Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Kilimanjaro In The Snow

All feeling a little anxious 22 of us met in Heathrow Airport ready to take on Kilimanjaro.
Finally arriving in Tanzania we were rewarded with a glimpse of Kilimanjaro which left most of the group speechless.
After sorting out all our porters,cooks and local Guides we started out for our 1st nights camp at 3100Mt's, today's route was to take us through the stunning rainforest then finally following the ridge line into camp.
After an early start with Veiws of Kibo we slowly made our way to the Shira Plateau 3850Mts arriving at camp in the mist, it's was a short day in distance but everyone was feeling the effects of altitude.

We woke the the next morning to incredible views over the maasai step and Mt Meru 4600Mts, today was to be a tough day as we planned to climb up to the Lava Tower 4600Mt's passing through Lava fields giving the mountain a luna feel, we then planned to drop back down into camp at the base of the Barranco Wall 3900mt passing Giant Lobelia which grows up to 3mt along the way.

Some members of the team were really feeling the altitude once we reached the 4000mt mark and descended down to camp early so save there energy for the following days, everyone who went up to the Lava Tower did so with relative ease we finally made camp at 16.30.The next day we made our way up the Barranco Wall everyone really loving this section on the mountain as it's more hands on stuff, After a 2hr climb we reached the top of the Barranco wall and again we were rewarded with stunning views for what went on for hundreds of miles.

loosing 2 members of the team today the going was getting tough but we made it to Barafu Camp in good time, everyone now had 7hrs rest and prepare their kit before we left for the summit at midnight.
Waking up a 23.00 for our summit ascent to find out it had been snowing was unbelievable then to look up and see millions of stars in the sky made you feel very lucky.
The last night ascent up to the summit doesn't get any easier physically it's a bloody hard climb the air is so thin you have to walk at a snails pace, mentally when you know what lies ahead it makes the night easier.
We lost a few more members of the group through the night due to altitude and exhaustion those who made it to Stella Point and the Uhuru peak were rewarded with a truly amazing sunrise over Africa.
With everyone back at a camp dead on their feet we had 2hrs rest before moving onto to our final nights camp and a good nights sleep.
Back in Moshi after a long hot shower it was time for a few of Kilimanjaro beers and to celebrate every one's success.
Maximum Respect.............

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Snowdonia weekend

Everyone began to meet up in Capel Curig for what looked like the wettest weekend in wales on record, We started off with dry feet and high spirits the high spirits lasted all weekend but the dry feet lasted all of 5 minutes.

We headed for the summit of Moel Siabod climbing the southern ridge with plenty of options for a scramble and perfect training for the Barranco Wall on Kilimanjaro, halfway up the ridge we made a change of plan due to the weather conditions and headed down off the ridge.
So a new plan was in order so we headed for Llyn y Foel followed the outlet which was a absolute stunning walk, the river was thundering down along side our route as we headed for the shelter of the forest and finally returning back to the hostel and hot showers.
After a good nights sleep helped along by a few well earned beers everyone was ready for the next days walk, today was to prove to be much better as we had clear blue skies and perfect views of the Snowdon Horseshoe.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008


Everyone gathered in heathrow all very excited as we were heading to Cusco in Peru, the heart of the Inca Empire.

We were planning on taking on the infamous Inca Trail. After a long flight via New York we finally made it to Cusco, at 3350mts, we made the most of some free time to relax and acclimatise.
The following morning we headed off on a short 4hr walk to help acclimatise. Starting of at Tambo Machay 3700Mt's feeling a little breathless we slowly made our way back to Cusco passing Puca Pucara, Qenko and finally the magnificent Sacsayhuaman Inca sites along the way. An early start the following morning we headed off for the Sacred valley of the Inca's stopping in Ollantaytanbo for our last supplies which included bags of coca leafs and chocolate. We set of from km82 happy to finally be on the trail. Our first day was nice and steady with stunning views of Veronica 5800mts as our back drop as we made our way through the valley following the Urubamba river and finally into camp at 3200mts. After a good nights sleep we were woken with a hot cup of coca tea then a good breakfast before we took on Dead Womans Pass at 4200mts. Everyone made it to the top feeling a little breathless while the porters just went sprinting past.

Day 3 in my mind is the best of them all starting off with a steady climb up Runku Raqay Pass and finishing in Winay Wayna passing through pristine cloud forest where the humming birds go whizzing past your ear even faster than the porters. As you pass through some of the most amazing Inca sites in the mist it just makes it feel even more mysterious.
We all finally made it into camp in good time and enjoyed our first cold beer in days.
Our final day and we said goodbye to the porters before setting off for the Sun Gate and Machu Picchu. After a couple of hours we made it to the Sun Gate and stunning views of Machu Picchu, thankfully no mist today.
We then spent the rest of the day exploring Machu Picchu and just soaking it all up. Next stop was the train trip back through the rain forest and Cusco here we come.....

We had a few quiet beers in Cusco before finally heading home.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Bring Me Sunshine

Who ever said it was summer

It's been like the autum here at times in snowdonia armed with thermals and woolly hats. But it's not stopped us enjoying all that the national park has to offer.

Our Snowdon weekend started off with good weather, but as we crossed the Glyders the visablitiy became quite poor, which can add to the atmosphere of the Glyders with it's huge rock outcrops giving you the feeling of an unknown world.We were Finally rewarded with stunning views of the Ogwen Valley when we decsended out of the cloud.
The following day we had perfect conditions so we set off early for the summit of Snowdon and had perfect clear views over the whole of Snowdonia and the coast.

The following weekend we were on the Carrneddeu the most remote mountain range in Snowdonia we Sarted off with a steep ascent of Pen yr Ole Wen. Then making our way to Carnedd Dafydd before mving onto Carnedd llewelyn the second hightest peak in Snowdonia. The cloud finally cleared and rewarded us with stunning views over the whole Range.

Our route then Continued along a norrow ridge and onto a short Scramble giving us some Fantastic views of Tryfan before heading back down to the Ogwen valley and a much needed cuppa

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Snowdon weekend

With the Peru reunion being held in North Wales it was time for everyone
to blow the cobwebs off those trekking boots and head for Snowdon.

Everyone arrived in Rhyd Du on friday night after a long drive, a few Cusquena were dunk along side a little bit of wine!!!! while we all sat around the fire ate a BBQ enjoyed the stars and talked a load of rubbish. Perfecto

Saturday morning we woke to blue skies and perfect conditions, After a good breakfast we set off for Snowdon Summit following the Rhydd Du path for a short while then upto Bwlch Cwm LLan and stuuning views into cwm llan and Lliwedd. We then followed the ridge all the way to the Summit of Snowdon and were rewarded with fantastic views over Snowdonia.
After leaving the summit the weather closed in and we headed back down to Rhyd Du in time to chill out before dinner followed by another evening under the stars and a few cusquena's and a little more wine!!! mention no names.
Sunday morning and more blue skies so an easy day called for, a short walk around Llyn-y-Gader and Beddgelert Forest and back for lunch.

Everyone then headed home and the next reunion planned for Scotland.

It was great to catch up with everyone fingers crossed more of the team can make it to Scotalnd.

I would also like to thanks dave's sponser CUSQUENA.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Land's end to John o' Groats

With everyone arriving at Lands end feeling a little nervous but enjoying the sunshine and hoping it lasted all the way to John o' Groats.
The first few days through Cornwall and Devon was tough with a head wind and crossing over Dartmoor some big hill climbs.
From Devon we headed towards the welsh borders and some fantastic riding everyone was pretty settled in and enjoying the country side and still the the sun was shining.
From the welsh borders we shot through the north west and into the lakes and a warm welcome with Shap hill.
Before everyone knew it we were in bonny Scotland and everyone was looking forward to this section of the challenge.
Our route took us up the west coast first then finally crossing over to the east coast and onto John o' Groats

After 12 days riding everyone was feeling a little sore and very happy to reach John o' Goats a huge amount of money was raised for charity and a huge amount of beers was drunk in Inverness.

Monday, 28 April 2008

kilimanjaro Training Weekend

Everyone arrived in Snowdonia Friday night and Saturday morning and meeting each other for the first time, all having the same mission to climb Kilimanjaro in September.
We based ourselves in Plas Curig which is at the foot of Moel Siabod.

Our first days walk was up Moel Siabod which starts off with a beautiful walk along the Afon Llugwy before a steady climb to the south side of Moel Siabod up past the old Slate Mine to Llyn y Foel then nice steady scramble up the ridge to the summit and into the cloud.
The Scramble up the ridge was a great little warm up in preparation for the Barranco Wall.
Once on the Summit we all headed back down the Northern side of the mountain and finally out of the cloud where we all enjoyed the stunning views back down the valley.
The evening was then followed up by a few beers and lots of talk about Kilimanjaro.
Sunday morning was just a nice little stretch out for a few hours with a bit of hands on scramble before heading to the pub for Sunday lunch and planning the next training weekend.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Welsh Winter wounderland

Finally some decent snow in Snowdonia.

It was play time while most people were at work in the every day grind.
We out headed for the the Carneddau some of the most bleak mountains in Snowdonia.
With ice axes in hand our plan of attack was the Llafar Ridge a great ridge Scramble in the summer so in winter conditions we were in for a ball.
The weather was pretty good to start off good vis for about 100mts at times, but as you would expect the weather closed in and the wind got up.

The hail was like being sand blasted in face while looking down into an abyss below which just disappeared into the mist.

This was a good welsh winter in April !
Half way up the ridge we had a change of plan and decided to head up a gully which was hilarious as we were then nearly waist deep in snow
(I was anyway).
Finally we reached the summit of Carnedd Dafydd in a white out, you couldn't see your hand in front of your face, with a bit of navigation and we were back in the land of living at home with the kettle on.

God I Love Wales

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Peru Lares

Having done the Inca Trail 7 times the Lares Trail had a lot to live up to........

So we set off from heathrow. Well we tried! Our flight was cancelled thanks to terminal 5. So everyone went for a beer and a few hours later finally, we were on our way - via the whole of the America's .........

After what felt like a life time sitting in airports we were finally on foot and hoof, with our trusty horse's as support, and heading for Machu Picchu.

Right from the start the the trail was just breath taking...........
Starting off at 3700mts in the sacred valley climbing to 4200mts passing through a narrow gorge with Pre Inca mummies and finishing off in a hot springs at 3200mts was not a bad start to the trail.
Up at 4.45am and then a steady climb from camp up through an amazing glacial valley going through some very welcoming Andean villages and up to our 2nd pass of 4200mts and that was before lunch. We camped that night at 3750mts where half the group decided to play football and woop the locals 5-4!
Up bright and early 4.45am and off again after another huge breakfast.
Today our climb was up to 4500mts and fingers crossed views of the Urabamba mountain range then decending down to 3800mts into camp where the group nearly drank the village out of beer and sang badly!
For me one of the many highlights of the Lares Trail is passing through the villages. It was great to have such an insight into life in the Andes.
Not forgetting the grand finale Machu Picchu which always leaves me speachless and a little breathless.

It was a great trip with a great bunch of people.


Thursday, 27 March 2008

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the perfect place for adventure. It has some of the best rivers, wettest rain forest, a stunning coast line and some of the most laid back people in the world.
Our mission was to trek from the Pacific coast to the Caribbean coast in 8 days in some of the most remote parts of Costa Rica with only horses as our support vehicles.....
The treking was pretty tough at times with non stop rain which turned the route into a huge mud bath. Nothing stays dry in Costa Rica!
Passing through the coffee plantations, huge oak trees and rain forests with howler monkeys and sopping wet half the time, made what was a pretty tough 8 days seem magical even if most of it felt like it was up hill.
Our last section of the trip was to raft the Pecuare river - one of the top 5 rivers in the world. A class 3/4 river passing through stunning gorges and thick jungle. What a river it was. Truely stunning plus a few heart stopping rapids to keep you on your toes. A few swimmers along the way but no flips.
Then it was James Bond style through the inland water ways to the Caribbean Coast.

What a trip...


Thursday, 6 March 2008


Another successful Kili Ascent all the group made it to Stella point which was just amazing, We left base camp at 12.00am and reached Stella point at 06.30am, With everyone happy to see the sunrise and slowly warm up. One of the team had to go down from there which was really hard, everyone else pushed onto Uhuru Peak (The Roof Of Africa), we made it to the summit by 07.30am.
After 15Min's on the summit it was time to descend everyone was feeling pretty cold at-15c, plus the lack of oxygen it's tough going.
With everyone back in base camp 4600Mt's by 10.45am and dead on there feet after what feels like the longest night ever, A quick 2hrs rest then time to push onto our next camp at 3700Mt's and a beer then bed asap.
For all the group to make it to Stella point 14 in total at the same time was incredible.

This was my third time on the summit and it's still as hard as ever between 03.00am & 05.00am is the hardest it's so cold and your just wanting the sun to come up. You just go head headdown one foot in front of other and put your mind elsewhere.
Then as the sun comes up what you see before your eye's is just breath taking and worth all the hard work.

is one of the hardest challenges you will ever take on but boy is it worth it.


Friday, 15 February 2008

India 2008

Well just got back from South India loved it started off in mumbai down to Goa for some beach time then south through Hampi,Mysore,Ooty,Cochin, Chilled on the houseboats then headed back to the beach. Which was very much needed after 2 weeks of very intresting travel from wonky buses, james bond style tuk tuks and packed trains.
Even manged to start getting a head wobble.