Swine Fever and other worries

Well, I have not been sleeping too well the last couple of nights but it is really to be expected given the experiences over the last couple of days. However in a off shoot from the normal nightmares, I found myself stuck in America with Llion, after the US government stopped all air travel to stop the global spread of Swine Fever.

My solution was to drive to the east cost and steal a yacht to sail back across the Atlantic. Which although rather a bizarre dream, is actually something that has been worrying me. It is typical that my first holiday in 4 years has the undertone of a global pandemic of swine fever. I heard the other day that we had stopped sending flights to Mexico, but that flights were still heading out of Mexico City the source of the super bug. Now I am no epidemiologist but if you want to stop the spread of a bug you stop people leaving the source of the outbreak, not let them flee spreading it globally!

I guess letting it play out seems the best option, as I phoned the Swine Fever information line this afternoon, to see what they advised re travelling to the US. All I got was crackling!! (Thanks to the UKCer who posted that one).

Anyway I am looking forward to my holiday, come swine fever, recession, hell or high water.

Rough Book Cover

Well it is all very exciting really getting the rough cover design to my book, as well as seeing advertised in an industry flyer that goes to shops who use Cordee as a book supplier, which is most outdoor shops in the UK. Pesda Press who originally concentrate on Kayaking and Canoeing are now well and truly breaking out in the Hill walking and climbing market as well. See as the man behind the company Franco Ferrero is not only an accomplished kayak coach, but also a Mountaineering Instructor with years of experience, it seems fitting that he has taken on a few books aimed at recreational climber and hillwalkers.

So not only is there the awesome two volume tomb of Scottish Rock by Gary latter out on the market, but recently Climbing Games by Paul Smith was released, Rocktrails a guide of the geology of Snowdonia, and now the Lake District as well, allowing walker to get to know how the ground on which we tread got there. Another book on the Nature of Snowdonia by Mike Raine is on its way as well.

Like an idiot or someone who is a glutton for punishment I am already thinking about maybe writting another book!

From Joy to Sorrow

I have been trying to write a blog all day, but words seem to have escaped me. I didn’t sleep well last night, as no sooner had I hit the publish button on my last post I was phoned from the scene of an accident by a friend. It resulted in me being on scene before my pager said team to nant.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of John. A BBC news report explains more about the sorrow that has been felt throughout the North Wales Mountain Rescue Teams and beyond, for a man who had put so much of his life into helping others.

Anyway life always seems to throw a curve ball when you least expect it, and you can go from joy to sorrow in the space of seconds.

How to Climber Harder by Mark reeves

Well after pulling out all the stops and knuckling down to some real work when I was off work, I finally handed all the photos and text to my publisher. That’s right the book is into the next phase, they have a lot of work to do but hopefully it will be done and published by Christmas. My book even has its own ISBN number, so I am kind of excited, and looking forward for the next stage of my life (thesis and Slate guide book).

Have I got anymore books in me? Maybe I have, but mums the word for now. After the big hand over which was a little underwhelming, given all my book consists of at the moment is a DVD of words and pictures and a few slides. I came back and my life felt rather empty, as if there was one less thing that needed doing. Writing this book was like having a hamster, in that it last three years and took up more of my life than I expected. Now its done I just have to bury the thing at the back of the garden and move on.

To get over the grief of it I am having to take myself to the pub, but not before I go for a short run round the lake.

Snowdon Summit – Station, Cafe or fortress? -revisited

Sorry for anyone who follows this blog, as I am repeating this topic on the Snowdon Summit Cafe, mainly because I thought it could be quite a nice interaction between me the writer of nonsense and you the reader of gibberish. Basically since I last blogged on this subject I have run into a few hundred people who have given me there thoughts as hill walkers, mountaineers and architectural critics.

So whilst I said it looked like a fortress, I have also heard it described as a mausoleum, a tomb, nuclear bunker, Dr Evils new base, and the funniest of all, although we shouldn’t joke about the holocaust, was that it looked like auschwitz, with the train tracks leading up to a stone build go on head in the there the showers are on the right!

Anyway with the photos as inspiration if you haven’t been up there, and funny or critically scathing reviews of the England and Wales’ highest cafe.

Anyway the work is currently about 9 months behinds schedule, although I do believe that the summit opening will be in the next month or two. Whatever you think that building will probably be there until the mountain erodes to dust, as I can’t see them changing it for a while, and by the looks of it a bomb ain’t going to move it an inch either.

Power Gel tastes like….

My guess is most of the nation sat down to run the London marathon this morning. My mum even emailed me to tell me she was watching it, I just have to hope that she does start to google search my name, as she might find out what I really get up to! Anyway it was really inspirational to watch, and made me think that i might try and enter the round the hill race aka the Snowdon Marathon. It is meant to be one of the hardest courses in the UK, which makes it an obvious marathon to make your first!

Anyway on the commentary they referred a couple of times to Fun Runners, saying that they have been asked to refer to them as ‘the other athletes’, because some people are offended being referred to as Fun Runners. Now I have no doubt that many of ‘the other athletes’ are just that amateur athletes trying to set the personal best. However one would assume, although it can make an arse out of you and me, than even these amateur athletes run for fun amongst other reasons. Why else for goods sake would train yourself to that level if it wasn’t fun? Even the thousands of runners raising millions of pounds must actually like running a little bit.

I run, and I run for fun, if someone called me a fun runner then I wouldn’t be annoyed, I’d think right on, I am having fun. Like this evening after I had been at Foel Farm Park playing at being an uncle to me friends kids. I choose to go out for a run, and unlike before when I just went round the Lake I proposed a longer run over Meol Elio, given the sun was out. As my first Fell run, I have to say that the hour and a half it took was pleasant, although run is a strong word for power walking up the steepest parts.

As well as my first summit, under the power of my Asics, I also experiences my first taste of Power Gel, one of these high energy pastes that according to my friend have the same consistency of semen, and tastes as bad. I asked how he knew, i didn’t get a reply. Anyway I will never ever expect a woman to swallow again in my life given that this stuff was meant to be edible, unlike man juice.

Anyway the views were lovely up there this evening, and I will no doubt run the round again. One day I might manage to maintain a run throughout!

Mark Vallance’s Thesis

Mark Vallance is one of the key volunteers for the BMC, he is involved with many facets of their work, and was interested in the report on coaching by the NSG, so turn up to ask a few questions at the coaching forum held at the BMC AGM, of which I was a member of the panel along with Brian Griffiths, Andy Say, John Cousins and Johnny Garside.

Anyway after the meeting Mark showed me his undergrad thesis, interestingly it had a quote from a coaching book popular in the 1960’s which the report had quoted from as well. However more interesting than that was his thesis was on instructing mountaineering and rock climbing. From which I have shown some of the lovely hand drawn diagrams. Who said coaching was a modern idea?


Well I was at the BMC AGM from 8.30 in the morning till 5.30 at night, it was a veritable marathon of meetings, I have written a report for UKC, and really can’t be bothered to write it all again it will go live sometime today, the time will depend on whether it is raining in Majoorca, where Jack G is currently sat frustrated. Still Blue skies and sunshine here Jack!

Anyway I also took some photos I have posted a couple here and will link to the UKC news item when it goes live. Hopefully they will put them in a UKC gallery, if not I will post them up here. It just seems wrong to usurp UKC seeing as they actually asked for a report.

Anyway today my photo assignment is a 1 year olds birthday!

More Book work

Well I have been flat out all day with my book photos again, this time however I think I am down to the last few images. In that I now have the majority of the chapters finished, and those that aren’t have only a few images outstanding. So I am looking forward to next week, when hopefully I can hand it in and get it done and dusted.

I spent this evening watching TV, and saw a great advert for a botox type injection advertised on some random satellite channel. I made me think if you can advertise what is basically a botulism injection on the TV, what else can we start to advertise? Anthrax enemas, Facial Pox Packs, Therapeutic Plague bath crystals, just where will it all end.

I have the joys of a BMC National Council Meeting at 8.30am tomorrow morning followed by a coaching Q&A and eventually the BMC AGM. I will have to fill myself with caffine from dawn till dusk if I expect to stay awake throughout the day. I hope that the weather is kind to you all, and you can get some climbing in whilst I am trapped indoor talking the talk, rather than walking the walk.

Book Photos

I have to be honest, I thought it would never end, taking photos for my coaching book, and whilst the end hasn’t arrived I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have a week off next week, and I am determined to get the final images, before I go away on holiday. I am not too sure how it will feel putting to bed my this book. I have seen the cover and it really drove home that this was happening.

I just hope that it is out for christmas! I have a few thoughts for other books, as despite the long time to write and illustrate this book, the process has been a good one. Anyway I should get back to taking pictures and drawing diagrams, and entering the picture code into the word documents; and not waste time thinking of the next project or wasting even more time on this blog. Although it is addictive blog your life away.
I have gone from obsessively checking my emails every hour to obsessively checking how many hits my blog has had every hour! Anyway, as you can see the photos I am having to take are far from exciting, in fact I raised a few eyebrows stood out by vivian quarry taking pictures of my climbing equipment. I also hope the designer can jazz up my diagrams some!