing about on the jump bikes to test out the pump track and skills loop (both are really good). In the afternoon we had to prep an assault course for some filming by the BBC over the weekend. We also got to try out some of the challenges and that definitely meant we’d get to know each other well. In the evening it was my first night porter duty. This proved a busy night with everyone turning up for the weekend.
Today was a day with only night porter to do. The weather was fantastic and with it being a bank holiday we decided to head over to Gogarth, Main Cliff to have a go at some routes. It turned out to be quite busy and an inefficient start with a guidebook to pick up. So people were on the route we intended to do. Instead we did one of the classic E2’s of the crag – Resolution Direct. I lead the second pitch which was my first of an E2 and proved good fun but gripping at the time. After that it was 15:45 so we headed back in time for the night duty.
So twenty twelve started with a snap – quite literally as I broke my leg skiing – so how did I get on for the rest of the year and what did I learn?
First steps on the road to recovery were taken pretty quickly. Managing to get out of the house quite regularly and perfecting hopping at speed. As a positive it also turns out that being on crutches is also good for recovering from golfers elbow, and sorting out some of the in-balances in the muscles in my arms. I took the first few weeks off from the climbing wall as well, not really wanting to risk worsening the injury so instead set my heart on completing as many of the exercises given to me by my physio as I could. This started with some easy stretching, progressed onto gentile cycling before trying more impact based activity such as hopping and running. For the first time in a while I signed up to the Gym and started spinning classes and weights. After those initial couple weeks I was back indoor climbing again.
By April I’d managed to recover enough to get outdoors again. A few short walks around leafy Surrey before a trip up to Snowdonia to get back into the mountains I’d been craving to visit again. It felt amazing to rediscover the hills after so long between trips. We decided to go and tackle some easy routes on the east face of Tryfan to make the most of the sunny but cold weather. My fitness was good but my leg wasn’t as flexible as before and going down was hard slow and painful work. All in all it was a great weekend and motivated me even more to get back to full fitness.
Welcome to my blog. In hear you’ll find the latest about what I’m up to as well as useful information such as weather / conditions where I am, thoughts on pieces of kit I use, and musings on the outdoor world.
I hope you like it.