Mountain Trainin Picture

Mountain Trainin Picture

Monday, 9 December 2013


Well another long period of time has passed (yet again) since my last blog update..! So its about time I wrote up a new one!

Well since my last blog I have been continuing my work at Plymouth High Sports as a climbing coach and a climbing instructor. I have had the pleasure of coaching the same group of individuals for the past 2 terms every Saturday and Sunday morning allowing me to focus on development and progression. The sessions thus far have consisted of techniques such as edging, bridging, hand and foot matching, hand and foot swapping, rockovers etc. Alongside the techniques I have coached have been workshops on the importance of agility, balance, co-ordination and weight transfer. I have now been signed up to coach the same 2 groups next term which I am looking forward to.

Alongside work and University I have had the pleasure of attending 2 mountaineering lectures by Andy Kirkpatrick and Doug Scott, respectively.
Andy Kirkpatrick's lecture focused very much on inappropriate climbing such as when death is very potential and Doug Scott's lecture focused on the positive times spent adventuring in far afield mountain regions.
Two quality lectures in their own right.

Now back to university... The modules we are covering this year are extremely beneficial to my coaching career; Biomechanics, sports nutrition and skill acquisition. These modules contain ideal theoretical principles which can be applied to practical sessions in a wide range of subjects. I have also had the pleasure of coaching groups of peers in open canoe on both the river and open water during my practical sessions which is helping me fill in my logbook towards boating qualifications.

Busy, Busy, busy...

Next bog update should not be too far away as I have recently attended a Foundation Coach Training course... Watch this space...

Monday, 16 September 2013

High Sports...

So another long period of time has went by without the blog being written up. Sigh...

Well long story short I have moved from Torbay to Plymouth and have now started a new job as a climbing instructor at the climbing wall in Plymouth. I have been in this position for roughly 6 weeks now and I am enjoying the job. I have so far worked with many school groups, parties, taster sessions, private instruction, junior clubs and adult beginners.

Along with working at the climbing wall I have managed to fit in several sessions per week in the bouldering room. During these sessions I have been working on both power and strength endurance and I am gradually pushing through the bouldering grades. 

Bouldering room in Plymouth...
Well another short blog as I am extremely busy with work, being a father and fitting time in to go climbing. See you soon...

Monday, 5 August 2013

Cornish Granite...

Friday just passed (July 26th) I managed to get out with good friend Will and get a few of Devon's classic multi pitch routes in the bag. As Will is due do leave at the end of August and head to the middle East to work we set about ticking off a few of the routes on both of our wish lists.

First up was a route named Sacrosanct down at the fiercely over-hanging Sanctuary Wall. Sanctuary wall is a huge wall of compact limestone perched above the sea down at Anstey's cove, Torquay. The route weaves its way under the wall before taking a handrail traverse on the first pitch and then a very steep crack line on the second pitch to reach the top of the wall. We set off and soloed to the starting belay of the 1st pitch where we splayed the ropes out and built the first belay. The first pitch was mine to lead. High above the water with questionable gear placed and the thought of swinging wildly out and unable to reverse the moves ultimately got the best of me (the duration of time I faffed around will hopefully never be known). I passed the rack to Will and within minutes he had set off and made the hand traverse look simple. Once safe at the next belay I followed Will up and cursed myself for failing mentally to lead the first pitch. The second pitch was now Wills and he set off across the hanging slab and reached the monster crackline. Once the crack had been laced he raced up and built the next belay. I followed and with much shredding of skin I finally arrived at the top. Another classic HVS in the bag.

Will hand traversing the first pitch of 'Sacrosanct'...

Next up was another classic Devon route. Black Ice. This classic 2 pitch E3 5c climbs up the middle of the huge 'boiler plate slab' down at Long Quarry Point. Since I have already climbed this route in the past with Jack I was more than happy for Will to lead both pitches and take all the glory. Black Ice is a very thin slab route and is very balancy requiring very precise foot work. A great route and just the same as last time I was very happy to nail both pitches clean (predominately a slab climber).

With the 2 routes in the bag we headed over to Daddyhole to attempt Readymix. I led off up the first pitch and built the belay and brought Will up to the stance. We had a few attempts at the second pitch but due to looking like a complete horrorshow and no evidence of the route being climbed in years we decided to leave the chossy stuff alone and instead made a quick exit and climbed Gates of Eden instead.

With 3 multi pitches at 3 different crags in the bag we decided to call it a day as we were leaving the shire early in the morning to head down to Cornwall the following day.

Climbing trips with Will are always eventful and the weekend we spent in Cornwall was no different. In fact, the less that is said about Guiness and Cornish social clubs the better.
Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed the 2 days that we spent in Kernow as we managed to get a good amount of routes done and just generally enjoyed everyone's company. Myself, Will, Lee and Si spent the whole day on Saturday  climbing down at a deserted Sennen Cove with great sunshine and generally good conditions. Cornish granite is always a joy to climb on and the protection on the routes is generally excellent. The routes that I got ticked off where as follows:

Double Overhang VS 4c - Lead on-site.
Dexter VS 4c - Lead on-site.
Vertical Crack HS 4c Lead on-site.

Along with these routes I managed to solo a good handful of routes in the sunshine.

The next day we had some breakfast served by a very angry South African man who just seemed to generally hate life and take an almost instant dislike to myself, very random. After this we headed down to Cape Cornwall to have a quick dip to waken up before heading down to Bosigran. Myself and Will had Commando Ridge on our wishlist and it seemed fitting to get this in the bag as the last route of the weekend. We headed down to the base of the route which was completely free of waves and crashing water, almost like a mill pond. We set off and soloed the 8 pitches alternating each one as we went. A perfect route with perfect conditions on a perfect morning. Only graded as a V-diff but the exposure throughout will keep you gripped.

Will on the 1st pitch of 'Commando Ridge'...
Another eventful climbing trip to Cornwall. Thanks to Si and Lee and good luck to Will in his future move to the middle East.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Great Herdsman of Etive...

Myself watching some climbers on Rannoch Wall...
Its roughly 11am. Guidebook in one hand, map in the other and head raised looking up at the huge North-East face of Buchaille Etive Mor. Its been planned for days now that Leo and myself will ascend the face via Curved Ridge to reach the summit of Stob Dearg and bag another Munro. We set off and make our way up the steep but juggy ridge and cross below Rannoch Wall. Once we are below Rannoch Wall we take the opportunity to have a quick drink break and watch the climbers ascend the many classic climbing routes on the face.
Leo negotiating the crux of Curved  Ridge...

We set off again and negotiate a few 'bad steps' until we reach the 'crux'. The technically hardest part of the route. The crux of Curved Ridge is a graded 3 scramble in an open groove of rock. Not hard by climbing standards but more of a head climb as the exposure is surreal. We decide to rope the crux with myself leading and Leo being belayed from the top.

Once above the crux we make good progress and finally arrive at crowberry tower where we grab some lunch and scope the rest of the route which leads to the summit. Soon after lunch we ascend the remaining section behind crowberry tower and arrive at the summit. Double figures with Munro number 10 now in the bag! We have a handful of jelly babies (essential hill food) and set off and follow the ridge along to the saddle where the descent path now forks down to the right. However, why descend so soon when you can follow the rest of the ridge and summit another Munro? No option really. The ridge is followed and after scaling 2 subsidiary peaks the second Munro of Stob na Broige is reached and Munro number 11 added to the bag.

The ridge of Buchaille Etive Mor as seen from Stob na Doire...

The descent path down to the Lairig Gartain is a loose path which gradually eases before following the river Coupall all the way back to the car park.

Mapped image of today's mountain route... 

All in all another quality mountain day in the bag. A route I highly recommend.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis Mountain day...

Its 4:57am and I'm awoken to the sound of Leon's (my Mums dog) claws brushing against the hard laminate flooring in the sitting room. I slept on the couch the night before as not too make too much noise when myself and Josh get ready to leave the house and head for Fort William the next morning. I give Josh's door a tap and tell him the kettle is boiling and remind him that we need to leave the house at 5:45 to walk to the train station in order to catch the 6:29am train from Helensburgh Upper to Fort William. After a quick shower, a cup of tea and double check of the rucksacks we left the house and headed for the train station.

An early view from the train...
By 6:30am we are sitting on board the train shoveling down cereal bars and talking about the day ahead. The West Highland line is considered to be the most scenic railway line in Britain and was voted the top railway journey in the world in 2009 and 2010. The line passes the mountains of the Arrochar Alps, along the banks of Loch Lomond, the Tyndrum and Crainlarich hills, Rannoch Moor, Corrour (highest mainline railway station in the UK) and the Glenfinnan viaduct before it arrives in Mallaig.

Josh above Lochan Meall an t Suidhe...
After 3 and a half hours the train rolls in to Fort William and myself and Josh depart and head for Achintree house to start  our days walk. It is 24 degrees plus and we start the long trudge up the mountain track at the foot of Ben Nevis. Heat, sweat and thirst we finally arrive at the fork in the path above Lochan Meall an t Suidhe. Josh, who by now is already feeling the strain, contemplates a change in decision and is tempted by the 'tourist route' which zig zags up a well constructed foot path to the summit of the Ben. After a minute or so of discussing our options Josh picks up a stone and scratches one side of it to make it appear white. 'Orange side up we do the tourist route, white side up we do the arete' Josh says. He flips the stone and all we see is a white pebble staring back at us from the palm of Josh's hand. Thank god. We avoid the dull trudge up the 'tourist route' and start contouring around the North face of Ben Nevis and arrive at the CIC hut before we grab a quick bite to eat.

Whilst at the CIC hut we fill our water bottles up, again, and take a bearing due East towards the summit of Carn Mor Dearg. It takes us over an hour to skirt our way up the steep boulder and scree strewn slope before we finally arrive at the summit and claim my 8th Munro and Josh's 1st. A hand shake and a handful of  toffee eclairs later we start to make our way along the incredible knife edge arete of Carn Mor Dearg towards the summit of Ben Nevis.

Josh arriving at the summit of Carn Mor Dearg with the North face of Ben Nevis on the right and the Carn Mor Dearg Arete on the left...

Josh making snowballs in July...
Josh leads off and we make good progress along the ridge admiring the views of all the surrounding mountains in the sunshine and excellent visibility. We finally reach the and of the ridge when we come across a large patch of snow and fill our empty water bottles up once again. After a quick re-hydration break we troop on up the boulder field and arrive at the highest point in Britain, the summit of Ben Nevis. Another handshake as I tick off my 9th Munro and Josh ticks off his 2nd. The views in all directions are incredible due to the excellent visibility.

Unfortunately our achievement is short lived as we are now racing against time in order to catch the last train from Fort William back to Helensburgh Upper! We quickly descend the 'tourist path' and wind our way down the knee jarring zig zags and rush back to Fort William. We manage to make the last train with 10 minutes to spare. The train slowly rolls out of the station at 7:50pm and we finally arrive back home at 11:40pm just as mum is dishing out some home made soup.

Mapped image of the days route...
So all in all an excellent mountain day with the wee brother and another entry for the ML logbook.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Home time...

Well after I returned from South Wales I had 2 days to unpack and then repack in order to return home to Scotland for a week. Well 1 day as I worked the other.

So here is another very short blog about my time spent back home.
During the week I spent home I managed to get out in the hills and get another 4 quality mountain days logged.

Here is a view of the mountain days including mapped images from

Ben Arthur via Succoth car park - with mum.

Ben Vane via Inveruglas - With Leo.

Beinn Dubhchraig via Tyndrum - Solo.

Beinn Narnain and Beinn Ime via Succoth car park - Solo.

All in all an enjoyable week. Bagged 5 summits, 4 of which were Munros. I have now registered for the Mountain Leader award so will be out very soon in order to bag some more quality mountain days.

Until next time...

The Gower...

Well now that I have returned from a climbing trip to South Wales I thought it would be best to scribble down a quick passage of how the trip went. More of a quick recollection than a blog!

I teamed up with good friend Jamie during the 4 day trip which saw the group climbing at a number of destinations along the coast of the Gower Peninsula.

Myself and Sam running to 'Three Cliffs Bay'...
The list of climbs I managed to tick off:

Transit - HS 4b - Lead on-site.
The Nose - HS 4a - Second on-site.
Jamie following myself up 'Scavenger VS 4c'
Legge - Severe 4a - Lead on-site.
Pistas Canute - VS 4b - Lead on-site.
Great Deidre II - VS 4c - Lead on-site.
Forgotten Elephant - HS 4b - Second on-site.
Curving Crack - HS 4b - Lead on-site.
First Deidre - Diff - Second on-site.
Atomic Wedgie - 6a - Lead on-site.
Slab and Rib - V-diff - Second on-site.
Groove - V-diff - Lead on-site.
Scavenger - VS 4c - Lead on-site.
Initiation Flake - Severe - Second on-site.
Left Edge - HS 4b - Lead on-site.
Perseverance HS 4b - Lead on-site.
Spouse Crack - Severe - Lead on-site.
Arch Slab - VS 4c - Lead on-site.
Wall Climb II - Diff - Solo on-site.
Dulfer - Severe 4a - Lead on-site.

'Three Cliffs Bay' rising up from the sand...

Recently returned from a trip back home to Scotland so another blog post will be on its way shortly.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Land of the Orcadians..

For the past fortnight I have been working far North on Orkney for the Orkney Islands Council on behalf of Adelong Outdoor. During the 2 weeks I was there I was part of the outdoor education staff team in place to run a variety of sessions for their summer schools programme.

School group bottom roping at Yesnaby...
The first 3 days I was there I was working alongside Alice and Kristian delivering the outdoor ed programme to the Northern Isles Schools. This involved me taking half of the school group climbing on the Monday and the other half of the school group climbing and abseiling on Tuesday. The venue used for these sessions was a small quarried sandstone crag called Yesnaby.

Canoe sailing at Boardhouse Loch...
On the Wednesday I ran a morning and an afternoon canoe session at boardhouse Loch for the same 2 school groups and even managed to set up a diamond raft for each group in order to canoe sail back down the loch to reach the get out! Both groups, and myself included, thoroughly enjoyed the canoe sailing with some of the group saying it was 'epic'. Job well done. On the Wednesday evening it was time to say goodbye to the Northern Isles Schools groups. Receiving a mass hug from all the kids was enough feedback to know that the 3 days spent teaching and instructing them was a job well done!

After saying our goodbyes myself and Alice packed up all the equipment and caught the last ferry of the day to reach Hoy and meet up with Nigel. After having dinner for the evening at Nigel's house down in Racwick I packed my daysack and made a solo walk up to see the Old Man of Hoy. I got there late in the evening and managed to get some superb silhouette shots as the sun was setting behind Britain's highest sea stack. The glow of the setting sun turning all the Western facing sea cliffs a burning orange

Myself beside the Old Man and the orange burnt sea cliffs of Hoy...

On the Thursday morning myself, Alice, Nigel and Karen all met up at the Hoy centre to check in with the group whom Nige and Karen took Gorge Walking on the previous day. The group were from Stromness Academy and were in the process of packing their personal equipment including food, tents, clothes etc for the day and night ahead. Once the group were all packed myself, Alice and Karen walked with the group through the Rackwick valley and had a lunch stop at the beautiful Sandy Loch before we made our way to the Rackwick bothy and camping site. Once at the site we helped the group pitch their tents and stay occupied until the evenings activity. During the evening Karen and Alice took part of the group canoeing whilst I took a few members of the group on an evening walk to the Old Man of Hoy.. This time it was quite foggy and much more of the detail was captured in the atmospheric photos.
The Old Man it all its glory...
The next morning was an early start for myself and Nigel. We were down at the camp to greet the group and take some volunteers who were up early on a quick canoe up the burn. This was partly done as it was easier to paddle the canoes rather than walk them up to the car park! Once this was done we rounded up all of the group and headed back to the Hoy centre where all of the kit was sorted and aired out. Another goodbye was said and some unhappy faces from the group as they had to board the ferry and head back to the main island. Now that the working week was over we all said our goodbyes to Karen as she left Orkney and made the long journey south back to Devon.

Alice on top of 'Richy's Step' pitch...

Now that we were free until Monday morning myself and Alice went on an exploration of a nearby gorge and made some good progress. We made some first ascents in the gorge and even made it right to the top of the gorges main source. After making the first ascent of a steep waterfall pitch I set up the electron ladder and passed it down to Alice to make the second ascent. This pitch has now been named 'Richy's Step'. 

On the Saturday I didn't want to waste any time on the island so I made an early start and went on a solo walk on the hills of Hoy and managed to bag 3 summits and claim a good mountain day. 

On the Sunday myself and Alice met up with Kristian and Orkney kayaking club on the mainland and done a long journey from Dingyshowe Bay to Lamb Holm. On the journey we explored some fascinating caves and tunnels. One tunnel in particular was superb, running under the cliffs and was at least 35 metres long!

Sea kayaking journey - image above left. Walking journey - Above right...

On the following Monday I was working on the mainland once again. I ran a further 2 climbing sessions for another school group down at Yesnaby where the sun was out and I managed to bag 12 solos, all on on-sight. 8 in the morning before the 1st group turned up and a further 4 inbetween the 1st and 2nd group. 

The list of climbs was:

Running 2 climbing sessions and bagging some brilliant routes, not a bad day!

The next day I was down at Yesnaby again to run another 2 climbing sessions, this time with Shapinsay school. The group enjoyed the climbing and the weather was enough to ensure that everyone went back to the centre red faced and tired!

On the Wednesday I was down at boardhouse loch with Shapinsay school where I ran a raft building session for each group and played 'distressed civilian' with each group. Unfortunately only one civilian was saved and the second group all took the plunge before they made it back to safe shores!

Scapa Arete - S 4a. First ever first ascent...

On the Wednesday evening myself and Ron headed down to Scapa Beach Quarry to reccy the abseil site where I would be working on the Thursday running sessions for both Orphir and Stenness school. The quarry looked to be virgin territory in a climbing sense and looks as though it has never had a climber on its walls. With this in mind I mad my first ever climbing first ascent on one of the very crumbly arêtes, done a horrendous mantle to top out and then got spewed on by an angry fulmar. What a story to tell the kids.
On the Thursday morning I headed down to the quarry early in order to rig up the abseil which would be used throughout the day. In total I got no less than 14 of the kids from both schools to brave the abseil down in to the quarry. Abseiling from a cliff top walkway to a beach is not a bad day out for a school trip I suppose. 

After the abseiling sessions had been run I made my way back to Hoy for the night and met up with Nigel and Alice to do some more exploring! Nigel had convinced myself and Alice that he had spotted a tomb which was situated on a band of sandstone perched high up on a cliff. After a week of talking and scouting from the road with the binoculars the time had come to check it out. The 3 of us slogged it up the hill for the best part of an hour, stopping to briefly rest and enjoy the views. Once we had all reached the 'Tomb' we discovered that it was merely a small cave that had been weathered out from years of savage weather on the island. However if we had all went home for the summer and not explored the area we would surely have regretted it. 
The view from the 'Tomb'. Haist in the foreground with Ward Hill in the distance...
All was not lost though. Whilst up at the 'Tomb' I managed to climb another 2 first ascents bringing my total to 3!
Making the first ascent of  'Richy's Chimney ' Hs 4b... (Photo courtesy of Alice Hewson).

Making the first ascent of 'Tomb Raider' Hs 4b... (Photo courtesy of Alice Hewson).
All in all a brilliant fortnight with great company. The groups were great to work with and I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent there. I will be back to Hoy one day to climb the Old Man, that's for sure!

In the process of packing for a trip to the Gower peninsula tomorrow to get some climbing done! Take care all...

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Train, Bike, Swim...

Its been almost 2 weeks now since I returned from my last climbing trip to Portland, time flies eh..?

Training on the college bouldering wall...
Since I have been back I have kept myself busy in preparation for my next climbing trip to the Gower peninsula, which will be going ahead next month.

In order to avoid the same disappointment I had in Portland of climbing very few routes and very easy grades, I have made a conscious effort to get as much time on the bouldering and climbing wall as possible in the last few weeks. I have been training solo on the college bouldering wall as often as possible working on strength endurance by doing circuits on the vertical and overhanging sections of the wall. I have managed to fit in 4 sessions at the college wall lasting roughly an hour and a half each time. As with training on the boulder wall myself and Sean managed to make it to Exeter for a day where we had a full session bouldering and leading at the Quay climbing centre. Whilst there myself and Sean managed to get a good 15 leads in each on the leading routes climbing grades up to 6b+ and roughly V3 - V4ish in the boulder rooms...still have some strength work to do!! Alongside the climbing training I have been on the exercise bike during the days where I have not been on the wall, which has been quite a lot considering I have massed around 60km this week alone!

Quay Climbing Centre...

Myself mid air down at Anstey's...
Alongside the training, I have managed to get out and do some coasteering sessions with some friends. Myself, Adam and Stan enjoyed a good 3 hour session on the weekend down at Anstey's cove with perfect blue skies and a warm air temperature, bliss. Today also marked a long awaited occasion...the last day of Uni for the year!! I handed in my last piece of work this morning and enjoyed another coasteering session at Anstey's with a handful of the 1st and 2nd degree guys. Perfect way to end the academic year!

One more coasteering session on Thursday before I head off to Hoy on Friday for a week of freelancing work. Until then, Adios...

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Sportland Climbing Weekend...

Now that University lectures and assignments are tapering to an end for the year, thankfully, I managed to squeeze a weekend of sport climbing in on a recent trip to Portland.

By the time we arrived in Teignmouth on Sunday morning, to pick Briony up, the car and roof box was already packed with climbing kit, food, cider and a tent big enough for the entire camp site. So it was less than comical when we had to attach Briony's boulder mats to the top of the roof box in order for us all to get a comfy enough seat in the car!

Joel and Sean (Notice boulder mats on roof box)

After a fairly short drive we arrived in Dorset and pitched the tent just as the sky was clearing and the sun was shining down on the Isle of Portland, beautiful. After a quick game of ultimate frisbee Myself, Briony, Joel and Sean headed to the West side of the island to ensure that we were climbing in the sun from midday through to the late evening.

The first crag we visited was Blacknor North. A popular crag which has some very interesting climbs on flowstone formations, intricate arêtes and classic crack climbs. As Briony cruised up Slings Shot followed by myself, Joel and Sean were nearby attempting another route named Apfel Strudel. Once we had ticked these routes and a few others we moved further South to the crag of Blacknor Central where my self and Briony had a quick attempt at Monsoon Malabar, a very intricate and photogenic arête climb.

Briony and myself on 'Monsoon Malabar'

Once we had climbed at this crag we noticed that the tide was now going out so we all headed even further South to Blacknor Beach where Joel, Briony and myself quickly ticked off another photogenic climb named Fallen Slab Arête.

Briony cruising 'fallen Slab Arête'

Once we had ticked this route off we picked up another friend, Stan, headed back towards the camp site where we had a quick shower and another game of frisbee before we headed to the pub for our meal reservation and a deserved pint.

The next morning we awoke at the agreed 6am to find that outside the visibility was less than 15 metres in any direction, great! However, after we all crawled out of our pits, sorted equipment and dropped the tent the sun was beginning to shine through and reveal yet another beautiful sunny day, perfect climbing conditions. Once we had a quick bite to eat in the camp site restaurant the 5 of us headed to the East side of the island to grab the morning sun.

Upon arrival at Beeston Cliff we spotted that the abseil ledge was less than 2 metres above the sea which gave the climbs we were intending on doing a very atmospheric feeling. Myself, Briony, Sean and Stan all abseiled down to the ledge and quickly ticked off Etna and Krakatoa before having a quick bite to eat and a discussion about the next route. 

Briony belaying myself on the atmospheric 'Etna' at Beeston Cliff

Next up was Stan's route. A left to right traverse under a huge roof just 2 metres above the sea. Myself and Briony watched on as Stan cruised along Belly Button Traverse and arrived at the belay with little difficulty. Next up was Briony who dropped down from the ledge and got midway along the traverse before peeling off the route and narrowly avoided taking a plunge in to the sea. When Briony got the guns back she made her way along to the belay for a well deserves rest. I then followed the line towards Briony and Stan and managed to reach the belay with only a pumped left arm.

Briony starting the traverse with Stan at the belay in the background

Once we had finished at Beeston Cliff we headed North towards the The Cuttings in order to get some more routes ticked off whilst the sun was still shining.
Between us we managed to tick off Two FingersThree fingers and Opus before I had a very interesting time falling off The Sod before I read that it was 'a little tougher for the short' (Rockfax).

Briony eyeing up the last mantel move on 'The Sod'

Now that it was getting late we decided that we would head round to the West side of the island in order to bag a few more routes in the dark with head torches on. When we arrived we descended in to the quarry where Briony unfortunately twisted her ankle and had to be carried back to the car by myself and Joel. A visit to Weymouth A & E ensued where 2 Dr's agreed that Briony had broken her fibula and required an X-Ray at Exeter hospital for confirmation.  A quick drive to Exeter where the X-Ray showed no break but more of a badly twisted ankle, thank god. 6 hours later and we finally arrived back in Torbay in one piece.

Don't worry Briony, you'll be back climbing in no time.

Off to Hoy working at the end of the month and away to South Wales for another climbing eXped so I'm sure there will be more blog posts in the coming weeks,


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Time Management...

Well the first year of University is nearly out of the way and with coursework assessments becomming increasingly thinner I have had the chance to get back out on the water.

Assessments that have been underway in the last few weeks have consisted of assignments and reports in modules including Adventure Sports, Sports Coaching and Exercise Science.

For the Adventure Sports module I have been writing a personal reflection which has involved myself choosing three personal incidents in an outdoor education context and critically reviewing each incident and analysing why each of the three incidents will benefit myself as an outdoor practitioner.
For the sports coaching module I have been writing an assignment on the moral and social issues in which sport coaches should have an indepth knowledge. Along with this I have included the legal requirements and legislative factors in which sport coaches should adhere to.

For the Exercise Science module I have written a report on the ways in which we can assess human performance. This has included myself taking part in exercise testing and comparing my results with normative data. The report also includes test protocols and ethical issues which coaches must adhere to when testing clients.

Boring coursework talk aside I managed to get out on the weekend with friends and run the river Erme from Harford bridge down through the Erme gorge. Video below...
Video curtesy of Ben Lomax...

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

North Wales...

Following on from my last blog post about the Dagger Mamba 7.6 I am pleased to write that I have now used this boat in a few new locations.

During the half term week I headed to North Wales with friends Tori and Sam in order to run some different rivers in a beautiful location. However, and very unfortanetely, there was no rain forecast the whole week, brilliant...

We arrived in Llangollen Monday afternoon and were very surprised to see that the River Dee was running with some good flows and a good level. We instantly got kitted up, paddled along the seemingly endless canal and finally reached the get in. After a few minutes of paddling we reached the 'Serpents Tail' rapid, a class 3/4 wave train leading to a sharp drop in to a winding rapid. After 3 runs on this rapid we carrid on down the river playing on waves and holes before taking the boof line on the class 4 rapid that is 'Town Falls'.
Me running the 'Serpents Tail' rapid...

As there was no rain and the only river that was running was the Dee we decided to have a day of surf kayaking. We haded North towards Anglesey in order to find a beach with a good surf forecast and after speaking to a few local shops we were pointed in the direction of Rhosneiger where broadsand beach had the best surf forecast. 3-5 foot every 12ish seconds. We spent the next few hours in the sunshine carving clean waves in yet another beautiful location.

Broadsand beach, Rhosneiger...
After a day on the surf we headed back towards Llanberis to have a bite to eat at Petes Eats cafe and discuss our options for the following day. It was just our luck that the following day both the dam released River Tryweryn and Cardiff  White Water Centre were both not releasing any water. We headed towards Llangollen the following morning and had another run on the River Dee, which had a surprisingly good amount of water in it. We nailed the 'Serpents Tail' and 'Town Falls' rapids head on before finishing for the day and heading back down South to Devon.
Petes Eats Cafe, Llanberis... 

So after a 3 day trip with no rain there is still many positives to be taken away. Paddling on a different river, surf kayaking at a new location and being in a beautiful location...
Due to there still being no water once we had returned from North Wales, me and friends Joel and Sam decided to head North once again and enjoyed a very quiet day, but full on, day at Cardiff White Water Centre on a release of 8 cumecs.
All in all an enjoyable half term...

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Dagger Mamba 7.6 review

Now that I have had the Mamba for over three weeks now I think that its about time that I wrote a review on it...

Well where do I start? The new beefed up 2012 mamba has an increased volume throughout the length of the boat with added volume distribution the mamba now sits better on top of the water. Longer rails along the side towards the hull make this creeker fun to play on and easier to carve on even the biggest of waves. With the rails in mind this makes the mamba a much faster boat.

The Dagger Mamba 7.6...

I have now paddled this boat from grade 2 through to grade 4 on some of the South Wests more notable rivers such as the Dart, Tavy and the Walkham and find that due to the increased volume the mamba surfaces extremely well after drops and slots. It surfs much better than any other creek boat I have ever used and carves extremely well in and out of eddies with help from the longer rails. However I do find it harder than the nomad to roll due to sitting higher up in the mamba above the water, although still easy to roll. I have went for the adjustable seat outfitting as during the summer months the seat can always be moved back to change weight distribution during a day on the surf. At first I was quite hesitant to buy the small 7.6 size for fear of not fitting all my gear in. However I still manage to fit in my boat 2x throw lines  map, compass, 2x torches, tape, first aid kit, glow sticks, food, water, pin kit and in front of the foot plates a group shelter and spare personal thermals and still manage to fit in a set of split paddles down either side of the seat.


All in all a very good all round boat which surfs as well as Kelly Slater, carves like a manic chef, surfaces just as well as a cat in water and is as quick on the water as Usain Bolt is on land. I look forward to taking this boat to different locations and further testing it out.

Catch you on the river...

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Competition Time...

Well its that time of year again, competition time! This year marked the 4th annual National College Climbing Association competition which took place at the Rock & Rapid Climbing Centre in North Devon. After a 90 minute drive from Torbaydos we finally arrived at the wall. We came equipped with two reasonably strong six person teams, tonnes of confidence, Reynolds and his mix tape and most importantly cake.

 After being briefed on all the rules, regulations etc we set off to try and warm the muscles in the extreme sub Arctic conditions! After a bit of warming up we split up in to our two teams and also our categorized teams. The teams were as follows: Team A speed and boulder: Myself, Stan and Andy B. Team A top-rope and circuit: Briony, Ellis and Andy W. Team B speed and boulder: Chelsea, Sam D and Sam F. Team B top-rope and circuit: Craig, Callum and Luke.

Team photo...

 A quick flash from myself Stan and Andy on the first boulder problem ensured that we got off to a great start with maximum points. Whilst Stan flashed the 2nd boulder with ease the rest of the team were off gaining valuable points in both the speed and top roping categories. After a few attempts on the 2nd boulder and watching Stan pull some moves on the 3 boulder problem we went to the main area to compete in the speed climbing category. Roughly 12 metres in height with a slight overhang was the chosen line for this category. After aggressively pulling on big jugs, myself, Stan and Andy recorded some good times with 11 seconds, 11 seconds and 15 seconds respectively. By this time the others in the group were also raking in valuable points on the circuit and bouldering routes. Next up was Ellis on the circuit route, circling it 6 times with ease ensured that maximum points were achieved! Now that the team categories were completed individuals were given the option of competing in a leading competition. Starting at a grade of 7a and then 8a it was not surprising that Ellis took the opportunity to show us all some flair and bagged 1st place in the individual lead competition. Well done mate! 

                                       Ellis on the circuit problem...

                                         Stan on the 7a lead route...

Lead Competition
1st Ellis Butler Barker South Devon College
2nd Matt Parkinson Duchy College
3rd Dave Bryant Bicton College

Team Event
1st Bicton (A)
2nd South Devon (A)
3rd Bicton (B)
4th Duchy (A)
5th Bicton (C)
6th South Devon (B)
7th Petroc (A)
8th Truro (A)
9th Duchy (B)

All in all a great day had by all. Massive thanks to Briony Martin for organising the trip!
All photos courtesy of Briony Martin

Now time to get training and take 1st place next year...