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27-29 Jan - Snowdonia
10-12 Feb - Peak District
24-27 Feb - Scotland
9-11 Mar - Brecon Beacons
6-9 April - Lake District
4-7 May - Dartmoor
1-5 June - Torridon
29 June -2 July - Devon CtC bike ride
24 Aug - 27 Aug - Dorset Camping
28-30 Sept - Lake District
19-21 Oct - Cadair Idris
Present: Keyna & James, Simon, Paula, Jill, Dan, Alan & Claire, Sue, Tom, Mark &Marion & Chip, Belinda and Sarah. Sarah is new to the club and did great.
Location: Pinnacle Club Hut, Nant Gwynant, Snowdonia
The Pinnacle Ladies Climbing Club hut is hilarious. There are only 2 beer
glasses and about 100 wine glasses. The hot water never runs out, the drying
room works really well, it's got a great fireplace and is lovely and warm
Everyone was there by 10pm and a late night all round - about 2am the final folks dragged themselves to only bed.
On Saturday everyone headed from the hut to Pen-y-Pass. From here we split into 2 groups. Keyna, James, Tom, Sarah & Dan all then went across Crib Goch while the rest followed the Miners Track- with lovely lake views by the way. Sarah and Tom have never done such mountaineering across a small, narrow, exposed path before. It was icy and snowy and we had to talk them through some sections. It took a while but all credit to the newbies. They did brilliantly and were justifiably proud of their achievements. We all somehow met at the top and then the long walk home.
Alan and Claire were sporting their mini crampons - £15 from Cotswolds. They worked a treat apparently.
James led Keyna and Sue back to the hut using the GPS on his iPhone as Keyna had put her map away in her rucksack and couldn't be bothered getting it out again. They could see the river, where it split to the hut and realised the path followed the river all the way to the hut. Straight home for us although headtorches were required. We only lost the path once. First in and showered - ahhhhh....
The others decided to cut for the safety of the road but spent ages finding their way across muddy fields in the pitch dark so came in long after us iphone smarties.
Dinner was courtesy of Keyna & James (satay chicken skewers), dinner a feast C/O Marion & Mark (Sausage & Pasta) and Sue bought various sticky pies for dessert. Everyone else was on washing up duty. Suckers !!!
Sunday was a short but energetic walk battling against the sleet to the small but lovely summit of Crimpiau above Capel Curig.
Present: Claire (organiser), Alan, Keyna, James W, Maggie, Jo, Angela, Paula, Vanessa, James C, Sarah M, David, and Millie the Black Labrador.
Location: Thorpe Farm Bunkhouses near Hathersage
It is never a good journey up North after work on a Friday, and this was the start of half term, and we had snow – so it should have been awful. But in 3 hours flat we got from Newbury to Hathersage, never have we seen the M1 so empty!
Following the directions provided by the bunk house, it was easy peasy to find, up a long icy farm track – but not so for those and their satnavs, mentioning no names! The bunkhouse wasn’t that warm, but once everyone had arrived and we were well into the wine, you just didn’t notice.
With beautiful blue skies and a morning freeze, it wasn’t long before those with mini crampons or yak-traks had them on to get up icy Mam Tor – Paula soon regretted leaving her crampons in the bunkhouse. Some of the icy paths proved quite a challenge, but leaving the path on a Maggie “short cut” across to Brown Knoll, Angela somehow lost her brand new Yaktraks. From Kinder Low we skirted around the edge of Kinder Scout, with the snow quite deep in some parts.
We somehow split up before reaching Grindsbrook Clough, with those in the front carrying on to the Knoll, and making their way from there down easy slopes to Edale. The 4 at the back – Jo, Maggie, Claire and Alan - met the challenge of descending the frozen waterfall which Jo and Maggie managed somehow without crampons. Keyna was bitterly disappointed to have been up the front and miss this adventure!
After some pints in the Old Nags Head, it was back to the bunkhouse for a sumptuous meal, courtesy of Jo, Claire and Paula, and a rather long winded shower rota (Angela ended up with a couple of kettles in the end). Maggie’s insistence of mood lighting had persuaded us to light tea candles, but leaving them burning to attempt some extra heat was not a good idea – as one burnt through the whole table!
On Sunday we parked up in Hathersage and did a circular walk across more icy fields and up onto dramatic Stanage Edge – where a number of Keira Knightley poses took place.
After walking the Edge it was back to Hathersage and a nice warm cafe for hot drinks and cake.
The perfect end to a great weekend, was yet another clear run down the M1!
Present: Claire (organiser), Alan, Keyna, James, Martin B, Dave W, Si Kirby
Location: Corrour Estate, Loch Ossian, near Rannoch Moor, Scotland
For Martin and Dave the adventure started Thursday evening on the Caledonian Sleeper from Euston all the way through to Corrour, arriving Friday morning. Whilst they enjoyed some fine weather climbing Beinn a Bhric and Leum Uilleim (909m), the rest of us had an early morning start from Southampton Airport. At Glasgow, time was tight as we rushed from the airport to Queen Street Station and a visit to Sainsburys to buy the supplies for the weekend. The check out lady was bemused by the amount of food and alcohol -“it’s just 3 days you’re going for?" she asked.
After a 3 hour relaxing train ride to Corrour we all met up at this isolated railway station and had our gear and food collected by a truck, whilst we made the 1½ hour trek to the other end of Loch Ossian and our accommodation in the estate “village”. We were staying in the Chapel, done up in the style of a 1950’s ski cabin with the walls papered in newspapers from the 1950’s. The highlight was the 2 big tin baths! Certainly one of the best places the club has stayed, we all loved it, and it made up for the lack of snow.
As forecast, the weather turned wet and cloudy, but not to be deterred, we set off on Saturday morning for some munro climbing. As all the snow had melted in the last couple of week’s mild “spring” weather, this meant very wet and boggy conditions under foot. After climbing Carn Dearg (941m) (where Martin found a bit of snow to use his ice axe on), Sgor Gaibhre (955m) and Sgor Choinnich (929m) the wet and windy weather got the better of us, and as we all now had wet pants/knickers from the persistent wind and rain it was time to turn back to our warm welcoming cabin to try out the tin baths. The boys had hoped to watch the rugby on the 60’’ TV in the community centre, but alas it was not connected to a TV signal and was for DVD use only! A few more boxes of wine were consumed accompanied by Martin’s delicious chilli made with Corrour Estate venison.
The weather was not any better on Sunday, so it was just one munro today, Beinn na Lap (935m) but also involving several miles of valley walking below the cloud line. Another evening of fine food (Chorizo pasta by James), wine & whisky by the log fire was enjoyed by all.
On Monday, it was the walk out back to Corrour station (again in the drizzle), this time carrying all our gear (though we had managed to consume all the food and alcohol taken in). A little bit of apprehension at the station “what if the train doesn’t stop, we’ll be stranded here”, but despite the speed the train appeared to be doing it did pull up and let us board.
A brilliant weekend in this magical place – hopefully next time we’ll get the snow too!
Present: Claire (organiser), Alan, Keyna, James, Joanne, Steve, Sarah M, David, Sue, Tom, Paula, Annie W, Bruce S, Belinda
Location: Glebe Barn, Llanbedr, near Crickhowell
A return visit to this beautifully appointed barn, complete with sauna, and those on their first visit were suitably impressed – it certainly is the best accommodation used by NMC!
Although only a mere 2 hour drive from Newbury (unless of course there is an accident on the M4 and you are delayed for 2 hours), the walking here is not the walk in the park you might expect. With beautiful spring weather we set off at about 9am to do the Llanbedr horseshoe, a 17.1 mile circuit commencing with a steep climb to the first summit above Llanbedr, Crug Mawr at 550m. Then followed Pen Twyn Mawr at 658m, Pen Y Gadair Fawr at 800m, Waun Fach at 810m, Pen Twyn Glas at 646m, Pen Allt Mawr at 719m – from where Alan was pointing out Sugar Loaf in the far far distance as our destination Table Mountain, much to everyone’s horror. After Pen Cerrig-calch or the Sideboard at 701m it became apparent that Table Mountain was just nestling below us and was not that monster in the distance. There are 2 rules in NMC – don’t follow Keyna, and don’t listen to Alan! The group finally limped into Llanbedr just as it was getting dark, feeling that they had done something today!
A fabulous dinner was prepared by Joanne & Steve and James & Keyna with puddings from Belinda and Paula, and as well as feeling tired, we then all felt comfortably full, and enjoyed a relaxing evening on the comfy sofas.
Sunday was another glorious day, but a rugby game seemed to determine the
plans. The decision was a quick 8 mile jaunt up Sugar Loaf, from where the
views today were fabulous, returning to the barn mid afternoon, to mop up
the left over food and watch the rugby. Those not in a hurry to get back spent
time enjoying the sun and watching a couple of lambs being born. And the great
thing about Llanbedr, is that it is only 2 hours back home!
Present: Claire (organiser), Alan, Keyna, James, Andy, Debs, Sue, Tom, Maggie, Belinda, Shannon, Annie W, Pokey, Annie P, (Izzy & Sam), Richard, Fiona, (Tavie), Dave, Nicola (Maddie). Plus: Paula, Trudi and Georgie staying in a B&B in Keswick
Location: Blencathra View Barn at Rookin House Farm
It was too good to hope for a repeat of last Easter’s fantastic weather, but we didn’t do too badly for the Lakes! Friday saw the bulk of the group set off across the fields to Mungrisdale, though our destination Blencathra was hidden in cloud. At the village we had the first split in the group, as the advance party were supposedly waiting to regroup OUTSIDE the pub – hmmm, the rest of us walked past (no sight of them) and onwards and upwards without them. Later, whilst the new advance party were high on the ridge to Bowscale Fell the others were spotted walking through the village and off in the wrong direction – several whistles and shouts got their attention, and Keyna led them straight up the side of the ridge panting and wheezing to join us! Between Bowscale and Blencathra there was a second split, where Maggie convinced Sue to take a “short cut” with her, avoiding the climb of Blencathra. The remainder battled with the wind and rain, to quickly reach the summit and onwards along the ridge finishing in Threkeld. Claire then led everyone to the bus stop announcing it would arrive in 7 minutes. Richard responded that there was no chance in hell a bus was ever going to turn up. Sure enough 7 minutes later we were sitting on a warm bus back to Troutbeck with very smiley faces. Not so Maggie and Sue who trudged on in the rain arriving back an hour or so later to find the rest of us showered, changed and drinking beers in front of the fire!
It was also James’ 50th birthday, and Keyna had arranged for everyone to dress up in cowboy gear as a surprise. The boys took James down the pub, whilst the girls prepared for the party. James arrived back to a rendition of “Born in the USA” from a room full of cowboys/girls, USA flags, and party banners; it really made his day. Alan, Claire, Fiona, Richard, Nicola and Dave presented “la raclette” for dinner – and there was a very special birthday cake from Keyna.
There were a few hangovers on Saturday and confusions on who was doing what. Claire’s attempts to gather a group to go walking at 9am failed. When we eventually attempted to leave Keyna came running the barn out and had to flag a car down. Then after leaving but having to return to pick up the correct map, we found a very disappointed Richard standing at the door. Eventually all the right people turned up at Seathwaite to commence the walks. The cloud was high and it was dry so a good day for big summits. We all set off together up the valley towards Great End (as we could not find the intended path up Glaramara). Team Andy (which then got taken over as Team Maggie) also included Trudi, Georgie, and Tom, and they successfully summitted Scafell Pike via Broad Crag and down the corridor route to Styhead Tarn. Claire, Alan, Keyna, Belinda, Paula, Sue, Richard and Pokey summitted Great Gable after a diversion up the lovely Seathwaite Fell, and then returned along the ridge via Green Gable and Base Brown. No official route comes down from here, so Keyna opted for a direct route again, followed by Sue, whilst the rest of us traversed a safer route. It was then for a well earned pint in the pub, before returning to a massive pot of lamb and noodles prepared by James, Andy’s chicken and vegetable curries and Shannon’s infamous prize winning chocolate brownies.
On Sunday the cloud was very low, so several groups formed to do some low level walks, mainly around Derwentwater (except Keyna and James who sailed a boat across it). For others their walks also involved the delightful passenger boat. Claire, Alan, Trudi, Shannon, and Annie did attempt to go high, but got as far as the summit of Catbells before retreating back down to the lake. Pokey cooked his famous roast (for 21 of us) which was stupendous, followed by more chocolate brownies, this time from Sue, and cheese from Paula (which had been rescued from Trudi’s broken down car on the road to Carlisle).
By Monday, the low cloud also included persistent rain, so the most anyone did was lunch in Keswick, before joining the 200 mile traffic jam back down the M6! A different experience to last year’s visit here, but enjoyable all the same.
Present: Keyna (organiser)
Location: Runnage Farm, Postbridge, Yelverton, Devon
Present: Paula (organiser), Claire Wilson, Sarah Jolly
Location: Torridon Youth hostel and beyond
The original plan was a long weekend trip to Torridon climbing
some peaks but with the extended bank holiday, there was the option of possibly
visiting the Outer Hebrides if the weather was bad. Claire and Paula shared
the long drive after work on Friday, reaching a travel lodge in Glasgow at
1.30am. The following morning we were off and away to the Highlands. Thirsty
and in need of a cuppa we pulled off the main road; not finding a tea stop
we made do with Dalwhinnie Distillery! Eventually, we travelled on to Inverness
to stock up on supplies - Scottish fiddlers playing in a square, and a laddie
in full Highland dress setting the scene nicely.
The sun was shining and our sense of anticipation grew as we got closer to Torridon with hills becoming mountains. As we turned a corner Beinn Eighe came into view then around another, Liathach. Nerves jangled - above us was a massive expanse of rock!! We wound our way around these mountains with some feeling of trepidation, driving towards a beautiful Loch. We arrived at Torridon Youth Hostel, a very welcome sight, it turned out to be fab! We settled in, deciding to tackle Beinn Alligin the following morning weather permitting, taking the anti-clockwise route.
On Sunday we woke to cloudless skies and a light wind so we set off for the
climb. Easy stroll along a stream, mountains all around, we went over the
brow of a hill and the full beautiful view of Beinn Alligin, including the
Horns, came into view. The ascent started with a steep scramble, it felt good
to make a start up the mountain. There is a get out path around the Horns
of Alligin, but that wasn’t the path for us, no, straight into scrambling
we went up and over, with the ground dropping away from us on every side.
We met the first of several other climbers out in the mountains that week,
all happy to chat and exchange experiences.
On then, down a ridge and then back up, Sarah leading the way, we scrambled up a tricky part, only to discover we’d missed an easier pathway onto the first top, Sgurr Mor 986m. We were thrilled, a 1st Munro for Claire and Sarah and another for Paula to add to her haul. We sat for lunch and broke out cans of Pimms, Jubilee napkins and toasted the Queen, much to the amusement of other climbers. Suitably refreshed we waited while Claire took photos – there was so much to take in, views of mountains in every direction, Loch Torridon far below us glistening blue in the sun, the Isle of Skye and beyond to The Outer Hebrides….stunning!
We proceeded down a ridge then back up a steep climb to Tom na Gruagaich
922m, the 2nd peak of Beinn Alligin and Munro number 2! Now we had to tackle
the descent, this was down a long and very steep corrie, it looked very uninviting
– but down we had to go. The surface was steep and loose a tricky combination,
we had been out for 7 hours and tired legs didn’t help. Here we discovered
that Claire is like a mountain goat!! Going down we let her lead all week
as she was so able and comfortable, Paula and I followed, ‘granny’s’
knees complained. The descent took over 2 hours and we were all glad to get
Back at the YH we cooked supper and discussed plans for the next day. I was worried my knees wouldn’t be up to Liathach but the forecast was for fine weather. Paula went to Matt, who ran the hostel to get some route info – we were advised to take a clockwise route as the descent would be softer on ‘Granny’s’ knees.
Twitching back the curtains the following morning revealed a cloudless sky, no wind, so sunscreen all round. So bags packed, laundry sheets in pockets, to ward off midges, we set off. Hmmm- quick dash back to the YH to pick up the walk description, just in case.
We set off with purpose straight into a steep, direct path and scramble towards the first top – it started out fine, but we had been warned of an eroded and very tricky scree path as we approached the top. An hour and half into the climb we hit the scree, a new experience for Claire and myself, nasty, horrid stuff!! We picked our ways as best we could, it was only 250meters but it took another hour and half. Eventually, dripping with sweat we emerged relieved but knackered on Munro no. 3, Mullach an Rathain 1023m.
We had to don hats, gloves and jackets while we sat for brunch, deciding
lunch would happen on the next and highest peak after a ridge walk and scramble
over the Pinnacles. I certainly had a moment of panic when I saw what stretched
ahead of us, should I take the bailout path around the Pinnacles, we’d
see. We set off at a brisk pace along the ridge, stunning views all around.
Suddenly the Pinnacles were ahead and decisions had to be made- 2 lads said
we’d be fine and we could get down to the get out path any time…so
OK let’s go and clamber up the black rock Pinnacle ahead. They weren’t
so difficult, although both Claire and I were first time scramblers, but the
drops on both sides made it interesting and it was a huge sense of achievement
to do them. (Somehow Sarah doesn’t seem to count Crib Goch in winter
We had a scramble down another ridge to the final peak, which looked tricky with a scree top but bravely we went on. As the top got closer we could see it wasn’t loose scree but large boulders all piled up. Relief all round, we scrambled to the top, a few snowflakes falling, but no cloud and a clear view all round – high fives!! We’d made it Spidean a' Choire Leith 1055m!! There wasn’t an obvious path off the top, so lunch first.
The second mountain deserved a second toast to the Queen, this time with G&T’s. We set off down a steep scramble to the ridge below, sending Claire off in front, warning her to go carefully. We had been on the go for 7 hours but could see we still had about a third of the day, including the descent, to go.
So off we went, out resident mountain goat at the helm and made good progress.
The descent was, not surprisingly, long and steep loose rock for the most
part but we made steady progress down towards a car park. From there the trek
back to the YH would be 3.5kms so we were hoping to cadge a lift back from
one of the several cars parked there. The sun still shone, car park getting
closer but one by one the cars departed, leaving just one. Claire hurried
ahead hoping the power of fluttering eyebrows would get us a lift. Only to
be met by a knight in shining armour, who had waited 40 mins while we slithered
down the last of the descent in order to give us a lift back…the age
of chivalry is not dead!
Our sense of elation was HUGE and over dinner we decide to celebrate our achievement the next day with an easy walk up Beinn Dahm … even this could prove difficult as muscles were seizing up. Providing much mirth to the other climbers in the dining room, I creaked and groaned my way sideways, up the stairs for an early night.
Tuesday was our final day in Torridon and the sun shone again. We’d all seized up overnight, so we had a lazy start to the day before driving to the start of our walk. It proved a lovely change with views over different parts of the area, we started through a wooded corrie, rhododendrons in full bloom with hillside opening out, more grassy than anything before.
We made a saddle with the summit still high and a way to our left, so we had a lie in the sun, ate some lunch and then turning our backs on the top we took what proved to be a fab walk up and over a couple of crests to Meall Gorm 675m and Sgurr na Bana Mhoraire 687m (near Beinnn Damh-both Grahams) giving us amazing views across Skye and the Western Isles, our destination the following day.
A leisurely walk back down took us to the Torridon Inn where we booked dinner
for the evening and sat in the sun enjoying a well-deserved pint!
And so, part one of our Scottish adventure came to an end. Luck was with us, Wednesday morning we left Torridon with an angry sky and mountains with their heads in the clouds and headed out to brighter weather in Skye. We were to travel through Skye – ferry across to Harris and Lewis, spend a few hours exploring, find accommodation before an early ferry across to North Uist. We were sooooo excited – Skye and the Outer Hebrides – it seemed so far away from home.
The journey went as planned and the ferry journey across had calm, blue seas. We saw a dolphin just as we approached Harris. We went off to explore the Island of Harris. Visiting and ‘stroking’ standing stones looking out for otters, then headed back South where we booked into a B & B near to the ferry port ready for the morning. Then Fish and chips on a white sandy beach watching the sun go down over Tarransay – awesome!
Blue skies next morning and the ferry got underway, delayed slightly while
an otter got out of the way. It took an hour to sail across water that was
so still it looked like blue silk. We were mesmerised by the magical feel
of the place as we approached North Uist.
Firstly we found a YH for the night, we crossed to Berneray, and taking another recommendation from Claire White, we found 2 thatched crofters cottages set by the edge of the sea. We claimed bunks then set out to explore. Seal point gave us a view of several seals doing yoga on rocks in the bay. Claire had to jump out and take a picture of the road sign – Beware otters crossing. As if on cue, an otter climbed over the rocks by the side of the road, strolled across then went over into the sea the other side!
We went on to investigate an ancient burial mound and walked around to visit
a faerie ring…very magical. From there we could see the land was interspersed
with water, lochs and inlets – very different form the mountains we’d
We basked in the hot afternoon sun eating lunch, on a beautiful, white sandy beach, sheltered from the breeze by sand dunes, looking out for the eagles which famously live there. We then wound our way back to the YH. There was a great group there and before long after dinner and several glasses of wine we were all having a laugh and a joke.
Our final morning dawned and clouds had thickened, the wind had picked up and the hills to the South were all wearing grey hats. A final walk along the beach then off to catch the ferry back to Skye. No sign of the elusive eagles, secretly I was pleased, it means I have an excuse to go back there….it was just wonderful!
Ferry back to Skye, then a coastal route back across towards the mainland…only one important thing to do, visit Talisker Distillery before a journey down to our overnight stop in Fort William.
Saturday, Paula drove so we could both enjoy the unbelievably stunning and awesome views of the Glens, then Claire taking over we headed for home.
Torridon was fabulous, the mountains challenging, Liathach one of the top 10 mountains in Scotland.
We were thrilled to visit the Outer Hebrides, they have always seemed so far away, they are truly magical and exotic. I’m sure we will all go back, the lure of the Eagle will be hard to resist.
This NMC trip was amazing, a great idea and well organised by Paula- the weather really helped. It’s a week I won’t forget.
Present: Claire (organiser), Alan, Keyna, James, Paula, Mark, Marion, Dan, Andy Moss, Andy C
Day 1: Barnstaple to Ilfracombe (warm up ride to start). 12
We all met in Barnstaple mid-afternoon for a very hilly ride to Ilfracombe, avoiding the showers. A very steep descent into Ilfracombe, but on arrival at the Ocean Backpackers close to the harbour, there was no sign of Keyna and James. They turned up about ½ hour later very wet, but no, they hadn’t got caught out in a shower, but had cycled back up the hill out of Ilfracombe looking for the rest of us, having gone an alternative route! The evening was spent in a pub by the harbour (which shall remain nameless) looking out at the rain. The beer was good, but the food left a lot to be desired. The sensible members of the group went to the fish and chip shop.
Day 2: Ilfracombe to East Yarde. 41 miles
A 9am start after a hearty cooked breakfast in a very good cafe and the first and only puncture repair for the whole trip. We didn’t struggle up the hill out of Ilfracombe as imagined, and were soon on a very good disused railway track. At the top we opted for the longer scenic route down to Woolacombe and the lovely off road 3 mile stretch along the back of the beach with fantastic views – the sun came out for this short stretch. It didn’t seem long before we had finished the hilly part of the day and were on the Tarka Trail along the Taw Estuary, back into Barnstaple and to a pub for lunch. The afternoon should have been a doddle along the flat Tarka Trail, but a strong headwind saw to that. After following the Torridge Estuary to Bideford, the route turned inland and slightly up hill until just before East Yarde, where our yurt for the night awaited us.
A night to remember commenced in the very hospitable East Yarde Cafe. There were delicious homemade cakes, hot chocolate and cider to nicely finish off the day’s ride, and once the rain commenced we ensconced ourselves inside the cafe for the night. Excellent food, plenty of alcohol, and a new house band to entertain us, we didn’t move far (Dan didn’t even make it back to the yurt and stayed in the cafe all night). Andy C, our newest member, pleasantly surprised us all with his musical talent on the piano, nicely accompanied by the house band on flute and sax, and a tap dancer appeared (direct from the West End stage), but not so nice was Alan and James singing. You just had to be there.
Day 3: East Yarde to Mary Tavy. 41 miles
After another fabulous breakfast, we were on the trail by 9.30am, some nursing hangovers. Soon leaving the Tarka Trail, it was quite a hilly morning on quiet Devon roads and through pretty villages, with beautiful scenery and Dartmoor brooding in the distance. Okehampton was just over half way for the day, and we stopped at a very nice pub for lunch. After a steep uphill out of Okehampton we joined the Granite Trail for a lovely off road stretch around the edge of Dartmoor. Then it was past the impressive Lydford Gorge, before arriving at Mary Tavy where most of us were staying at the Inn. After a few drinks, Mark and Marion continued on to Tavistock to their B&B. We enjoyed hot showers in our luxurious rooms, before a more sedate evening in the bar than previous, though the piano did get played.
Day 4: Mary Tavy to Plymouth. 28 miles
It rained all night and there was not the hoped for reprieve in the morning. We reluctantly set off at 9.30am after another big breakfast, and by the time we met Mark and Marion in Tavistock we were soaked through. After the climb out of Tavistock we joined Drakes Trail and cycled across the impressive newly opened Gem Bridge over the Walkham valley. Beyond Yelverton we got to the start of the Plym Valley Trail, which is virtually all downhill into Plymouth, and was a good boost to the morale, us being cold and very wet on this fine July day. Not so for Keyna and James though, who at the start of this trail took the alternative off-road track back up towards where we had just come from – luckily Dan had opted for this route down and met them coming up as he was coming down. Not only did they end up cold and wet, but they were now also very muddy! At the end of the Plym Valley Trail it was just 5 miles into Plymouth, weaving around the estuary and sea front until arriving at the Hoe at lunchtime. Some rushed off keen to get dry and on a train back home. Six of us persevered to find the official end of the route and took a soggy photo at the Brittany Ferry terminal.
Yet again the British weather let us down at the end, and for the fourth year running we have finished our annual Summer bike ride in dire conditions and keen to just get home and be warm and dry! But overall, it was an excellent weekend, the route is superb with fairly easy riding well signposted, great varied scenery, lots of villages and pubs along the way, and the weather did hold out on the other 3 days. This route will be hard to beat.
Present: Claire (organiser), Alan, Bruce, Sarah and Hannah, Richard, Fiona, Tavie and Maud, Steve and Joanne, Dave, Nicola and Maddie, Martin, Olga and Caitlin, Paula, Maggie, Sue, Andy C
Due to a combination of poor summer weather and the Olympics, this was the first (and last) camping trip of the season at nn excellent site right by the coastal path. It was a little exposed as the first arrivals soon found out, battling with the wind and rain to get the first couple of tents up. Mission accomplished, the afternoon was spent in the tent chatting and drinking and watching the tents and gazebo’s of our neighbours fly past. Few people made it down on Friday night, but those of us there had an entertaining evening sat on bales of hay(?!) in Steve’s tent.
The weather looked more promising on Saturday, and after a short bus ride to West Lulworth, Claire led Alan, Maggie, Paula, Andy and Steve on an energetic hilly coastal walk via Mupe Rocks, Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door, and Ringstead to the Smugglers Inn at Osmington Mills – nicely timed for the heavy downpour, so staying there longer than planned. Martin, Olga and Caitlin were also taking shelter here. The final stretch back to the campsite was extremely muddy, so not so good for Alan who had walked most of the route without a sole to his boots! Back at the campsite, the most was made of the dry spell, and the BBQ’s and camp fire were lit, with many seeing it through to the early hours.
A sunny Sunday morning saw many head down to the beach to make the most of it, with some venturing into the sea. Claire, Alan, Sue and Maggie walked inland, via the Osmington white horse, and picking up the South Dorset Ridgeway to Hardy’s monument, with lovely views to Maiden Castle and Chesil Beach. From Portesham it was another bus trip back, via a short coffee break in Weymouth. More BBQ’s were lit – the better option compared to queuing 2 hours for a stone baked “mini” pizza. However, a slight accident involving a marshmallow, saw Bruce (and his dad Jim via mobile phone) administer first aid on Alan’s burnt finger.
A number of folks played it safe and left after dinner, with storms forecast for the morning. The weather was indeed very horrible in the morning, so once packed up everyone headed home. A typical British August bank holiday weekend.
Present: Richard S (organiser), Alan & Claire, Paula
Present: Andy (organiser),Claire & Alan, Keyna & James, Mark & Marion, Dan, Sarah M & Dave, Sue & Tom, Jo & Steve, Jo S, Belinda, Barry T