To Wales

Each summer I get together with a few school mates for a reunion. We all have a common bond in walking but our careers have spread us out across the north of England so we don't see each other too often. We usually meet up for a weekend at a pub in one of the quieter parts of the Lakes. This year we headed instead for Wales.

We had grand plans for Grib Goch and Snowdon but the weather was pretty much the same as the rest of the country and no one fancied anything too difficult in the wet. Instead we headed for Beddgelert and set off down the Aberglaslyn pass which after the recent rains was quite spectacular.


I had never actually walked the pass before. I used to go through the old railway tunnel but as this is now in the process of being restored is closed to casual walkers.

We then made tracks for Cnicht, a mountain we had all climbed in our youth and being of a lesser stature, probably more achiveble. Our plan was to take the most direct route which involved crossing two smaller ridges en route. The first was easy and we stopped for lunch in a small wooded valley. At this point the group split, three returning to Beddgelert and the remainder of us attacking the steep slopes of Yr Arrdu. This involved following an indistinct path through lush bracken that was at time six or more feet high. The bracken gave way to heather slopes and the path disappeared. We toiled upwards and after negotiating several wet slabby sections finally came out on top of Yr Arrdu.

I think I can honestly say this is the first time I have ever stood on top of a summit (there was a small cairn) and seen absolutely no sign of a path in any direction. Cnicht was now just across the valley. We descended, far more easily, crossed the valley bottom wetly and headed for the ridge and a much better path. However at this point, thoroughly wet, the concensus was that there was no insufficient time and we headed back to Beddgelert and some excellent ice creams.

Despite the weather and the lack of a notable summit we had had a truly interesting walk. You don't always need to actually get somewhere to have a satisfying day in the hills.

Waste of Time

The waste management situation in Cumbria is a complete shambles. Arguably the Lake District and therefore Cumbria is one of the most beautiful parts of the UK. There are a high proportion of people living in and around the lakes that have a very positive attitude to recycling and would want to keep it that way.

No so our elected representatives it would seem. The public face of recycling in Cumbria is all about roadshows and massive ads in the local press advising people where and when they can recycle. Despite all this, the only not to recycling in the Windermere area is a twice monthly paper collection. Glass, cans, anything else and you've got to take it to the 'civic amenity site'.

This month I pulled out some old wooden panelling and shelving whilst carrying out a renovation project. As the boot in my car is only small I applied for the required permit to take rubbish to the 'civic amenity site' in my van. When I got there I was informed that the permit did not include wood, only household rubbish and that I would need a different permit for wood. So back home I go, unload all the wood as I need the van for something else the following day and apply for a 'wood' permit. This duly arrives.

The wood is reloaded, and again I drive through to Kendal. When I unload, they then tell me that the chipboard cannot be recycled and has to go in the general waste. So not only have I wasted time and fuel, I could have put the stuff out for my local weekly collection anyway and saved a lot of bother, if not the planet.

Why do they do this? Why is it so hard to recycle materials that can be reused? My theory is that it's all about money. They cannot afford to recycle too much as the cost would escalate.

This is very narrow minded. I persevered but not everyone would. What are the alternatives if the council will not dispose of perfectly acceptable materials? I could have burnt it - releasing any carbon or if I had been unscrupulous, just dumped it as others do. And who has to then clear up the mess made by fly tippers, usually at much greater cost? Why good old Cumbria County Council.
Isn't it time for some joined up thinking on this subject?

Walking in Greece

I've recently returned from a couple of weeks in Greece, where the weather was considerably better than it has been in the UK. Whilst there I climbed Mount Olympus which was well worth the two days effort required. Details will be posted soon, in the meantime there are some pictures here