Sep 28 2009

145% Pork

Category: Mountaineering,Musicash @ 10:52 pm

Off to the lakes with Tom for a climbing day/weekend, with a musical twist.

Friday night was the official album launch of “The Witch and the Robot” – a band made of 3 mates of Tom’s from Ambleside.  The album got 7/10 in NME review, and is adequatly bizarre.  A good turnout to the venue (upstairs at the Sticklebarn in Langdale no less), and an excellent night.  Wierdigan tunes, a maniac named Dj Asethetic Heartbeat (brings back distinct memories of Hitler and the 5 steps to war from college), and an inflatable snake.  Dave arrived with Maria and her ex-aussie mate, and Tracey arrived later after her pint had been drunk (oops). 

I didn’t win anything at the Meat Auction, whichTom (Spider) had been preparing me for.  Very disappointing.

Saturday we got up earlyish and slogged up the Band (to Tom’s disgust).  After 17 years, we got near the top and swung beneath Bowfell, to Bowfell Buttress.  Did the route, very good, Classic Rock and really good fun.  Dropped back down and then had a crack at an evil-as-sin HS route next to it (Direct Route I think).  HS my arse.  Wet, minging loose overhanging chimney, green as a green thing and nasty all the way.  Some good stuff higher up (p4) but crap on the rest of it.  Urgh.  Both me and Tom glad to be alive after that.  Dropped over the tops then down past Angle Tarn through Rosset Gill.

Down to the campsite, saw Dave and Trace, then over to the Sticklebarn for beer and Food.  Siobahn and Maria were there likewise, so we all ate, drank, and had a laugh.  There was some entertainment on, and he did his bit with pretty rough humour but good banter and music.  Offered the guitar around, so Tom and Maria generally shouted until I agreed to go and play.  Did a few tunes and got a good reception which was cool, though no free beer 😉

Staggered back to tent (and missed Maria managing to fall over an occupied tent in the middle of the campsite!).  Had a lie in on Sunday, which I think my body desperatly needed after successive late nights in the week, then grabbed some scran and headed home to work on Splash and Dash for a few hours, catch up with the parents, then bag up several thousand Gathering badges and crash!

Oh, and Pepperami Hot (of which I mostly survived the weekend) are 145% pork apparently.  Really.  Look it up yourself!


Sep 25 2009

Massive Attack at Leeds

Category: Uncategorizedash @ 11:26 am

Top gig last night over in Leeds. Drove over after long day at work and then a meeting, and went to visit Phil Broadbent and Katie at their place. Good to see them both, took Phil out for a game of pool & then drifted into town.
Managed to get there just as support band finished, and then remembered what happened when Creed and I went to see them last time – the venue fills very quickly and it’s a manic crush, with people unable to move. As such, was stuck by an exit on the left side of the dance floor, with people walking past all the time.
When the band came on, it got a little better, but was a obstructed view which was an arse. Impossible to get any further in, but the music was awesome. At Angel, a gap opened up by a particularly fine lass, so dived for that and managed to get some space to dance. Only 4 vocalists tonight, guess one of them must have been ill. All the classics played, plus some new material which is excellent. Thunderous bass! Danced like a restricted loon – stunning sounds all the way through.
Had the offer of staying at Ginnys, but was still awake after the gig, so went for the option of the late night and own bed, over the option of early bed and fidhting past Manchester in the morning – made all the more stressful by needing to be on the phones first thing.
Back about 12:30 (ish), collapsed.

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Sep 24 2009

Gathering 2009

Category: Scoutingash @ 8:46 am

A great camp, over at Bibbys Farm.  Excellent to see so many campers, Staff and friends for a top weekend.  We managed around 548 on site I think, didn’t loose any money and kept all of them busy for a while.

I ran the Admin for the camp & handled the booking in process, which all went well.  Helped out moving groups round the Zones on the Saturday, and after some frantic brain-bashing, Nige, Ricko and I came up with the DC’s Challenge (a manic game of evolution with 500 people, some communication games and the first ever delve into the Korma Sutra).  A couple of good nights round the camp fire, the Vollers did very well with Vorgg on the Sunday, and we were packed up and off site before 3pm.

After4-1 years, it’s time to pass the mantle on.  Nige, Ricko and I have really enjoyed it, but it takes a huge amount of time and we’ve all got other things to do.  The others have said they want to spend more time focusing on their Unit, and I want to be able to deliver a quality event for Splash and Dash and the International Day at Red Rose 2010.


Sep 13 2009

Tower Ridge

Category: Mountaineeringash @ 11:19 pm

2698A most excellent weekend playing on the longest climb in the UK.  Tower Ridge is a chuffin’ big line of rock on Ben Nevis.  Cleaving its way through the middle of the many corries on the Northern face of the mountain, it’s a classic for many reasons.  One being the amount of people that get benighted on it in winter.  I can understand why.

After work on Friday I hammered it up to Scotland, trying to catch Caroline up as she was heading for the NE (I was going NW).  Kept getting close but then had to stop for LPG.  Damn these small tanks.  Denied of a meetup & scran down, I met the Willmott at the Red Squirrel site in Glencoe.  We both managed to independantly freak out the Polish lass on the gate, then dealt with tent and stomped to the Clachaig for a couple of pints.  Had a good shufty at the route, and talked plans.  Quite a bit that I had read on the web said expect 6 hours on the route.  This in mind, plus the 2 ish hours walk in, and then getting off the tallest mountain in the UK, we (well, I) decided to have an early start.  Didn’t entirely fall on deaf ears, but El wasn’t enamoured with the idea.

Off went the alarm at 6 am.  By 7:10 we were in the car park north of Fort Bill, kitted up and wondering what the hell we were doing.  By 9 we were at the CIC hut, generally being blown away by the views and sussing out the route.  By 10 we’d got to the bottom of the climb, had kitted up and were about to start up the Douglas Boulder – the ‘true’ line of the ridge.  By 10:30 we decided that we’d started up the wrong bit, but had found some pegs and tat so decided that was close enough.  By 11 we’d made it to the third pitch, and I was having issues getting up a nasty wet, slimy, minging chimney that was trying to throw me off, on crap gear. 

By 12 I’d tried that 3 times, tried traversing round it, swore a lot (this is a Diff I hasten to add, and I’m leading 5a HVS happily at the moment), then we’d done 2 60m abseils to get off the route, run round the bottom of the Boulder and back up the other side, and by 12:30 we were at the notch between the Boulder and the Ridge itself.

There then followed an excellent afternoon of scrambly rock.  Mostly grade 2/3 scrambling with the odd climbing move, we moved together on all of it (Alpine Style Mountaineering), spotting each other on the down climbs.  Stunning views, amazing weather, we grinned all the way through!  By about 14:45 we’d topped out, doing what was supposedly a 6 hour route in 2 and a half hours.  After a trip to the top (200 people in a compressed space being larey after 8 hours in solitude on the hill almost broke me), we met a couple of guys who climbed past us when we lowered off – they’d taken 3 hours to do the Douglas Boulder itself then the same as us to get to the top.  Felt a bit deflated, but was happy that I’d a) done the main ridge and b) was still alive – that was good for me!

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Stomped down with the massed through the Zig Zags (past many day trippers, lots of ‘teams’ on an event, and most notably 4 elderly nuns near the top), then kicked off at the pond and headed back to the car.  Had a few topups on sugar on the way down (this was a pretty big day & the effect of no brew in the morning and no substantial food the previous night was kicking in).  Down to the car for 5, then straight to Macca’s to get a coffee .  Hassled a few Scoutlets from Elgin who were celebrating their Chief Scouts Gold trip and were about to get invested on the Ben tomorrow (eating lunch in Macca’s in full uniform at 14 – excellent).  Back to site, scrape, pub, food, beer, more beer, music, beer, whiskey (18yr Buhnahavn – not cheap but very nice), stagger, sleep.

Hangover from hell followed.  The dehydration from the day, plus general goosedness, plus beer factor, hurt.  Slow start led to gradual movements, and by 10:30 we’d bought ‘profen and were on the lucosade diet.  Headed back via Rannoch Moor and butties at Tyndrum. An excellent weekend.


Sep 06 2009

One Wedding, some hills and a breakthrough.

Category: home,Mountaineering,Scoutingash @ 8:01 pm

A cracking two weeks just had. 

Last weekend was Bank Holiday weekend.  On the Friday I drove to Llanberis, and stayed the night with Dave and Tracey at their cottage, with Tom, Heather, Christian and Johnathon.  Good night, excellent company etc. 

On the Saturday I left early and made my way to Pinnacle Caff at Capel to meet the daughters of Janie-Woo – an ex work collegue and good mate.  They’d seen these mountain things and wanted to do something, though not sure what.  So, I took them on a mountain ‘experiece’.  Lewd comments aside, it was an excellent day.  Took them over the North Ridge scramble on Tryfan, and they loved it, so carried on up Bristly ridge to top out on Glyder Fach.  The weather crapped out at this point, so after slipping and sliding on the lethal rocks on the top (and smashing my compass & cracking my hip something rotten), we came down the Griben and out back to the car.  Met Woo and Mike at the Bryn Truch, and as way of thanks they treated me to a slap-up meal – nice one!  Headed back to the cottage where the party was in full flow, with about 25 people crammed into and round the cottage.  Got a few beers in, and chilled for the evening.

Next morning, off to Coventry.  Said byes to people then cut cross country down to Creeds, to practise for her wedding the following night.  Good day playing with her, Rude and Brian, then crashed at Dave J’s in Dunchurch – managed to finsh off the last bit of Season 1 of House that I found at his ; cheers Dave!

Bank Holiday Monday, drove down to past Stratford to find where the Reads were staying.  Spent several hours playing tunes with them and getting stuff ready for Creeds Wedding, enjoyed an afternoon in the pub with the kids (L’il Noah’s a man on a mission now) and then back to Dunchurch to polish up the Car – I was the Wedding Driver for Creed on the way to get wed.  Met Johnathon who was also staying at Dave’s, we went out to the boozer for food and beer.  Johnathan was keeping it light – he was starting a new job the next day in Oxford and was a bit nervous, particularly cos he couldn’t find the bit of paper which told him what time to start!  After getting back he searched high and low and still couldn’t find it, so decided to crash out and risk it the following day.  10 mins after going to bed, he reappeared to say that he’d found the letter, and he was starting at 9am …. the following day! 

Tuesday came, as did Wedding prep.  Had time to kill, so went for a 5~6 mile run, then moved out of the cottage and got the car Valeted outside Cov.  Got to Creeds and lurked with Brian until the time came.  Drove shiney and weddingerized car through Cov … several times as we’d set off too early.  3 laps of the ring road was good fun, particularly as when we timed it right at the end we actually came off at the wrong exit and had to go round again – at speed! 

The Wedding was ace, at the very historical registry office in Coventry (~1400’s). A good turnout, Phil was on edge and Creed looked stunning – a most excellent time had byall.  The choice of the “Owl and the Pussycat” sung by two of Phil’s band collegues was adequatly wierd, and it summed a lot up when Phil was trying not to laugh out loud when he saw just how many people were wierded out by that -quite planned methinks 🙂26342638

We did the Photos just as the weather broke then made a mad dash through foul weather to the reception at a nearby wildlife trust centre. We did our tunes, Brian did his excellent speech and got tearful (as did Creed) at the end.  Noah hadcrashed out in Sams guitar case as we played our tunes, and then the weather broke again.  The experience of being woken by 6 people carrying you in a wierd casket,covered in waterproof jackets, with mad music going on and lots of strange faces was a little too much for him, and he exploded.  Sam got his daddy alarm on, and in about 20 seconds I’d worked out his guitar part and took over from him, letting him run off stage and tend to the boy. 

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Time was getting on, and the two massive helpings of Roast Hog were getting me tired, so at 9 ish I bade my farewells and ran away home, as work the next morning.  Back ast about half 10, then up at 2 to void guts.  Something wrong with that piggy I think.

This weekend just gone was a D of E assessment weekend in the Peak.  Me and Martin headed down on the Saturday to Longnor and chased/found 5 teams doing different routes to Gradbach.  Got them all on site (a couple quite late and in the VERY dark), then legged it to the pub when they were settling down.  Nice and hospitable, staying open to 1:30 for us! Cheers to Phillips senior for providing a load of belly-pork lumps, marinated and then bbq’d at 2 am 🙂

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Today did more following, then assessing and briefing of the teams.  All did well, was well impressed with them.  We’ve got some cracking kids in Ormskirk Explorers at the moment.

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Headed home, then had the breakthrough.  For the first time in, I dunno, many years, I actually cooked food, from ingredients, that had flavour.  Ok, a good chunk of it got spilled and binned, but stuffed peppers with the rest of the stuffing in warm pitta bread has rocked my world.  This probably means that I’ll eat this and nothing else for the next 2 weeks until I get curry withdrawls 🙂