Walking... Keeping it Safe, Fun, and Enjoyable.!

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A Fat Bloke Called Chris...

Well I'm err...a bit fat, and I love being in the mountains! I started walking a few summers ago, and the mountains really got hold of me. I love being up there, it really does let you clear your head and put the whole world into perspective. The views I have been privileged to witness are just breathtaking and I will never forget a single one of them.

Walking... Keeping it Safe, Fun, and Enjoyable.!

Walking is a really fun passtime, and I wholeheartedly recommend you try it! You'll see some truly breathtaking places, meet really friendly people and you'll get fitter too!

People of all levels of age / fitness can go walking it's simply a matter of starting with something not too strenuous and seeing how you get on.

However before you set of for a days walking there are some things that I would strongly advise...

Firstly, always,..ALWAYS...,did I mention ALWAYS?
Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. If possible leave a copy of the route you intend to take with someone and put rough timings on it too. That way if you were not to return in a timely manner someone is aware of it and has a rough idea of where people can start to look for you should you be in trouble.

Next get a pair of good walking boots..! Try them on! If possible (it may not be) wear them at every opportunity before actually heading into the hills. You'll want supple comfortable boots, blisters hurt! Waterproof boots will also be a huge bonus!

If you are heading into the countryside for the day, check the weather forecast, and dress accordingly. Layers are better than a thick jumper as you can regulate your temperature better by adding and removing a few. Waterproof outers are also a good investment... Something light that breathes but is waterproof will keep you warm when the wind picks up and its wet!

Have a map...have a compass... and most importantly learn how to use both. It's a lot simpler than most people realise but it is one of the best skills you can have if you lose your bearings. GPS units are handy too, but are prone to signal loss, and DEAD batteries can make them USELESS when you need them most!

Also get a whistle...get a REALLY loud whistle! In the countryside 6 blows on a whistle is the internationally recognised distress call, anyone who hears 6 blows on a whistle will come to help and summon any other aid you may need. So just blow 6 times, wait a couple of minutes, and repeat until aid comes. If anyone hearing you also has a whistle they may respond with 3 whistle blows.

Take food and most importantly WATER. I never go walking without at least 2L of water with me. Sip often and you'll really feel the benefits..and no you wont be running to the loo every 100yds dont worry. Your walking will have you losing water fast if you dont top up!

Take a mobile phone, just in case you need to contact anyone. (Though be aware that you may or may not have signal)

Finally it's not a race......
Take it in your own time...and stop often to really ENJOY the view!

Idwal Slabs : The "Ordinary" Route

"Come climbing" he said...

Lets get one thing out there from the start.  Yes, I USED to climb...when I was 15..!!!!  I was thin, and supple, and even dare I say it relatively lythe back then.  Now I am NONE of those things...  I am broken, and fat, and my children call me Homer (After the Simpsons, not the legendary hero....)

So WHY did I allow my friend Mark Jenkins (not all my friends are called Mark I promise!!) to talk me into this foolish escapade?  Because I'm a man thats why...and any card carrying male simply can not accept that we have to grow up at any point.  We're all grown up, but in reality men are basically just boys with more debt!

In any case Mark is a climber, and he teaches too, so "What could possibly go wrong?"...  He promised me a gentle reunion with climbing...  "It's practically only just above a scramble really" were his words.

The date was set, and against my better judgement I actually found myself really looking forward to this.  It was a weekend with Osian, so he decided he'd like to try his hand too!  In the car we went and met Mark at Ogwen Cottage.  

We got to the bottom of the pitch at around 09:45 ish and there was just one group ahead of us.  Mark checked us both into our gear and can I just say Mark...You have a really nice way of explaining the process.  Osian was all set to go ahead of me and I was the fat bloke bringing up the rear.

Mark set off up the route, and not long later we heard the cry of "On Belay"...so I unclipped Mark and we waited just a couple more minutes before we heard "Okay to climb" coming down the rock, and Osian started carefully heading up.

I have to say Osian listened really well, and followed all of Marks instructions each step of the way.  He chose his holds carefully and was not in any rush, ........proud dad here.

After two more belays, we topped of Ordinary route, and ate lunch with THIS view!!!!!

After a bite, we then had a nice fun scramble to the decision point....  do we go on and up to the next pitch or head down the side and back to the cars.

I have to say with sadness and regret...it was heading on for 15:30 ish and Osian had a train to catch so we did the "sensible thing" and started down the side which was also heaps of fun and then a nice walk off back to the cars.

MASSIVE thanks to Mark for a great day out that me and Osh really enjoyed.  Perfect choice of route to get an old fat bloke back into the habit, and introduce climbing to Osh who's never climbed outside before.