Friday, 21 July 2017

The Durham Denes

Crimdon Beach

A text came in, 'Theres a walk in the Durham Denes do you fancy it'

Hadn't seem Mikey, a fellow munrist, in a while, me'n'Mikey had been even stevens not so long back BUT now he had inched in front, he had 40 left to do I had 50 something.

'I have a bit of a problem with the Skye hills', a hired ventriloquist said 'I do' before I knew it I was signed up to do another Inn Pin trip.

We talked and walked on an old railway track down to the sea, a faded info notice told a tale of a now forgotten past of once famous Crimden Dene.

Once a popular holiday resort for miners and their families from nearby towns and villages, on account of its affordability for low-income workers, there are rumours even Hitler visited the area. During the 1960s Butlins took an interest in buying the Crimdon Dene Holiday Park there BUT Easington District Council derailed the sale while Beeching finished the job by removing the tracks.
Onto the beach, the walk was timed to allow access to some spectacular tidal sea caves, we had a lunch break to see off the rest of the tide and found a distressed seal pup, sitting out low tide, theres no social service for wild things.

The extensive caves were well worth visiting, I made a mental note to return with my DSLR and tripod, all to soon we left the beach and headed inland via a storm drain cave.

A walk of continuous interest.....

 Into the Sea Caves

 Waiting for the tide

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Hawnby Bumps

In one direction superb Misty conditions

Stuck my nose out of the door first thing, another superb misty morning so we skipped breakfast and hit the road.
Once on the moors past Osmotherley we rose above the inversion and by the time we started walking the mist had started to clear.


Tripping the light fantastic I just love this time of the year, the colors, the mist, the sun casting long shadows even at midday and best of all, its so quiet.

Looking the other direction

One of the few summit cairns in the North Yorkshire Moors

Doing the Dales

Barns near Thwaite

As a walker/climber I alway thought I knew the Yorkshire Dales well BUT when we came across a Landscape book of the said area, in a charity shop.

It made me think again.

Several walking/photo trips followed as we searched in vain for the locations of the photo's in our cut price volume.


On the upside we came across many alternative scenes that were well worth snapping.


 Burbeck and Whitsundale Becks

East Gill Falls

Barns near Muker

Barns near Muker

Monday, 6 February 2017

Deep Powder in Torridon

Ben Alligin summits

After the difficult plod in deep powder snow on Beinn a' Chreachain 1081m, (never eard of it I hear you say) I travelled north to the Torridon area, my objective was Slioch but one look  told me it was not a goer in current conditions without skies or snowshoes.

As I have done the other Torridon Munros several times so I decided to take some sunrise photos, walk into the stunning Coire Mhic Fhearchair middayish which would allow me to get back for some sunset shots.

Back at the car I had problems so I had to shelve next days plans and make a daylight dash back an auto electrics shop in Fort Bill.

The stunningly impressive Coire Mhic Fhearchair


Liathach Pinnacles 

The dark side of Liathach

 Peering into the Fisherfield Forest 

Frozen Trees on the drive south

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Battery problems

The munro itch returned as I spotted high pressure oversettling in over Scotland, time to head north.

There is not a lot of light this time of year and there had been some big dumps of snow so I was looking at the more accesible hills, starting with the Crianlarich area.

It was gonna be cold, I did not fancy camping so I checked out the Youth Hostels, precictably all the hostels in that area were shut, that was a waste of time. So I looked at I was amazed that I got at B&B at youth hostel prices.

One June day in 2005 I had climbed Beinn Alachdair 1038m crawling the last 50 metres on my hands and knees in a blizzard. I abandoned the plan of traversing the ridge to its higher neighbour Beinn Chreachain 1081m drove south and had a BBQ that night.

Today I was going to ascend the normal descent route to Beinn Chreachain 1081m the temps were -7 at the start so everithing was iced up under deep powder snow making the ascent very difficult. I decided to take some photos with my compact, after a couple of clicks the battery died.

I flogged my way up to the summit and back in deep powder under cloudless blue skies cursing myself for leaving my compact camera overnight in the frozen cars.

Back at the car I decided to drive north and take advantage of the weather to take some classic roadside photos. The final stop was in Glencoe, as I started the car a warning sign came up Remote imobillser battery failing. Luckily it started and I drove straight to the auto electrics shop in Fort Bill just sneaking in as the closed sign was in hand.

I replaced the battery and sat outside the shop in the half light with the car handbook working out how to reprogramme the immobiliser , got it third go!!!!!!

Rannoch Moor

The Three Sisters

Aonach Eagach

Stob Corrie nan Beith

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Crib Goch in the mist

Approaching the Crib Goch ridge

This was another planned attempt to go to Scotland and do some high mountain routes but once again the weather looked naff up there so we 'set the controls to the heart of North Wales'.
After 3 intense climbing days my mate Jim requested we do something a little less taxing, I didn't have a problem with that as I felt jaded too. The theme for the week was to take advantage of the fantastic dry weather and go for the high mountain routes so he suggested Gambit route high on Clogwyn y Ddysgl.
Guidebooks all raved about it being a mega classic. ' Acres of exposure, superb moves, great rock and a crux at the end. What more could you ask for'
All that was left was to work it into a classic mountain day and of course do it.
One of the big advantages of climbing huts over other hostels is that they are set up for walking/climbing enthusiasts and most have have a library of ALL the local guides and maps so I perused and came up with a itinerary that included 3 summits 4 scrambles. 2 classic rock climbs and 'One of the finest easy mountain routes in the UK.'
The route started out of the back door of the hut and we followed the footpath into the hanging cwm below Cyrn Las where we struggled to find the first scramble so I suggested we have a look at the crag opposite as an alternative.
At the time!!!!!!. We thought this gave a 90m grade 2 scramble on immaculate rock.
From this side of the cwm the line of our original scramble was was now obvious so it was an easy contour round to its base. Graded 3 the hard bit was in the first 20 feet after that it was a steady grade 1 that made an interesting route up to the second hanging cwm under Clogwyn y Ddysgl.
This is hallowed territory many regard the Parsons nose as the finest scramble in Wales but today we ingnored it to do Gambit route.
Which finished on the ridge above Parsons nose and gives an amazing scramble to the summit of Garnedd Ugain 1065m.
All that was left now was to reverse Crib Goch 923m then descend via the North Ridge home after doing 3 summits, 5 scrambles and 'One of the finest easy mountain routes in the UK.'

Back at the hut I checked the guides and found our 1st inpromtu scramble was Conway Climb graded Diff.

 Photo showing the line of Gambit Climb

 Gambit Climb

The Grade 2scramble that turned out to be Conway Climb

 Cyrn Las in the mist

 Finishing the classic ridge


Saturday, 19 November 2016

I've gotta leave old Durham town. (And the leavings gonna get me down)

Wednesday afternoon on the river

One of the best things about the late warm summer nights is that you can get out walking/climbing/bouldering on an evening after work.
Its something I have done all my adult life man and boy, to me its what life is all about, that almost spiritual feeling escaping for a few midweek hours of physical outdoor excersize away from the grind of working life. Slowly watching the sun drop below the horizon then as darkness enfolds sadly its over and time to pack up and go home to normal life.
So one would expect the clocks going back would be a depressing time BUT a funny thing happens late October when is fading by three and dark by five. My interest in the counrtyside switches to the bright lights of the cities like the click a switch.
When its grim outside and dark and wet, I like nothing more than a walk round some of our magnificent northern towns and cities.
In particular I have a thing about bridges, cathedrals, stations, trains, old buildings, new buildings, still life, moving objects, old pubs, well am sure you get my jist.
The very best thing about this time of year is that we all know winter is truly on its way.........................

 Carful cropping to avoid the scaffold

 Buskers convention

 The 4.15 heading south

 Uni Campus

The 7.15 ueading north