May 2024 – Pembrokeshire

3rd – 6th May

MKMC Attending: Kieran, Matt, Greg, Peter, Kathy, Ollie, Kieran D.

Add-on: Henry

On Friday members of Milton Keynes Mountaineering Club made the journey to Windmill Hill Caravan Park in Pembrokeshire, with some members travelling up on Thursday to make the most of the bank holiday weekend.

Ollie & Kieran D made the most of their early arrival to head to Saddle Head to get some climbing in and scope out the area. Reporting back to the wider group that there was lot’s of good climbing to be had there and we should go there tomorrow (Saturday). On Saturday it was an early(ish) start for the group, splitting into two halves with Peter & Kathy heading to Crystal Slabs and the rest of the team heading too Saddle Head to be greeted with the most climbers we have ever seen.

With our (Safety) Matt rigging up the abseil for everyone we headed down the sea cliff to the platform to start climbing. Kieran D & Ollie scoped out a suitable climb for us Final Grove (1* D) all leading the way, whilst Matt, Greg & Kieran enjoyed the amazing views in the sunshine. After this the Saddle Head team stopped for a bite of lunch talking to a friendly climber (Henry) and learning how his climbing partner wasn’t able to join him for the weekend, we quickly invited him to join us and become an honorary member for the weekend. Due to the congestion at Saddle Head we moved onto Stennis Head where we climbed Highland Fling (1* HS), Quickstep (1* VS) & Small Beginnings (1* VD).

Climbing continued on the Sunday with everyone heading to Penally East. After Matt rigged us another (Super Good Enough) abseil we all descended down the slab to the bottom with Kieran Clarke, Greg and Henry all abseiling into a sea cave to complete the abseil hanging in the air. Once at the bottom the teams were organised with Henry leading Zawn Corner (2* S) made more difficult by him doing it in his approach shoes, Kieran D leading Wander Slab (1* D). On his ascent Ollie tactfully dropped Matt’s nuts into the swirling sea below, leading to the Hawaii Five-O moment we all love with Matt springing into action abseiling down at pace to retrieve them before they were swept out to sea. After this everyone retreated to The New Overlander Inn for refreshments and chips.

With everyone keen to take advantage of the weather on Monday looking fantastic we all headed to Flimston Bay for perhaps some of the most scenic climbing we had done on the trip with two Atlantic Grey Seals bobbing watching us climb it was truly an amazing experience with Flimston Crack (2* VD) & Fantastic Four (2* S) being completed. During our day there we were reminded of the dangers of sea cliff climbing with a large rock becoming dislodged and shouts of Rock! echoing down the hillside, Kieran and Henry sheltered against the slab watching the block fall between them feeling very thankful that nothing happened and all were wearing helmets.

With all members having an amazing weekend and experiencing some of the best climbing to date various people made their way home.

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April 2024 – Stoney Middleton, Beginners Meet

5-7th April
By Matt

MKMC Attending: Matt, Ella, Emma, Greg, Kieran, Laura, Liam, Naomi, Nat, Ollie, Simon, Peter & Kathy.

On Friday morning we packed 2 cars full of people and gear and dashed up to the cafe in Hathersage for a nice lunch. After we had purchased the majority of the stock from the shop, we drove over to Horseshoe Quarry to squeeze in some afternoon climbing whilst the weather held. We started at Star Trek Wall in the top quarry where everyone had a go on Uranus, Luke Skywalker and Klingon. The top anchors here were the more modern “Rams Horns” design so threading was simple. We headed back to the hut for around 6ish where we tucked into some veggie chilli and waited for the stragglers to arrive.

Uranus 3c on the Star Trek Wall

On Saturday we rose early to be back at the quarry for 9 am. We separated into 2 groups, with some wanting to complete more in the top quarry whilst others started on the slightly more difficult routes situated in The Toilet. After a spot of lunch, we moved further around the quarry to the Chocolate Blancmange Wall where our RCI for the weekend, Simon, took Emma & Laura (Team Scozzi) up the 4a/5a Men at Work multipitch!

After basking in the sun all afternoon we returned to the hut to celebrate the day’s successes, and Liam’s impending birthday, with a mix of Fish, Chips, Curry and cake.

On Sunday we cleaned the hut down and headed to Birchen Edge to squeeze in an introduction to seconding a trad route. We headed to Emma’s Slab where we set up lines on Emma’s Dilemma, Emma’s Temptation and Emma’s Delusion.

After lunch the wind came in so we decided to pack up and head home. Overall we had a very successful meet, introducing lots of new people to outside climbing in both Sport & Trad formats. Those already climbing at a higher grade were able to push a little bit further with some of the longer routes.

Over the 2 nights and 3 days, the 12 of us managed to recycle the majority of our rubbish, taking home all dry recyclables + glass and producing slightly less than one full bin bag of unrecyclable waste, not bad going really.

MK to Stoney Middleton is around 115 miles, meaning our travel footprint could have been up to 1380 miles, had we all travelled separately. Through some careful lift planning, we had one car of 4, one car of 3, two cars of 2 and one car of 1. This brought our group mileage down to 575 miles and an average car share ratio of 2.4 people.

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February 2024 – North Yorkshire

16-18 February 2024
By Gill

Ten of us participated in the February weekend trip to my favourite hut in North Yorkshire, Lowstern, near Ingleton. Some of us went up on the Thursday evening so we had the benefit of an extra day.

On Friday morning Andy, Dan and Kent drove over to the Howgills and did a circular hike from Sedbergh via Cautley Spout. They didn’t have the best views, it was a foggy day. The Howgills are a new area for the club and I hadn’t really considered them. There really is so
much to do within reach of this hut.

Andy Winnett and Ellie May drove up to Brimham Rocks and had a walk around and a scamble on some of the rocks. Afterwards they joined us at the hut.

The challenge was set, the Yorkshire Three Peaks but one on each day, and Alan named it
the Yorkie Three Peaks Challenge. The first peak in the challenge was Whernside, so Gill,
Laurence and Alan set off to start the adventure. We parked in a layby by Ribblehead Viaduct and headed north on Dales High Way and Craven Way, doing a longer route than the Three Peaks traditional one, by going all the way to Boot of the Wold where we had a quick sheltered lunch and then turned south towards Whernside summit. We had very limited vision due to being in fog or cloud all the way across the moor, limited enough to be able to practice hiking on a bearing and counting steps for distance. It was reassuring to pass Whernside Tarns on the side we were expecting. At the summit we took photos of us and of us with our first Yorkie Bar, a welcome reward. It’s a steep hike down off the summit and we turned left at Broadrake to finish the hike going back through Winterscales and under Ribblehead Viaduct. We were soaked through and a bit chilly so we had a coffee in the Station Inn to warm up.

Friday night some went to the pub after dinner and the rest of us stayed at the hut. Gill, Laurence and Alan had a lovely Italian dish, Puttanesca with a Caprese salad, cooked by Alan, thank you. Stacey and Nigel arrived later on Friday evening, in time for a chat and a drink in front of the fire.

Saturday morning Kent, Dan and Andy R had the most amazing breakfast, bubble & squeak from last night’s dinner with sausages, bacon and eggs all bought from local farmers. The rest of us enjoyed our usual porridge and muesli 😉

On Saturday Gill, Laurence, Nigel and Alan set off to do Pen-Y-Ghent the long way. We parked behind The Golden Lion pub in Horton-In-Ribblesdale and paid the Honesty Box £5. Then we set of along “A Pennine Journey” and hiked to Hull Pot first and had a look around. Nigel told us it’s the largest natural hole in the UK. The waterfall was flowing which looked spectacular. It really is a very deep hole! We had a snack there and continued on, passing Swarth Gill Gate and a small footbridge, continued a km further on and turned right up a steep boggy path. At the summit of Plover Hill we could see that in Strava others had crossed the wall and gone on to the summit cairn, but we couldn’t get across, I assume the wall has been repaired or built up. It was quite a high wall with no stile where the Strava heat map went and we didn’t want to risk climbing over it. So we hiked back along to the stile, crossed over and hoped to cross the other wall and actually reach the stones, which we could see over the wall, but alas although there was a low point, there was no stile here either and we decided not to cross. So we took a photo and waved at the summit cairn. Luckily Strava and summitbag considered that we had been close enough to the summit to bag it for us. The hike across to the summit of Pen-Y Ghent was I think the boggiest I have ever experienced, well maybe Kinder Scout possibly has boggier bogs but it’s similar. We were still in whiteout conditions and were map reading and taking bearings along the top, like yesterday. We stayed close to the wall and followed in others’ footsteps, even followed each others footsteps when we needed to jump across a number of marshy swamps. Our socks stayed dry but it was a close call. Eventually we reached Pen-Y Ghent, which is nowhere near as rugged from the Plover Hill side. By then we were ravenous having only snacked at Hull Pot which seemed a long time ago! We had lunch at the summit shelter, which is simply curved walls to shelter from the wind, took selfies of ourselves and our second celebratory Yorkie Bar, and then hiked back down the steep trail into Horton-in-Ribblesdale. We thought it polite to have a coffee in the pub since they had been kind enough to allow us to park.

Meanwhile, Stacey set himself a challenge too. He wanted a 40km route to get his legs moving and picked out a route from the hut. He set out early and crossed the road to Clapham, from there headed up the hill to Ingleborough summit, passing Gaping Gill on the way up. From Ingleborough he took the NE trail across to Ribblehead Viaduct and did the Three Peaks route up to the summit of Whernside. Hiking down, he hiked across Scales Moor to Ingleton and back to the hut. He hiked 41km in 8hrs 30 mins, getting back in daylight which was a bonus.

Andy W and Ellie May did a hike from Malham, they hiked up to Gordale Scar, Malham Tarn and back via Malham Cove. It’s a spectacular hike that we’ve done before and it’s well worth doing again. Ellie May commented that the rocks on top of Malham Cove are very slippery! They had a lovely view from the top, better than any view I’ve ever had from up there! Andy, Dan and Kent Hiked up Ingleborough and back from the hut.

Saturday evening chef Gill cooked her version of “chuck everything in” chilli and sous-chef
Kent supervised the rice. He has a special way of steaming rice and it turns out lovely every
time! The chilli went down well, as did the extra chips and dips brought by Nigel. Alan’s “cream tea”, scones, clotted cream and jam, went down very well after dinner.

On Sunday, Gill, Laurence and Alan drove into Ingleton (to save time) and set off to do their third Yorkie Three Peak. They took the steep two and a half mile trail straight up out of the village. It was a lovely route, starting in fog, continuing in fog and finishing with far-reaching views. The trail pretty much goes straight up the side of Ingleborough, a steady incline to start off with on a track between two walls, across the moor on well defined tracks, and then the final push at the top. It wasn’t raining but was extremely windy at the top of Ingleborough but we huddled beside the summit “shelter” wall and had lunch, followed by the Yorkie celebration summit picture. It was very satisfying to set a challenge and complete it. Three very good days for this team. The hike back down was straightforward and the views cleared the further down we got. We returned to the hut and found that Stacey had done the final clean, had a quick chat with the hut warden and departed for home.

Sunday morning Nigel went to see the Norber erratics and then picked up Stacey who had a rest at the hut while we were all out, a rest that included cleaning the hut, thank you! Andy W and Ellie May did Ingleborough Caves and nature trail followed by coffee, a hot cross bun and an ice cream. Dan, Andy R and Kent left early heading back to Milton Keynes.

A superb weekend and I still think there’s so much to do in the area that it’s worth booking
Lowstern again next year.

This trip’s green score is 60%, with 2304 car miles and 510kg of CO² saved by car sharing.

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December 2023 – XMAS at Dinorwic

8th – 10th December

MKMC Attending:
Malcolm, Matt, Peter, Kathy, Alan, Dave, Gill, Loz, Greg, Kieran, Naomi, Neal, Nigel, Floyd, Alex, Stacey, Sophie, Juan, Shane, Lexi.

Malcolm and Alan were the first to arrive at the Karibiner Club hut. The hut is immaculately kept and one we would choose to visit again.

Naomi, Greg, Kieran, and Matt were next to arrive after a quick retail stop in Llanberis. Greg had prepared a handmade vegan supper with a delicious sprout curry.

We settled in for the evening with some beers and card games whilst we waited for the others to arrive. We were all quite surprised at how good Alan was at Cards Against Humanity!

The next day we separated for our activities. Juan led a hike with a rather blustery lunch stop, whilst Neal, Matt, Kieran, Greg & Naomi explored parts of the Snakes & Ladders course in search of some epic abseiling. Shane, Lexi & Sophie embarked on a run.

We all regrouped mid-afternoon to assist Malcolm in preparing a vast Christmas meal that catered to every dietary requirement you could think of. A merry meal and evening had by all.

The weather on Sunday was extremely poor. Most packed up and left mid-morning whilst Team Coville stopped for a round walk on the way home. Happy Christmas 2023 mountaineers!

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