Mountain Talk

Mountain Talk
Original Everest Marathon Presentation

We are delighted to announce that Ali Bramall the race organiser of the Original Everest Marathon (OEM) has agreed to give her presentation at our Café on the night of our Reach Out for Nepal day – 22nd June 2019.

This is extremely fitting as it not only takes place in Nepal but also raises money for Community Action Nepal.

If you are interested in taking part in the OEM (Paul is running it this year & Dorina is supporting as a Marshall) come along & find out about it & enjoy a Nepalese evening. Non-runners can still enjoy a fascinating insight.

A date for your diary for now, more details as soon as they are finalised will appear on our ROFN & Events pages of our web-site.

Paul’s Blog – Excitement after a storm.

Well the wished for abating of those winds needed a bit of patience over the weekend didn’t it. Coming over the Crimea at 7:00 am on Saturday it was clear there would be trouble ahead. Clearly the rain had been lashing down through the night as the roads were the worse we’d seen them since Boxing Day 2015 & that’s saying something. Arriving at the Café it took me a minute or two just to open the car door & sprint to the protection of the café. The afon Llugwy was already in full Speight & still rising, un-like the weather we knew we were in for a quiet day, only mad dogs & rugby players go out in weather like that.

Not exactly correct, we did have a steady trickle of customers but not enough to stop me putting of the inevitable ‘I must go to see Swallow Falls’ (I have ‘form’ here from 2015 but this time made the decision to avoid the knee deep water of the back road at least in favour of the ankle deep water of the A.5). With running gear donned & camera in hand I went out into Hannah’s arms & got joyously soaked, I even smiled as the odd lunatic driver sprayed me from head to foot, in fairness a fool was getting what he was asking for!

Into the safety of the woods the trees swayed but thankfully weren’t creaking much & I soon reached my goal, camera clicked, battery died, s…, s…, s… but then un-like most un-prepared non-photographers the grey matter kicked in ‘there’s a spare battery in the case, it could even be charged?’. My plan was saved & if asked I can show you the proof of my adventure & some biblical weather in Capel.

For the first time in our history (almost 7 years to the day) we closed the café earlier than planned as we had homes to go to, apologies if anyone did try to use us after 6:00 pm, but our two & a quarter hour journey home proved the call to be a good one.

Sunday dawned brighter & saw Dorina & I head off for the Wrexham running festival. My Half Marathon was the last race underway at 10:30 so I had more time than usual to make my kit decision, wrong again, as we set of under sunny skies but an icy wind. I knew I wasn’t in condition to run a pb or anything close but as ever the red mist had by now descended so I latched onto the 1:30 pacer despite him setting a decidedly 1:27 pace, clever that!

One by one runners alongside me tailed off until with only two left it was duly my turn at about the 9K mark. Only runners will truly appreciate how (at times) the remaining 12K felt, fading energy, try to quicken but get slower, pain, ‘I’ll never make it to the end’ but this one had an extra twist of fate. Every hill on the 2nd half had a full on headwind which just added to the bloody frustration of it all.

You may ask why, well eventually, as ever, it dawned ‘I am going to make it’ & my spirits began to rise. With 4K to go I saw him, I can catch him, maybe not, yes I can, yes I did, my race was run. Shortly before the end I saw Kean’s encouraging face urging me on & moments later Dorina’s smiling ‘well done my darling’ greeted me across the line.

Lets not talk about time, well lets, 1:35:04, an annoying 4 seconds for sure but at the top end of my pre-race expectations albeit well down on a pb & my early pace. Race de-brief with Kean & Dorina in a Costa outlet, ‘it was the wind lad’ came from Kean’s mature mouth, partly true but speed work or the complete lack of it tells the true story.

As we headed off for another coffee back at Kean’s & Sandra’s we walked past the prize giving, it was cold ‘no lets back to the car Dorina’.

But (& my apologies for this, not) that’s not quite the end of the story. Monday morning saw me out in the drizzle doing an 8 mile ‘recovery’ run, as I pressed the safe button on my watch it did something new & flashed 3 medals at me. Fastest 5K, 20.19, fastest 10K, 42.05, fastest HM, all brought a smile to my weary face despite the stats being only true to the watch & not the man. But there’s more, the afternoon saw me look for the results, I’d won my age category & the sweetest bit of all was I am sure the guy I honed in on 4K out was ‘my’ runner up.

Thanks to the organiser’s for keeping the races on track, their nerves must have been on edge throughout Saturday’s visit from Hannah & for hopefully keeping my address to post me my prize, next year I promise not to walk on by, Hypothermia will hopefully be worth the risk.

Paul’s Blog – Running to Catch Up

The Sheep tracks race is long gone but was a great route tackled in that glorious weather of late February. My recce with Steve the week before paid great dividends but still saw me make one howler between Checkpoints 11 & 12 which saw me waist deep in the dreaded gorse with no path to turn to. Over two weeks on & despite wearing leggings to protect me from such an eventuality I am still easing bits of thorns out of my scarred legs. Earlier in the race I was almost in splendid isolation between CP3 & CP7, having not recced this it would have been anything but splendid had I not been running to catch up with a guy from Buckley (local knowledge & a Kean & Steve tip) & his mate. By keeping them in sight I was just able to follow them & the racing line rather than target the Gorse even earlier.

Of course it was seriously hot (in those leggings) for a fell race in February, CP15 saw me demand water from Borne’e (well he did call me Chris or some other insult) before I tackled the last major climb. From here things went well with me picking up about 5 places over the latter stages, who needs speed when you have stamina, well me of course, nothing new there!

I finished 49th out of 106 starters in 3:37:51 & was 4th O.50’s qualifier in the Welsh Champs class, could this be my first year to target a respectable Championship place? Irrespective the main thing it was a great route & race & being part of it was a late but very good call.

Moving on, last week saw me again ‘running to catch up’ after putting household duties ahead of enjoyment. I awoke on Friday morning with a grand weekly mileage total to date of absolute Zero (if you discount running into Tesco’s in Prthmadog from the car park with icy rain slicing into my face). So a plan was needed, watching the weather forecast, ‘shit more rain by 10:00, move Paul, move!’

30 minutes later I was moving in a running motion as I headed from home out towards the Mawdach for some speed spurts on the flat. The ‘speed’ word failed to inspire so as the spots of rain began to fall ‘no Paul, don’t run too far from home, U-turn at the Abbey & get back to the forest & it’s waterfalls’. Good decision, mojo levels soared & after waterfalls viewed (on the run) in spate, a drenching to boot I arrived home some 15.7 miles later, the catch up had begun.

Next day saw a repeat of my 20 miler route where I’d been accosted by Ellie a few weeks before. It was tough but part 2 of a 3 part plan had been grittily nailed despite a temporary delay due to the morning gales (well done to Craig Jones who got an excellent turn out for the Pipedream race, trainer Kean had talked me out of it, possibly for his own purposes but I won’t go there).

Sunday dawned, snow on the hills, wind & rain in Capel, part 3 of plan again delayed but after an easyish day in the café part 3 finally came, a 10 miler to Swallow Falls & around Capel. 2 Miles from home two late ‘walkers’ with two sheep dogs descended towards me, the ‘mad’ woman begun to run, held out her arms & gave me a hug & a kiss, Ellie you are forgiven your sins but what were the chances of that? Ellie & Adrian had traversed the Gylderrau from PyG braving the deep snow & fiercely cold winds, we had all clearly won. From here my erstwhile heavy legs shed their weight, I felt powerful & light, I had been ‘running to catch up’, I had caught up & I was on a high.

The previous evening Dorina & I caught up with many friends & acquaintances at the Eryri annual awards, great job done by Jennifer & Ellie. Russel Bentley’s (& kids) humorous & open presentation will be one to talk about in the coming years. I used my 20 miler as an excuse to dodge giving a summary of Bronwen Jenkinson’s achievements but did summon enough energy to pick up her award for best Overall Athlete on her behalf(3rd year in a row, now that’s a proper runner for you). Bronwen the trophy awaits you at the café but bring help, as you know, it takes a lot of carrying!

I am now tapering for the Wrexham half this Sunday, with my current high still lingering that tapering could prove hard to maintain but in Paul’s world lessons don’t need learning all the time that would be very boring & far too intelligent.

Whether it’s Moel Winion on Saturday, Wrexham HM, Park runs etc. etc. hope your plans go well this weekend & lets hope the winds abate.

Paul’s Blog

I am going to start this one with naming & shaming a woman who quite simply should know better at (dare I say it) her age & a professional too!

Having set out on a ‘new’ running route last Wednesday I was two thirds through a 20 miler & battling a ferocious headwind between Llanwrst & Betws when two gentleman cyclists passed me from behind. Having kept diligently to the right hand side of the footpath there was no need for them to ring bells or yell ‘get out the way runner’ allowing the 3 of us to concentrate on that nasty wind. However soon a third cyclist drew near, next I heard a woman who will remain nameless but was not in the company of her dog Elsie yell shamelessly ‘I’d recognise that backside anywhere, Paul’ & then rode on without so much of a buy your leave.

I next bumped into her at the Conwy Mountain race on Saturday (fabulous so well done to Michael Corrales & his team), there was no attempt to apologise for her tawdry re-mark as she seemed to gloat in her powers of perception & then chastise me for choosing such a boring running route (I had my reasons which still in my humble opinion meet ‘Paul’s logic’) so here goes Ellie Salisbury can I please ask you ‘why were you cycling such a boring route & on the pavement too? Answers at the Sheeptracks this weekend please.

aTalking about the Sheeptracks I awoke on Sunday with the DOMS (clearly not fell race fit despite all the recent stamina stuff) to soon be picked up by Steve & Judy as we headed off to recce this weekends race on the Clwydians. Maggie was soon picked up too & as Steve drove we began to study the race route in detail. I was soon realising just how much navigation would be required & to be honest thinking s… Paul what have you let yourself in for this time. However over the course of a three & a half hour recce of two thirds of the course which included many stops for discussions & a couple of you go that way Paul & I’ll go this things began to make sense so a mighty thank you to Steve for sharing his knowledge & thoughts throughout the recce. I am now feeling confident that I can find the checkpoints even if I do not find them by the fastest route. If the mist stays away all may well be clear on the day.

Running 11 miles on legs with the DOMS is I have to say a great way for worse DOMS the next day but thankfully by yesterday they had receded a little leaving my physio with Sam in Betws only audible as far as Dolgellau but as ever it worked as today I enjoyed a lovely 10 miler with Ian Pagington in a windy drizzle otherwise known as ‘typical Welsh weather,’ thanks for pointing that out Ian but I think I already knew that!

It was good to see so many friendly faces over these recent runs, Cho Oyu it’s not all about you!

Finally, in between all of this I made a short excursion down to my home city of Bristol last week to cut my Father’s garden (chain saw & bravery required, ‘Dad, John, Geoff don’t stand there because if I slip I’ll be trimming you too’) & fitted in a couple of runs around the city’s Docks. Two comments ‘why wasn’t Bristol such a fabulous city when I was growing up there?’ & ‘their runners are fast, I can use them as speed training targets, I could live in a place like this if I really had to’. Back in Snowdonia common sense has prevailed, Bristol is a city break & no more, that said I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to cut my Father’s garden next year.

Paul’s Blog – Cho Oyu or not Cho Oyu

As some of you will know sadly it is the latter for 2019 at least. Quite simply because returning from an excellent skiing trip to Italy with Dorina & Chris the next day I found out the Chinese have changed their climbing regulations adding literally thousands of £’s to the cost. Fair play to Tom & his team at Jagged Globe who as the week progressed came up with some alternatives including Manaslu & Lhotse but for me, it is Cho Oyu that’s been on my mind & so after much soul searching (Dorina could read the turmoil in my scrambled brain) I reached the conclusion that 2019 would be a very different year from my long standing plans. My conclusion was: Cho Oyu was off for 2019, other 8,000 metre peaks are not me, Cho Oyu can be re-thought for 2020 onwards, 2019 new plans need to be made. Sitting here more than a week on from that decision it is sitting happy with me, for me & my mindsight it’s looking like a very good call.

With Cho Oyu in mind I had been focusing on my training for it, not just with Cath Wilson & Kean on ropes in Scotland. Whilst skiing all day for 5 days in Italy I’d also returned from the slopes each day to do core exercises & then go out for a run before a bottle of the inevitable vino, or two. By the end of January I’d clocked up over 200 running miles over 28 runs etc. etc. ‘Paul, are you going to put all this to good use?’

2019 is still re-writing itself butwith this training under my belt I have tried to be positive in adversity, to date here goes:-

Races entered: Clwydian Sheeptracks (17 miles, Feb.) Wrexham Half Marathon (mid-March), Coniston 14 (as it says on the tin 14 miles, late March), Manchester Marathon (early April), Yorkshire 3 Peaks (22 miles, late April) & the Original Everest Marathon (Nov/Dec., including acclimatisation).

Races I can now contemplate & plan to enter now that I am around for them: The Moelwyn’s & the Welsh 1,000’s Metre Peak Race, both races I did 7 years back to back but had missed last year due to Y3P’s & Stockholm marathon respectively.

Other thoughts of how to fill the now empty year: Run the Anglesey Coastal path or Scotlands’s Great Glen Way. Climb with Tim in the Alps in July & follow it with a run around the Tour du Mont Blanc (friends welcome). Decorate some Internal rooms on our house & at last get our self-contained flat out into the Air B & B world. I am of course still thinking for more…

2020 onwards: Cho Oyu or Denali or both? I’m saving as I type.

But it’s not all about me Kean (who rather than console me initially had buggered off back to Scotland to enjoy himself with Sandra, in truth that was a tad un-truth but I thought it’d bring a smile to the old mate’s face), Dorina is coming to Nepal with me for that Everest jog, apparently the organiser’s think I need her as a Marshall to avoid losing me! As you can imagine we are both very excited about the trip.

Think that’s a fair way to react to a set-back which at first gutted me. & now, despite the crap weather outside it’s time to fuel up & go for a run, thank you for reading a heart, ache!

Thank you Nick & Bandabacana!

2019’s Café events got underway in the same vein as those at the end of 2018, both seeing a full house & an enjoyable night for all.

First up saw Nick Livesey on 5th January give his very personal presentation about his former years & how his live turned around as he led himself towards mountains, photography & Snowdonia. It was both dark & stimulating & told in Nick’s inimitable style. Nick also volunteered that all ticket proceeds should go to our Reach Out for Nepal fund meaning that 100 tickets at a fiver each added a fantastic £500, simply great Nick & a massive thank you for both the night & that very generous gesture.

Next up Bandabacana again filled the house with dancing to the rafters as they celebrated 15 years together, it’s not hard to see why they are welcomed annually by us each February, may it long continue, thanks guys!

& of course thanks too to all of you who came along to both or either of these, we hope you enjoyed them as much as we did.

Keep an eye on our Events page for forthcoming events both at the Café or in the Snowdonia ‘running’ world.

Bandabacana – Saturday 2nd Feb.

Just a final reminder that this Saturday sees the return of Bandabacana to the café, they are celebrating 15 years, so dust off those dancing shoes & come along & enjoy the fun. Full details on our events page.

Paul’s Blog

My running is now firmly back on track which a great thing to be able to say, the latest outing saw me join in with a very good turnout for ‘Rory’s run’ yesterday morning in memory of Rory O’Donnell who tragically died last year at an all too early age. It was a new & unique experience to be a part of a very special run.

My lead in to Cho Oyu in now firmly underway, the running mileage has increased, the Core Exercises have begun but the most important step so far was last weeks visit to Scotland with my old’er mate Kean where we met up with Cath of Leading Edge to practice rope & snow skills. In truth we didn’t find much snow but Cath managed to simulate ropework without this minor detail. Day 1 saw a first summit, for me at least, in Glen Coe (why has it taken me so long) bookended by two jumar climbs before & an abseil down a vertiginous Grassy cliff which my crampons duly ploughed up. This may not sound technical but the crux is trying to manage ropes, carabiner’s, figures of 8’s etc. whilst wearing high altitude Mitts, dexterity was something lost in the mists. Cath was very patient as I struggled to see the light.

The second day saw Kean (still suffering from Man Flu, we’d forgotten to take the Man up Spray purchased years ago from Tim on Monte Rosa) swan off for an enjoyable 2 hour climb at Kinglochleven’s Ice Wall whilst Cath changed our plans based on inside knowledge to Aonach Mor’s Northern rib, Aonach an Nid, where at approximately 1,000 metres we found the Holy Grail, a large bank of snow at approximately 50 degree angle. Cath soon had the rope system in place & simulation of the crux of Cho Oyu could begin. There followed a number of abseils with me each time then switching to the jumar & coming back up the rope for another go. Slowly the dexterity conundrums of the day before were solved, sometimes with Cath’s help & sometimes I’m pleased to say with me thinking them through & out by myself. It was a very rewarding day & I have Cath to thank very much for her thoughtful input over both days, she was very good company to boot & I could not praise Leading Edge enough to anyone who wants to improve their hill & ropes skills, I mean I even wore crampons on a frozen tufty grass bank, what a revelation that alone was!

Next day with Cath heading South Kean & I replicated the system on easy ground so that I could talk him through the issues, I can see us practicing frequently in the weeks ahead, we like many are praying for snow in Snowdonia soon.

At the end of this week Dorina & I head for the Alps to ski but my core exercises & running will be maintained so it will only be a minor blip in my Cho Oyu prep. I have a hunch that upon our return Snowdonia will be white & Kean will get the summons ‘sod The Bond (an excellent book), you should have read that by now, get your ass over here, mate!’

Finally a quick yet deep note to Nick who despite pre-event nerves gave an excellent & enthralling presentation at the café the Saturday before last, it was a sell out raising £500 for our Reach Out for Nepal fund. I think I can speak for everyone who was in the room when I say very well done Nick & thank you!

Café News

Whilst I was away in Scotland last week (more of that in my blog later) Eric Jones paid a visit to the Café & Dorina jumped on him, not literally I hope, to get him to sign the copies of his books we have to sell. Ever the gentleman that he is he duly obliged so we now have approximately 20 of Eric’s book ‘A Life on the Edge’ available for sale. These are in addition to signed copies of Doug Scott’s books (Up & About & The Ogre) as well as Julie Carter’s ‘Running the Red Line’ & of course Nick’s ‘Photographing the Snowdonia Mountains’. They are all well worth a read.

Our next event is coming around fast with Bandabacana’s latest visit to the Café less than 3 weeks away. It is always a great night out with dancing from beginning to end, with it being their 15th anniversary we expect it’ll be even more special this year. Full details on our events page.

Open MIC Night Cancelled

We are sad to announce that tonight’s Open MIC Night has had to be cancelled, on behalf of Alan Mannouch who has had to commit to an un-scheduled work shift we offer his sincere apologies. Alan hope to make up for this in the coming weeks so watch this space.

Paul’s Blog – A belated return

Well it has been some time now since I’ve prattled on about what I get up to but before I offer apologies or justifications for my absence let me first get to a more important point.

A huge thank you from all of us involved at the Café to all our customers & supporters who voted for us in the TGO Magazine annual awards helping us get top spot in the ‘Café or Restaurant’ category winning their Gold Award. After some very near misses in recent years it really was appreciated by all of us & helps maintain enthusiasm to keep up the hard work. Of course winning the award does not mean we are the best but it does show that we are recognised & appreciated by many & that, believe me, means an awful lot!

Now back to my absence, there have been tales to tell & thoughts of telling them but three factors have combined to stop me & before you know it time has passes & the time for telling tales felt like it too had passed. So a few words instead about those three factors (for those who repeatedly verbally hear about 2 of these only read the third one).

Factor 1 – Wood – With tree falls in land adjacent to our garden affecting both the A. 470 & one of our garden walls, wood stores have dominated much of my Autumn. The Trunk Road Agency responded correctly & recently cut down in excess of 200 trees below our driveway to remove further risk but we now feel naked for all the world to see. Whilst not receiving much of this wood bonanza over the last 3 months collectively we received enough to keep my chain saws whirring on a regular basis meaning some ill winds have at least replenished our stores & kept me busy.

Factor 2 – A Victorian House needs Maintenance – After some years of neglect the summer of 2015 saw me commence an external painting programme of the house. Further progress was made in 2016 but 2017 saw the distraction of Pik Lenin get in the way meaning that by late summer 2018 there was still plenty to do. ‘Dorina, how about a working holiday at home this September?’, the Angel duly agreed, painting was back in business (although in truth the first tree fall did divert us for a few days). Over the next few months I slowly made progress (this helped by the wonderful discovery of a ‘Sash’ brush somewhat belatedly, I won’t bore you with this decorating delight further as I tend to appear as becoming a tad ‘sad’) culminating in last Friday seeing me contorting my body to complete the final Double Hung Sash Window painting it’s outside from inside, not an easy trick! My god that felt good, a little thing to feel very proud of. To boot during those months I’ve also turned my brushes on some inside rooms but will now enforce a sabbatical & move my focus towards Spring 2019, more of which later.

Factor 3 – Events at the Café – It has been our busiest season of events at the Café ever this Autumn. To all of you who came along to them a big thank you for supporting the speakers/organiser’s. Eight events in ten weeks with at one stage 4 sell outs within a month took some organising & promoting. To those I failed to thank, here at least, they were a great success & we were delighted to help bring them to fruition, my appreciation & thanks to all involved.

So you see these three factors affected not only ‘Paul’s blog’ but also Paul’s running but thankfully a final end of year spurt has seen the running return. Christmas & the New Year are times to turn a corner (although yesterday’s announcement of Nick Livesey presentation on 5th January means events continue to flow), January 1st is set, train, train, plan, plan, blog about it, Spring & Cho Oyu you have my attention from here-on.

The time to blog about failed headtorch in the Petzl night run, that Beddgelert to Waunfawr headwind in the Snowdon Marathon, those fantastic events at the Café etc. etc. is long gone, good stories all, please forgive my silence.

PS. There was one more factor in truth, mentally at times not where I’ve wanted to be for a variety of reasons but I know how to fix that, run Paul run…….

Nick Livesey Presentation now confirmed

I am delighted to announce that Nick has agreed to give an illustrated presentation of his ‘The Journey of a Mountain Photographer’ at our Café on Saturday 5th January. Our apologies for the Short notice but we felt the time was particularly apt as it follows on from the very successful launch of Nick’s superb book, signed copies of which are available at the Café & on the night itself. Full details of the presentation are listed on our Events page, we hope you can make it.

More Breaking News

We are delighted to announce a couple of new dates in our Events diary.

Firstly our ‘very own’ Nick Livesey long awaited photographic book on Snowdonia has now been printed & is available from this Thursday.

I am pleased to announce that Nick has agreed to do a book signing event at the Café to coincide with the forthcoming Christmas Quiz (in support of OVMRO) on Saturday 15th December. So to secure your signed copy simply put the date in your diary & come along between 5:00 & 8:00 pm to meet & talk to the Photographer/Author, aka as Nick.

If you can’t make the night itself copies of the book will be available through a variety of outlets including the likes of Cotswold Outdoors, Waterstones etc. etc. & of course from our counter too.

Next up Bandabacana are returning to the Café on Saturday 2nd February, they need no introduction but it will be part of their 15 years together celebrations so even livelier than normal. Full details on our Events page, thanks for agreeing to come back again guys, it’s appreciated!

Finally a reminder that the Christmas Quiz is nearly upon us so why not plan to combine the whole evening with Nick & Mike Lees as the double act.

Brazilian Line World Premiere

With the BMC’s Winter Skills lecture (presented by Sam Leary & Mick Jones) a sell out tonight your final opportunity to come to the Cafe for a presentation this Autumn is only 6 days away in the form of Filmuphigh’s ‘Brazilian Line’ on Wednesday 28th November. Tickets are still available but with our last 3 presentations having sold out be sure to book to guarantee your seats. Full details are on our Events page.

Doug Scott’s signed books now back in Stock!

An added bonus of Doug’s visit to the Cafe is that he re-supplied us with signed copies of his latest two books, we’d sold out of previous batches weeks ago. Copies are again on sale from our counter with 100% of the sale price going to the author himself, details are:-

The Ogre – £20 – Biography of a mountain and the dramatic story of the first ascent.

Up & About (Hardback) – £24 – Biography of Doug’s ‘Hard Road to Everest’

Up & About (Paperback 2nd Edition – £14.95

Both books are excellent reads be sure to secure your copies you won’t be disappointed.

Doug & Tut’s presentation last Saturday

It was a memorable night despite those IT Glitches early on so I’ll address those first as lets be honest is was both embarrassing & frustrating in equal measure. My apologies on behalf of all those involved with both the inadequate volume on the CAN video hotly followed by the ‘loss’ of Tut’s slides (not Tut’s fault I hasten to add) led to the lights going back on & a significant delay. The patience the audience gave as Marion, Denise, John, Doug & Tut frantically tried to work things out was really appreciated so thank you very much for this. The biggest thanks must go to Steve Hobden a friend of the cafe who was in the audience & speeded up the up-loading of the correct programme significantly, thank you Steve!

What I can say is that Doug, Tut & Denise were far from happy about the whole situation, over breakfast at our place the following morning plans for their next matinee presentation at Brecon later the same day detailed discussions led to revised plans being put into place to ensure there was no repeat of the problems of the night before.

As to the content of the presentations themselves we had earlier been given an in depth insight into CAN’s excellent work in Nepal to help restore communities in remote areas which had been literally devastated in the 2015 quake. It highlighted to me that the reason we are lucky enough to have luminaries (which Doug & Tut certainly are) giving presentations in our Johnny come lately Cafe is simply our & our friends desire to help CAN help the people in Nepal. My reading of the audiences patience is that they saw an IT Glitch (or two) in the context of this wider picture.

Once the Glitches were past Tut began ‘The Hard Road to Everest’ with an insight into his getting into climbing & natural progression onto harder routes in the Alps & beyond, his empathy & appreciation of many climbing partners who helped him along this journey was deep felt & touching to see & hear. Their had been no Everest plan, simply with experience & reputation gained the ‘Everest’ phone rang, he & Nick Estcourt broke the rock barrier & more & 1975 entered Britain’s Everest history books for good.

There followed a shortened break before Doug began an auction of his signed photographic prints, this went really well & raised a further £2,100 for CAN. To all those who took part in the bidding thank you on behalf of CAN, Doug was delighted with the interest you showed & depth you dug into your pockets.

We moved on the the second half of the presentation, this time it was Doug’s turn to portray his own journey on the road to Everest. Times were different back then it wasn’t just a matter of kit not being what it is today (a slightly curved Chouinard single axe being a notable case in point) the logistics, scrimping, making it up as you go along tenacity made these men what they were. Doug freely admitted the fortune that shone on him as a result of Tut & Nick’s fortitude allowing him & Dougal to (along with Chris as expedition leader) receive the bulk of the accolades, but as they all knew it had been a team game executed immaculately until a post summit day storm put pay to Tut’s & others own summit hopes as well as leading to the death of one of their friends, Mick Burke, success & tragedy sum up the expedition.

After the main event the audience again showed their patience allowing John to sum up & me to present a cheque on behalf of Reach Out for Nepal 2018 to Doug for £8,000. Marion recorded it on camera & sent me over the photo’s the next day with a covering ‘Doug looks very emotional’. As I looked at these, particularly the first one with Doug & my arms around each other, my thoughts were ‘yes Marion your right but I’ve seen photo’s of me before too & in this one I can see the emotion in me too’.

There are many thank you’s to all who made everything linked to Saturday happen but I’ll single out the guy who set us out on the road that led us to Doug & CAN, Leo Holding at the 2015 Keswick Mountain Festival  just one month after the quake hit. Kean (first), take that as the best apology you’ll get mate, followed by John have informed me that Leo is giving a presentation at Caernarfon in March next year, John stop reading & reserve the tickets please!

Denise, we felt the pressure you bore early on Saturday, but lets be clear the wider picture is what matters & it is now in it’s rightful context of a lesson learned for Brecon & nothing more than that. A small CAN team do so much good, we applaud you all!

Reach Out for Nepal Update

Thank you to everyone involved in any way with this years fund raising for the Melamchi School, with Doug Scott’s next presentation at the cafe only days away I am pleased to give the following update on both the fund raising & the School itself, so here goes:-

The total raised to date in 2018 is £8,061.80 which is significantly higher than our earlier expectations of around 5/6K, simply a great result. This figure will go higher due to a Gift Aid application I need to make for my sponsors so the final figure should exceed £8,400.00.

We will present Doug with a cheque made out to Community Action Nepal on Saturday for £8,000.00 leaving a small residual balance in our Reach Out for Nepal bank account.

The total now raised to date for the School is now a staggering £34,450.41 since our first Reach Out for Nepal day in 2015 got underway a little over 3 years ago. In addition through the Cafe sales of Prints, Tickets for Doug’s presentations & sales of CAN’s goods & artefacts have raised a further £10,500.00, this money goes to CAN’s general funds for use on other projects. We have also sold £808.00 worth of Doug’s books with this money going rightly to the Author himself, how he finds the time to write them I really don’t know, well I do actually but it’s not for me to say!

Progress of the school & it’s hostel is being monitored by us as closely as possible given the high workload of Doug & his small team i.e. we don’t like to push too hard for detailed updates. What we do know is that the Girls hostels (3 Buildings) were completed by Spring this year & were officially opened during CAN’s Spring visit on 27th April. At that time the boys hostels were substantially built & post monsoon work to complete them & fit them out has re-commenced with completion expected this winter. As for the school itself progress is less clear but we are hoping for a fuller picture after Doug has visited us, that said the fit out of the hostels represented over two thirds of the £25K we targeted to raise so our monies raised are making an impact.

John Rowell is in contact with Purma, the Headmaster, & has made provisional plans to visit the School in Spring 2019 at John’s own cost to improve both our link with the School as well as give a detailed report on progress etc.

Subject to actual costs being fairly in line with Budgets we will have substantial funds still ring-fenced for the School within CAN’s funds. With the School continuing to expand but with the Government taking over day to day running of the School from CAN IN 2020 as CAN itself focuses on other works in the North Gorkha region we will await John’s visit before opening a debate on where these proceeds & indeed future fund raising should be targeted. From where I am sat the priorities need to be ensuring we maintain our contact with the school whilst ensuring that funds are going to the Coal face so to speak & this may well mean focusing future funds raised on CAN’s other projects or a specific one.

Finally & on a more immediate note Doug will be bringing more signed book copies down with him, selling artefacts on the night as well as auctioning more of his photographic prints so if you have booked tickets please bring a bit of cash or better still a bit of plastic, it’s all in a good cause. If you don’t have tickets but would like to come & listen to Doug & Tut please be quick & call the Cafe on 01690 720429, we only have 6 tickets left!

Thank you for giving your time & more.


Saturday 10th November

This Saturday sees us welcome Doug Scott CBE as he (together with Paul ‘tut’ Braithwaite) gives his presentation ‘The Hard Road to Everest’. Tickets have been selling well in recent days but we still have 12 left so if you want to attend please e-mail us or call the cafe on 01690 720429 as soon as you can to avoid disappointment.

As last Saturday when Susanne Sholtz gave her excellent presentation about the history & behavioural patterns of the Carneddau Ponies (thank you Susanne) we will be closing our kitchen early to allow us to prepare the Cafe for Doug so please note that last hot food orders will be at 6:00 pm.

Doug will once again be selling a variety of books & artefacts as well as auctioning a number of prints, all monies going to Community Action Nepal. Hope to see you there.


Saturday 3rd November & Breaking News of a New Event

This coming Saturday sees us hosting Susanne’s Scholt’s Carneddau Pony Presentation with a packed house so please note that last hot food orders will be at 6:00 pm & not the usual 7:30 pm.

I am delighted to announce that our friend Rob Johnson & his Filmuphigh have chosen us as a venue to premiere his film ‘Brazilian Line’ with he date being Wednesday 28th November. Full details will be on our events page later this morning.

Finally if you here any screams in Bettws between 12:45 & 1:45 today do not call the police, it’s simply me having physio on my calves which are still as tight as hell from the Snowdon Marathon last Saturday, just why do I run ‘fast’ on tarmac? Well O.K. the scenery, the atmosphere, the supporters, the sense of achievement, definitely a case of Type 2 pain followed by Type 2 pain if you get my drift.

Weekend News

First things first, this Saturday (27th) sees us again hosting Team 333’s AGM. They do excellent work in raising funds for Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation (our local rescue team). I point this out because as such we will be closing at the earlier time of 6:00 pm with last hot food orders being 17:30 pm, we trust you will understand.

Earlier in the day I & some 2,000+ others will be running & sometimes walking the classic Snowdon Marathon. Please note that the Llanberis pass will be closed from 10:00 am to Midday & that parking in Llanberis is going to be difficult, don’t park illegally as you will sadly receive a ticket. Of course good luck to all those taking part be you Organiser’s & their helpers, spectators (wrap up warm) & the runners themselves who probably like me are still thinking about kit, kit & more kit! Great event to be a part of, hope to see you in one form or another.

Finally & here is where the weekend rolls into Monday & Tuesday as the next 4 days are the last that you can cast a vote for our Cafe, if you feel so inclined we would be delighted to receive your votes, simply visit www.tgoawards2018. It only takes a few moments & there are several other local Snowdonia businesses nominated in other categories (inc. Plas y Brenin’s bar which I failed to mention in a previous post). Good luck to all the nominees for getting this far.

Now back to kit………….?