MKMC Meet – Lundy 9th August – 16th August 2014

lundy1A small group of dedicated MKMC members took part in this adventure. Alan, Jason, Stuart, Ian R and Anna were booked for the week; Gillian and Adam for 4 days. As one member of the team said: “It’s a trip for proper climbers that don’t shy away from placing their own gear. There are climbs of all grades, and the place does look pretty special!”

lundy2And so it was that seven keen rock climbers set sail from Ilfracombe on the MS Oldenburg (aka “Old and Buggered”) on Saturday morning. The party should have included Mark and Melissa, but circumstances conspired against them and they were unable to make it. The crossing was not without interest – a RAF helicopter rescue team did a practice rescue from the boat which was very exciting to watch. On shore there was a bit of a wait for luggage, but eventually it arrived, and once the tents were pitched on the island’s campsite, five of the group thought they’d get a climb in before supper.

lundy3The destination was Landing Craft Bay, and Shamrock (VS) looked like a good warm-up, so they abseiled in. The problem was that it was high tide and they couldn’t get to their chosen climb, so option two, Cow Pie (also VS) was selected. It was a lovely climb but with a sting in the tail. It finished over steep, loose soil and rocks, and coupled with the fact that it started to rain made the exit truly horrendous. Happily everyone made it out without incident, and reached  the camp-site well after sun-set.

For the rest of the week the pattern each day was very similar. After breakfast they would pop into the shop for supplies and then head off to their chosen crag. Finding the climbing area was often quite time consuming, and then they would set up an abseil and hope that they were in the right place. In the evening it was back to the camp-site or Marisco Tavern for dinner and a pint.

lundy 4On the last day Alan, Jason and Stuart went for a walk collecting ‘letter box’ stamps and searching out the flora and fauna. There are twenty five stamps in total hidden around the island. Alan and his team collect fifteen but were outshone by Gillian and Adam who collected twenty. Anna and Ian spent their last day at Devil’s Slide. Earlier in the week Anna had seconded this classic route and was keen to lead it – which she did in style. In the ocean the inquisitive grey seals were a joy to watch, and they would often appear from nowhere to study the climbers every move.

Alan’s footnote: It’s fifteen years since my last climbing trip to Lundy, but with so much still to do I won’t be leaving it quite so long before my next visit.

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MKMC 20th-22nd June Meet 2014 – Wye Valley

A glorious weekend of sunny weather was in store. First to arrive at around 10:00 on the Friday morning was Alan’s car with passengers Stuart and Jonathan. The campsite, Rushmere Farm, hasn’t been used by the club before, but it proved to be very acceptable with flat pitches and an excellent toilet block, all for £6 per night. They pitched, paid their dues, and then set off to Symonds Yat. A number of classic routes were climbed with lots of stars bagged. While Stuart had started the last route of the day, and Alan was belaying, a call was had to assist with an accident. A climber had fallen near the top of Golden Fleece and hit a ledge on the way down: a suspected shattered hip and possible broken back. Jonathan leapt into action and was helping the fire service and helicopter rescue teams. The injured climber was eventually air lifted to hospital.

Back at the campsite the rest of the group had turned up, and while some went to the local hostelry others sat around and chatted.

On Saturday morning the climbers headed to Staple Edge Quarry and enjoyed a fruitful day. The rock there is compact sandstone with a fair few pegs dotted around and lower off staples at the top of most routes, so although it is trad climbing, there is an element of sport climbing to be had. A bonus was that the quarry was shaded which helped save the climbers from being frazzled alive. Meanwhile, Steve and his party cycled to Symonds Yat for a spot of canoeing on the River Wye.

In the evening everyone dined at the Gamekeepers, although there was a very long wait before some of the party received their grub!

The final day saw everyone back at Symonds Yat, and Steve and his party came to watch before heading off on a cycle ride. The pinnacle was conquered and Sarah was so impressed that she has booked herself on a climbing course at Big Rock. Jonathan took “flight” while leading Flight (VS) and at the end of the afternoon some of the party attempted to top rope The Wasteland (E3 6a). As Alan’s car group were leaving they bumped into some of the rescuers from Friday evenings drama who were pleased to report that the patient hadn’t broken any bones, and apart from some severe bruising, he had been discharged from hospital the following day.

Another successful MKMC trip and once again, an excellent choice of venue by Emma.

People attending: Emma Choudhury (organiser), Alan Mountford, Stuart Phillips, Jonathan Gabris, Michael Bartlett, Tomasz George, Steve Scott, Bridgitte Scott, Geoff, Sarah, Roger.

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MKMC May Meet 2014 – Wasdale, Lake District.

15th to 18th May 2014 – NT Campsite, Wasdale, Lake District

This May club’s meet was at the beautiful National Trust Campsite which nestles under the Scafell mountain range at the head of Waswater, the deepest lake in England, with its distinctive Nordic character and the pyramidal peak of Great Gable reflected in its waters. A few of us decided that we wanted a little more comfort and don’t want to lug all our camping gear up to the Lakes, so took up the Glamping option of Camping pods instead of tents. These are wooden cabins with a porch and windows to make the most of the Lakeland views, plus come with electricity, heating and lighting. Well worth it.

Thursday – First to arrive was Chris & Martin who drove up early, arrived at the campsite first, put their gear in their Pod and then went for a walk up Scafell Pike. Later in the afternoon Kent, Ang, Diane & Andy, unpacked their gear into their Pods before meeting up with Chris and Martin for a trip down to the local pub at Wasdale Head to celebrate Kent’s Birthday with a few beers and dinner. Much later in the evening Alan, Dan and Molly the dog arrived, unloaded and set up their tents in the dark.

Friday – After breakfast Alan, Andy, Kent & Dan plus Molly headed out from the campsite and climbed up to Mickledore on the Scarfell Massif to do a circular walk via Foxes Tarn and the top of Scafell coming back via Burnmoor Tarn. At the same time Chris & Martin headed off for a big day walking around the Mosedale Horseshoe via Kirk Fell & Pillar. Meanwhile Ang & Diane opted for a bit of glamping at the campsite and enjoyed the sunshine and peace and quiet. Shortly after people started to return to the campsite Melissa & Mark arrived to join the group closely followed by Mac.

Saturday – Another sunny day saw Andy, Kent & Ang heading up the valley towards Styhead Tarn and onto the Great Gable climbers traverse path to The Napes climbing area. Here they climbed the Needle Ridge a 330ft multi-pitch mountaineering route – Ang’s first outdoor climb. After difficulties with getting off the route and the descent across a lot of scree they were late back after a very long day (12 hours). Dan & Molly walked with Andy, Kent & Ang to Styhead Tarn before heading up the corridor route to the top of Lingmell and then returning to the campsite. Alan & Mark also went climbing completing two routes on Kearns Knott and climbing the famous Napes Needle in The Napes climbing area on Great Gable. Chris & Martin walked up Great Gable via Styhead Tarn and Melissa and Mac completed a walk up Scafell Pike. Diane carried on glamping at the campsite and got a bit sunburnt.

Once everybody had returned safely from the days adventures in the hills around the Wasdale valley they spent the evening at Mac’s tent for a BBQ and a few drinks plus a few tales of the days events.

Sunday – Another fine start to the day but with bad weather forecast for later in the day, Chris & Martin headed off home early followed by Kent, Ang, Diane & Andy who returned home after breakfast at the pub. Mark & Melissa headed off to explore the Ravenglass area before returning home, Mac went for a local walk and Alan, Dan & Molly headed over to Seathwaite to do a walk around Wallbarrow Crag and Gorge before returning home.

Thanks to all that attended the meet: – Kent (Organiser), Ang, Alan, Andy, Diane, Chris, Martin, Mark, Melissa, Mac & Dan plus Molly the dog.

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MK April Meet 2014 – St.Davids, Pembrokeshire, South Wales

Pembrokeshire – April 18th to 21st 2014.

First to arrive and got a good day of climbing in at Porth-Clais and Carreg-y-Barcud before Melissa, Mark, Jason and graham arrived Friday evening.  The campsite was very welcoming and with stunning views across the sea.

Melissa and Mark were happy in their warm campervan while everyone else enjoyed the first camping of the year.  Saturday was a glorious sunny day and off set everyone for a great days climbing at caerfie bay while injured Melissa went for a brisk 8 mile walk along the stunning Pembrokeshire coastal path followed swiftly by David ( David was actually already way ahead but Melissa is writing this!)

Whilst Melissa and David were racing each other around the coastal path the rest of us made our way to Craig Caerfai where we found some beautiful rock on atmospheric sea cliffs some high lights being me (Mark) having a meltdown on the beautiful Top 50 route of Armorican before finishing it with rested toes and Alan dragging poor Jason up the 2 star Orogeny by neglecting to mention to him it was an E2!

We were waiting for Cheryl to join us and left word at the campsite. Melissa and David after enjoying the somewhat pricy delights of St Davids joined the climbing group at Caerfai and then we all went back to the campsite to find a Norma no mates Cheryl who had luckily been kept company by the lovely owner of the site Ian.  We have decided that maybe we should have a MKMC flag so late arrivals can find our tents.

Sunday was a little windy and cloudy but did not dampen the spirits and everyone went for the walk along the coastal path down to St Davids other than Melissa who got a lift in later by Ian to meet everyone.  After commandeering the last large table in ‘The Bishops’ we all had a great time swapping stories, eating and drinking and being merry until David fell asleep and we all got a taxi back to the campsite.

We then went for the record of how many people can you fit into a 2 berth campervan and it turns out it is 8 including monkey.  It was raining outside but inside the conversation flowed and the bodies were warmed.

We set out on Monday to squeeze in a little more climbing before setting off home, we made our way to the Main Slab of Porth-y-Ffynnon. It was Cheryl’s first outdoor climb complete with an abseil in but with a little advice and encouragement she was soon at the bottom climbing her way out again behind her lead climber Jason. Judging by her enthusiasm to get back down and do another one it must have gone well after a few more great routes were ticked off it was unfortunately time to leave and head back home.

Thank you to the ladies for bringing the Easter eggs and a newest member monkey to our little group.  The weekend was a great success of a mix of climbing and walking and perfect socialising.

Alan, David, Jason, Graham, Cheryl, Mark and Melissa oh and urm monkey…

Thanks to Mark for all the organising.

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