Staff Training

Me and Kat seconding Dan on Kipling Groove
After last weeks residential Dan had planned for an office and training week. So today was the start of some staff training, which is code for craging. We met up with a Kat and headed out to Gimmer Crag.
Where Dan was on form making short work of an exceedingly good climb, Kipling Groove (HVS 4c,5a***). He then proceeded to romp up Whit's End Direct (E1 5b*) and Spring Bank (E2 5c**). Kat then took the first pitch on Gimmer String (E1 4c, 4c, 5b***), I took the second pitch and made a right dogs dinner of it.
We then went round to climb The Crack (VS 4c,4c,4c***) another classic. During this climb it became obvious that I seem to have lost my leading head because 4c's felt way too hard. It just means I need to get back into training.


Swift Water Boot Rescue Training

Today our adventure was in Church Beck and my role in the proceedings was Welly Boot rescuer. This involved me having to take the buoyancy aid off and dive down to the bottom of the Gyll every time one of the kids left a boot behind. It was great fun and I think the kids enjoyed watching Dan kicking me down deeper than I could swim.

Then it was back to the accommodation for Bananas wrapped in bacon which was actually very tasty. Then it was washed down with two servings of sticky toffee pudding. Sweet!


Working up an Apetite

Today it go was our turn to go Rock Climbing and abseiling. So we took the groups to the Lynndale slabs, this is really nice venue for beginners. The crag is very small and and has only a couple of easy Single Pitch Routes. So it is only really suitable for one group at a time. Therefore the crag works on booking system to avoid overcrowding.

The rain was threatening all day but luckily it held off. After we returned to Rydal Hall the weather brightened up and we all had a lovely Barbecue cooked by Real Adventure's professional chef. I had to make sure I contained my normal eating habits otherwise there would have been no food for anyone else.


Castle Rock

It was rafting on Lake Windermere today but first the kids had to build the raft then learn how to control it. Once all the rafts where constructed we went for a wee journey around the islands then landed on one for a spot of lunch. We played a few games on the Island then headed back.

Me climbing the overused Ewe tree on North Wall Eliminate

After some grub Dan and I headed to Castle Rock and did North wall eliminate (E1 5b**), Gazebo(HVS 5a*), Overhanging Bastion (VS 5a***) and had an attempt at an E1 5c but it was denied.


A Real Adventure

So I am in the Lake District for the next few weeks, doing my work experience with real-adventure,which is run by Dan Robinson. Today we went to cathedral quarry, which is next to Coniston. I joined the group for a real interesting walk through the quarry.

We all walked through a small cave which opened up into the part which can only be described as the cathedral. We all did an echo test (shouted as loud as we could) then proceeded to walk further into the cave. Instead of torches, candles where handed out to add to the adventure. We took a right turn which came to a dead end. Then everyone was told to extinguish the candles, it was so dark I couldn’t tell if I had my eyes open or closed. After ignighting the candles again we found the way out.


On ma Todd

So yesterday, after my kayaking sessions, I was really looking forward to getting another full day on the Garry today. However Bridget told me that there was not enough students to cover the climbing competition in the morning. If I could help out it would be doing her and Matt a favour. I owe Bridget a lot of time and a lot of favours. So I had no issue postponing the Garry until the evening which worked out much better.

The climbing competition went really well with all the kids being really great sports. By the time I got to the Garry it was about five. I couldn’t find another body to go with me so I just headed out on my own. I headed down to my now favourite play spot and just chilled.

It was a truly gorgeous day and every time I capsized I didn’t receive that horrible shock I am so used to when kayaking in Scotland. The water was actually quite pleasant to be in. Play Boating gives me a great sense of achievement for the smallest things. Like linking a couple of spins together or managing a back deck roll on your opposite side. Little things like this give you a buzz that you keep going back for more and more.

After messing around for a good few hours I headed home watching a glorious sunset over the hills and lochs, Brilliant.

Yes my camera is still broken.


It's about time I got some pain!

Well I have been enjoying myself too much recently climbing on the Glen, getting out on the Garry and helping out with lots of fun kayaking sessions. It's only fair that I have some bad times to even things out and keep the cosmic balance.

So my kayaking sessions didn't start until 3pm, this gave me loads of time to go and play at the Garry. So I joined Dan and John and did lots of playing. The other good thing about the Garry is that you become a regular and chat to the usual faces and meet loads of new ones as well, it's more of a social club than a river.

Busy times

After spending a lot of time there I then headed out to Loch Eil for some more kayaking sessions with the local schools. All the kids were great fun and were really eager to get wet, possibly too eager since the first question they ask when they get in the boat is 'can we jump in?'

After the session I attended the college end of year gathering were I won £20 of gift vouchers for Nevis Sports. However at the gathering I lost my phone and discovered that my 'bombproof' camera let in water. It is trying to come back to life but it isn't quite there yet.

Anyway more sessions tomorrow then the Garry on Saturday, I am trying my best to keep the unbalance


Climbing and Kayaking

This morning I had to drive home from Dundee so I could head out climbing. However the weather wasn't too great so we, Al and me, postponed activities for later in the day. I was hoping that this wasn't going to clash with the Kayaking sessions I said I would help out with for the Nevis Canoe Club.
Anyway Al and I eventually headed down the Glen towards Gorge Crag. Al had his eye on an E1 and I was just happy to hold onto some dry rock. Al made great progress up the route and looked really steady, a quick rest before the crux and then he went for it. After trying a few pulls up then trying to put an ankle above his head. 'TAKE' came the shout then he was off (when he fell I got a great photo seen above). Al took a good five metres whip but quickly got back on and topped out.
Al leading 'All our Yesterdays' E1 5b**
After the route we called it a day and I went home and grabbed my kayaking kit and met up with the Canoe Club. Unfortunately I seem to have managed to delete the kayaking pictures but I will try and find them and get them up.


Cracking Day

It was a Garry release day today so Jamie and I made the most of it by spending the whole day on the river. We ran the river once then went and played around for a long time. Then Jamie possibly broke his ribs that he had already broken a couple of months ago (I haven't heard if this is the case or not, lets hope its not).

Not the best place to get stranded with broken ribs.

I am becoming a bit more confident when it comes to putting my boat into the play holes and also managing to stay upright.

Rescue Lines and Slack Lines

After college today I drove down into Poll Dubh with my climbing gear but with no climbing partner. I figured I would find someone there or I would find something I could do. It didn't take me long to ran into Gillean who also had the same intentions as myself.
So we headed over to cavalry crack buttress and I led 'the old wall' (vs 5a*). After that Gillian led 'Dundee Weaver' (HVS 5b**) on Dundee Buttress.
Then I had a wee issue with Double Buttress, I was going for a route called 'double or quits'(E1 5b). However this was definitely not the route I was on. I ended having to get Gillian go to the top and drop a rope down so I could climb up, what felt like 6a moves to top out.

Gillian seconding the old wall
A while ago I suggested to Jamie that we put a slack line over lower falls in Glen Nevis. So we set it up played and quick game of rock paper scissors, to decide who tested it and who went first, I lost. I managed to go halfway out and fall off in the middle. Jamie managed two steps and then fell off in a hilarious fashion.

He redeemed himself when we set it up again lower to the ground.


The Mental Moriston

Yesterday Bridget invited me out for a trip down the River Moriston; I was well up for it. On the journey up Bridget asked me,
"What's the hardest river you've done?"
"After today it will be the Moriston"
"Ah.....might not have done the right thing by inviting you, oh well!"
When we arrived I had a look at the river and Bridget talked me through all the difficulties and I decided which sections I was going to run. One clear decision I made right from the start was that; if I took a swim, I would count myself lucky that I was alright and call it a day.
On the upper section I made it down following Bridget's instructions the whole way. At one of the last rapids I found myself upside down and arguing with the rocks. After attempting a roll and then waiting for the next opportunity. I came to the conclusion that I didn't quite know where I was or what I was heading for, so I went for a rather entertaining swim.
Another paddler shouted 'Grab my boat!' As I held on I realized that, he was going to paddle the river with me holding onto the back of his boat (in my head I thought, Oh F#!*). He was doing well until he capsized so I let go and let him roll back up, then grabbed on.
I then took the role as camera man and watched how it should be done. I can't wait to go back now.


Afternoon Tea

I joined the Nevis Canoe Club today for some fun on the Garry today. I managed to have a wee play in the stopper, I also managed a semi-good back deck roll. Looking forward to more practice on Thursday.

Afterwards we all headed for a lovely spot of afternoon tea at the Invergarry Hotel, which has the poshest toilet I have ever been in. However that's probably not saying much.


Crowberry Ridge

How I found myself pursuing this line of work was due to my Dad taking me into Glencoe with a book, Scrambles in Lochaber by Noel Williams, in his pocket. I would usually follow him over things like the Aonagh Eagach Ridge, North Buttress of the Buachaille and Curved Ridge.
There was a route taken out of this book because it was deemed to difficult to be a scramble, this was Crowberry Ridge. My Dad's friend had done it and found it a bit of an experience.
So my Dad acquired an old version of the book through eBay and wanted to give it a shot. The main differences being that he was to follow me this time and we were going to take a rope with us. Due to the nice clear skies we (my Dad, Lee and Myself) were able to find the start without to much difficulty. We began up the route to find it a very interesting experience (this is climbers talk for we were s#*!ing ourselves a wee bit). We kept making progress and knew we were on A route because we kept finding pegs all the way up until we topped out in the sun.

We headed down Curved Ridge and since it was a nice day I had a wee blast on Agag's Groove.

More Kayaking Sessions

I had more kayaking sessions today, at Loch Eil. I find it really funny how all the kids panic and worry about the kayak capsizing because they don't want to get wet. Then at the end they all ask if they can jump in the water.

Luke, the seal, came out to say hello again today. I am not sure if this is his real name but everyone else seems to call him this.



The Seal of Approval

Lee, Thomas and I have to do Kayak and Canoe coaching sessions with the local primary schools for college. The sessions are great fun however the most exciting thing was a seal that came out to sunbathe.


The Etive and The Allt a Chaoruinn

After spending the morning finishing off an essay for college. During which I was constantly receiving phone calls and texts from Jamie,
"Are you ready yet? When will you be ready?"
"I dunno, I haven't even got any of my stuff together yet!"
"I have all your stuff its all in the car ready to go, Hurry up!"
So I walked outside to find Jamie in his car with the passenger door open, signaling to get a move on.
After reaching the Glen I found that Jamie had packed my kayaking stuff but nothing else, So I had to paddle down the river wearing nothing underneath my kayaking gear but my pants.
Unfortunately when it got to the end of the day my camera ran out of battery so I have no footage of Pinball or the Chasm sections on the Allt Chaoruinn. Time for a montage!


Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers

Today I went for walk up Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers with Alec, Teresa, Mum, Evan, Elisabeth, Dad, John, Danny and Joanne. The weather was horrible all day so the group did really well to get both tops done. There are still lots of patches of snow around and it rained and snowed lightly throughout the day.

The Succesful Summit Team on Beinn Ghlas