Saturday, 24 August 2013

Jesse James' Bunkhouse, a recommendation.

I know what you're thinking. I want to go to Snowdonia with 20 or 30 of my closest friends and spend some quality time walking up and down big things, throw in a spot of rock climbing and a fairly large splash of booze and you're looking at recipe for the perfect weekend. 

Hang on, did you say 20 or 30 friends? Yes, well what you need is a bunkhouse. Namely Jesse James Bunkhouse just north of Llanberis, right in the heart of the mountains and crags of the Snowdonia National Park. Coincidentally I've just spent a weekend doing just that all thanks to friend and fellow outdoor enthusiast, Wendy, who decided that the above description sounded like the perfect way to spend her 40th birthday. 

Founded by the eponymous Jesse James in 1966 the bunkhouse is the manifestation of Jesse's lifelong philosophy of 'Lo-tech Pragmatism', a kind of make do and mend writ large. It's packed with homemade furniture and memorabilia from a lifetime of climbing and  outdoor pursuits in north Wales. The main bunkhouse sleeps up to 25 and has ample room for kit, boots and bags as well as a drying room, a comfortable lounge and a large dining room. The kitchen is well equipped and we had no problem catering for 20 hungry mouths. 

There is plenty of garden space for kids and barbecuing, although being North Wales you may need a brolly. Jesse also assures me that there's parking for upto 16 cars with a little driver cooperation. As well as the main bunkhouse there are four other smaller accommodation options varying in levels of luxury. 

Jesse himself is a real character and is always around to share a beer and chew the fat, he has a wealth of knowledge of the climbing world and is more than willing to share his expertise. He also makes awesome flapjacks, huge thick, chewy flapjacks, more than able to fuel a busy weekend in the mountains. On our final evening we shared a meal (and a bottle of scotch) with Jesse and sat until late listening to his tales and sharing stories. 

I can't think of any other way to recommend Jesse's bunkhouse more highly than just to say use it, it's a wonderful place, full of character and in the perfect location. 

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A quick plug

I know its bad form to publish the same post on two blogs however in this case its for a very good cause, below is my latest post from the Arctic Challenge 2013 blog - please give it a read and take a look at our just giving page.

Nearly there....a progress update.
In just over a month we will be on our way to Norway, so I thought an update was in order.

Speaking for myself training and preparation is going well. I have most if not all of the kit I need, including the elusive Bridgedale Summit knee high socks which are apparently the footwear equivalent of rocking-horse shit, I'm sure other socks would suffice, however I used the Bridgedales last time I was in Norway, they served me very well and I had no problems with my feet. I finally tracked them down to Global Adventurer in Forest Row.

The other bit of kit I was determined to source was a Vapour Barrier Liner for my sleeping bag. Last time out I was forced to use a bog-standard, orange plastic survival bag, which was absolutely horrendous to sleep in. This time I've managed to source a Rab VBL from a nice man on UK Climbing.

Training too, is going well. Since October I've really knuckled under and have been in the gym a lot, so much so that one of the comedians I work with has changed my phone number to the extension in the gym. According to Runkeeper I've cycled, cross-trained, rowed and run nearly 300kms and lifted a cumulative weight of over 66 tons. I have to say I'm feeling pretty damn good and am certainly fitter than I was when I last travelled in Norway.

Fran too, has been hard at it and puts my mediocre training to shame, she has been posting her progress to our JustGiving page, why not take a look and donate while you're there.

Our fundraising efforts have been thrown into sharp relief by the SusSAR team SSV (Search Support Vehicle) failing its MOT last week. Although the problems have been fixed and its back on the road, the failure shows that the team desperately need a new vehicle from which to mount our searches and that the money we raise will be going to a very good cause.

Thanks for reading.