Friday, 17 February 2012

Cumbrian Capers

Our impressive friend on the left provided barn security on the small holding of friends in Carmarthenshire who kindly invited me to stay for the weekend before 10 weeks after my initial admission for angioplasty and having built up with walks of varying length and intensity I drove to the Lake District to rendezvous with three friends from the the bothy scene. The previous week's cold spell (-8C whilst overnighting in Brecon) was easing but Rydal Water still held a sheet of ice as we began to ascend the eastern fells of Langdale after the two hardiest souls had spent a memorable night in an old slate cavern.
Despite the cold wind and lying snow we enjoyed good weather and views across Lakeland as we reached the tops of Sergeant Man and High Raise before a steep drop off in to Langstrathdale for a meeting with the fifth member of the team and a windy but spectacular overnight stop.
Wednesday started with a steep climb in slushy conditions to Esk Hause where the wind break provided shelter for a brew before we took the well used route through to Sty Head Tarn.
Here three of us were fooled in to an ascent of Great Gable with full packs but were amply rewarded with spectacular views across Wastwater to the snowy bulk of Scafell Pike before dropping down to Windy Gap and ascending Green Gable.
Brandreth was passed en route to a hut above Honister slate mine our second stop for the night where I decided to tent again and the others occupied the slab floor in the well camouflaged stone building.
Our final day was spent dropping down to the mine workings before climbing once more to the small tarn below Dale Head and with rain threatening hastening our descent in to the Newlands Valley for a brisk walk out to Keswick for the bus back to Rydal.
All in all an excellent few days in good company with very reasonable weather for the time of year and location - being unused to carrying a full pack I found the going tough at times but not beyond my abilities although the prospect of a few rest days off this weekend appeals.
My next post should appear after the bothy weekend in early March - in the meantime photos of the trip appear at the link here .
Emails from various friends around the world have been gratefully received and plans for next year and beyond are slowly coming together ........... details to follow over the next few months.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Mid Winter Update

Well a couple of months have elapsed since the pre Christmas cardiac and relationship dramas so I figure an update is overdue.

Whilst Sarah seems determined that we should remain apart my recovery from the skilled intervention of the Morriston cardiac team has been steady and sustained. I have lost 10 kg and reduced my serum cholesterol from 7.5 to 2.5 largely through a healthy but varied diet that whilst it lacks the goodies I used to enjoy has been surprisingly acceptable. Whilst both my GP and Cardiac Rehab nurse advised me to ease off on the exercise a little the surgical follow up was reassuring although there remains a strong indication of coronary artery disease in two other pipes so future issues and interventions cannot be ruled out. However I am giving myself the best chances and am inspired to make the most of the new and unexpected opportunities offered so am filling up the 2012 diary steadily.

A week in Sheffield with a long standing friend combined stout walks on the Derbyshire tops with the cultural delights of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Hepworth Wakefield. This was followed by a memorable weekend in Shropshire to celebrate my brother's 50th birthday - bopping till 4 am and more laughter than I can remember in ages.

A memorable winter's day climbing Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons was followed by a 3am drive to Bristol for a flight to Salobrena in southern Spain where 3 of us were royally hosted by a mutual friend in his comfy villa. The sights and sounds of an admittedly familiar foreign country combined with warm sunny days whilst Britain shivered convinced me that the sooner I am back on the road in Europe and beyond the better. We picked several carrier bags of fresh oranges and returned all too soon to a frozen Bristol airport.
Over the next couple of weeks I will be back to Pembrokeshire for meds, completing a multi-day walk in the Lake District and heading to Bristol for a long weekend before some bothy training days in mid Wales in early March.
A few weeks in Devon may precede a couple of months in Scotland as I have the annual walking week around Easter - this year we stay on Skye - followed by work parties south of Ullapool and near Cape Wrath.
Beyond that I am leaving things flexible for the summer but will post regularly.

Having replaced the mislaid camera a new set of pics appear here and the slide show looks at our location a year ago - Tasmania.