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Big Lakes Weekend

Posted in The Chief’s Ramblings on Tuesday 9th December 2014 at 10:14 am by Steve

Heading into the mirk as we scramble up Lords Rake

Walking to the summit of Pillar

Farewell to Wasdale Head

On Friday afternoon a team of Spirit staff and freelance instructors headed off to Wasdale Head in the Lake District. After a longer than anticipated journey, thanks to a motorway detour around Chorley we arrived at our campsite at 03:00. It was a very cold and still night and the signs looked good for an ideal weekend of winter walking. After what only seemed like a token sleep we were up and on the trail by 09:00 (ish). Unfortunately the weather had turned and a thick mist shrouded the hillside. Our plan for the day was an ascent up the scramble on the Lords Rake followed by the summit of Scafell itself. After a few navigational hiccups we were at the base and proceeded up our intended route. Then the rain and wind picked up and the conditions deteriorated along with the temperature. After a brief summit photo it was back via a route (once we had found it) below broad stand. By the time we returned to the campsite not a dry stich was worn. Oh well! I guess we will have to go into the Wasdale Head to dry ourselves. This of course meant we had to rehydrate after a big mountain day!!! That night the heavens opened and the wind howled through the valley. It made for a restless night especially since my attempts to reproof my fly sheet earlier in the year proved fruitless. Each time the wind hit the tent I was treated to a shower of water and a constant drip of water onto my face. Think most of us had tent issues of one sort or another. Despite the desruptive start we headed out onto Pillar and had a great hill day. More time taken up re warming in the Inn followed. I had pitched a second tent, so a good night sleep or at least a dry sleep was anticipated.The weather closed in again that night but at least my tent stayed dry. A final days short walk up the valley below Napes Needle finished off a great weekend. With a minibus full of wet kit and tired aching bodies we drove back in shifts and arrived back home late evening.

I will be up in Dorset tomorrow visiting one of our Princes Trust franchises and I will be running a Hill and Moorland Leader training this weekend. Still a busy week ahead. If my legs can get me down the stairs and back again I will put the kettle on!!!

Water Saturday and Sunny Sunday

Posted in The Chief’s Ramblings on Monday 1st December 2014 at 9:00 am by Steve

Devils Coach-Horse Beetle

Lunch stop at Tunhill Rocks

Looking out from Sourton Tor

As promised here are some of the pictures that I never got around to putting onto last weeks blog. For those that can remember one was of a Devils Coach Horse Beetle. It sort of resembles a big black Earwig. As I mentioned last time it is only the second one that I have seen on the moor. Thought I would also post a picture of our lunch spot with the Womens Challenge Group whilst on their Ten Tors walk. We had a great view as we looked out from Tunhill Rocks.

Again we had unseasonal weather over the weekend. The Saturday morning was spent swimming around in the Tavy whilst water training with the rescue team. Despite the water temperature the early morning sunshine was more than welcomed. Anyone walking their dogs along the Tavy would have been treated to the spectacle of about ten Rescue Team personal deressed in yellow floating by on what flow their was. a fun day had by all!!! On Sunday I made the most of the fine weather and cycled up to Sourton Tor. Cracking day to be out. Legs were burning by the time I got the trig point, great view though, well worth the effort.

This week we will see me back up again to St.Johns on the Hill near Chepstow with our Young Spirit. Cold weather is forecast but hopefully it will stay dry.   

A beautiful day out!!!

Posted in The Chief’s Ramblings on Monday 24th November 2014 at 1:26 pm by Steve

Early morning light behind Hound Tor

Classic Dartmoor view, including ponies!!!

Looking out from Tunhill Rocks

On Saturday I had a fantastic walk around the Widecombe area with some ladies from the Womens Challenge Club. The Ten Tors walk as it was titled, took us on a circular route starting from Hound Tor. Holwell Tor, Haytor, Saddle Tor, Chinkwell were among those visited. The wet weather that was forecast did not appear and instead we were blessed with some warm sunshine and stunning views. All of our ten designated tors were visited. As we were approching Haytor were treated to an arial display by a huge flock of Golden Plover. As they took flight and flew close overhead you could hear the rush of the air from their wings. An impressive sight!!! I spotted my second only Devils Coach Horse Beetle and this time managed to get a picture of it. Unfortunately I will have to post it later in the week as those pictures are on another device. (I know you will all wait with bated breathe).

As we finished the walk arriving back at Hound Tor, the skies darkened as the clouds obscured the late afternoon sun. It was all too late, we had alraedy enjoyed a day on the hill to remember.

Later this afternoon we have a Princes Trust group arriving from the Weymouth area. We will be running activities for them tomorow and Wednesday. Beautiful day today up on the moor and this morning was our frost of the season. Think the wet weather is back tomorrow. Never mind enjoy it whilst it lasts!!! 

Calm after the storm

Posted in The Chief’s Ramblings on Friday 14th November 2014 at 8:54 am by Steve

Autumn colours on the Dart

On Wednesday morning we had another great paddle on the Dart estuary. Despite the heavy rain and strong winds that blew throughout the night we were blessed with a stunning morning. It was fitting last paddle of the season for Young Spirit. 

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