Rough with the Smooth

Continued Professional Development in Snowdonia 

As part of my work as a NICAS Moderator I was recently invited to Plas Y Brenin for a day of workshops looking at good practise and and ideas that can be filtered down to centres and people we work with. It was a busy day with 40 or so people coming from far afield to congregate at the Welsh National Outdoor Centre. I'd taken the opportunity to come up a day early to get out with Pat, a friend that lives up there for some climbing. The weather on the coast looked good and a trip to the exciting sea cliffs of the Lleyn was planned. Sadly the weather was pretty wet when we got there and plans were quickly changed for a reliable wet weather crag, steep and sheltered at the Ty'n Tywyn Quarries. These too turned out to be wet and a token effort at climbing the first pitch of a two pitch E2 named The Naturist was undertaken before it was decided to bin climbing for the day. You don't win 'em all. 

On the other hand a fun and dry time at PYB was had the following day and it was nice to catch up with various folk that I hadn't seen for a while. The day was split into four workshops with the opportunity to discuss personal experiences and draw conclusions. 

The first workshops was delivered by a Petzl sales rep and looked at the use of the Gri-Gri+ in different applications as well as problems associated with direct use of guide plates when two seconds weight the devise in different directions of pull (the second rope that is weighed won't hold!) I've added a video to show the effect below.

The second workshop was delivered by Olly Saunders and looked at loading forces on Tyrolean Traverses and various ways of rigging ground anchors. After lunch we were entertained by a chap from DMM where a good discussion on climbing kit strength was gone through and finished with an enjoyable session testing various kit to destruction - Good to further prove that climbing kit is incredibly strong given proper care and maintenance! The last workshop was delivered by Dave Rudkin and went through considerations for coaching trad lead climbing. After the traditional "tea and cake" it was on to the evening presentation by visiting German mountain guide and Edelrid gear development officer, about rope shear testing and best practise in Germany for the teaching of belaying and holding falls in different situations. Believe it or not it was a very well presented and interesting three hour talk!! 

I Heard The Roar of a Wave That Could Drown The Whole World

Well done if you registered the title as lifted from a Bob Dylan lyric - that means you're of a certain age or you just have good taste in music, either or, well done. The sea around Pembrokeshire has been fairly calm of late, disguising the political waves that are rolling over the UK with force.

I guess I should put politics aside and post some recent Pembrokeshire sea cliff action - as the mind has no other option than to put dilemmas to one side and focus on the task in hand while perched on the rock above the sea... Thanks to everyone I've had the pleasure to take out climbing and not talk politics. 

A Stag Do in the Beautiful Wye Valley

Canoeing, Climbing and Camping 

It was my old mate Alex Burns's stag do. We assembled at a lovely camp site near a ancient wooden bridge. After a spot of fly fishing, slack lining, great camp fire and good feed we hit the hey. The following day we took to the water in our vessels - the classic and honourable canoe. It was a true pleasure to drift lazily down a part of the Wye that I have never been before and utterly beautiful with it. That evening we got to our next campsite and met up with more stag attendees. After an excellent bbq and too much to drink, we retired. Another late start was enjoyed and eventually we managed the logistics maze that was getting to Symonds Yat to go climbing. Our last campsite won prize for best shower block. A great few days - Lots of love Mr. Burns!