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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Chair’s Report to 2023 AGM & Annual Awards

These are Lee’s speaking notes from his report delivered at our AGM.

  • ~170 people have attended 15 Official Club Meets
  • Numerous independent and self-organised meets throughout the year
  • Many new members how have become active parts of the club
  • Now at top of Google search results above the Manjushiri Kadampa Meditation Centre

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September 2023 – Wales

22nd to 24th of September

MKMC Attending:
Lee, Matt, Kieran, Malcolm, Naomi, Michelle, Alexis, Matthew, Alex, Stacey, Shane, Bob, Keith, Nick

Back to North Wales, staying in the Oxford Mountaineering Club hut, Cefn Garw in Pentrefoelas, about 20 minutes East of Betws-y-coed. 

The hut was in an excellent location, giving easy access to the Ogwen Valley, Llanberis Pass and the Molewnys, however describing it as “Basic” would be an understatement having no showers and only being accessible by car for those confident at “offroading”. While some cars did make it up the track, an equal number decided to pass and park in the village which was about 20 minutes walk away, not ideal with a weekend’s worth of stuff on your back.

A little damp, so despite a few early starts, no mountaineering was achieved. 

On Saturday the majority of us headed to Craig Y Tonnau, a small single-pitch crag between Betws-Y-Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog with really unusual rock (a marine deposit of volcanic ash), the rock has a gris stone-like texture but is littered with jugs and the crag is distinctly wavy. We decided to climb here as it was reportedly quick drying and the preference of most leaders was for easier climbs of which this crag has plenty. Being single-pitch also made it more suitable for the number of novices on the crag.

When we arrived the rock was still wet and there were a few nervous leads, but as the day progressed the sun came out and the rock dried leading to a very enjoyable day. 

Highlights included the obvious crackline of Dianne’s Approval (VD), Robin’s Nest (S) which stars and an obvious keyhole-shaped slot and Brewer’s Troupe VS 4C which has a hard and bold start followed by steeper juggy climbing above.

We also set up a top rope on Dinner Time, an E1 5a with a very bold start. Alex Thakway and Kieth showed us the value of experience by making the crux look effortless while the rest of us struggled.

Michelle, Bob and Alex Pond had a day of scrambling in the Ogwen Valley. They completed the Pinnacle Ridge Variant on the east face of Tryfan which is a 3+/Mod scramble then descended the west face path off the summit to make an ascent of Wrinkled Tower another 3+/Mod before returning to the summit via the North Ridge (grade 1).  Bob & Michelle were roped in and were using both moving together and pitching tactics to try and keep things flowing as much as possible, Alex just soloed coz he’s nails.

They descended off the South Ridge and Michelle opted for an easier end of the day and walked off to Ogwen cottage and around Llyn Ogwen very graciously carrying the majority of Bob & Alex’s kit so they could move a bit faster towards Glyder Fach’s Hawks Nest Buttress. Here they made a reasonably speedy ascent of the very engaging Shark’s Buttress which despite being only grade 3 felt the most serious and intimidating.  After a quick refuel at the summit, they made their way off via Y Gribin (grade 1) and back down meeting Michelle at the car and straight to the Pub.

Stacey walked to Moelwyn Mawr and Moelwyn Bach visiting the industrial remnants of the Victorian era at Rhosydd quarry and the dereliction created in the past. On reaching the trig point on Moelwyn Mawr it provided the perfect opportunity to savour the excellent visibility and one of the most speculator and diverse views of North Wales with the vista including the mountainous peaks of the national park, the sandy coastline and the distant Llyn peninsula. Following a descent via Bwlch Stwlan and Moelwyn Bach, the start point at Croesor was reached where the community cafe were holding an afternoon Reggae event and the opportunity to refuel with refreshments and cakes.

Shane, hitting the trail around 10 am, headed up the path along Creigiau R Gelli, west towards Y Foel Goch, then up to Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr and then down into Idwal Cottage via Devil’s Kitchen.  After a quick gel, it was time to ascend Pen yr Ole Wen, straight up the nose!. Some of the upper reaches present nice grade 1 scrambles, but there is one little crux which poses significant danger and difficulties, and in Shane’s book, deserves a grade 2. 

After attaining the summit, the route follows excellent runnable high ground along Cefn Ysgolion Duon and Bwlch Cyfryw – drum to Carnedd Llewelyn. From there, Shane followed the well-worn path to Foel Grach north for 500 meters, but then headed down, east then south to Ffynnon Llyffant to pay respect to the crew of WK129, who perished on the 9th December 1957.  He continued south-east along the unforgiving and undulating terrain featuring bog, waterfalls and streams to meet the old mining path at Cwm Eigiau, until the reservoir at Llyn Eigiau. Shane made it back to Capel Curig just as the sun was setting. The total for the day was 37 km with 2500 m of ascent.

On Sunday, the forecast in Snowdonia looked pretty grim., but things looked like they might be drier further east. Myself, Matt Rush, Matt Cleary, Naomi, Nick Kieran and Harry (Kieran’s brother), headed to Trevor Quarry, a sport climbing crag above LLangollen. The rock was dry when we arrived and we got a couple of routes in but the weather was very changeable frequently shifting between bright sunshine and strong winds and drizzle. We decided to pack up when things started to get a bit wetter, however by the time we’d made it back to the cars the sun was out again.

Visibility was poor in contrast to the previous day, so Stacey and Michelle chose a walk through the Aberglaslyn Valley to Llyn Dinas for Sunday’s outing. The previous night’s rainfall made the Afon Glaslyn roar in spate, making the fisherman’s walk impassable. Undeterred, they progressed through the valley by road, with Michelle grateful she had only packed her B3 boots, keeping her feet dry despite several inches of water, in numerous stretches throughout the walk. The descent back to Nantmor through Cwm Bychan passed the remains of the copper mine tramway and included several ‘stream crossings’ made precarious by the additional volume of water. 

Alex Pond & Bob visited the White Goods dry tooling venue where we aimed for the Kitchen Garden Area.  There was some very suspect-looking rock on the periphery so they concentrated their efforts on the most solid-looking parts. The climbing was mostly on natural placements and with this being only their second ever attempt at tooling they opted for Top Rope-only climbing.  They managed a D5 (Adam’s) a couple of times to warm up then both made quick work of 2 D7’s (Apple & And Pears) both with very steep starts before finishing with some technical wall climbing.

They were only there for 3hrs but were thoroughly boxed by the end of it, this was next-level pulling!

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