The Bromsgrove School Expedition Club (BSEC) has been running since 2013. The Club enjoys several climbing and hiking trips to Snowdonia, as well as regular trips to a local climbing wall.
Snowdonia - April 2016 by Victor C (WG)
Last Updated: 03/05/2016 09:04:49
On Saturday 23rd April, 2016, I embarked on my most treacherous journey yet. I've got to admit I was a little nervous as this was my second time rock climbing and the weather forecast said it was going to rain, but other than that I was so excited I woke up an hour earlier than planned. I have never been to Snowdonia before but have been told it is a beautiful place. They weren't lying. After a long 3-hour drive, we reached our location safely thanks to Mr Tamplin's driving and Ms Baker's supervision of him driving. All of us were fast asleep as soon as we got on the bus. We met up with our climbing instructor Matt, who is one of the most eccentric person I have ever met, mainly because of his jokes when I feel I am clinging on for dear life.
The first climbing location was Lion Rock in Llanberis. We reached the rock face, I geared up, attached the rope to my harness and started to climb. I have a long reach so it wasn't too hard for me, but I kept slipping as I didn't plan out which holds to use. As I climbed to the top of the face and gazed at the scenery, it was unreal. The environment I was standing in felt like a movie – everything was picture perfect. From every angle it all looked majestic. For anyone scared of heights in this situation, I am sure that fear would vanish and they'd want to climb to the top, to see what I saw. Even clinging for dear life, it is worth it to achieve something unique and push yourself to the limit. In the afternoon we climbed at another crag, called Bus Stop, and then in the evening we went to a nice restaurant which was famous for pizza. The best thing was that you can create your own pizza with the most bizarre toppings like egg. Safe to say that the food on the trip was nothing short of exquisite and delicious.
On the second day, during breakfast Matt gave us 2 options. The first was to do more rock climbing and the second was to do something that James Bond did in almost every movie – abseiling. Everyone chose option 2 because it was something new. So after a 15 min drive with Mr Tamplin singing "Let it go" from Frozen, we reached the top of a 30m cliff. Once Matt finished setting up the abseil he asked "Who wants to go first?". All 7 of us kept quiet as we didn't know it was THAT high. Eventually Matt volunteered for us as some people were procrastinating out of fear. I was third and when it was my turn and I was dangling at the top of the cliff, Mr Tamplin took a picture of me. Once I was a quarter down of the cliff, Matt told me to jump as it was faster. So I imagined myself as a spy and tried to jump, hopefully looking cool whilst doing it. Not the best idea because I didn't know where I was jumping and eventually got hit by branches. So instead of being a "spy" and looking cool, I looked like someone having a seizure on a 30m cliff. Eventually I reached the ground and watched the others descending out of the sky. This is one of the most must-do activities for a bucket list.
In the afternoon we went to another crag, called Australia, that was full of discarded pieces of slate from the old mines and Ms Baker found a perfect one to make a new clock. After ascending some very impressive climbs, with sore feet, I changed out of rock boots and proved Matt and Mr Tamplin wrong by climbing a slabby climb with trainers on. With a lot of shouting and slipping, I reached the top. Even though I got scrapes and bruises from it, it was worth it.
Everything was worth it and not a single minute wasted. Two things I've learnt on this trip. First, doing life-risking activities you get to meet new friends and really bond with them. Second, by testing and pushing myself I was surprised by how much I could achieve. To appreciate this trip, I didn't have to be an expert climber nor a gym fanatic that could do pull ups with one hand – it was worth it for the experience alone.
Thank you Mr Tamplin and Ms Baker for organising this trip. I speak for all of us that we had a great time because of the activities (and not the KFC / McDonalds on the way home!
Snowdonia - 2nd-3rd May 2015
Last Updated: 03/05/2016 09:01:01
Students: Katie M, Dan M, Harry R, Dominic G, Rosie H and Anna R.
Staff: Mr Tamplin and Miss Baker
Leaving at 6.30am on Saturday morning, I wasn't sure that all students would turn up on time but by 6.35am we were on the road fully loaded and all accounted for. Harry's mum had made us a lot of cupcakes for the trip – these lasted the whole trip (thanks Mel Ruben!). With a very bad weather forecast, I was also a little unsure of what we would do when we got there but continued anyway on good faith that our instructor, Matt, would come through for us. As expected the weather was too bad to climb, so Matt suggested that we try gorge walking instead. This was a new activity to us all and turned out to be great fun, despite the water being bitterly cold – even with a wetsuit on! It can only be described as climbing in a river. On some sections, we needed a rope, particularly to climb through the 'Elephant's Bum' – a couple of large grey boulders with a river flowing between.
After returning the equipment for the gorge walk, we went to Llanberis, set up camp as quickly as possible and went out for a curry in a local restaurant. This took a surprising amount of time but we didn't really mind as we only had a dark campsite to go back to. That night, the wind and rain were quite something, but we survived, despite Katie's tent breaking in the middle of the night.
On Sunday morning it was still raining, so we took our time to break camp and went for a cooked breakfast at Pete's Eats (a 'traditional' haunt for climbers visiting Llanberis). The weather cleared, so we headed to a crag called Lion Rocks. There, we climbed 3 climbs on a nice comfortable rock that was surprisingly dry considering the amount of rain that had been falling earlier. After a quick lunch in the minibus, to maximise the time we had available, we went to another crag, local to Llanberis, called Dinorwig quarry. I think all of us were taken aback by how much more complex it is to climb on slate – being a smooth rock, where tiny sharp edges make the difference. Most of us climbed 'Sport 4 All' and 'Kinder Surprise', both graded F5. Some of us managed to climb 'Surprise, Surprise' – a difficult climb graded at F6a. Several tried 'Orangutang Overhang', graded at F6a+ but found this slightly beyond our now tired muscles! (I did hear someone promising to return and attack the exact same climb one day). Some of us lowered down a crag below us, to climb the 'Pipe climb' that started from an old rusty pipe attached to the rock from the mining days.
All had a great time despite the cold, the rain and strong wind. It's just great to get outdoors and take on a challenge!