Week 15 at Plas y Brenin



The view along from Castell Helen, Gogarth (near South Stack)

The view along from Castell Helen, Gogarth (near South Stack)

  • Cake of the week – Danish pastry
  • Interesting Fact – Mountains are home to approximately 1/10 of the world’s population
  • Best Thing – Full ascent of Amphitheatre Buttress including pinnacles!
  • Work Highlight – My Mountain Navigation quiz went live on the PYB website
  • Best Outdoor – Blue skies, sun and top climbing at Gogarth

Summary: Plenty of climbing this week…

'Walking with Nature' course

'Walking with Nature' course

Monday – COURSE
Had a free day so asked to go out with Lou on a course entitled ‘Walking with Nature’. I joined with 3 others who were booked on the course: Dave, Dave, and er, Dave! Two of them also shared surnames with two of the full-time Brenin instructors. Bizarre. Alas, it was a day out at Cwm Idwal and the Devil’s Kitchen. Fascinating what geological features and flora/fauna I’ve been ignorantly walking past all these years!
Tuesday – CLIMBING
Matt, an aspirant British Mountain Guide had rung me last weekend to see if I could join him in some days out ahead of his assessment in a couple of week’s time. Today, was a wet day so an ascent of Amphitheatre Buttress was on the cards. I hitched a lift on a Brenin minibus heading out to the coast along the A5 and met up with the guys at the Llugwy reservoir access road.
This classic VDiff had been on my to do list for a while, (albeit in the dry!), and it didn’t disappoint with some excellent pitches of top-end scrambling and some harder sections (especially in mountain boots in the wet). All in all, a great day for the Scarpa Charmoz.
Gogarth - Castell Helen, from North West Passage (E1 5b **)

Gogarth - Castell Helen, from North West Passage (E1 5b **)

Wednesday – CLIMBING
Another training day – this time not so much guiding as coaching lead climbing. I’ve done barely any trad leads, and so after building up tips throughout the day I led a nice VS 4c with a slack top rope, great! We were at Holyhead Mountain all day and got 4 routes under our belt; Andover (VS 5a), Tension (VS 4b **), Black and Tan (VS 4c *), and Bruvers (HVS 5a **).
Thursday – CLIMBING
3rd day climbing, this time very different situation and scenery again – Castell Helen, Gogarth was the destination after an easier (later) start in the morning. It was the first truly sunny day for a long time in North Wales which made the sun-facing cliffs of Gogarth very amicable to be on! We did 2 quality routes – Blanco (HVS 5a **) and North West Passage (E1 5b **), the latter was certainly one of the best climbs I’ve had in North Wales yet!
In the evening, we watched a DVD – whilst I revised a tad for my PCV theory test tomorrow!
The mysterious 'Tunnel' key at Plas Y Brenin

The mysterious 'Tunnel' key at Plas Y Brenin

Friday – BANGOR

With me having to go to Bangor in the morning for my PCV theory tests (multiple choice & hazard perception), I thought I’d combine it with as many visits to old friends/colleagues as possible in and around the University/local area. Thankfully I passed (98/100 for multiple choice – woop!) and so embarked on various errands and visits in the afternoon.

That evening, the night shift involved a drive to Llandudno Junction train station to drop off some students, thereafter an improvised circuits session at reception!
Gogarth - Castell Helen, Blanco (HVS 5a **)

Gogarth - Castell Helen, Blanco (HVS 5a **)

Saturday – CENTRE DAY
Knackered this morning so we watched Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest. After sitting in the bar for lunch, watching the local kids ski team practice on the slope I was inspired to have a ski myself and spent an hour making the most of  the Brenin slope!
Stores shift today! An hour lunch break gave plenty of time for another half hour’s training on the ski slope refining slalom technique with cones. After the stores shift finished I settled down to some Doctor Who and had a nosy round the new cottage we’re moving into soon (the old team have finished moving out!)
Gogarth - the view West towards Ireland, beautiful evening skies

Gogarth - the view West towards Ireland, beautiful evening skies

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