Aug 08 2011

Alps 2011

Category: Mountaineering,Scoutingash @ 4:03 pm

Recently back from 2 weeks in the Saastal valley, Switzerland, just round from the Zermatt valley that has the Matterhorn and the Monte Rosa set in it.
Excellent trip, good people (about 16 of us), much fun had. Met some new Scouting friends from West Sussex, bumped into a variety of people from universities and climbing walls whilst out there, and had a jolly good time in all, if a little pricey.

Vague itinerary went along the lines of fly to Geneva, eat food, see live music, sleep.
Travel to campsite, drink beer, chill out, sleep.
Do glacial training with british mountain guide – didn’t learn a massive amount of new things but was very useful to be assured that we’re doing the right things. Played with some toys & broke the guides new Petzl crevasse rescue doofer. Long live the prussik.
In order to acclimatise, me and Matt next walked up to the Alghameller hutte & did the traverse of the Dri Hornli in an afternoon, then to follow it with a small jaunt up the Portjagenhorn. A mere trifle of a route, the description covered 2 pages of small writing in the guidebook and had the suffix (9-10 hrs). We managed to survive, although were beset with minor issues like:

  1. We left the guidebook in the hostel, and only realised 1.5hrs after setting off when we got to the start of the route at 6am.  Managed to get txt’d instructions from Popey several hours in.
  2. The weather was ming
  3. We weren’t acclimatised at all & had some breathing/fitness issues to get over.  Plus I needed to have a dump and Matt did a small amount of coughing up blood.  Mmmm.
  4. Quite a bit of the consolidated snow on the top (as opposed to the snow that was falling on us for a good chunk of the route) was falling to bits.  And as some of it was above several hundred feet of nothing, it made it tricky.
  5. having to deal with moves of probably Severe/Hard Severe in big boots on wet slippy rock.
  6. Lots of variation in route meaning some was pitched, some was moving together.  Matt reckoned around 10 50m pitches, plus a good many hours of moving together, plus an abseil in there too.

All in all then, a good day out.  The fact it was ming helped as we could’t see the massive drop to the Eastern side of us, however it meant we didn’t get any foties.  A great day out, but we were – and we recognised that we were – exceedingly lucky. 

Warning.  Do not do this at home.

We were a little destroyed after this day.  I think the next day we worked on routes at Feechi – a crag just round the corner from the campsite (300m!).  Met a lass who works at Awesome Walls there with her mates.

Next day was a Via Ferrata up the Mittagelhorn (or similar).  A lift up, 1.5 hr round, then 2hrs up in a snowstorm that came from nowwhere, then 2hrs off.  Good fun, shame about the lack of views again.  About 8 of us on that, a good day out.

Somewhere around here was a mass tresspass up the Allelinhorn.  A few parties of ours hadn’t managed to get up anything due to weather/acclimitisation so we figured it’d be a good reason to get them out having fun.  We got the lift, then another, then a train, and popped out of the mountain a LONG way up.  Geared up & then headed up to the top – with the strains of “Tainted Love” and other throwback tunes coming from the pisted area where the children-of-many-colours were sliding around on fat planks.  Or possibly phat planks.

After this … more climbing was had, but managed to trip up in the middle of town & remove most of one palm and bits of another.  Help from Jacob and DaveD in the bogs of the Dom managed to remove all grit & cut off the flappy bits of skin, and then bind my hands enough to prevent escape of too much blood.  Called the Dr & AndyM got me over there, got patched up & returned back with a dented  sense of pride.

Sporting this new injury, I didn’t want to loose any days, so suggested to some of our guys the idea of going round to Zermatt for the day.  Didn’t quite realise the cost of this (around £50 for the day … it’s a long way), but then got the cable car up & spent the day walking on the flanks of the Matterhorn going “OoooOOoooh”.  Chuffin big hill.

Think I had a day off next, but that involved walking from Saas Grund to Saas Almagell to Saas Fee and back.  Spotted a couple of new crags and had a chat with a few people climbing on there.  That was around 1st August, which was the Swiss National day.  Took Popey, Docherty, Stu, Bainbo and Bent up to Saas Fee to see an 8 part yodelling group, 6 part alpenhorn, marching band and similar things.  an excellent night, completed by staggering down the now un-lit shortcut path from Fee to Grund, and didn’t die.

Next day, decided that with gloves on I could probably do VF (or Via Ferrata).  Had a Drs appt to get my hands sorted out, so DaveD and Popey headed on up to the Jagerhorn whilst I went the Drs, then I motored as fast as possible to catch them up.  Meant that a normal 7-8 hr route had me stood at teh top after 2.5 hours, just catching them up after overtaking a lead of people on easy ground.  Not the most straightforward route though, including 90m of suspended wire bridge with around 100m drop, then a 15m suspended scramble then, then exposed VF/Climbing to the top.  Amazing route though. 

So much so, that after a rest that afternoon I took a group up the following day with Geoff.  Excellent day, everyone really enjoyed it (and Julie made proper noises), though we did slightly get caught in an alpine thunderstorm.

After that, beers were had, curry was eaten (again), and fun was had by all. 

Top trip.


Mar 27 2011

DESC IX, and an historic day for West Lancs

Category: Scoutingash @ 7:51 pm

Ok,its been a while since I’ve blogged. Things have been manic at work, everyones really feeling the fact that after letting people go to balance the books we’re now understaffed & the pressure is on. However, that’s not why I’m writing.

This weekend was our District Explorer Scout Camp, and was the 9th DESC that I’ve run. We had a group of 40 Explorers, about 7 leaders (give or take – quite a few bobbed up for the saturday), and an excellent event.

Saturday was spent out doing activities – a bus went to Ingleton and did a caving/geocaching day (not entirely sure how a GPS works underground though), Phillips had a stack over in the Langdales cragging, Pierre took 3 explorers on an epic bike ride which almost broke them (and him!), and Hugh & I took parties walking. I got in Crinkle Crags & Bow Fell with 2 self-led groups and me supervising. A great day, lots of chance for playing with maps etc & quite a mid of self-leadership for the Explorers. A decent day out, shame about the slightly hazy conditions – couldn’t see too far which was a shame. Kids seemed to buzz off it through.

Sat night we ran through up and coming events & had a impromptu Kareoke-off, which worked quite well – with the Ormskirk Nomads winning. Even though they came last, the Equinox (featuring Harry’s impressive dancing) will stick in my mind for a long time! We finished off with a campfire & some singing, and songs being led by many people. I also bobbed into Bills leaving doo.

Sunday we reset the clocks, ate and then did Flag break (I’ll cover this later). A quick visit to the Chapel to remember the Scouters throughout the world who lost their lives in the Earthquakes and Tsunamis of the past few months, then over to camp centre for some base rotation of assault course, crate stack, boot the ball & jenga. Tents dropped, then we closed our camp.

Some of us stayed back for an extra special closing ceremony though. West Lancs has looked after the Great Tower campsite in the Lakes for a great many years, and innumerable people have poured their souls into looking after and developing the site. Well, we are nearly at the end of an era as on the 1st April West Lancs hand over custody of the site back to Scouting HQ (we’ve leased the site from HQ for many years). This is the start of a new era, but also the end of a great one. In the morning, Joe Hargreaves raised the flag on behalf of West Lancashire for the first time, but at 2.30 we had the last flag down ceremony of the campsite under West Lancs control.

Bill the current warden (who as a result of the handover has had to find employment elsewhere) had a ‘farewell drinks’ doo on the Saturday night that I bobbed over to at about 1.30 am (after the Explorers had headed to bed), and nursing sore heads, he and the Blackpool service team did the county credit at the closing ceremony. After a short, yet powerful & emotional introduction he invited Joe to drop the flag. As he did, two of the Service Team escorted him to the flagpole, and as the Union flag was lowered it was detatched from the flagpole, folded correctly & as they departed the flagpole area, formally presented back to Bill before returning to their places. A simple act, but very significant.
I’m trying not to say anything that isn’t impartial about the handover, but I really do hope (as I think do a great many of the Scouters within West Lancs), that the new Activity Centre management not only do their job to the best of their ability, but that they also do justice to the many years of blood, sweat and tears shed on this most stunning of all campsites. The loss of Bill is significant to many, although as he’s got a job in Lancaster & is looking forward to starting there, it looks as though we’re winning him as a leader into West Lancs (fingers crossed). Here’s hoping that the changes which come enable people to do more act the site, rather than prevent (or make more protracted) people trying do provide these activities to young people.

Fingers crossed.


Aug 09 2010

Red Rose 2010

Category: Scoutingash @ 10:12 am

Well, that’s happened.  18 months of planning, several things to look after, and a funeral for a good friend.

Up on the Thursday night after work to start collecting stuff together.  With my suspension grinding on the corners, I got there early enough to do several hours sorting stuff out.  Hugh appeared, and we spent a while putting some finishing touches to the International day plans.

On Friday we finished this off in the morning, then got a minibus with Stuart Dean & a few other mates down to Preston for Dave’s Funeral.  A stunning ceremony, with a Guard of Honour of around 350 Scouters.  The chap leading the service was the minister of the church to which Dave’s group was attached, so he knew him well, and did a fantastic eulogy.  Many people having tearful moments, and a strange emotional wrench, knowing that we were about to have a really intense week following this.  Very strange feeling, but done very well.  By the time I arrived back, the Dutch had arrived at camp, and had setup where we needed them.

Back up to GT to crack on with a few more hours of prep.  The campers were arriving at 12am onwards on the Saturday, so spent until then sorting stuff out and briefing people for the International day, chucking up my tent, and helping Dawn and the others (as I was on her Subcamp team) to get our central area sorted.  Groups started arriving, and with a few minor issues of traffic carnage at our carpark/subcamp office, we got everyone sorted.  I was off sorting other International Day stuff for a chunk of this time I think.  Off to the opening ceremony which worked well, suprisingly fitting everyone in the camp centre.  The video’s show this well.

Sunday then came, and went suprisingly well.  Whilst the family activities were running, I was sorting out the ‘next’ games.  We’d hoped for there to be an underlying theme and story for the whole day, and although this went a bit wonky, it kind of worked.  Certainly a good idea, needs more supprt and staffing next time though.  The community base worked well, with Hugh, Kier, Dave Walton, Jen McAllen and Anna Booth sorting them out.  Whilst that was running, I was working with the inflatable people to site sumo suits, bouncy castles, surf machines and rodeo bulls around the site.  When that had been done, I grabbed some food on the fly, then went around to start collecting bits of kit back in, and meet with guys for the final ceremony of the day, back in camp centre.  By the time that was done & we’d worked out what to do, I realised that our plan to give people prayer flags and collect them relied on the strings that we hadn’t cut.  So, Carrington, Sarah O and I spent an hour hacking, coiling and taping up 20 m lengths of sizal to collect these flags on.  Unfortunatly, not many of the flags actually appeared, so the impact wasn’t anywhere near what we were aiming for.  Lack of communication on my part I think. 

The ceremony worked well, Ray, Ricko and Craig did well to work the crowd of that size on a Faiths & Beliefs event.  Check the video to see more than what I did of the day!  Lots of good feedback (well, no BAD feedback), so I’m taking that as a good thing!

Sunday night, after this event, things went a bit wrong.  We had the most complex day the following day, involving lots of activity tickets to allocate out & get kids onto what they wanted.  Unfortunatly, the expectations, and assumptions of a few of our leaders were not possible, and so we embarked on several hours of placating, negotiating, and bending over backwards, whilst fighting with an admin system that none of us had been trained in (as I was running International Day, Dawn was in a Subcamp leaders meeting, and the other 3 had 250 kids every 45 mins to entertain – all at the same time the training was planned – a serious fcuk up there).  Net result was that people ended up in tears, others nearly lost the plot altogether, and I finally got to bed at 01:15 after working with them to sort all the problems out.  This was the start of the low bit for me.  The head of activities and Camp Cheif were dragged up to deal with unhappy leaders.

Monday our kids were off site & I was supposed to be having a day off.  However, with the immense screw up the evening before, we spent several hours debriefing ourselves, then I met with the activities team to try to show them how and why things had gone wrong.  I was very tired at this point, but I was glad I was doing it myself, as the attitude that a couple of that team had would have led the others on the subcamp to either smack them or leave the camp.  However, none of the other subcamps seemed to have the issues that we did, so I guess that tweaks were made.  Went offsite to collect some parrafin for a group, and realised that if it wasn’t for letting Dawn and the others down, I’d go home right now, as I plainly wasn’t having fun.  Realised I was VERY tired, so got back to site, and got my head down for an hour or two.  Woke feeling far better.

From that point on, we were into activity days, so lots of meetings, organising people, moving people around, dealing with problems campers were having, and attempting to catch up and speak to many of my mates that were up – though I did precious little of that as my head was about to explode with stuff we were dealing with.  One group in particular (which turned out to be the most tricky group of the camp) were a pain right through the event, swearing at staff, refusing to do what we asked, questioning everything we did and so on.  This left a permanant cloud over all of us for all the week, and a cheer did apparently go up at the front gate when they finally left.

And no mention about the members that’d I’d taken who were refusing to pay for food that ended up going on my credit card.

Good things DID happen this week though.  The International Day seemed to work, the Dutch clog Dance and their Gaming night which they ran for our subcamp was pretty cool.  Bully and I ran a campfire one night for the subcamp which was cool, there was a gig with a few of us which went ok (ta for the beer Si!), and I managed to get 30 mins to chill on a saftey boat on the water at Moor Crag one day.  Also managed to get out with a group to the wildlife park and Ambleside (though I spent all of my time there fixing the wireless Access Point in Lakes Climber!)

So, hard work, long hours, knackred, 19 ticks, and one infected foot from a tick bite.  Did I enjoy it?  Well, I enjoyed bits of it.  The kids had a good time, so that’s the key thing.  The mistakes which happened last time didn’t this time.  However, the lows were many, and all of which were very low.  I managed to get to the staff bar 4 nights out of the 8 that it was open, and around 50% of the meals I ate were in the kitchen as I’d missed mealtimes.

‘Nuff respect to Dawn, Kerry, Scouse and Johnathon though.  I’d gladly work on any event with them again.  Bloody good set of people, and without such strong characters, we would all have broken (as it was, only 3 of us did!)

I’d forgotten on how being on a Subcamp means that you work 24/7.  You’d think I’d remember that after being a subcamp leader last time round.  Hey ho.  Right, off to the Doctors to have a foot removed.


Jul 22 2010

Gone Home – Dave Ridout

Category: Scoutingash @ 9:02 am

I’ve just heard from Dick that Dave passed away peacefully last night.

For such an active guy who achieved countless things and proved such a stunning rolemodel to countless people, Dave will be enourmously missed by the many, many friends he had through Scouting in West Lancashire and his other collegues.

Considering he did hills above Everest Base camp last year (at the sprightly age of 60!), he was a fighting fit (albeit bandy legged!) guy with a long retirement in front of him.  His diagnosis a month or two ago with terminal Stomach Cancer though was something fitness couldn’t overcome.

It’s too early for arrangements yet, but information will likely be available from Pete at the County Office.

Farewell Dave. A hell of a good mate, a true Gentleman, and achiever of great things.  You will be greatly, greatly missed by us all.


Jul 01 2010

Busy? Me? Never …

Category: home,Music,Scoutingash @ 11:08 pm

So what’s been happening in the world of Green then.  Scouting.  lots of that.  And lots of other things getting in the way of Scouting.  For them not in the know, there’s an International camp happening in our County in the 1st week of August, and I’ve got the problem of dealing with the entire camp for a day (that’s around 1200 punters).  Hence being a bit busy.  I’ve got help mind, GOOD help in the form of Dawn Hankinson and Hugh Miller, but they’re busy in other ways too, so it can be a bit mind melting at times.  Especially when I’m doing other things too (just spend 2 hours migrating, updating, un-breaking and promoting the http://lancashireunison.org website), repairing car (new radiator, ignition coil, sparks in past few weeks), looking for new car and the rest of it.  But I digress.

After the last post I went and did Green Day with Caroline Mac in Manchester.  Cracking gig – played a good 2hrs 45 constant – good entertainers too.  A bit samey at times, but a great set, really good at getting the crowd going.  Managed to get in a good spec too, excellent night.

Few days after that was Ricko Charnock’s stag weekend up at Moor Crag.  Excellent weekend, good to catch up with people.  Mark was a bit broken beforehand, so took him out for a climb on Farleton on the way up.  Went and took Sam and Martin up Middlefell Buttress on the Sunday too.  Broke around 12 on the Sat night – my personal taste alarm went off as we were heading into the Stag club in Bowness, so me, Sam, Nige and Pete veered off into the bar and listened to a dodgy bloke on a guitar.  Good laugh.

Finished off the Climbing Course for Explorers the next week (most of them through after 7 weeks!), then after a Crew social at the Hop Vine, it was County Camp.  I helped out with the Activity Allocations this year (although badly), and managed to arrange it so that I was doing sod all, leaving me free for the day to do a sub-camp site visit for Red Rose with Dawn, Kerry and Scouse.  Good to do, helped a lot.  I also got some other things in my mind for International day, and went ferreting in the GEC shed.

This week I’d called a meeting of the Mountaineering Group to see where we’re going next – Matt Forshaw’s mission to Canada has got the approval, and looks to be an excellent trip for 2012.  I’m still hoping to get something together with a bit more exploration to it, but I’m running out of time to get anything researched before the end of Summer with Red Rose and the Fitzcharnock wedding happening in the middle of that.

Should have been doing loads on Red Rose and fixing Pete Freemans pooter tonight, but have spent hours on the Unison site instead.  We’re going to ballot on Industrial Action against the (allegedly) illegal action that the Council has taken in forcing through the new Terms and Conditions for LCC workers, so we needed the site live before the weekend, and as I’m off to Scotland tomorrow with Clare O I needed to get a shift on!

Right, sleep calls.

Oh, and I’ve got my Tansads tickets.  Life is good.


Jun 14 2010

Ardennes, Northumberland and Mr Ridout.

Category: home,Scoutingash @ 10:39 pm

Been a busy few weeks.

2 weeks back, on the 1/2 term I was on the annual county Explorer trip to Belguim, in the Ardennes region.  I’ve helped with this for several years, and I keep going back as it’s ace fun.  It was a really good week, great kids who developed a lot, led by Andy Mathers to great esteem.  Nuff respect to that feller – he’s very good with the kids.  Only a couple broken, and they were mostly to do with mountain biking (suprise).

As ever, the only real problems were to do with transport.

  1. Phil H, on a mission to get a Geocache, reaches the ferry region a long time before us in the bus withthe trailer, but misses the ferry.
  2. Phil’s alternator blows up about 1 mile into the journey home
  3. An impressive wipeout in the fast lane in terrential rain by a member of the public leaves me and Andy stopping the traffic on the M6 on a busy sunday afternoon (really) to escort the driver in a stunned and partially freaked (yet intact) state to the side of the road.  Got an air ambulance and everything to that one.

This last week I was up in Northumberland at Sam and Red’s doing some practising for Ricko’s wedding.  We’ve practiced long and hard, and are firmly of the mind that none of us are prepared to be his bride.  We had some long discussions over many (many) bottles of ale, and Noah helped by hitting drums, but our minds are made up.  We are steadfast. 

Caught Ellie on the way back and watched Daffyd blow up their £900 Anti Midge device which was entertaining for a while.  Especially when I tried to disconnect the propane bottle which was attached to the alight device only to find out it had been turned fully on when I’d been told it was turned off.  That was interesting for a moment.

Tonight, Carrington and I have been to see Dave Ridout.  For those in the know, Dave has been diagnosed with cancer of the stomach, and he’s been in a pretty bad way for a few weeks. The mass has been blocking his asophogus (?), but he had a stent fitted a few days back and can now (after several weeks) eat again.  As you can imagine, having not eaten for several weeks has had a massive hit on his build and systems, but Dave is feeling better, has more energy, and was bollocking Carrington for not finishing his D of E report yet, so it’s not the end of the road yet.  Starts Chemo in a couple of weeks, and is really optimistic for getting out again.  The terminal word has been used, but from the sounds of it everyone is working on that being a long way in the future yet!  Fantastic to see him – that mischevous glint is still in his eye, and we all wish him the very best of health and a speedy recovery over the coming months.


May 16 2010

End of trip …

Category: Mountaineering,Scoutingash @ 10:11 pm

Back home, awesome trip.  Will start pictures uploading soon.

The next day on Skye was on Beinn Fdehsomething – the one with Waterpipe Gully on it, accessed from the Fairy Pools carpark.  Phil was suffering with ankle pain, so he walked in with us & we then did an awesome scramble up the Northern ridge & then up the main arete.  Took just over an hour to get to the top, victory butties & general feeling of fantasticness on the top.  Decided to bin off Drum na Ramh & go find Phil (awesome day anyway) so got down to find him asleep on the path with bemused walkers steering round him.

Beers in the pub that night (pub definately better for being revamped!), then plotting as the forecast was crap for the following day. Reasoned would be a late start, so me and Julie stayed up til the late hours with a bunch of Yank students on tour.3440

The next day was ming as promised.  Ran back to the mainland, then headed for a Munro that none of us had done in Glen Garry.  Got there late on, did the hill (long & bigger than we anticipated!), so got off at 7pm pretty knackred.  Wild camped in a cracking spot in the Glen, and hit bed quite early!34673491

Over to Glen nevis now to find Stubbs and Lewis (on Ledge Route by this time), then did a scramble on a hill above Steal meadow, tapped on the SE flank of Ben Nevis.  Not hard, not long, but gave stunning views of Glen nevis (W&E), and into the Steal coire.  Really good fun, played on the bridge before we went up (Phil strode through the river saying that he’s not that tall & Julie bottled it – though she did it the following day!).  Met the others in the Clachaig that night, good evening of talking crap and having a laugh.  Wilmott also joined us at this point.

Decided on a scramble as weather was a bit here and there.  Did Broad Buttress on the Buchaille with El, a superb route.  Book reckons it’s better than Curved Ridge, and I’m inclined to agree!  Some superb lava formations which have made perfect steps on steep exposed rock – awesome!  Butties on the top at 12, then weather looked to be turning, so ran away.  We were hoping for the Etive Slabs, but weather not right.  Down to Ardlui and a night in the Drovers – good band on, no space, the others did the Ring of Steal, and grabbed a curry afterwards so joined us later on.  Weather looked ok for the following day, but beer & general tiredness of most put paid to the plans for climbing on the Cobbler, though I think it may have held out.  Hey ho, that’s for another day!3506

Headed back home at a gentle pace, in time to eat at parents, chill out, deal with kit and have a beer with the Fitzcharnocks.  All is good in the world, and hill therapy has worked wonders.


Apr 28 2010

Still alive, just very tired

Category: home,Scoutingash @ 8:23 pm

There does really seem to be an awful lot going on nowadays.  Either that, or I’m doing the same amount but getting older is meaning that I’m less able to deal with it all.

Whats happened then.3383

Reesy Roo & Samsun Booth’s wedding.  That was good.  Caught up with the Popes, Sandays and many others in a highly random evening.  One of the best MC’s I’ve seen in a while.  Not every day that the bride bump-n-grinds the entire congregation.

Weekend after was the Network Gathering.  Same ole same ole, many sprouts, used a boat this time to navigate the bog as it’s getting a trifle deep.  One minor injury – we really should have had a dedicated first aider up there through *mistake*.  Good to catch up with lots of people, delivered an adequatly wierd weekend with the aid of Ali & the Vollers.  Came back early on the Sunday to catch ex-Rollins & Casey in the Hopvine, then the following evening did the same with the Kellies without a Noah.  Excellent to catch up & drink decent beer.

339633873393

Next weekend was the Ardennes Training.  Low numbers this year, lots of questions over whether it’ll happen or not.  However, enough people are now on, and we’ve pulled some other expenses as well, so by the looks of it we can make it happen.  Not entirely sure where I’m going to generate another multi-pitch climber from at the moment, but we’ve a good group of kids, and Mr Mathers (taking the reins from Mr Miller) is well set to make it happen. Looking forward to it, shame that many of the normal bunch can’t make it.  Should be able to destroy some cheese and beer with Phil H & others though!

Weekend after was weekend 3 at GT – Red Rose Mega Meet.  This was the Staff weekend for our major international camp that’s happening this summer.  I’m running one of the days (for around 1200 kids) as well as being a sub-camp staff member.  It’s going to be a trifle busy.  Should be damn good fun as well though.  Spent sat going through training, getting head round the flow of the week, and meeting with some of my team.  Sunday was spent beating the crap out of logs (the Caga got it right & proper), then Freemen dragging them round and whittling them down.  Managed to partially break Charlotte & trashed some of the ground, but luckily had helpful staff on hand to repair the ground – as well as repairing the trashed ground caused by nameless w@nkers and their 4×4’s on the Gathering.

340233993405

Next weekend *breathe* was NOT at GT for a change, but still busy.  Saturday was Jamboree Selection day.  Had 27 to get to 4 places – and they were all very good.  There’s a chance that the letters haven’t gotten to all yet, so can’t mention names at the mo.  I’m sure we got the right kids – that is the kids who we think will benefit most from the experience.  Hopefully my “There’s billions of things to do out there” talk got through to some of them & they don’t feel too miffed.

The Sunday was St Georges Day parade.  Decent turn out from Explorers, disappointed with Network turnout though.  Hey ho.

I’ve also been running (with gratefully receieved help from many other leaders) a climbing course for Explorers in Ormskirk over the last 4 weeks.  Welsh meet this weekend, then Skye the weekend after for 10 days (low numbers this year), then a breather before the Ardennes trip.

I was hoping for both a spot in the Alps this summer, though I’m starting to wonder how & where I’m going to fit that in.  Figure a chat with Geoff this weekend will deliver. Hopefully.

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Feb 21 2010

Mental weekend

Category: home,Scoutingash @ 11:11 pm

HEctic weekend just gone. Friday saw me and the Pa doing Avatar in Madchester on the Imax, joined by Caroline & her pa. Good fim, a hell of a lot to take in on the Imax, but well impressive. Better the 2nd time around I think. Although I was expecting lots of things that I didn’t see – I’d been imagining or dreaming stuff I think! Wierdness.
Saturday headed over to Glossop with a bunch to celebrate Carolines Birthday. Involved being driven to Ikea, having several near misses, going in the wrong way and sitting on a mattress in the queue as the cashier was crap. Also then involved a bimble, playing with dogs and carrying Boy Miller in his new carry/rucsac thing which he wasn’t too impressed with.
Realised the time at the end and fled the scene back home, picking up Creed on the way from parents. Back to mine, into Penguin suit, picked up by Nige and away to Founders Feast. Introduced Creed to the world of Scouting – well, the bit of it that goes to the Feast. Ate food, mocked people, danced craply, mocked people more, let off 23140 balloons at Chris Bent. Got drunk.
Delivered home by Nige then off to GT via the Marriot in lots of new snow. Made it to GT (just), had to abandon Dawns motor by the public site. Walked up, grabbed brews from Bill, walked Dawns subcamp and came up with a plot for it all. Got some cracking pictures. Off to Anglers to meet & eat (had to cancel Strawberry Bank as we’d never have made it there and back alive!), got through loads of stuff then back home to mostly collapse


Jan 31 2010

ESL Training & playtime

Category: Mountaineering,Scoutingash @ 10:12 pm

Top weekend up in the Lakes, based around Explorer Leader Training at GT with a 10 hr passout from Hugh.
3232 3236Helped on the Friday evening with the course, then crashed earlyish, and up to cool breakfast first thing Saturday. Met up with Caroline McCann just after flagbreak, then after reporting a crash on the main road due to ice, headed off and up into the hills. Very cold frost, quite a bit of snow left (I peered from Tower Rock), so headed for Helvellyn. Managed to park just down from Greenside mine – luckily, we were a bit late – then headed up from there.

First time with a full winter pack this year, so took our time, then kitted up at Red Tarn – which was pretty frozen. Decided to do Gully 1 – I’ve done a couple of times before but happiest on that ground for first route of the year.
The hoardes had been through earlier in the day, so had the route to ourselves! Caroline got some pretty painful hot aches whilst she was on the crux, but battled through the pain and led through up the snow bank. After there we moved together up the slope – snow was in fantastic condition – and topped out at the summit shelter.

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Grabbed a bite to eat, then headed down Striding Edge and off to the car, stopping for a well-earned pint at the White Lion in Glenridding.
Back to GT for food (excellent timing), then sat in on the final module of the day which managed to overrun by several hours – when we’d finished we realised it was about half 11 and Caroline was still with us – a caffine injection later and she was off on her way home. We watched the trainees trying to set fire to themselves for a while, I tried (and failed) to tune my ukelele, then crashed out. Sunday more training, I ran my Activities & Permits one for an hour or so, caught up with Dawny & had a wander round her Sub Camp for Red Rose so that we could get a feel for the place.
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Wandered back home with Hugh to chill out and be impressed by photos!


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