Next Steps Scrambling Training Weekend…

next steps scrambling – Ogwyn Valley

Trainer – Matt @
Attendees – Andy, Kate, Iain

The day started with a basic introduction to the types of scrambling (grade 1, 2, 3) equipment used and various use case scenarios. What was interesting was learning about the differences between ropes and slings and what to look for when scrambling outdoors as opposed to indoor climbing.

After morning briefing, we headed outside into the welsh rain to put our new found knowledge to practial use. A short walk from the hostel into the base of the Glyders with plenty of super slippy rock with the rain hammering down.

We practised belaying others using the A-B-C (Anchor, Belayor, Climber) technique along with just the B-C (Belayor & Climber) as well. We then practised self Rappels using the traditional and African Chair method. By a mile we all found the african chair method much more controlled and less uncomfortable although this comes at the expense of significant amounts of rope as you have to double up – something to think about on the mountain…

after a bit of lunch in the driest spot we could find, we then scrambled up to higher ground to practise use of belaying with the use of a sling and italian hitch knot. It was here that Iain felt uncomfortable over some bigger boulders with the slippy rock so we had the perfect reason to practise for real, and although there was a risk of Iain meeting a grisly end, we all felt it was a risk worth taking to learn some new skills :o)

After taking it in turns to climb and descend down a short steep gulley whilst also practising as the belayor, it was time to head back to the YHA for a nice meal.

Sunday was an early start to do the north face of Tryfan as the morning was forecast to be dry before before rains moved in after lunch. As always Tryfan doesn’t disappoint and a wonderful scramble to the summit. Iain who came close to completing Tryfan a number of years ago but had to turn back had a score to settle and was overjoyed when we made it to the top.

A gentle descent down the south side and back down to the visitor centre completed a fantastic weekend…

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Fort William – May ’19

Friday 3rd May to Monday 6th May 2019

Attendees: Andy & James
Accommodation: Glen Nevis Campsite

Friday – Glen Coe
The route took us up the hidden/lost valley of the Glen Coe 3 sisters. The route started at the “meeting of the Three Waters” following the path up through the valley. At the far end of the valley a steep climb up the scree and snow covered “Lost Valley Buttress” before grabbing the summit of ‘Stob Coire Sgreamach’ @ 1072m and then back up to ‘Bidean Nam Bian’ @ 1141m. From there the route descends down and back up to ‘Stob Coire Nan Lochan’ @ 1115m before the long descent down the Gearr Aonach Ridge and back to the start.

Saturday – Ring of Steall
Todays’ route started at the carpark (grid ref NN 14601 68355). From there it was a relentless climb up to the first summit Sgurr a’ Mhaim @ 1099m. Then it was a nice walk along a narrow & slightly exposed ridge to Sgur an Lubhair @ 1001m. Then followed a long walk around to the next summit Stob Coire a’ Chairn @ 981m. The route got exciting again here as we scrambled along a nice rocky ridge to An Garbhanach (975m) followed by An Gearanach (982m). The route then descended all the way down into the valley on a beautiful path to the waterfall and a fun wire bridge crossing across the ‘Water of Nevis’. Thinking that was the end of the walk, we were further rewarded with a spectacular walk back along the valley to the car.

Sunday – Bike Ride
Today we gave ourselves a break from the walking and instead got on two wheels for a beautiful ride around the peninsular around Loch Shiel.
From fort william we cycled down to the Corran Ferry for the trip across Loch Linnhe (free for bicycles). Then we followed the road along the coast before heading west inland through Glen Tarbett. It was here that we both nearly got run over by a car pulling out of a junction who failed to look down the road. Luckily still intact and with out heart rates settling again, we pulled over a few miles further on at a tea shop near Scotstown. The roads were quiet, smooth and the scenery stunning. We made our way up to Loch Shiel along some stunning routes that were sheltered from the headwinds. We then joined the busier A861 back past Loch Eil to fort william. Regrettably in the planning we had missed the railway viaduct at Glenfinnan (made famous in the Harry Potter films) as we happily cycled past wondering why the area was so busy with tourists.
Our weary legs made it back to Fort William having covered 85 miles and 3500ft of Ascent and a great sense of achievement. To cap a brilliant ride the Garmin sat nav ran out of power 2 minutes after crossing the finish 🙂

Monday – Ben Nevis (CMD Arete)
Today’s route had been on the to-do list for some time – Ben Nevis via the CMD Arete route. We set off directly from the Glen Nevis campsite following the tourist path up. We split at the Lochan Meall An T’Suiche lake and made our way around to the CIC hut in the valley on the eastern side of Ben Nevis. Here we had a steep scramble up to the summit of Carn Dearg Meadhonach @ 1179m. The conditions were cool with a light dusting of snow from the night before and clear skies with views for miles. We made our way along the ridge to Carn Mor Dearg @ 1220m before the ridge descends down and around towards the summit. The route becomes quite exposed in places if sticking to the top of the ridge, although there are opportunities to drop just off the ridge for those without a head for heights. Having completed the ridge there was a final steep climb up to the summit of the great Ben @ 1345m and the ruins of the old observatory weather station. As the conditions were so calm with not even a breeze some people decided to do some slacklining across the gulley just off the summit. Certainly not for the faint hearted!!! After taking in the views we descended back down the tourist path to the campsite where we drove home later that night to try and avoid the traffic on the motorways…

Scotland you didn’t let us down on this trip. 4 truely epic days and glorious weather and scenery…

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Buckden, North Yorkshire – Easter 2019

Date: Friday 19th– Monday 22nd April

Attendees: Maggie (organiser), Alan, Claire, Simon

We all headed north on Thursday evening to avoid the Easter traffic, so we were able to do a walk on Good Friday. We started at Bolton Abbey and headed up to Simon’s Seat (485m) with spectacular views across the Yorkshire Moors. Walking back along the Dales Way by the River Wharfe, we encountered Easter bunnies and hanging eggs (no we weren’t dreaming) which were all part of an Easter trail involving rather a lot of excited children and adults!  We then headed to our accommodation, Town House Bunkhouse (National Trust) in the village of Buckden. 

On Saturday we walked from the Bunkhouse up to Buckden Pike (702m), across the moors to Great Whernside (704m), then down to Kettlewell. Here we enjoyed a well-deserved ice cream before we caught the local bus back to Buckden and headed for the village pub.

Sunday was yet another glorious sunny day and once again we headed out from the Bunkhouse up on to the moors to Horses Head (605m) where we had great views looking across to the Three Peaks. Then it was down to Hubberholme and another local hostelry!

On Easter Monday the sun was shining again and we headed to Kettlewell for a circular walk which included Stainforth Force where we saw some scary jumps and Catrigg Force Waterfalls.

Another NMC great weekend with four days of sun, wonderful scenery and a great little bunkhouse!

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Peak District – Mar 2019

Peak District 22-24 March 2019

Attendees: Andy, Ade, Aga, Andreea, Angela, Barry, Maggie, Martin, Sue, Trudy,

A nice relatively local trip to the stunning Peak District and the second busiest national park in the world.
We stayed in an independent hostel in Sheen in the white peaks.
Some people arrived early on the Friday and explored the local towns and areas. On Saturday we drove a short distance to park at Alstonefield where we set off to across the fields before dropping down in the valley alongside the river Dove.
Once in the valley the scenery was spectacular with many caves lining the route and wonderful cliffs and overhangs with bolts for those sport climbers.

A nice lunch stop at Milldale was followed by more wonderful sights such as the 12 apostles before the highlight of the day walking up to Thorpe Cloud and the stepping stones across the river and with wonderful views for miles around. It was busy with sightseers and for good reason.

We then crossed the river and began making our way along the opposite bank but keeping a high route. It turned out to be a great day covering approx 12-15 miles and 3000ft ascent.

Back in the bunkhoue we enjoyed an evening of home cooked lasagne and a couple of games of charades.

Sunday was another glorious sunny day. We started and the picturesque town of Hartington making our way across fields to once again pick up the river Dove further along the valley. Andy & Barry quickly bagged a couple of nearby summits including Wolfscote Hill (388m) the highest in the nearby area before meeting the others as we came back along Biggin Dale.

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Brecon Beacons – Jan 2019

Date: 11thth-13th January 2019

Attendees: Maggie Russell (organiser), Alan Tinkler, Claire White, Dave Wilson, Simon Pike, Nicola Milliner, Andy Moss, Gary Phillips, Barry Tucker, Al Chester, Gordon MacDonald

After a 6 year break we returned to Dan Y Gryn NT bunkhouse situated near the Storey Arms, which we enjoyed as much last time, except that for reasons unknown we were not allowed to use the log burner. Luckily it was a very mild January…

On Saturday, some of us headed north along the lane from the bunkhouse and headed up the Cwm Llwch Valley to Corn Du (873m) and Pen Y Fan (886m).  Unfortunately it was cloudy and also very windy at the top but at least we didn’t get wet. The boys decided to carry on and do Cribyn and Fan Y Big, but the girls decided to head down the track to the Storey Arms passing what seemed like hundreds of people all wearing trainers, we definitely felt overdressed by comparison!

Gary, Barry and Andy headed to Fan Fawr (734m) and continued onwards with Andy & Barry completing 9 summits along the way, approx 6000ft ascent and covering 22 miles roughly, arriving back in the dark close to 7.00pm.

Back at the barn we all enjoyed Gary’s homemade vegetable soup and beef bourguignon, followed by Waffle Berry pudding; all were all greatly appreciated! This was followed by the now well-known NMC game of Red Handed.

On Sunday due to a variety of reasons most people headed home early. However Andy was ultra-keen and was up early at 5am to head up Peny-y-Fan in the dark and had arranged to meet Dan and Maisie (who had an even earlier start driving over from Newbury) on the top n at 8.00am! Amazingly they arrived at 1 minute past!!!
Barry, Gary and Al also did the same but at a more sensible hour of the day!

Yet again we all had another great weekend in the Brecons!

Maggie (trip organiser)

Brecon Trip Report

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Christmas Walk – Dec ’18

Attendees: Maggie (organiser), Dorian, Alan, Claire, Keyna, Bruce, Nicola, Tracy, Sue

When: Saturday, 15th December 2018

Despite the weather forecast for rain for most of the day, there were still nine of us on the walk. We set off from Hungerford train station with most people having got the train from Newbury, mainly so we could have ample liquid refreshment! We headed across Hungerford Common battling against the wind and rain and continued south towards Little Common. Luckily we were able to find some shelter under some trees to stop and enjoy the now traditional mulled wine/cider and mince pies. However it was too wet to say long!So off we went again in the rain, passing a disused moat and St Caspian’s until we finally got to Kintbury. The overwhelming decision was to go to the pub and get the train back to Hungerford. Luckily the land lady was OK with the puddles and the dripping clothes!

A couple of hours later we got the train back to Hungerford and were joined by other club members to enjoy a great meal at the Hungerford Arms.

The forecast had been right but despite the weather and getting very wet we all enjoyed our day out. This was the first time that we have had to shorten the Xmas walk, let’s hope it will be the last!

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Lake District – Dec 2018

Attendees: Maggie (trip coordinator), Claire, Alan, Mark C, Pete, Barry, Gary, Andy, Ian, Lee, Simon, Dan, Maisie, Kate, Amelia.

When: 9th-11th December 2018

Where: Honister Hause, Honister Pass, Seathwaite, Lake District.

Five of us set off on Thursday evening and so were able to do a walk on Friday. Andy and Gary walked from the hostel to Black Sail YHA and onto Haystacks. Maggie, Alan and Claire went to the Chris Bonnington exhibition in Keswick and then did a circular walk which included Castle Crag. In the evening Gary made us yet another great curry and his now legendary crumble!

On Saturday the weather was not the best we have ever had.It rained for most of the day and the wind particularly on higher ground was really strong. Despite that all went out for varying lengths of time ranging from a couple of hours to 10!

A group of us started together and walked up to Grey Knott and Green Gable (801m) with the intention of doing Great Gable (899m). However due to the poor weather conditions Claire, Alan, Gary and Maggie decided to head down the valley past Black Sail hut and onto Haystacks. While Andy, Ian and Barry did Great Gable and then continued on to do Glaramara (783m). Needing some warmth and liquid refreshment they stopped at the pub in Seathwaite before the long haul up the valley back to the hostel. Arriving back at 7.00pm having spent the last 2 of the day descending in the dark trying to find the trail as is disappeared under streams of flowing water runoff!

Mark, Pete and Lee did a huge running circuit which included Great Gable and Scarfel Pike (977m). They then stopped briefly for well earned refreshments at the pub at Wasdale and came back via Black Sail Pass. Approximately 15 miles!!

Dan, Maisie, Kate and Amelia walked up to Dalehead (753m) and Dan and Maisie continued on to Robinson (737m) looking for way markers.

In the evening Dan cooked a gourmet meal starting with baked brie and sour dough rolls, followed by salmon en-route, beef wellington plus loads of veg.  As if this wasn’t enough we finished with a delicious bread and butter pudding and brandy cream. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all after abig day in the hills!

The weather on Sunday was a huge improvement as the clouds cleared, the sun shone and the wind died down. Various routes were undertaken before heading back to Newbury which included:

  • Dalehead, Robinson, Buttermere
  • Castle Crag from Rosthwaite
  • Helm Crag from Grasmere.

Another great NMC weekend!


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Berwyns – Oct 2018

Saturday 13th October

To describe the weather as truly awful would be an understatement, the western parts of the UK were being thrashed by Storm Callum, the worst reported storms to hit the UK with gale force winds and heavy rain…..

I decided to stay low and local today, the thought to attempt one of the nearby Berwyn mountains didn’t even cross my mind, a thought that was shared by the majority of the group! Staying in an equestrian centre there was a network of bridle paths that we could link up to create a decent circular route that would enable us to stretch our legs. After a short map study, a route was identified providing a 10k circular route which we could cut short if the weather got too bad.

We headed out and up on to the first high point, the wind whipped the rain into our faces at such an intensity it felt like we were being stabbed by needles, so it was a case of heads down and plough on! Before long we changed direction, the wind and rain was now on our backs making the conditions a little more bearable allowing us for the first time to lift our heads and take in the views of this beautiful countryside.

Due to the relentless rain and wind there was little opportunity to take pictures with most people leaving their cameras and phones in the safe confines of a waterproof bag inside their backpacks. We did manage to find a sheltered spot within a forest that allowed us to have a snack to eat and give us a rest from the relentless wind and rain before heading back out into the storm.

After near on three hours of testing our waterproofs we returned to our accommodation to start the process of drying out and getting warm again – thank goodness there was a dry room! The weather for Sunday was looking to be better so a planning started for a shorter trip up onto the Berwyn Mountains.

Sunday 14th October

As it was a return home day the plan was to do a linear walk up onto Cadair Berwyn from Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall car park, this allowed people to turn around at any point if people needed to get home earlier than others. The weather was on our side so after packing up and cleaning up we drove to the carpark.

The route took us straight up on to Trum Felen, Moel Sych before topping out on Cadair Berwyn. On reaching Cadair Berwyn and after taking the compulsory summit pictures we decided to make the route a little more adventurous by heading down via Llyn Lluncaws for lunch and back to the carpark via the track below Cerrig Poethion.

Back at the carpark we took the opportunity to take in the waterfall and have refreshments in the teashop before making our way home.

Even though the storm tried to put a dampener on things for this weekend we managed to get out on both days and was rewarded with beautiful views especially on Sunday.

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Pangbourne Day Walk

Pangbourne Day Walk- 22nd September 2018

Maggie (organiser), Alan, Claire, Simon H, Sue Wood, Ade, Iain, Sue Walsh, Trudy, Martin

The walk started in a Recreation car park in Pangbourne which I thought was a great idea as it was free, however as it was a Saturday it was virtually full due to a local football game going on. Something to remember for next time! Once everyone had managed to park and found the car park we finally set off
across the River Thames into Whitchurch.  We headed east passing by some alpaca’s and then ascended the hill up to the Chiltern Way.  


Lunch was eaten sheltering in a wood and although I gave the option of a short cut everyone was happy to continue in the rain. We finally picked up the Thames path and headed back to Whitchurch where beers, coffees etc were appreciated in a local pub.


Despite the weather which was light rain for most of the day it was a great walk and enjoyed by all!


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Pewsey Downs Day Walk

Attendees: Andy M (organiser), Sue, Ade, Iain, Dan, Maisie, Simon

A nice 10 mile stroll along the chalk ridge that is the Pewsey Downs. From the car park near the White Horse, we headed east to Martinsell Hill bagging a couple of Trig points before dropping back down through the village of Oare before heading back up onto the ridge near Gopher wood. A very enjoyable meander indeed…

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