Five of us made it to the hut for this week. Max arrived on the Monday and stayed most of the week, Heather, Dave and I were there from Wednesday to Friday and Howard joined us on the Thursday and stayed a few days. We had a very enjoyable time in excellent company and managed some very good days out in the hills. The weather was a mix of very good and partly wet days, better than might have been expected on the basis of this month so far, and almost always better than the forecast.
We woke on Thursday to bright sunshine and clear hills so Helvellyn had to be visited (Dave’s first time there!). We took the ridge route by Birkhouse Moor, which has some of my favourite views over Ullswater, up to Swirral Edge and were on top for an early lunch in the shelter. The crowds were amassing on Striding Edge, so we were glad not to be among them or queueing for the ‘bad step’.
The next morning was not nearly as good, with steady rain for some hours in the morning, so many changes of plan were made. After much discussion, Heather and Dave took the steamer to Howtown and walked back along the lake, Max took the bus to Pooley Bridge to walk back along the new lakeside path on the West side and Howard went to do one of more obscure Wainwright tops near Bassenthwaite. I put off the decision for a while by visiting the local art exhibition in Glenridding in which many of Marian’s paintings were on display; it was well worth a visit. Then I went over most of the various tops on Place Fell having gone up via the Hare Shaw path. The weather improved from about midday onwards, making it an enjoyable walk with pretty good views.
The evenings were almost busy as the days, with some work in the hut, including making decisions about the pictures on the walls. After a pub meal on Wednesday we played a new card game of Heather’s (a kind of complicated version of Snap) which was challenging and fun. The next evening saw us all sorting through all of the reading material on the bookshelves, sifting and deciding what to keep.
Present: Heather Eddowes, Dave Matthews, Max Peacock, Howard Templeton, Judy Renshaw
Report by Judy Renshaw
This year’s hotel meet based in Selva Gardena was attended by 34 members, the most on any hotel summer meet since the club’s centenary in 2009. Fortunately the sunshine stayed with us the whole week, and this, combined with the beautiful setting, variety of walks, and excellent hotel, made the meet a great success. Despite the attraction of Ötzi the Iceman being in the museum at nearby Bolzano, very few of us managed a visit, although some did go there in the days before or after the meet.
The Val Gardena is a stunningly beautiful part of the Dolomites, with the rocky spire of Sasso Lungo towering over Selva, the highest village in the valley. Santa Cristina and Ortisei are slightly lower, and the three villages are linked by frequent buses, with lifts rising to above 2000m. With hardly any of the group still under 70, this meant that even those who no longer wanted to walk uphill, or who had difficulty with the downhill, could walk at a high altitude and enjoy the lovely views. The Cicerone and Kompass guide books, together with Doris at the hotel, gave us plenty of ideas of where to go, and with walks for all abilities we were spoilt for choice.
The Hotel Astor proved a great find, in a central yet quiet location close to the bus stop, lifts and shops. It was a small family-run hotel, and apart from one other couple, we had it to ourselves. But despite its size, all the rooms were large, with lovely views onto the mountains, and the dining-room was airy and spacious. Doris and her parents were excellent hosts, and Doris was a fount of knowledge on the mountain trails, having run them since she was a teenager. Even 12-year old Lucas helped at the reception, and played the accordion for us on our last evening. The dining-room was run with impeccable efficiency by the friendly Romanian waiter Riki, who had been coming over to work at the hotel for several years, and we started every day with a copious breakfast, including eggs and bacon for those who wanted. Dinner was a 5-course marathon with lots of choice, culminating in a special Tyrolean meal on our last evening.
The Val Gardena was originally part of the Austrian South Tyrol, but was ceded to Italy in 1919 after the First World War. Although Italian is now the first language, German is still widely spoken, as is Ladin, a Latin based language similar to Romansch. This took a while to get used to as the road signs were in three languages, whereas the Tabacco maps used the Italian names, and the Kompass the German. Thus the Val Gardena is also known as Grödental, Selva as Wolkenstein and Ortisei as St Ulrich. But I found the names of the mountains and huts more difficult, as when I had previously visited the valley on Alasdair’s two Dolomites treks, we consistently used the German names. The two nearest and most dramatic mountains were then the Langkoffel and Plattkofel, although now the Italian names are more commonly used and they are referred to as Sasso Lungo and Sasso Piatto, while the Geisler are now known as the Odle. I never did quite come to terms with the names of the huts!
We were warned that it might rain on the afternoon of our first day, and so decided on a fairly short walk, in order to get acquainted with the area and to get acclimatised. Thus a group of 25 of us set off on the bus to Ortisei and the chair lifts up to Mont de Sëura. From there it was a fairly flat walk along to the Comici hut, with lovely views of Sassolungo towering above us and the peaks of the Odle on the opposite side of the valley. Some stopped for refreshments at the hut, but most of us continued to the Sella pass, arriving there at noon, before the rain set in. On seeing a strange-looking lift going up from there, several of us decided to take it. The cabins were small and pale yellow, only big enough for two when standing, and our arms were grabbed by two men who ran alongside to help each of us in. The lift moved very slowly up the steep rock face before ejecting us into a hail-storm at Forcella Sassolungo and the Toni Demetz hut at the top.
On a later date, Niels Doble and four others decided to walk up the stony slopes from the Rifugio Vicenza to Forcella Sassolungo, and then down the steep descent on other side, below the ‘coffins’. Both the ascent and descent were steep and stony, over rubble and scree, and Geoff and Pauline Causey elected to avoid the knee-jarring descent by taking the lift down to the Sella pass, arriving in time to have the excitement of bumping into Reinhold Messner, who lives in the area.
The weather was more settled on the second day, and we were almost as large a group who set off for the new funicular railway above Ortisei. We were speedily transported 800m up to 2107m, from where we set off westwards, past the Rasciesa hut, towards the small chapel and cross at Rasciesa di Fuori. From here the views were magnificent, looking northwards towards the Ortler, Cevedale and Adamello-Presanella, and south across to the Sciliar massif above Alpe di Siusi, Sassolungo and Sasso Piatto, with the Sella group to the east. From the cross a lovely balcony path, with the same glorious views, wound back to the east, but higher up, towards the Brogles pass and down to the Brogles hut for lunch.
By the third day members had found their own walking pace, as well as working out the bus and lift systems, so from then on we set out in smaller groups. Many walks could be made from Selva itself, and there were lovely walks linking the three villages. One giving the best views was the high path between Santa Cristina and Ortisei, up to the crucifix on the plateau of Sëura-Sas-Alm. On the way up we found both wine-red martagon and delicate white St Bernard lilies, and a small clump of fragrant, ground-hugging daphne cneorum. Just below the high point was a café, even recommended by Tripadvisor, in an idyllic setting, an ideal lunch spot with delicious apfel strudel and glorious views across to the towering Sassolungo and Sciliar massif. The descent to Ortisei led past St Jakob’s church, the oldest in the valley, with lovely 12th century frescoes.
Several of us had been on Alasdair’s hut-to-hut treks in the valley, and for us it was a chance to re-visit places we had been to before. One of my best memories of the 2001 trek was walking on the beautiful Alpe di Siusi, the largest cultivated mountain pasture in Central Europe, and on different days several of us caught the chair lift from Ortisei up to the plateau. The complete circuit of 22 kms all round it was made by eight of us, a long though glorious day across grassy meadows, with lovely views and flowers all the way. We started by walking south towards the Sciliar massif and Kompatsch, where we had started the 2001 trek, and then turned east to skirt the northern slopes of Sasso Piatto, finally turning north towards the peaks of the Odle at the Zallinger hut, unfortunately not an option for a beer stop as it was being renovated. We arrived at Monte Pana just in time catch the last chair-lift of the day, and four of the group treated themselves to a taxi back to our hotel.
Another walk which followed part of our 2001 route was the Friedrich August Weg, created in 1911 to connect the Sella pass to the Alpe di Siusi. The path was named after the last king of Saxony, a renowned mountaineer who was a frequent visitor to the Dolomites before World War I, and there is a large wooden statue of him outside the hut bearing his name at the start of the walk. The path is very popular as it gives spectacular views of the huge rocky spires of Sasso Piatto as it skirts below them to reach the Sasso Piatto hut, a good lunch stop. After this the path turns northwards, with wonderful views towards the Alpe di Siusi. The whole tour continues back round to the Sella pass, but most of us cut it short, by-passing the Vicenza hut and returning to Santa Cristina on the Mont de Sëura lift, after a glorious day out.
Bill and Rosie took the same route along the Friedrich August Weg as the rest of us, but in addition climbed the peak of Sasso Piatto, at 22954m the highest point reached on the meet. They described it as a steep and unrelenting climb of about 660 meters from the hut, up the south-west ridge, the only real difficulty being loose rock on the trail, which required a slow and careful descent. Views from the summit were spectacular, especially of Sassolungo to the northeast and of Alpe di Suisi to the west.
The Dolomites are well known for the number of mountain huts which provide frequent refreshment stops on all the walks, and those of us on the 2001 trek will never forget Terry Shaw, on his first ABMSAC meet, stopping at every one he passed for a beer! This time we made somewhat less frequent refreshment stops at the huts we passed, but they also provided a destination for some of our walks. Several of us were keen to visit the Firenze hut, originally known as the Regensburger hut, built in 1888 and the oldest in the valley. This was due north of Selva, about 500m up an easy track winding above the village, although most of us walked down to it from the top of the Col Raiser lift.
Another hut, also due north of Selva in the Puez-Odle nature park, was the higher Stevia hut, discovered by James and Belinda Baldwin early in the week. They walked up to it from the valley, but others later in the week accessed it from the top of the Col Raiser lift. All who went there commented on its lovely location, looking straight down into the beautiful Val Lunga. Bill and Rosie took a much longer route from Col Raiser to reach the hut, turning east to climb their second peak of the week, the Col da la Piëres, 2,747m, col being the Ladin word for hill. They reported that although there was a good path to the summit, the final approach was steep and airy, with fixed cables along the most exposed stretches. The flat summit commanded a stunning 360° panorama, and from there a grassy ridge with abundant edelweiss led down to the Stevia hut.
The whole of the Val Gardena was a flower-lovers paradise, the most frequently found being black vanilla and fragrant orchids, globe flowers, mountain avens, alpine asters, small blue bladder gentians and tiny pink alpine gysophila clinging to the rocks. One of the valleys with the greatest variety of flowers was the Val Chedul, also in the Puez-Odle park east of Selva. Some of us accessed the valley from the top of the Dantercëpies lift from Selva, while others reversed this route and walked up, taking the lift down. From the top of the lift the path contoured past Jimmy’s hut, visited by most of our group at one time or another, and then wound up a steep and stony scree slope, secured with wooden steps, to reach the Forcella Cir.
On the final day of the meet Jay Turner led a fitter group on a long but exciting walk from the Gardena pass into the upper Val de Merscia. They started across flowery meadows, past lovely orange lilies, to the Forcelles hut for their first coffee of the day, and then cut off on a narrow path into the Stella Alpina valley and up stony slopes past the dried up lake bed of Lech Ciampëi to the Forcella di Ciampëi, the narrow separation between the Val de Merscia and Val Lunga. The stony path into the Val Lunga looked most uninviting, so they decided instead to cross the plateau to the Forcella Crespëina with its large crucifix, and to return via the Forcella Cir at the top of the Val Chedul. From there they took the same route they had taken on a previous day to Jimmy’s and the Dantercëpies lift back to Selva - a long but rewarding day.
The nearest walk from the hotel was into the Val Lunga, and most of us walked at least part of the way up this lovely valley. One day we took the higher path from Selva, the ‘via crucis’, which contoured past 15 beautifully carved stations of the cross to the chapel. Half way along was Wolkenstein castle, now in ruins, which had once guarded the valley. Orange lilies grew here too, and it was here that Geoff and Janet Bone found the floral highlight of the week, the rare devil’s claw growing high on the cliff at the side of the castle. Geoff went back a few times to photograph its development, and by the end of our stay seven more of us had been to look at it, finding several more plants in flower as the week went on.
Another flower-studded walk was Farrer’s Bindelweg, starting at the Pordoi pass. Elizabeth Wells had taken the bus here earlier in the week, having visited in past years, and after the meet had ended, a small group of those who stayed on caught the bus here too. While John Dempster and Dinah, together with Geoff and Janet, took a lift up towards Piz Boè, which John and Dinah had climbed in 2006 from the Pisciadü hut, Alan and I turned south towards the Col de Cuch and then east along the Vièl dal Pan, the old ‘bread’ route used by grain smugglers in the Middle Ages to avoid taxes of the Venetian Republic. This was the Bindelweg, and Farrer had written of the extraordinary variety of flowers here in his 1913 book on the Dolomites. We discovered many of those he spoke of, including Monte Baldo’s anemone and Moretti’s bellflower, rare even in the Dolomites. We were no longer in the Val Gardena but on the other side of the Sella group, and as we walked along we had glorious views of the snow-covered Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites.
It was good to have with us again the long-standing members of the club who had not been on the summer meet for a few years, and to see much everyone enjoyed their week’s stay in this beautiful valley. As we drove away, many of us were already planning to return in the not so distant future.
Participants: Pamela Harris & Alan Norton, James & Belinda Baldwin, Geoff & Janet Bone, Ian Brebner & Morag MacDonald, Derek Buckley & Ann Alari, Geoff & Pauline Causey, John Dempster & Dinah Nichols, Niels & Guni Doble, Richard & Katherine Heery, Sylvia Mercer, Roger Newson & Sheila Coates, Rick & Carol Saynor, Jim & Margaret Strachan, Barbara Swindin, Jay Turner, Elizabeth Wells, Bill & Rosie Westermeyer, Brian & Ursula Woodhouse, Dick & Karen Yorke.
Report by Pamela Harris
The meet was based in two locations, with four nights at the Sligachan bunkhouse on the Isle of Skye and two at Kintail, in the SYHA at Ratagan. We had a mix of weather, gradually improving throughout the week and were able to achieve something every day. Several of us flew to Inverness and hired cars, which made the journey much quicker and less tiring than driving all the way from the south. In both sites there were bar meals available nearby.
The initial weather problem was very strong wind of up to 55mph, making it difficult, if not unsafe, to go up high onto ridges. The first day was forecast for rain as well as strong wind so most of us did a coastal walk on the peninsula from Glen Brittle. We investigated the remains of a fairly extensive Iron Age settlement, and burial chamber and were able to enjoy good views of the wildlife, including seals, gannets, oystercatchers, cormorants, lapwings and orchids. Ed managed to take good photos of some of them. Don explored other areas of the island, such as the Quiraing in the north and, on other days, the coral beaches north of Dunvegan.
Tuesday morning saw horizontal waves of rain and continuing strong wind, keeping us indoors until almost midday. The Red Cuillin range looked a better option than others, being lower. Max and I ran out of patience first, so we set off in rain, up the Drum na Ruaige ridge to the tops of Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach (651m) and Beinn Dearg Mhor (731m). The wind was so strong that I was often unable to walk or stay upright, it felt like trying to walk upstream in a raging river, with gusts pushing you over now and again. We managed the two lower tops but had to leave Glamaig for another day. The rain and cloud did stop later, so we had lovely views to the mainland and other islands. Ed, Andy, Mike and Howard went along the valley behind and up to the col between the same tops, so also had good views in the afternoon.
The Wednesday forecast was better so Max and I attempted a route on the Black Cuillin ridge, hoping for the clearing of summits that had been forecast. We set off from Glen Brittle SYHA towards the ridge, initially on a good path into the coire then on steep scree towards An Dorus gap. The cloud never lifted in our area, so we were unable to find the direct way across to Sgurr Mhadaidh, so we attempted the gully on wet, slippy rock and eventually found a way around on the south side towards Sgurr a Ghreadaich (973m). Since the visibility was very limited, we opted not to go back to Mhaidadh but to continue south over 2 tops to Sgurr na Banachdich (965m), from where there was a good descent route. Route finding was not easy, despite it being a ridge, and we had to backtrack several times to find a reasonable way along, as some serious scrambling was involved and no one else was up there that day. It was inevitably slow going, but the way off Banachdich was easy and we were soon down into sunshine, with the welcome sight of green grass and lambs. The others went to the Quiraing and enjoyed a sunny but windy day there.
Thursday saw altogether better weather so most of us did a pleasant, non-technical route up Bruach na Frithe (958m) in good conditions. We heard the first (for me) cuckoos of the year in the valley on the approach. Rain showers lasted on and off for a couple of hours but once we were up to the ridge it all cleared to give us great views. Several other groups were up there, including people from America and Australia. We descended into Coire a Bhasteir, down some scree and over boilerplate slabs, with a section of interesting route finding, back to the car, then drove to the SYHA at Ratagan on the mainland.
On the last full day most of us did the Forcan Ridge and The Saddle at Kintail. Since Max and I had done this last year, he opted not to join us but did a route towards the falls of Glomach. Don went up towards the Bealach an Sgairne and met up with Max later (at the ice cream shop!). The rest of us took a very good path around Meallan Odhar to a col, after a minor difficulty on starting on the right route, then up the rocky ridge. The day was warm and sunny, with nice dry rock, so most of us enjoyed the scramble sections up the ridge and on to the top of the Saddle. We briefly saw a bird that was identified as a Ring Ouzel, quite rare so we were very pleased to see that. Lunch on top followed by a leisurely descent made for a pleasant afternoon and enabled us to get back for tea and cake. We all enjoyed dinner at the Kintail Lodge hotel as a good finish to an excellent week.
Some people had to leave early in the morning to drive back while others, including Don and I, took our time, visited Eilean Donan Castle then drove to the airport and were home by early evening. We had always done the long journey by car in the past, but the option of a flight and hire car is certainly less taxing.
Present: Andy Burton, Don Hodge, Ed Bramley, Howard Telford, Judy Renshaw, Max Peacock, Mike Goodyer
Report byJudy Renshaw
Fourteen attendees again this year, many regulars and some first timers, and three day visitors.
Friday afternoon saw the organiser rock up at the Royal Oak mid afternoon, but due to an accident on the M5 the other couple of early birds failed to land until the evening. So a short cycle ride along the High Peak Trail in a loop through the farmland onto the Tissington Trail, provided a close up encounter with two lapwings walking away from their nest site in the fallow field to my right. A downhill stretch into Biggin to avail myself of the facilities at the pub and campsite, and then a little pull back up onto the trail to finish the last 5 miles on the 1 in 100 railway gradient, essentially flat to you proper cyclists out there, saw me back in time to assume the position as the attendees started to arrive.
Friday evening saw most of us gather at the Royal Oak in time for a beer and the dash to the ever welcoming fish and chip shop at Longnor.
The view of the upper Dove valley as you negotiate the first hairpin bend down towards Crowdecote must be one of the finest unspoilt views in Derbyshire and neighbouring Staffordshire. You should read nothing into the fact that one of the bridges over the River Dove in this area is called Glutton Bridge.
A cheeky pint in the Packhorse on our way back allowed me to speak to Mick the licensee, and book us in for dinner on Sunday night, as the organiser had run out of time to bring all the foodstuff required for a BBQ on the Sunday evening.
Saturday saw Michele Pulford and Marcus Tierney join us for breakfast and beef up the Manifold Way cycle group numbers.
Ed Bramley and Howard Telford set off for a day's climbing at Froggatt edge, and decided to make sure the day was full of exercise, by parking at Grindleford cafe, and then walking in. There was method in the madness, as will be revealed. The rock was clean and dry and soon the old classic Heather Wall was being enjoyed, with it's simple, well fitting jams, and a spacious balcony just below the top, to belay out of the wind.
Other routes, including Terrace Crack and Sunset Crack (both now HS 4b) soon followed in leads from Ed, but with a cautious top rope on Sunset Slab ( now HVS 4b) it still remains effectively runner less, despite all the advances in friends. More routes followed in a great day of climbing, but with The crux on Trapeze Direct (VS 4c) still having the last laugh, as Ed tried unsuccessfully to negotiate the bulge and pull over. Probably should have gone up left to start, not right.
Now the sense in parking next the café came into play as the pair made it down for a late afternoon tea and cake, before returning to the VS of eating, back at the Royal.
We were also joined early Saturday evening by Mike O’Dwyer as part of his post heart op recovery plan, which as I write this report culminated in him completing his first Brutal 10 race. Your Mum and Dad didn’t raise no quitter, that’s for sure. Thanks for making the effort to attend mate.
All rounded off with a late feast in the Oak Room, once Mary had been collected from Buxton railway station by Rachel and Karen, maintaining another fine ABM tradition of never being late for dinner, well almost.
Sunday 30th April we were joined at breakfast by Steve Caulton, and after a short drive to ‘The Street’ car park at the northwest corner of Errwood Reservoir, we commenced a 9 mile long, varied ridge walk from the wild open moorland of Shining Tor (559 metres), 1833 feet in real money, and 50 metres higher than Shutlingsloe to the south, to the edge of Windgather Rocks, where we tarried a while for lunch, followed by the descent and return into the famed Goyt Valley.
Fourteen of us enjoyed dinner at the Packhorse Arms at Crowdecote, another great pub sat almost on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border, but one bridge downriver from the gluttonous one.
Bank Holiday Monday saw most attendees pack up and go home. Just the Class of 66, Tony Howard and Paul Stock braved the initial light shower on our way over to Grindleford Station where free parking on a Bank Holiday Monday was still to be had. This allowed us to enjoy a 7 mile walk, past the Old Mill and ancient Catholic Chapel in the conservation area of Upper Padley across the railway line that links Sheffield and Manchester (New Mills) down to the River Derwent, continuing through the mix of large deciduous woodland interspersed with river-banked grassy meadows full of flowering wild garlic and bluebells, and the occasional clumps of marsh marigolds.
With a Grindleford Café chip buttie and mug of tea to finish, the 2017 Derbyshire Meet came to a close in good time, to allow all the remaining attendees to escape the Peak ahead of most of the Bank Holiday traffic.
Thanks to all the attendees and day visitors without whom there would be no Meet at all!
The attendees were Rachel Howlett, Mary Eddowes, Karen Dickinson, Margaret and Nicholas Moore, Mike Goodyer, Heather Eddowes, Dave Matthews, Paul Stock, Tony Howard, Ed Bramley, Howard Telford, Myles O’Reilly, and the Meet organiser Andy Burton.
Report by Andy Burton
We spent four nights on the Isle of Man and stayed in Douglas, the capital, in an inexpensive hotel on the promenade, though some people arrived a day or so earlier. Douglas is a fairly old fashioned seaside town with large hotels along the seafront, many of which retain their Victorian style. Overall the weather was good, with a fair amount of sunshine, only a little rain but some cloud on the higher hills and strong winds at times.
There is plenty to do, as the island has a more-or-less continuous coastal path of 95 miles all the way round and several summits, the highest of which is Snaefell at 620m. Although this is not high by Lake District standards, it can be pretty wild at times with cloud, rain and wind, as we experienced. There are various interesting transport options from Douglas to most parts of the island, including steam trains, the Manx Electric Railway (Victorian), horse-drawn trams along the seafront, buses to most places and a mountain railway up Snaefell. There are also a few steam railways in other places. We bought 3-day travel cards (‘Go Explore’) which allow unlimited travel on everything and proved very good value. The timetables are a bit complicated so it is worth taking time to study them.
The first day, six of us took the steam train to Port Erin on the south west coast and walked along the coast path around the peninsula to Port St Mary. The scenery was similar to the wilder parts of the coast path in Devon and Cornwall, but with Ireland visible to the West. There were lovely views of coves, sea birds including oystercatchers, and wild flowers, including bluebells and wild garlic growing everywhere. We also saw seals in the water near the sound between the main island and the Calf of Man island. I went on further along the coast and caught the train back at Colby, luckily managing to get the same train back as the others. In the evening we met up with Ann and Derek, who had been exploring elsewhere.
Snaefell had to be done the next day, so most of us took the Manx Electric Railway to Laxey on the East coast. Janet and Maureen took advantage of an immediate departure on the mountain railway while Don and I attempted to find the way up on foot. We were intercepted by a kindly postman who told us that the obvious paths on the OS map do not exist on the ground, so we had to go a couple of miles further along a small road, up a track to a ridge then over some minor tops where there is a path, though not shown on any map.
Although it was cloudy much of the way up, the path was easy to follow and I was at the top in time for lunch. There is a café for shelter, which was very welcome as it was cold, wet, windy and in total cloud. Don followed some time later, taking the train up to the final summit, by which time it had begun to clear but was still very windy. I took the easy option to descend on the train, which gave me time to visit the Laxey wheel, the remains of the mines (with a mine shaft you can enter) and a miniature steam train, all of which were very interesting and well worth a visit. Most of the others visited Ramsey on the east coast and we all returned to Douglas on the train.
On our last day we all went to the West coast, intending to avoid the very strong easterly wind which had been forecast. This was partially successful as some places were sheltered but others quite exposed. Don and I did the section of coast that goes north from Port Erin, while the others went to Peel to visit the castle and do a circular walk near there. We followed the path farthest out towards the sea and took in the top of the tower overlooking the bay. The path continued through a few trees (with goldfinches) and bluebells over to the deserted Fleshwick Bay where we stopped for lunch. I continued on over a couple of headlands to the summit of Cronk ny Arrey Laa at 437m, then back via an inland path. Although mainly sunny, the wind was strong enough at times to make progress difficult and I had to crouch down to avoid being blown over. Don went over the first headland and joined the same return path. By chance we were in Port Erin just in time to catch the same bus to Douglas.
We all returned from various parts of the island that evening and had a good final dinner in a hotel not far from ours, before flying back to Gatwick in the morning.
We all thought the Isle of Man was a wonderful place to visit and most of the group would like to go back there later this year, some wanting to complete the full coastal path. There was certainly more than enough for us to see and do in a few days. We found the people very friendly and helpful, the scenery lovely and varied and the wildlife interesting.
If you do intend to go up Snaefell, it is best either to use a guide book or ask people for directions, as the OS maps cannot be relied on completely and there are none at 25,000 scale. There appear to be 3 routes, we did the one from ‘Windy Corner’.
Present: Ana Cikos, Ann Alari, Derek Buckley, Don Hodge, Janet Haber, Judy Renshaw, Mark Vine, Maureen Stiller
Report by Judy Renshaw
Twenty keen walkers journeyed from all corners of the UK for the third new members meet in Patterdale, Cumbria. Andy, Mike G and Steve went up on the Thursday to make the most of the weekend, enjoying a nice day up Place Fell on the Friday.
On Friday afternoon the M5 and M6 car parks made for a challenging drive but we all made it safely to the White Lion for a substantial dinner and then to the George Starkey Hut for an early bed ready for Saturday’s walk.
A grey, drizzly morning made our decision to ride the Ullswater steamer from Glenridding to Pooley Bridge. We took the new Ullswater Way along the west of the lake as the morning slowly brightened into a beautiful sunny afternoon.
The group crossed the fields via waterfoot (we know why it got it’s name), past Bennet head and along pretty lanes, to avoid the muddy waterlogged fields.
We had a long relaxing lunch in the brightening weather on Gate Crags. We then made our way to the top of Airy Crag and down the wild watery falls of Aira force.
A quick paddle and by the lake and tea in the café, before the group began the lovely lakeside walk home.
Mary and Sabrina hitched back to the hut with some friendly methodists to start on the big potato peel of 2017. They were joined in the kitchen by Jo, Bert, Jonny and James for the vegetarian meal preparations. Dinner was Sabrina’s potato cakes, butterbean and kale stew, rice salad and greens followed by Jonny’s famous apple crumble. Delicious! Thank you to the chefs! And thanks to the washer uppers!
After dinner, the tables were moved aside to make space for a raucous ceilidh, with dances led by Mary, Nan, Simone and Heather. The beer/wine and long walk made for many mistakes and high speed crashes, much to everyone’s amusement!
Nanette had once again prepared her genius easter egg hunt, with clues and chocolate along the way. And an easter chicken hiding in the kitchen. Brilliant post-ceilidh fun!
Nursing slightly sore heads, on Sunday morning a smaller group drove to Hartsop to begin their walk up Hayeswater gill and to the Knott for lovely sunny views across to Helvellyn. After a blustery walk along Highstreet, we lunched at the Beacon at Thornthwaite crag enjoying fantastic views over to Morecombe Bay and Windermere. Then it was back down through Pasture Bottom to the car and onwards to home.
From this meet the ABM has gained 9 new members! Testament to the beauty of the Lake District, the good company and support of the older members of the club. Welcome to Jo, Nanette, Bert, James, Martha, Karen, Lydia, Dave and Jonny. We look forward to seeing you at future meets!
Report by Mary Eddowes
More photos will be added soon, Editor
Following four successful meets at Fassfern House we decided on a different venue for our 2017 March Scottish meet, and chose the Whitehouse near Blacklunans, a short way off the main road to Glenshee. Whitehouse proved to be a suitable, if slightly quirky, venue. In particular the kitchen was large and well equipped (provided you knew how to use the Aga) which allowed us to enjoy a convivial dinner on the Sunday night.
The hills and glens of Angus have less mountaineering interest than Lochaber, but they are attractive in their own way. The weather over the weekend was “interesting”, with continual fluctuations between snow, sun, rain and hail, always accompanied by a brisk wind. There was surprisingly little snow underfoot for the time of year.
On the first day the main party reached the summit of Tree Hill, 604m, above Glen Damff, hardly one of the better known Scottish hills, but with good views of the Glen Clova hills and the southern Cairngorms.
On the following day we walked up to the head of Glen Isla but the wind was too strong to allow us to venture onto the tops. An interesting bridge crossing (which the meet organiser undertook on his hands and knees) compensated for the lack of climbing interest.
On the final day Jim, Margaret and I enjoyed a bracing ascent of Arthur’s Seat with splendid views over the Forth and the city.
Roger and Phil, the avid Corbett collectors, drove over to Glen Lyon and climbed Cam Creag on the first day, but the wind defeated them in their subsequent endeavours.
James and Belinda Baldwin, John Dempster, John and Marj Foster, Phil Hands, Roger James, Jim and Margaret Strachan, Jay Turner.
We were also delighted to see Bill Peebles, who joined us for our walk on the Sunday.
Report by John Dempster
A doubtful benefit of ageing is memory loss, I hope you agree and can’t recall the past few years’ reports or repeat the same old thing. Must try harder seems to ring a bell.
We filled the hut and nearly half the hotel but for illness we would have exceeded 60 at the dinner. We had 57. The best attendance for 5 years, which was due to an influx of youngsters introduced by Mary Eddowes. She even brought her mother.
The dinner, for the second year running, was at The Inn on the Lake in a new dining room. The setting was impressive; a sort of Alpine chalet and looked splendid bedecked with Swiss flags and canton bunting. Heather displayed some of the Association trophies. Paul Everett, who was guest speaker in 2011, brought an album of photos of a celebration at the Britannia Hut. (He is trying to obtain information on some of those named on the photos. Can anyone help? See membership list for Paul’s details)
The speaker was Lindsey Griffiths (Past President of the AC), who had been a member of the ABMSAC from 1968 to 1975. He features in James Bogles book History of the ABMSAC for a climb of the Aig. Moir on Mt Blanc. (It also features the meet leader’s photo). Lindsay’s talk was good and rather too brief so maybe we should invite him again. The usual toasts and responses were enacted and judging from the noise levels members enjoyed the event. The hotel catered with the food and watering with the latter still being enjoyed at midnight.
The weather was better than forecast with members making the best of the hills, which had a light covering of snow.
Howard in Langstrath
Mike in Langstrath
Andy in Langstrath
President in Langstrath
Ed in Langstrath
Celine, Mary, Rachel and Pete
Paul, Ed and Judy in Grisedale
Alison and Margaret on Place Fell
Gang near Silver Crag
Julie near Lantys Tarn
Expeditions were made to the Newlands/Buttermere area, Lantys Tarn and Sheffield Pike and over Helvellyn and Place Fell on Saturday.
On Sunday several groups walked to Aira Force and made that their destination and enjoying the café, whilst others went on for a longer low level walk getting back to the hotel after dark.
Over the weekend several attendees visted the Henry Iddon photographic exhibition at the Keswick Museum (see home page for details).
Come and join us at the Annual Dinner next February.
Report by Brooke Midgley, with extra reporting from Belinda Baldwin and Mike Goodyer.
ABMSAC held its first meet in the Brecon Beacons National Park for many years on a pleasant October weekend. This meet proved popular with many of the new club members attending. The meet centred on the Beacons Backpacker Bunkhouse in Bwlch. It's a charming Bunkhouse with ensuite pub, the New Inn.
The attendees arrived throughout Friday with the earliest of them heading out for afternoon treks after settling into the bunk rooms. Mike Goodyer and I set off along the ridge heading north from the Bunkhouse. This ridge takes in a section of the Brecons Way to Mynydd Llangorse and then on other paths towards Crocket Hill. The tops were clear but broken low cloud prevented continuos views down into the valley and only fleeting glimpses of Llangorse Lake. The ridge ended abruptly after Crocket Hill where it is interrupted by a small road over a pass. From the road we took a steeply ascending path to the summit of Mynydd Troed and then followed its ridge to the south. Just as the ridge starts to drop down to the valley we took a gradually descending line back to the valley floor and recrossed the road to join the path heading for Blaenau draw. We joined a bridleway which lead us back up onto the original ridge and retraced our steps to the Bunkhouse.
A steady start to the weekend with 12 miles and over a 700m of ascent. Andy Burton and Tony Howard also walked along the ridge that afternoon. The members gathered for a very pleasant evening meal at the Bunkhouse.
An early Saturday morning start saw the convoy of cars travel to the relatively new car park near the Upper Neuadd reservoir. The planned route for the day was the Brecon Beacons famous horseshoe including the big three mountains in the region. We picked up the wide path heading from the car park and followed it to the col between Fan y Big and Cribyn. At the col the group made its way up the very recently renovated paths to the summit of Fan y Big. The usual photos were taken on the diving board overhanging rock.
The way up was reversed as we made our way back down to the col for the first coffee break of the morning.
At this point the main group pushed on with the ascent of Cribyn and Heather followed the path around the lower slopes of to the following col between Cribyn and Pen y Fan. By now the low cloud was beginning to show signs of breaking up as the breeze had increased slightly.
Fleeting glimpses of Pen y Fan were possible as we climbed Cribyn. However on arrival at the summit it was only possible to see the views down towards the town of Brecon.
Next up, Pen y Fan and lunch. The team found it difficult to find a spot on the Pen y Fan summit for lunch as it was very crowded and the best spots out of the wind had been taken. Eventually we settled on a rocky outcrop and the lunch break allowed the clouds to clear so on our descent of Pen y Fan we were starting to get views of the whole range.
The wind increased chasing all the clouds away which enabled us to get a few photographs of the route. The final ascent of the day was a short one to Corn Du.
After Corn Du we made our way down the long Craig Gwaun Taf ridge and sharp gully descent back to the reservoir and car park.
The group was reunited with Heather at the car park and made its way to the local tea rooms for some welcome tea and cake.
Sundays walk started a little later than the previous day as we made our way through the country lanes to the walk start at Heol Llygoden. The weather was very encouraging with clear blue skies. The first pull of the day was up a very steep grassy hill to the site of Castell Dumas ruins.
After taking in the spectacular views from the castle we made our way down to join a path leading towards Blaenau Uchaf. We soon arrived at the start of our second pull of the day up the side of Bwlch Bach a r Grib ridge.
After regrouping on the top we traversed the hillside to join the central ridge path leading to the summit of Waun Fach.
Quite a lot of work was taking place on the summit and adjoining paths with a helicopter making frequent bag drops.
We followed the repaired path down the ridge Mynydd Llysiau and made our way across country to the walk start point to bid our farewells.
All together it had been a very productive weekend with some interesting walks, relatively good weather for the time of year, good company and enjoyable meals in our ensuite pub.
Pete Bennett, Andy Burton, Heather Eddowes, Mary Eddowes, Celine Gagnon, Mike Goodyer, Tony Howard, Rachel Howlett, Mike O’Dwyer, Myles O’Reilly, Margaret Moore, Nicholas Moore, Paul Stock.
Report by Paul Stock.
We had the customary good weather for the meet at the East Devon seaside base between Seaton and Beer. The South West Coast path passes by some 200 meters from the cottage. We wished to walk along it on the Undercliffe between Seaton and Lyme Regis so we parked where we wanted to finish, met up with Margaret and caught a bus to the start. We had a look at Lyme Regis as lots of work has been done to prevent further cliff falls then set off. This part of the coast path has recently been reopened following a land slip. A new route has taken three years to sort out so only James and I had had the pleasure of seeing what it was like. The change is for the better as there is an optional deviation that took us out of the woodland path to meadows and a hidden away summerhouse with views to Portland Bill, just right for lunch. Further along another change from the woodland path took us to Goat Island. It is not an island but a raised mini plateau formed from a 19th century landslip this time giving us views to the west. After tea at the Golf Course we said goodbye to Margaret, when we reached the cars.
The staycation habit had made it difficult to find an eating place for our supper. Beer was seething with visitors and we were forced to try a new venue and go upmarket, which worked out well. We enjoyed our bit of comfort at Steamers.
On Sunday we set off from the top of Beer Hill northwards up and down through fields and woods giving views across the Axe Valley. When we reached Colyton we walked round the village and enjoyed the interior of the church. The village has lots of sitting areas and we settled for one by the River Coly. Dick had spent the morning on his bicycle so he was to return independently. The rest of us had the choice of the Seaton and District Tramway.
I made the analogy of cheating by using a lift even though the terrain was flat. Antonia and Lin chose to walk back and the rest of us took a ride on the upper deck. The tram goes along the Axe Estuary, famous for bird life but there was more chatter than twitching. As the tide was unusually low we were able to partly return along the beach to Seaton Hole and up Beer Hill.
Present: Antonia Barlen, John Dempster, Sylvia Mercer, Dick Merton, Dinah Nichols, Margaret Moore, Lin Warren, James and Belinda Baldwin.
Report by Belinda Baldwin
On my last visit to the Polish Tatras we arrived a month later than the AMBSAC Trek held between 1 – 8 September 2016 and the whole range was covered in snow. This time the trek was planned to avoid the need to carry winter gear and to miss the Polish school holidays to avoid busy mountain tops. Nine intrepid adventurers made their way to Krakow on two separate days. Ed arrived in Krakow a day earlierthen the rest of us due to flight schedules from Leeds/Bradford and the rest of us flew from Terminal 5, Heathrow arriving. It was a late afternoon flight arriving in the dark at Krakow. Andy Burton had booked a taxi to take us to our hostel accommodation in the city centre. We met Ed at the hostel and made our way to two separate buildings for our bedrooms. The group was split with three in the main hostel and the rest of us in the annex a few streets away. Once the bags had been dropped off we made our way to an Italian restaurant for pizza and beer! At breakfast the following day it appeared that the main hostel was full of boisterous young people and Andy and Ed seem to have drawn the short straw, as they had to share a double bed.
The first day, Thursday, was spent travelling by bus to our base in the Tatras at Zakopane and investigating the bustling little town. It was a warm day and after settling into the hostel we made our way down to a nice restaurant which had an outside decked area with umbrellas for a late lunch.
That evening we witnessed a serious fire in an adjacent building from our bedroom windows. The local fire service were busy for several hours.
An early start on Friday had us leaving the hostel after breakfast at around 8am. The route for the day was Giewont, one of the nearest mountains to the town. It is a striking peak with a large cross on the top which dominates the skyline from Zakopane. We walked from the hostel to the edge of the village were we bought a week long group pass from the kiosk at the entrance to the Tatras National Park. The weather started cloudy, but soon the sun came out and it remained predominantly sunny until early afternoon, when it clouded over for a while. The route was a long up through forest paths until, a little after 1310m, we emerged onto a ridge, and had views of the surrounding mountains. We contoured around, with a couple of rock steps, until the path rose steadily to a saddle.
From there the path climbed more steeply and then divided into a one way system up the chained part to the summit of Giewont. We reach it by 11:30. The large scaffolding cross is really impressive close up. The descent back to the col also has some chained sections, parts of which are polished by a multitude of backsides.