Triumphant ending to Cambrian Way, Colwyn Bay Castle
Triumphant ending to Cambrian Way, Colwyn Bay Castle
  • Cool Boarders 2018
    • 18/03/2018
Not much to report.
Went to Les Arcs for some snowboarding, using the tried and tested method of flying to Geneva and getting the Altibus.
It wasn't during the worst of the "beast from the east" coldness, but it was still minus 22 centigrade up the mountain some days, and the visibilty was generally poor - low cloud without bringing new snow.
So i spent half the time sitting in the hostel, run by an enigmatic english couple, eating croissants and ruining the seasonaires lives by introducing them to Monopoly Deal card game.
This was fine, since i was using an "a la carte" ski pass, where you only pay for the days you use it.
And on the few bluebird (new snow + sun) days, it was fantastic - vast swathes of off piste, DIY slalom runs through the trees, the monster top to bottom, 8km (2km vertical) non stop Aiguille Rouge run.
Also went across to La Plagne for one day, which was ok once the sun came out, again some great off piste off the top of the glacier, and then a race against time to get the connecting "hand bag" gondola back to the Les Arc side of the valley before closing.
  • TMB done and dusted
    • 28/08/2015
montreux sunsetmt blanc skylinewell earned beer
With the scorching heat returning the last few days have been dusty paths on an arid south face, gasping for the next water source while paragliders circle overhead and day trippers step off the top of chair lifts without raising a sweat... The wild camps have been brilliant though, peaceful and with stunning views over the chamonix valley to the mt blanc peaks and glaciers.
The end of a trip is always a bit sad and reflective as I contemplate going back to the normal life which I have successfully managed to not think about for the last two weeks.
Descended into the hustle and bustle if the valley today after witnessing some stunt helicopter piloting delivering supplies to one of the mountain refuges.
After an ice cream I took a trip into chamonix itself which would normally be heaven as it has a branch of every outdoor brand shop under the sun - however this week is ultra marathon week, and today 2000 endurance athletes set off to do a similar 168km route to me but in 24 hours. so the place was a bit mental.
Feeling the need to relax I have taken three trains through the alps (impressive engineering) to end up in Montreux of jazz fame on the shore of lake Geneva.
Immediately after checking in I dived in the lake which was a m a z i n g.

Quick thanks to all those fellow tmb-ers I met along the way, it gives me hope and confidence to know that like minded people are out there and I hope we meet again someday somewhere!
  • Photos from Tignes
    • 18/04/2015
A quick nod to a fun week snowboarding in the Alps.

Sunshine and valley mist (shown)

Blizzards and scrabble (not shown)

fresh tracksshenanigansthe mist...fork in the roadtop of the world
  • Every End Is A New Beginning
    • 16/04/2013
The boring bits first

So in only 10 days i'll be setting off on the waste of a day and a half of my life which will be the bus journey home from the Alps. But in the meantime:

Spring has finally sprung, snow is turning to slush, and avalanches are going off everywhere, both naturally and due to controlled explosions. Marmots are appearing out of their newly uncovered burrows. There is still loads of snow on the piste, but after about 11am it is so slushy that you are forced up to the higher altitude sanctuary of the glacier. It's our last week of guests - Only 8 were booked into our chalet, but we've ended up with a full house of 24 since head office decided to close 3 other chalets which were also under occupancy. Needless to say, the guests who have been forced to move are not impressed. We've all run out of will to care though, as the previous week of really nice guests seemed like a fitting end to the season already.

The previous month of overcast skies has given me time to consider my options for the near future, and the more i research it, the more excited i am by the idea of walking Lands End to John O'Groats. Probably from June - October.
This will hopefully ease my guilty conscience from last years travels abroad, when people in faraway lands would ask "what's britain like then?", and i'd say, well, i haven't really seen enough of it to sum it up. And i don't expect that it will ever be the case that i can say i know it all, but a better idea would be nice. We always mock americans for not having passports but in reality most people never explore their own surroundings, and jetting off for a week on a spanish beach is hardly intrepid foreign adventure.

Obviously i'm already looking back on my coast to coast walk with rose tinted glasses - well, i did enjoy 90% of the scenery, but there was a lot of foot pain, back pain etc. I would intend to break myself in gently, and take more time to stop and smell the roses on this outing, rather than rushing through on a strict timetable. I want to wild camp and be self sufficient as far as possible, as far as modern society allows.
I just finished reading a book from 1948 by a guy called Theo Lang about his own pilgrimage up our island, it was a compelling read filled with observations on the changing face of the country post war, and the warm encounters he had with locals in each part of the country. I worry that the cynical, commercialised modern world will have vanquished that element of the journey, but the hills should be broadly unchanged.

One quote at the start of a chapter stood out for me, (the start of a chapter named "the bus can always wait", in which wonderfully a bus on the isle of skye delays a ferry, and subsequently a train to glasgow, because the driver insists on waiting for two french girls to eat a proper breakfast before setting off) -

"Have the past struggles succeeded?
What has succeeded? Yourself? Your nation? Nature?
Now understand me well - It is provided in the essence of things, that from any fruition of success, no matter what, shall come forth something to make a greater struggle necessary."
  • X-GAMES!
    • 25/03/2013
typical mental snowboarding:



some proper footage:

http://onboard.mpora.com/events/x-games-tignes-slopestyle-finals-medal-winning-runs.html


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