The post exam trip had traditionally been, as long as I can remember, to Sennen, Cornwall – so it was not lightly that I made the decision to change it this year to Oxwich Bay, Gower. The small peninsula is a veritable tropical paradise (Just pick your weekend carefully…) with plenty of fantastic walking, climbing and beaches.

We rocked up to the campsite on the Sunday of a bank holiday weekend with naïve expectations on what to expect. The reality was something like a scene out of District 9, a huge jungle of families with children running around singing the song of their people whilst adults breathed life into inflatable dolphins and doughnuts. Not an iota of free space. The unspoken sense of horror amongst those on the trip was evident. We set up camp in our corner of the field and readied our gear for the next day, popped down to the beach to enjoy some evening paddling and explored the vast rockpools.

The following day groups took themselves off on walks around the peninsula, some headed to Boiler Slab for some trad, and others of us visited the local sport crag: a chossy, midge-ridden cliff with the one redeeming feature of shade. When we returned to camp that evening there had been a mass exodus of the families from the weekend, leaving the campsite refreshingly sparse. Tuesday saw similar activities, with a return trip to Boiler Slab, some walks in the Port Eynon area and some climbing up on Great Tor.

On Wednesday it was time to head back to Bath – but not before an obligatory trip to Wurm’s Head to soak up the last of 4 days of unprecedentedly good weather – wall to wall sun for 4 straight days. Awesome trip and a great way to finish this year. Thanks to all the drivers who made it possible

Font Trip, 19th-26th March

April 7th, 2016

Font 1

Once again BUMC headed to Fontainebleau in France for a weeklong bouldering trip to chase away the thoughts of labs, exam, and lecture theaters. The sandstone blocks nested in beautiful forest are just what the doctor ordered, as well as eating your own body weight in brie, patisserie cakes and wine! This trip is always a highlight of the BUMC calendar and this year was no exception.

Font 2

The weather gods were surprisingly obliging with a nearly a whole week of sunshine for bouldering, slacklining and the occasional nap. On the one wet day accomplishments ranged from mastering a new board game in the comfort of the gite, indoor bouldering, to a trip around the amazing Fontainbleu château.

Font 3

Despite the days excursions and sacrifices of skin and blood to the boulder gods ruled by le diplodocus; fueled by baguettes and saucisson the evenings were filled with games of ‘ratchet screwdriver’ and ‘fontaineblow’. Before arising the next day with enthusiasm, after a much needed trip to the bakery, to do it all again.

A huge thank you to all the drivers for contending with long drive and the French road system.

Yorkshire 1 Yorkshire 2 The Club’s first trip to the Yorkshire Dales left us pining for more after a superb weekend of walking and climbing in the beautiful national park.

Despite the poor weather forecast, Saturday dawned bright and dry, with a good covering of snow on the moors. The whole group of 18 set off on a chilly walk that took us from Arncliffe Cote to Malham Tarn, where the group split in two. Half returned along Mastiles Lane, a Roman Road, whilst the rest continued on to Malham Cove and Gordale Scar before turning back. The scale and beauty of these two landmarks made the extra 7 km utterly worthwhile!
Yorkshire 4 Yorkshire 3 On Sunday morning we packed up and left the bunkbarn for Pot Scar and Moughton Nab, two climbing crags in the south-west part of the Dales. The majority of the group sport climbed at Moughton, whilst four did a spot of trad at Pot Scar. The Limestone was dry but cold, and in parts pretty flaky, making it a challenging day. But the routes themselves were generally superb and made for a good way to finish off the weekend.

We will (hopefully) be back next year to explore more of this brilliant region and make it one of the Club’s main annual trips.

Snowdon 1

The final weekend of term drew near; for many this meant a rush to buy Christmas presents and finish coursework; For myself it meant a trip to LIDL and Morrison’s in order to buy copious amounts of food for the Christmas Trip. With nearly 20kg of gammon, 8kg of turkey and unforetold amounts of other stuff, we packed it up in the Barney-mobile on Friday night and drove up to the Chamois hut in North Wales

Snowdon 2 With over 40 members of the club attending, this was a trip of epic proportions. Unfortunately, the weather decided to be dreadful in equal measure – sideways rain blasted the hut for most of the trip. This didn’t stop intrepid freshers, however, who decided to run a walk from the hut to Llanberis via some quarries, getting absolutely drenched in the process. Whilst the Freshers were out enjoying Welsh weather, cooking preparations, headed up fantastically by Liz, Cam, James C and co began. Initially told that there were only 2 ovens at the hut (AFTER buying all the food) we were relieved to see that the kitchen had undergone an update and had 3 ovens – still a balancing act, but far more manageable. Mulled Wine/Cider production was in full force in order to fuel the cooking efforts.

Christmas DinnerCakes The result, some 5 hours later, was a veritable feast, with no shortage of food or drink. This was a welcome chance to refill our bellies after a long day of sitting around not doing much. The next day we saw a break in the weather; a group headed off for Tryfan and another to Snowdon whilst the rest of us cleaned the hut. Whilst the skies were largely grey and gloomy, the groups returned before the weather turned truly nasty. Hut cleaned and tidied – remaining 5kg of gammon consumed/passed onto a new owner – and vehicles packed – we returned to Bath, concluding a fantastically filling trip to North Wales.

On Friday 23rd October a full 32 intrepid members of the Mountaineering Club left Bath with their sights fixed firmly up North. That’s right; we were heading for the climbing Mecca that is the Peak District.

The first couple of vehicles to arrive let themselves into our wonderful bunkhouse and got the party started. Much to their amusement, it wasn’t until gone midnight that the final vehicle arrived after a somewhat leisurely drive. When everyone was finally in one place some late night planning was undertaken and we were all set for the next day.

Saturday dawned bleak and drizzly, hardly enticing weather for any climber. As a result we split into a few groups. One party head over to a local indoor climbing wall determined to get some climbing under their belts whilst the majority set out on  wet and windy walk on Stanage Edge.. A further few hardy souls ventured out to the crags despite the rain and got a thorough soaking for their trouble. By the afternoon it was apparent that the weather wasn’t going to clear up so in true mountaineering fashion, we all headed back and went to the pub. In spite of the weather a great day was had by all, capped off by the mysterious games of Sock-Wrestling and Ratchet-Screwdriver.

The final day of our escapade was blissfully dry, all that’s needed for a good day on the crags! This time one MPV went over to Horseshoe Quarry to try their hand at sport climbing whilst the remainder split themselves between the mighty Stanage Edge and the less well known delights of nearby Burbage North. For many people this was their first time climbing outdoors and what an introduction it was! Everyone had a wonderful day and we can’t wait to be back.

Finally a huge shout-out to all the drivers and leaders, without you these trips would not be possible. Thank you!

3 large white SU vehicles left the campus at hourly intervals, laden with rucksacks and ropes. A blue car and white van shortly followed. Whatever was occuring, it was being done with military precision. The vehicles were headed north, towards the M5. Anywhere beyond Bristol is a strange and mysterious – this must be a gang of unruly adventurers to venture that far. It must be the Bath Mountaineering Club

The vehicles were headed to Caseg Fraith, a hut beneath Tryfan. In the vehicles, nearly 40 of the BUMC’s keenest members ready to trample around Wales for a weekend. Along the way we picked up familiar faces in Jack and Beth who had very kindly volunteered to drive for us.

On Saturday morning we had one group head off to tackle the Snowdon Horseshoe, a long mountain day which offers fantastic views and a memorable scramble over Crib Goch. Another group went for the north face of Tryfan, again a classic scramble which conveniently started and finished at the hut. A final group went to Tryfan Fach to do some trad climbing in the shadow of Tryfan. I, having forgotten my walking shoes, bouldered outside the hut and got my trainers filthy in the process.

Dinner was quite a spectacle – a club first. Thanks to former chair and now club chef David coming along we successfully made 6 sorts of curries, 3 vegetarian, to feed 40 people (and then some!) and thanks to a generous donation from Kat apple crumble and rice pudding for 40 (and again then some!). This was accompanied by the usual card games and board games you can expect to find on a club trip (PLACE or TAKE – Tzolkin).

Sunday was a lazier affair – a group set off to scramble up Bristly Ridge whilst the majority of us remained at the hut to do some climbing and belaying lessons on the Caseg Fraith crag just outside. A few of us set up a top roped on “Leaning Crack” E4 6a which saw some top rope dogged ascents – the guidebook said “Hard” and it was!

At the end of the day we gave the hut a good tidy and set off back to Bath. A huge thanks to all our drivers, first aiders, leaders, cooks, etc – the trips cannot run without you guys!

As per usual the Committee booked fantastic weather for our inaugural Freshers’ Walk. This year we did the Bath Skyline walk, a National Trust trail which takes us past Sham Castle, through the woods on the Bathwick hillside, the meadows bordering the golf course and campus, and then through Rainbow Wood Farm. With over 90 people attending it looks like we’ve got a great year ahead of us – look forward to seeing you all on future local walks!

Cornwall May 31st – 4th June

September 25th, 2015

What with Bath being in the south-west of our fair isle, you might think that Cornwall was pretty local for us. Not so. Thanks to the sneaky sticky out bit underneath Wales, our fleet of seven cars and a van spent about five hours on the road before being met with mercifully clear skies under which to pitch our tents. Some club Alumni came to join us for summer fun taking the total in our corner of the campsite to forty five!

With great weather on Monday morning walkers visited Land’s End, and climbers frequented Bosigran for trad climbing as well as St Ives for bouldering. Lots of classic routes were climbed, with innumerable people on Alison’s Rib and several routes tackling the long classic Commando Ridge. Unfortunately the apocalyptic forecast came true, and gale force winds in the evening made camping interesting to say the least. Fortunately there was minimal tent damage and plenty of people embraced an excuse to go to the pub!

With everything soaked Tuesday was an opportunity to take it easy, board games in the café featured heavily and some people visited St Michael’s Mount for a little culture. It was lucky that we had extended the trip to five days rather than the usual three, as the sun appeared on Tuesday afternoon and was relentless from then on!

On Wednesday plenty of beginner climbers went to Bosigran and we saw dozens of routes climbed while the walkers took in the glorious north coast. The traditional beach BBQ took place that night, with some brave souls taking a quick dip in the sea before being met by copious amounts of meat and bread alongside a campfire.

A huge thanks to everyone that drove cars and lead climbing and walking groups, you made a great end to the year possible!

Dartmoor Wild Camp 14-15th March

September 25th, 2015

Dartmoor Wild Camp March 14th-15th

Although I sold my soul to the weather Gods so that the weather would be as nice as it had been last year, in true Dartmoor style the weather offered us a cocktail of sun, rain, mist and wind.

We began our weekend in Princetown with a short trot up the hill (500m up) to North Hessary Tor. Once we had made our way through our first bit of bog and admired the views to Plymouth, Cornwall and Bodmin (aka. Crap Dartmoor) we made our way down the other side of the hill to Great Mis Tor. After another short break and admiring of views we made our way over the prison leat, Blackbrook Head river and Cowsic River which makes, after rain, quite a big bog.

We visited:

Beardown

Longaford

Higher White

Lower White

Postbridge

Bellever Tor

Stepping Stones

Combestone Tor

Camp – Hooten Wheals

Hooten Wheals

Nuns Cross

The Street

South Hessary

Princetown

ISB – Scotland 25-30th January

September 25th, 2015

Our customary week in Scotland was, this year, met with tolerable weather! Those who had not touched ice axes and crampons before spent their first two days with a professional guide, who took them through the basics of assessing winter conditions in the mountains. Once they had dug a few holes and discussed all the many types of snow (more than you’d think!) they got to playing with their equipment. After stomping up and down snowy and icy slopes to get used to crampons they were to be spotted deliberately sliding down steep slopes in order to practice using an ice axe to come to a stop.

The rest of the group used these two days to check out the snow conditions at our usual climbing locations, taking in Fiacaill Ridge and Cairn Gorm.

 

For the next few days the weather constantly swung between overcast and glorious sunshine, but unfortunately the prior few weeks’ high winds had filled the corries with deep, loose snow unsuitable for beginner climbing (and completely unappealing to anyone else!). We made the best of the situation and took all the newbies for a dramatic winter scramble along the ridgeline. Some of us who were confident moving quickly in the snow headed to Ben MacDui, and were treated with fantastic alpine-style sunlit views of the surrounding mountaintops. On the couple of days when the weather was too poor to head to high ground activities included walking and running along the river Spey as the snow carpeted the forest floor, and the customary BUMC board games day!

 

On our last two days in Aviemore the weather hit hard and the road to the mountain car park was shut due to 50cm drifts! Staying low the group took a long walking day to visit the Lairig Ghru, again treated to intermittent sunshine and the occasional bout of survival bag sledging. The very last day saw us taking a shorter walk around the nearby Loch an Eilein with its island castle set against the backdrop of snowy mountains. That evening, staying in the Aviemore Bunkhouse, those with energy left for dancing were treated to a party at the pub next door.

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