December Staff

This December didn't see us out and about quite so much. It's our busiest time of the year, so it all hands to the deck and with most Annual Leave used up by now.  However, a few of us still managed to fit something in when weren't Christmas shopping, and the Christmas period gives us all a few days off where the shop is closed, meaning traditional Boxing Day / New Years Eve/Day walks/swims/runs/paddles are all fitted in. We also had to find time to have our staff Christmas meal.

Dave clouds in beacons Dave - Got a number of decent walks in December, and also managed to start his running again with his back recovering from earlier problems. At the start of the month he headed on a 17 mile Mynydd Maen walk from Pontypool, visiting Twmbarlwm, Cwmcarn and Abercarn before crossing back over Mynydd Maen to drop into Cwm Lickey and then back into Pontypool. A day of lovely weather with the ground frozen hard in the shade. Just before Xmas he headed into the Beacons, with some magnificent scenic cloud photos.

Heather - out with Ceri visiting family around Brecon gave them a chance to do some sheltered wooded walks, hiding from the worsening weather on Heather's weekend off. #wetweekendsarestillfun

Rhos Summer Climbs Rhos - Not content with her 2nd place in the Bristol Open, Rhos entered The Climbing Academy's Redpoint comp, finishing off her year in style by securing 1st. Managing to squeeze in a trip to Breen Down, Rhos can still be found most evenings at the local walls of Spot Climbing and Boulders, working off all those christmas chocolates. December was also the month that the latest Rockfax was released - South Wales Sports Climbs, featuring Rhos as cover girl, as well as on the U&U advert!

Emma Xmas Eve Emma - another few weekend swaps meant Em was able to get back to Northern Ireland for two full weekends, including Christmas. Going back for Christmas meant a trip canoeing on Christmas Eve - The ongoing rain made a great day out on grade 4 white water on the River Braid, helping her dad practise for his upcoming 4* assessment. She also got out hiking and scrambling on the hills on the coast of Northern Ireland; and went to her favourite great outdoor sights like the famous Giants Causeway, the Dark Hedges and Ballintoy.

Tusker BuoyElan - a quiet start to the month for fun on-water activities, mainly taken up with training on the local river and pool work and also helping to run a Grade One Referee course for British Canoeing Canoe Polo. Working most of the Bank Holidays to keep some TOIL for future plans meant only one day off over the festive period, paddling from Llantwit Major west along nash sand bar and towards Tusker Rock, linking up East Nash, Mid Nash, Tusker and Fairy buoys, before heading back up channel with the tide.The TOIL is sure to come in useful during 2017... #staytuned #expeditionplans

Everyone else hasn't been out much, Christmas shopping and spending time with families


The first weekend of December saw Lucy and Kate complete the MCN mountain Marathon, unfortunately Joe had to pull out of the Ultra with an injury (after 28 miles). It didn't put them off and they've all been found back in the Beacon's on days off, dragging Andy along with them. They also took their festive period breaks to spend some time in the Peak District and North Wales, with bouldering and a trip up Tryfan on the menu.
Ollie has been keeping under the radar, developing a new trad venue - top secret for now but we'll let you know more when allowed...!
Ed was to be found heading off to Scotland with CUMC for the annual jaunt. No snow to be found, but that meant no worrying if conditions were 'in', They were still able to get out on the hills, and also spent a day at the Ice Factor in Kinlochleven.
Stuart fitted in a paddle in North Pembs between Xmas and New Year. Getting in at Pwllgwaelod and heading for Fishguard, the return journey saw the group heading exploring Dinas Head in some stunning high pressure winter conditions.
Xmas paddle sunset

Norm and Sara managed to get  a weather window to leave Durban and arrive in Capetown for New Year. They'll be eyeing up the weather for leaving South Africa over the next few weeks - hopefully before their visa's expire.

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