Feb 2017
February was a busy month in the shop. As well as a number of reps coming to see us, and a number of visits to make, we also attended the Run, Walk, Crawl Brecon to Cardiff Ultra, and hosted a climbing shoe demo with Tenaya at local bouldering wall Spot Climbing. We still managed to get out, and members of Team Up and Under could be found in many parts of the UK, including the Brecon Beacons, the Lakes, South Downs, Scotland, as well as further afield in Chamonix and George L still in Thailand.

Loch LevenHeather :
spent the half term week up in Scotland with the cheeky clan from Caerphilly Adventure Group. Absolutely fab week despite lots of rain and wind. They stayed in Kinlochleven, close enough to lots of fantastic mountains and pubs. There was some winter skills practice the first day on Stob Dearg, which was put into good use on Sgorr Dhearg on their last day in the mountains, where crampons came out. In between these wintery days they spent plenty of time getting wet on local Corbetts (Beinn a’ Chrulaiste), visiting the Isle of Mull and exploring The Lost Valley near Glen Coe.

Rhos SlingRhos: A not particularly active month in total for Rhos. The first two weeks of the month were spent training in preparation for a competition at Boulders, one of the local climbing walls, as well as a climbing holiday out in sunny Spain. However, while competing at the "Day of the Dead" competition under UV lights, she took a fall and injured herself, meaning no more training for a few weeks and no more holiday (however, she still won the comp!) In other news, Rhos is moving on and is going to work for one of the Bristol climbing walls, so this is the last time she'll be appearing as a full time member of staff. Fear not though, we'll still be getting regular updates as she moves to #TeamUpandUnder.

Chris RunChris:
With a lot on his plate this month, Chris still managed to get out running a little, but no climbing in Feb. While working the RWC Brecon to Cardiff, Chris and Elan managed to squeeze a run in around Ponsticill and Cwm Callan, taking in the the old hill fort that gives Dolygaer its name. The run took them back along part of the ultra course where they were able to cheer on the competitors, although most of them looked better than Chris and Elan, even thought they were approaching the 30km mark. Chris also managed a run up Scout Scar in the Lake District, his impeccable timing meaning that he was out running this 6.5 mile route during Storm Doris.

Elan BridgesElan:
At the start of February, Elan was out in the middle of the Severn with Gavin, getting some miles in in preparation for their circumnavigation of Ireland - 3rd team member Tavi unfortunately had to miss this one. This was a trip of about 30 miles (and five hours on the water), from Beachley Head to Sully, using the tide to help pull us down the Bristol Channel. Elan also managed a night walk around the Pentyrch Hill Race route, along with staff members Heather and Emma, plus others, although he won't be able to run it this year (damn!). He was also working with Chris at the Run, Walk, Crawl event, and managed the run around Pontsticill Reservoir without pain, thanks to a Cortisone injection a few weeks before. Elan, along with Jules, represented the shop at the Waters of Wales mass paddle held in Cardiff Bay on Valentine's day, highlighting the restriction of access to water in Wales.

Dave Fan Y BigDave:
Dave did a Beacons walk from Cwm Gwdi going up Pen y Fan via the Cefn Cwm-Llwch ridge, the first time he’s done that for many years! Then it was over Cribyn to Fan y Big and down its north ridge. A very nice circuit of about 5 hours.

Ben's been back to gym sessions in February, and apparently can now do a fly spring. However, there's no video or photos of this so we don't believe him! He'll have to provide some proof next month for this to count - #noproofnoglory.

#Team Up and Under

George H CampingGeorge H:
February was a quiet month for George in terms of climbing, One trip to the Gower to try and get some routes done but the hail and sleet meant a wet coastal walk was more appetising. On the first weekend of the month, George could be found wild camping in the Brecon Beacons in a snowstorm which he's never done before! A lot of fun had there, if some rather cold toes! He finally got to try out his new MSR tent which stood up to the snow very well indeed. Another wild camping trip materialised a much warmer week later as a 5-9 mid-week adventure down on the coast; light drizzle didn’t dampen the spirit. March is looking promising, with climbing trips and walks already lined up.

Beth hasn't been out much, as she's been preparing for a Viva. She didn't mind too much though, as she aced it, and in doing so passed her PhD! Congratulations Doctor F!

George L White Lipped Pit ViperGeorge L: This month George could still be found living in the jungle in central Thailand tracking snakes. But he's having a lot of luck finding them, with several Pit Vipers and Cobras in recent days. George has also had to wrangle with a 3m long King Cobra - a snake with enough venom to kill an elephant!!
Between finding snakes and conducting all the research, he's still finding time to do some trail running on the jungle trails (watch for snakes...!), and fingers crossed is looking to get down the climbing gym in Bangkok too. If you're interested, you can follow his exploits here.

Kate LakesKate
and Joe: Spent a weekend with a mixed ability group of friend in the Lake District at the start of the February. Staying at the bunkhouse at Brothers Water (basic but had great facilities and a first rate on site pub which was complete with roaring fire and good range of whiskeys), the intention was to have a good time while giving confidence to some of the lesser experienced members. The first day found them leading the group up Striding Edge to Helvellyn. It was very windy with poor visibility, but they were treated to a glorious view down to Ullswater when the clouds lifted as they made their way back down down Swirrell Edge. Saturday was a bit worse weather-wise so Kate and Joe split from the group to do a run, with a nine mile route from Brothers Water up to Dove Crag. It was brilliant. Cold and snowy underfoot and more poor visibility, but as they left the shoulder by Dove Crag and headed down the ridge, the clouds lifted once more - its nice to run in places other than Cardiff. Their final day saw the whole group heading up Scafell via the Corridor Route. Cold and snowy once again, but not technical enough to prevent all from reaching the summit, with panoramic views over the Lakes as their reward.

Stu PaddleStuart:
A quiet month for Stu in February, he's currently going through the recruitment process for South Wales Fire and Rescue, and so has been training hard for that. He's also been hard at work making paddles

February has been a pretty busy month for Mark. To start, he did some minor damage to a hamstring at the Lakes in a Day Ultra last October.  It's not healing quickly enough, so a quick visit to Ben Morris at Aspire for some rehabilitation advice put him on a strength programme, with lots of squats, and leg work.  Ben also noticed that poor flexibility is not helping, so lots of stretching too.  He'll report back on how that is working out.
Despite his reduced mileage, on the first weekend in February Mark had a glorious visit to the South Downs for a recce of the last 35 miles of the South Downs Way, in readiness for the 100 miler in June.  Very pretty scenery, and quaint English villages.  The people were lovely, meeting lots of folk on route and chatting. Lots warned him of the ‘muddy’ route he was about to encounter - they have clearly not visited the Welsh training trails; if the mud isn’t at least ankle deep then that is a dry run in winter!
Mark also volunteered as sweeper for the Run Walk Crawl Brecon to Cardiff Ultra, and we'll have his report on that soon. Suffice to say that the Brecon-Monmouth canal is just one of those places that puts everything in perspective, and life feels perfect!

Ed Lakesd: February started with Ed assisting his old Explorer Scout Unit with navigation training in Worcestershire. This is in preparation for an activity hike in the peak district in March and focused on dynamic route planning and adapting objectives dependent on weather, team morale and ground conditions. 
The highlight of the month was a weekend in the Lake District with University of Bristol Expeditionary Society (UBES). Since moving to Bristol Ed's started regularly climbing with the UBES club members he met in the Alps a couple of years ago. Though not a student any more, he's managed to charm his way in to join them, and is really enjoying their company.
On the Saturday the initial plan was a scramble up Great Gable via Napes Needle but with poor visibility, high winds and rain the group detoured up the normal footpath and took a very wet summit selfie. Though tough conditions, it was still a brilliant day out. Sunday was more leisurely, as they explored the disused slate mine, known as Cathedral Caves, before heading south.
Ed also notes "... the end of February means Conville course applications are open. If you are aged 18-30 and have alpine ambitions you can get 3 days in Chamonix with a mountain guide heavily subsidised. It can also make finding climbing partners in a new city much easier.
Finally, on the subject of moving cities, I'd like to welcome Rhoslyn to the Bristol #teamupandunder contingent, and congratulations on your new job at The Climbing Academy."

James H:
February has been super quiet on the outdoor front for James, have hardly left the house between essays, England  rugby and organising River Legacy’s next big event, the National Student Rodeo. Over 1000 students from all over the UK coming together for a weekend of competition including giant slalom and freestyle, with a meal, film festival and party thrown in! Every penny of profit that River Legacy make at NSR goes towards supporting grassroots paddlesport initiatives, worth the hours of unpaid work the volunteers put in leading up to and over the weekend of the event. Sport wise, on the few times that he has managed to leave the house, James has got some running in; he's still heading to Everest Base Camp in April, so is trying to up his fitness.

Norsa's Exploits

Sara and Norman: After spending some time on the wonderful island of St Helena in the South Atlantic, Norsa left the island on 19th of February, heading for the Brazilian archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, a volcanic group of islands about 350km off the coast of Brazil, and still south of the Equator. The leg is expected to take about two and a bit weeks.

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