Edale 2017

In short (Sarah M): The bus got stuck. Again.

In long (Matt A): Walk leaders having arrived smoothly in Edale, ready for an early start on a gorgeous day, they were informed consecutively that the coach 1) was slightly delayed, 2) had successfully avoided the wrong turn of Edale 2016, 3) had taken a different wrong turn and couldn't turn round to get out, 4) had stopped for a while to let the engine cool down before reversing, and 5) wouldn't be able to restart for an indeterminate period of time. Those in the coach decamped and headed North from Castleton. Thankfully, with the experience of 2016 I knew what to do: run up Hollin's cross, run down the other side, pass two thirds of the coach party, miss the other third, and run back up to find that pretty much everything had been sorted in my absence.

A few groups headed down into Edale for longer walks across Kinder, while the slight majority headed off up Mam Tor, splitting at the top into groups for short, very short and mid-length wanders. The sun shone down on the warmest October weekend in memory, the ground was dry, the late-flowering grasses were beautiful and a little heather still in bloom, and the sheep were kind enough to pose for hundreds of photos from those on the trip new to British upland. With the coach driver allowing us extra time in partial recompense for our travails, all groups got to Hayfield on time, including even those driving there after a circular walk back to Edale to pick up the cars. There was even time for pub.

Trip list: Chris H Callum R Paul C Matt A Sarah M Anabel M Gilad A Michael F Prab M Bronwen F Marci G Camilla P Ben H David H Arthur G Jack C Laura S Sam G Angela Z Daniel R Vivian W Gabriel A Primrose B Joseph E Tom S Jennifer L Krizia U Tanita R Willis O Cecilia H Caitlin F Mads K Tan J Nicholas F Shaun S Madelyn W Katya Y Freyja Y Jef L Sarah S Nikky F Guido S Adam D Michael Z Wei J Peter M Kathe-Mami W Dan B Nieholas B Susannah P Tom W Elizabeth D Cameron R Patrick T Hannah F Emma B Danny V Ulysses C Arun K Chris C Charlotte M Barney F

Glenridding 2017

A good trip, all told, which is remarkable given how terribly the Friday evening went. One driver had to cycle past Babraham to pick up a minibus and then manoeuvre it round the cavers to pick up kit; another picked up their car only at the last moment, and only thanks to a last-minute call with the trip leader and a taxi; and even then one sign-up had no seat thanks to a mistake with the trip list. The journey up was then plagued by bad traffic on all routes, and by a late-night search for the keys (in a location unclear from the description, and different from the previous such location the last time we'd booked the Bury Jubilee Hostel), with the last car arriving at around 2a.m.

Thankfully, the bunkhouse was well worth it. Frequent rain and low cloud on the Saturday meant its warmth and spaciousness were much appreciated in the evening, especially by the attendees of the postponed-from-Ennerdale scrambling course, who after a cold spell on the rocks had practised ropework on the leeward side of the hut. Walks had mostly headed to the South-East side of Ullswater and were fairly short, with all but one featuring a stop-off in the pub. Cooking groups were varied and successful, with a traditional meal from North-West China being particularly impressive, and post-dinner singing was not only extremely enjoyable (as club members have come to expect), but also tuneful (as we've not). A solo acapella Bohemian Rhapsody was stunning, and we were at risk of running out of songs before running out of the will to sing.

Sunday dawned to reveal low winds, bright sunshine, and clear skies. The scramblers headed off to Grisedale, Paul C went for a run, and the rest of the party, having saved Helvellyn in hope of such conditions, headed up it from the bunkhouse via Swirl Edge and Striding Edge. On such a day it was easy to see why the mountain's the most popular in England, with views from the top to the Western Fells, the Yorkshire Dales, and Scotland. The different groups split at the top, with two going North for continued views of the border and another heading South along the massif's ridgeline, stopping while I took a dip in Grisedale tarn, and then wandering along the lovely Grisedale back to the bunkhouse. Michael F, having put in sterling service as Safety on his last trip for a while, had organised the cleaning of the bunkhouse by my return, and the journey back to Cambridge was smooth.

Trip list: * Matt A * Michael F * Kanwarnain S * Paul C * Sol M * Andrea R * Danny V * Miriam G * Johanna F * Ping L * Chin H * Eleanor B * Sam C * Binbin W * Jinggao S * Yuqing W * Yihan X * Vivian W * Elizabeth D * Jing M * Yipeng K * Yaron B * Bill C * Gerry T * Lauren B * Caitlin F * Mads J * Antonia C

Matt A

Caseg Ffraith 2017

Selside 2017

The last trip of Michaelmas is always a gamble with the weather, but this time it paid off spectacularly. Heavy traffic leaving Cambridge slowed our journey, but after a minibus stop at a random American-style diner and a smooth journey we arrived to light snow, clearing to leave a sky so clear as to inspire a quick star-spotting night hike. The clear skies held up overnight, resulting in a crisp, bright morning with a light dusting of snow on the uplands: perfect conditions for watching dawn through the huge kitchen windows of the bunkhouse, and for attempts on almost every possible combination of the Three Peaks of Yorkshire. Such stunning conditions meant good walking was almost inevitable, and though the cloud lowered over the course of the day and the melting snow made the ground a little boggier, all those who reached a top got at least a glimpse of a view.

The Saturday night featured the traditional Club Christmas dinner, complete with turkey for 16 (just about defrosted over 24 hours), Seitan for the vegetarians, and over 10 side dishes. Tom and Becky joined us for the evening, and made outstanding contributions to food preparation, though one seat at the table was noticeably empty until Callan, after 11 hours and 30 minutes and the perseverance to turn down a 3 mile lift back to the bunkhouse, finally finished his 3 peaks circuit. Desserts were excellent and plentiful, and cycled round and round the table until noone could eat any more, at which point Ben B's specially-produced Christmas songbook made its appearance and rounded off the night.

Conditions were equally stunning on Sunday morning, with a good number of people up to admire the dawn, though similarly closed in a little over the day. Walks were, in general, more relaxed (including a couple of pub trips), finishing as or before a little rain arrived, and (though it was a shame to leave such an excellent bunkhouse) departure was smooth.

Trip list: * Matt A * Ben B * Paul C * Matt H * Simon M * Callan H * Isy H * Tessa M * Danny V * Ben H * Yaron B * Marci G * Amrei L * Gilad A * Chun H * Brigitta S * Alexander H * Gabor K

Matt A

Coniston New Year Trip 2018

The trip was run by acting and future president Sarah Martin (unless anyone opposes her promotion from shouting officer) who declared the first act of her presidency to ban all foul weather from hill walking trips. What followed was 4 days of sunshine and clear skies, with conditions winter enough for beautiful views and nice photos but not actually necessitating any gear or experience (fortunate seeing as we started with 10 people and 9 pairs of crampons). The ice axes were put to good use for dramatic photos, juggling and crushing frozen peas. The first day saw the bulk of the party contour around Weatherlam and ascend the ridge up to Swirl How, with a splinter group heading up Weatherlam. We felt very cultured, taking in an art installation in a sheep fold and a memorial to a crashed bomber. Despite concerns over limited daylight, there was still time for a wild paddle in the reservoir on the way back. The evening was complete with surprise cake (no-one was more surprised than Paul) and brutal assessments of Simon's vulnerability. On the Saturday, many took an easier day, one went to look at rocks, one went for a run, one went to Langdale, two went for a walk to Seathwaithe and the rest went (with optional trespassing), guided by Patrick's intensive research, to find a "secret" nuclear bunker. That evening, we indulged in a seven course meal at £3 per person. Sunday was beautiful and nearly everyone went up the Old Man of Coniston, one group maximising use of daylight, walking from sunrise to sunset and making Simon feel vulnerable on grade 1 scrambles up the Bell and the west side of the Old Man. Many returned to Cambridge on Sunday evening and a smaller group stayed up whisky tasting til 2 am; then was left to clear up the bunkhouse on Monday morning (including trying to finish off all the excess food). The last four to leave spent the afternoon messing around in Grizedale forest (not helped by Mary's dodgy navigation) with children's playgrounds, tree climbing and sitting in sculptures.

Participants: Mary M, Tom S, Nicholas B, Cameron R, Patrick T, Bronwen F, Emma B-P, Antonia C, Simon M, Paul C (100th trip!), Sarah M

Mary M

Rosedale, North York Moors, Jan 2018

The first weekend trip of the year saw a group of 19 head up to the North York Moors. The weather was less than ideal - you know the cloud is low when you can't see the top of the surrounding 300m hills! The group was not deterred though, and a large group went out 'pub-bagging' lead by local resident Sarah M and others wandered out to find the remains of the railway used to transport iron ore out of the valley.
As usual, an excessive amount of food was prepared on the Saturday evening, including many haggises (haggi?) to celebrate the birth of Robbie Burns. There was no singing sadly as too much Bananagram fun was to be had.
The weather sadly didn't improve on the Sunday, but groups still went out in different directions to the previous day. A fine weekend was had overall, despite the poor weather!

Trip list: Sarah M, Callum R, Paul C, Brigitta S, Gabor K, Simon M, Sarah S, Marci G, Ben L, Ashley L, Hannah M, Bronwen F, Miriam G, Chris K, Danny V, Bill C, Gilad A, Jonida T, Hassal L

Sarah M

Keswick, March 2018

A lovely trip, with only minor difficulties in transport and accommodation. Friday night was a long drive due to road closures near Manchester and Keswick and some all-important kit (tents and sleeping bags) didn’t arrive in the bunkhouse until 1:30am. The bunkhouse did the job when there was money in the electricity meter and the heating was on. The kitchen and living area felt crowded at times and cosy at others, but they more than sufficed for the cooking of some delicious meals on Saturday night. The checking-out time of 10:30am on Sunday presented a logistical challenge which was eventually surmounted by the ingenuity of our drivers.

The weather on Saturday was better than expected; patchy rain, variable visibility and low to moderate winds were seen in place of much worse predictions. A large group walked around Derwent Water and finished in the pub in Keswick while a smaller group, including me, enjoyed sledging on the remnant snow and paddling in the icy waters of Thirlmere on a different walk. The navigation course only briefly found themselves ‘locationally challenged’ and some solo hillwalkers completed more difficult hikes. As I mentioned, dinner in the bunkhouse was cosy but delicious and eventually gave way to some hearty singing which, despite lacking any instruments, was nevertheless enjoyable.

Sunday was the glorious day promised; blue skies, low winds and sunshine reflecting off the snow-capped peaks were the highlights of the trip. After parting ways in the morning, different groups did different walks. One group did Helvellyn, my group did Blencathra, everyone enjoyed the beautiful views and perfect weather. The drive home, at least for me, was very quick due to the reopening of the roads and the light traffic. As far as I’m aware all groups made it back to Cambridge in good time and in keen anticipation of the next hillwalking trip.

Trip participants: Sarah M (trip leader), Chris H (trip safety officer), Tom S, Mary M, Ben H, Gilad A, Brigitta S, Gabor K, Seb P (nav course leader), Dom C, Marci G, Nicholas B, Tessa M, Maria T, Danny V, Yaron B, Susannah P, Shaun S, Rian L, Bill C, Emily M, Chuhan S

Tom S

Glencoe, March 2018

A long journey was rewarded with excellent weather and stunning views.

Wednesday started with a long journey for most, all the way up to Glencoe village. Ian,the winter skills instructor, arrived in the evening to ensure everyone had appropriate kit. Much time was then spent trying to figure out how to use the wide range of vintage crampons that had been brought. Some were deemed too old, and consigned to ornamental use only.

Thursday was the first day of winter skills for 7 of the 13 walkers, including me. We hiked up to a nearby col, and set about sliding, daggering, digging and step-kicking our way across the slopes. Most of the others followed a different walk up a steep snow slope that became known as the ‘gully of fear’, before ridge-walking a bit further only glissade back down to the bottom.

Friday followed a similar format, with the winter skills group returning to their previous site, though this time in pouring rain followed by snow and 50mph gusts. The weather did not allow stopping for length discussion, so quick progress was made up to the summit of Stobh Coire Raineach before a cold descent into the worst of the wind. After finding a more sheltered slope the ropes came out, and the various kinds of snow-anchor were practiced. Meanwhile, Bronwen, Matt A and Danny took on Beinn a Bheithir (and re-ascended their final peak, Sgorr Dhearg, when the clouds finally lifted at 3pm). Sarah and Chris had a more leisurely day, taking in the sights of the Co-op in Ballachulish.

Saturday was a switch-around day. The first winter skills course had finished, and a new one was begun, this run by Dave Farrow, an ex-club member. The new group was to prove more adventurous than the first, climbing Buachaille Etive Beag and bagging 2 munros in their first day of the course. I and several other newly ‘qualified’ winter walkers decided to brave the ‘gully of fear’, led by the more experienced Matt Arran. We found the steps kicked by the previous group to be extremely helpful, especially for those who had decided crampons were unnecessary weight. We followed the ridge further today, reaching the highest point despite some initial fears. The slide back down was generally agreed to be the best part of the day.

Sunday was an easier day for many, but not Matt and Danny who had decided to take on the Aonach Eagach, an exposed grade III winter scramble. After leaving early to allow plenty of time, they had finished the scramble by 11:30 despite some scary moments, allowing a relaxed walk back down. The winter skills group also left early to climb Bidean nam Bian, but the rest took a more leisurely approach. One group went to explore the hidden valley, and had an excellent time. I had a very lazy morning, not leaving until the sun was firmly out from behind the clouds, about 12:30. This proved a good decision as the weather remained perfect, except for 10 minutes of mist, until the end of the day. We climbed up from the bunkhouse to Sgorr nam Fiannaidh, where we could look down in all directions. We met others on our way, including Matt and Danny, and others who had beaten us up despite taking in the Pap of Glencoe first.

Monday was to be our last day, and the first that everyone was available, not on a winter skills course. Some decided to use the day to it’s fullest, climbing the Pap of Glencoe in time to view the sunrise. The forecast was ideal, and both cars were dispatched towards Buchaille Etive Mor. However, Simon decided that the walk looked too energetic for him, and Matt L had ‘accidentally’ left his waterproofs at the bunkhouse, so the two groups merged. A route change was required due to an inconvenient cornice, but we dragged ourselves up an very steep and icy slope to the ridge where we were rewarded with commanding views down over Rannoch Moor. Other groups had been for shorter walks, and Guido and Yangzi decided to hire bikes for a cycle around the beautiful Loch Leven. An excellent last day to the trip.

Trip List: Ben L, Bronwen F, Chris H, Danny V, Dominic C, Guido S, Johanna F, Mallika B, Matthew A, Matthew L, Sarah M, Simon M, Yangzi J

Ben L

Cwm Dyli, April 2018

Trip Report

The pre-trip email from our recently winter-skills-educated co-president describing in stark relief the extent of the winter conditions above 600m in the Cwm Dyli environs was a prudent and commendable reminder regarding the force of nature and necessity to plan safe routes. Fortunately for us, the forecast was wrong and the weather conditions throughout most of the trip were highly enviable.

On Saturday, most of the group ascended Snowdon via the perilous Crib Goch route. This was made all the more interesting by the acquisition and subsequent guiding of a less experienced hillwalker who they met casually vaping on a rock. His recounting of his life story was cut short by his mysterious disappearance from the summit of Snowdon and his assurance that he would be attempting the Matterhorn next. The other two groups (comprising Luke and Chris in one group and Paul solo walking in another) both decided to cut their walks short - some wet weather earlier in the day partly to blame. By the evening, and the arrival of Patrick, Cameron, Bill, Gabor and Brigitta, the bunkhouse was the most full this trip would see and we were treated to a delicious meal organised by Chris.

Sunday saw the majority of the group perform another day with a large ascent, this time further to the North. Having parked at Nant Peris we climbed up a footpath off the A4086 up to Llyn y Cwn, whilst discussing the radius of the earth and the merits of Naismith's Rule. Three of our number took a dip in a small lake, whilst the rest decided that gnawing on spiced biltong was a more sensible idea. We then navigated the steep and rocky descent of Devil’s Kitchen, where unflattering photos were taken, before lunching at Llyn Idwal. Our next ascent to Y Garn saw the deployment of a walking technique which served us well throughout the trip. Some may call it walking slowly, others hail it as a revolution which decimates the number of rest stops needed to climb a mountain. On reaching the summit, we struck out North-West along the ridge line towards Marchlyn Mawr before diverting early down the valley back to the car to make sure those who were travelling back to Cambridge that night returned to the bunkhouse in good time.

Unfortunately, on returning to the bunkhouse, we were not met, as expected, by the impatient cries of drivers champing at the bit to drive down South, and given the group containing the drivers was two hours behind their expected time on the route card, we became rather worried. A daring rescue mission had just been launched in the form of a car driving up the road to find some signal when they were met approaching the other way.

Most of the group agreed that Monday should be a day of rest after the strenuous preceding days… and so decided to climb Snowdon again. Before starting the climb we had to walk 4km along the valley. During my two minutes at the front of the group I managed to take a wrong turn and lead them across a field of large rocks beside a lake rather than the well-defined (and well-signposted) footpath further up… sorry. On our way up we passed some beautiful waterfalls with sparkling blue pools as well as ‘Gladstone Rock’, where the eponymous prime minister had made some speeches in his old age. After this, we took our time climbing the Watkin Path and only two breaks, including one for lunch, were taken before reaching the final steep ascent. After much puffing and panting we finally arrived at the summit to be greeted by a multitude of people and glorious views over the valley. We returned via the Bwlch Main path and rejoined our outbound route at a campsite. The final walk to the bunkhouse was slightly miserable given everyone’s exhaustion, although the “bad chat” which ensued contained many novel ideas from John on how to consume alcohol, ideas which were greatly enjoyed by some members of the group the next day but do not bear repeating here.

Tuesday was our final day of walking, and was, finally, a rest day. Again, a large fraction of the group went on a walk with the outliers being Paul, who headed to Bangor for some shopping and a walk, and Gabor and Brigitta who drove up to Anglesey to see some castles. The rest of us headed down the valley to Beddgelert, on the way becoming lost in a forest, being scared by an abandoned raincoat and a dead fox and seeing a steam train. At Beddgelert we saw both the grave of a falsely-accused dog, named Gelert, and a first-rate example of a Royal Observer Corps nuclear monitoring post before heading to the pub. An hour and a half and a couple of drinks later saw us madly running to catch the bus, in which a jovial driver taught us some Welsh pronunciation and pointed out ‘Elephant Rock’ where we’d taken a wrong turn yesterday. We were dropped at Pen-y-Gwyrd where many shenanigans took place whilst trying to coordinate four groups of people between three different locations without mobile phone signal.

Trip List

Paul C, Miriam G, Luke H, Prab M, Chris K, Brigitta S, Gabor K, Patrick T, Cameron R, Alex L, Emma W, Sarah Mi, Bill C, John R, Oliver N.

Patrick T

Mystery trip, May 2018

Although the true mystery was who on the trip didn't know the location, everyone seemed suitably hyped for a weekend dash up to the Southern Uplands! Although quite a long way from Cambridge (around 300 miles), Rivox Bunkhouse was only around a 20 minute drive from the motorway. The journey was made more amusing by 'liveblogging' the border crossing to the CUHWC Chat group (with Scotland the Brave blaring over the car speaker system). Although quite a basic bunkhouse with a quirky kitchen set up, we didn't mind as the welcome we received was very warm - the bunkhouse owners had baked a cake for us and gave us jars of homemade chutney and jam!
The Saturday of the trip saw some quintessential Scottish low cloud, with bases failing to budge anywhere above 300m. Despite this, Sarah still managed to get sunburnt. Most of the trip opted for some variant on the Hart Fell horseshoe and bumped into one another half way around. Many miles of fences were followed with very little view, but with place names like 'Rotten Bottom' and some lunchtime snow-patch-sledging (in May!) everyone still had a good day out. Some careful coordination of timings was required for cooking on the Saturday night but everyone ended up well-fed and well-watered. The mild evening allowed for some al-fresco whisky drinking - the novelty of light, warm evenings on a trip!
The Sunday began with haze and low cloud which burnt through by the middle of the day, meaning everyone could appreciate the scenery they'd seen nothing of the day before. Bianca was particularly amazed that she'd apparently walked up the side of the beautiful Grey Mare's Tail waterfall on her walk the previous day without even noticing it! One group made a trip to another funnily named location (The Devil's Beef Tub) and several others went for walks by lochs (with Simon and Gilad opting for a dip in St Mary's Loch too).
A fine weekend up in a lovely (and quiet!) part of Scotland.

Sarah M

Duddon Valley June 2018

By now, most club members will have heard tales of our infamous trip to Duddon Valley in February 2017, so vividly recounted by those members who attended it that those who didn’t will nevertheless remember it clearly. The trip included participants banging their heads on the bunkhouse’s low-hanging beams, a cramped social gathering in the main room with an insufficient number of chairs for everyone to be seated, and miserable weather restricting hill walkers to the lower slopes and the nearer pubs.

Thankfully, the committee learnt from this formative experience. The latest trip took place in June in a (successful) bid to avoid bad weather, the group size was reduced to avoid overcrowding, and taller / clumsier members were offered helmets to protect against low-hanging beams. (OK, I may have invented that last bit, but the committee might like to consider the idea for next time!).

Under morning sunshine, we divided into groups of hill walkers and scramblers and set off in adventure. From what I understand, the walks went swimmingly. At least, there was some swimming. I attended the scrambling course with Miriam and Bianca, both of whom were quick to learn the ropes, while I was noticeably less so. In an attempt to alleviate the instructor’s despair, I climbed enthusiastically, so that come the end of the weekend he warmly encouraged me to take up rock-climbing, while diplomatically avoiding any comment on my knot-tying skills.

This was officially Gilad and Marci’s last trip. To celebrate their participation and to wish them well in the future, we had cake on Saturday evening. While this may have been their ‘official’ last trip, I’m sure the club would be very happy were Marci and Gilad to have an unofficial last trip in the future.

After having made the most of the warm evening sun with supper and cake outside, we retired inside to escape the midges and sing club classics, such as ‘I am Cow’. It has yet to be determined whether these songs are loved because of, or despite, their bizarreness.

Attentive members will recall that our co-presidents promised in their joint election campaign to relocate Cambridge to the Peak District. Following the success of our latest trip to Duddon Valley, some members have remarked - somewhat astutely - that the Lake District would offer higher climbs, beautiful lakes, and later summer evenings. However, our co-presidents point out that moving Cambridge to the Lake District would involve a move of twice the distance, incurring twice the cost. Therefore, I regret to have to inform those members that a move to Swallows and Amazons country has been ruled out.

Oliver Neale

Peak District Day trip, February 2018

Bronwen’s first trip as Co-President didn’t go entirely to plan. The trip list was largely composed of new members who were all keen to come on a long, rather ambitious walk led by Bronwen and Chris H, while Chris K led a smaller group on an even more ambitious expedition. We took a wrong turning in some fields and were chased by some hungry sheep within the first mile of the walk. During lunch break at the high point - a rather misty trig point - we enjoyed some tinfoil-wrapped creme brulee left over from the Annual Dinner. It quickly transpired that the large group was not moving at a sufficient pace to complete the planned walk; this was realised at roughly the halfway point. Marci and Simon valiantly ran all the way back to the carpark to pick up the cars, and the rest of the group marched on to meet them at the nearest road. A cafe was marked there but the rather gloomy spot turned out to be nothing more than an empty carpark and derelict public loo. Everyone had run out of food by this point and was starting to feel rather miserable, but we were mercifully rescued by the drivers and ferried to the nearest pub. There wasn’t enough space in the first load for Bronwen and Chris, who waited by the side of the road in the dark to be shuttled later, and felt it was better to laugh than to cry over the entire shambolic episode. Luckily everyone cheered up a great deal when we were given complementary roast potatoes at the pub, and went on to enjoy a delicious curry before hitting the road South.

Bronwen F