Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Austrian Alpine Club. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Austrian Alpine Club. Show all posts

Tuesday, 20 March 2018


Sue and I recently got around, rather hurriedly at the last minute, to entering the Austrian Alpine Club’s 2017 annual photography competition.

There are several categories:

  • General, divided into Best Mountain Landscape/Wild Country, and Best Portrait/People
  • Nature
  • Typical Austria

The entries were judged by previous winner Malcolm Imhoff FRPS who is not only one of the regular entrants to this competition but also a highly respected photographer with many national and international photographic awards.

He judged my photo taken with my Samsung S5 phone to be the Best Mountain Landscape/Wild Country image, commenting as follows:

‘A beautiful scene, well captured - a calendar shot!. The exposure is well handled and the colours nicely saturated. The image is nicely composed, with a lead in from the bottom left to the lakes, then across the mountain peaks, which are taller at the sides helping the frame the picture. There is a lovely blue sky with cumulus clouds.’

I think the S5 has to take some of the credit….


I don’t think Sue rated her ‘Edelweiss’ picture as her most likely chance of success, but Malcolm awarded her a Highly Commended Certificate in the Nature category, commenting as follows:

‘Well this jumps out at you. Edelweiss are small tatty things but these are enormous and quite beautiful, so well done to the photographer for getting in so close and capturing them. The flowers stand out well against the dark background but there are quite a few pointy blades of grass which distract and could easily be removed. It's called "gardening".’

This was a carefully composed shot using her Canon Powershot G15.


Sue’s other entries are shown below:

General: Cape Verde Angels


General: Shades of Blue


General: Washing day in Cape Verde


Nature: Feeding fritillary


Typical Austria: A cosy hearth


Typical Austria: Water power


Here are my other entries, for what they are worth…

General: Austrian Hiker


General: Morning View from Heinrich Schwaiger Haus


General: Resting below Bonn Matreier Hut


Nature: Cloud Over Kaprun


Nature: Wintergasse glacier melt


Typical Austria: Krefelder Hikers


Typical Austria: Lobbentorl


Friday, 15 January 2016

Tuesday 12 January 2016 – A Walk from Over Haddon with the AAC


The Austrian Alpine Club has nearly 10,000 members, most of whom join the club solely in order to benefit from mountain rescue insurance and discounted accommodation costs in affiliated European mountain huts.

Some social and other events are however organised, and an email last week advertised this short walk from Over Haddon, courtesy of Chris Radcliffe. That was enticing for me as I could combine it with a trip to Great Longstone to deliver nine boxes of books for which we have no space, for the benefit of Book End Bookshop, a second hand book shop in Bakewell set up to support Bakewell and Eyam Community Transport.

A satisfactory turnout of nine veterans of the AAC got going soon after 10am on a surprisingly fine morning. We were soon studying the remains of the aqueduct at Mandale Lead Mine.


The aqueduct was constructed in 1840 to supply water to a wheel of 35 feet in diameter, used for pumping at the Lodge Shaft. The mine was abandoned in 1851 and has slowly deteriorated since then. Wooden troughs originally spanned the tops of the aqueduct’s piers, transferring water from a leat (open watercourse) on the south bank to one on the north bank of the River Lathkill.

Steps lead down to this water filled shaft on the south bank.


Heading west, a narrow strip of ‘land’ provided a path between the rushing river and a docile overflow area that has seen recent inundation.

I’ve an old guide book (one that narrowly evaded a trip to Book End Bookshop) that remarks that ‘unfortunately the river bed is sometimes dry to this point, which spoils the beauty of the spot’.


It’s a delightful stroll up the valley bottom towards Monyash. The sun even put in a brief appearance.


Water was gushing out of Lathkill Head Cave. Apparently this is a very low cave for some distance, before ‘solution cavities’ lead down to other levels. Those cavities quickly fill when it rains, so would be inundated just now after our recent rain.


Whilst there has been wet weather in the Peak District, I think the area has avoided the severe deluges that have afflicted the Lake District and the South Pennines. The paths were wet but not overly boggy.

Here are the backmarkers approaching Monyash.


The header picture shows some of our group leaving the café at Monyash after a very pleasant lunch that we tucked in to whilst the day’s only rain cloud exhausted itself outside.

Our group, for the record, comprised two Gillians, two Rogers, Chris, David, Adrian, Derek and myself, though I may have to meet them all again in order to avoid a minor mix up!

Here they are, strolling along the Limestone Way, the chosen (and obvious) route back to Over Haddon.


There’s a deep cleft to negotiated, Cales Dale, after passing the empty pigsties at One Ash Grange Farm.


After some muddy fields, we dropped back to cross the River Lathkill near Over Haddon.


Instead of returning directly to our cars, we looped back to base by first continuing alongside the north bank of the river past a series of eleven weirs.


Our turning point was the medieval Conksbury Bridge, a packhorse bridge which seems to be withstanding the high level of water flowing under it at present.


The sign says ‘PRIVATE NO ROAD’. That seems rather odd today, but in the summer this may be a very dry area with little or no water in the river.


The high path back to Over Haddon affords good views down to the eleven weirs.


This lovely soft green field signalled the last few metres of our excellent stroll.


Here’s our route: 18km, with 550 metres ascent, taking 5 to 6 hours. Click to enlarge.


Other postings with information about the AAC can be found here.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Austrian Alpine Club Photo Competition - 2014

Readers may recall a diplomatic incident several years ago when I entered a winning photo in the AAC competition. ‘Butterflyfest’ had actually been taken by Sue!

We judged the competition the following year and submitted our 2013 entry too late. But we recently submitted a fairly random selection of snaps taken in 2014.

It’s not a big contest, and the winners simply receive certificates. This year just 21 members sent in a total of 128 images, including 4 sketches.

The hasty and random selection of the images, coupled with my very average snapping skills, meant I had no expectations of success. Sue and I each submitted 5 entries.

Yesterday the results were announced, with some 20 of the 128 images, taken by 13 of the 21 entrants, receiving awards or commendations.

Sue was pleased to discover that one of her pictures was commended, though on this occasion I missed out.

The pictures we submitted are shown in chronological order below. Can you spot Sue’s commended entry?

Wild Camp at Annat

Lochan na h-Earba

Long Flowered Primrose

Round-leaved Saxifrage

Botany Calling

Sassongher Awaits

Crocodile in Badia

Rhaetian Poppy

Mountain Houseleek

Marsh Helleborine

The Austrian Alpine Club has several thousand members. Membership includes some insurance cover and members receive 50% discounts on their accommodation in affiliated mountain huts, so it’s worth joining for no other reason if you are going to spend a week or so in such ‘huts’.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Saturday 22 March 2014 – Crowden and Black Hill with the AAC


On Saturday Sue and I had the pleasure of joining some members of the Austrian Alpine Club* for a walk up Black Hill from Crowden.

We set off with eleven walkers, mainly of ‘Plodder’ vintage (regular readers will understand that). The vision of Black Hill’s looming bulk proved a little much for Jane, who soon turned back.

The sun was trying hard as we headed up to Laddow Rocks.


We passed Oakenclough Brook and Laddow Rocks, with the sun occasionally sending encouraging beams through the encroaching thick cloud.

For a while we enjoyed good views ahead, and back to Crowden.


The route was easy to follow along the paving of the Pennine Way, with the Holme Moss mast also guiding us inexorably towards the summit.

We managed to select a nice spot for elevenses, bang on time, at which point ‘cake’ also went down well. Unfortunately Anthony pulled a muscle trying to jump across a stream and appeared to have turned back, though it later transpired that he had stuck dutifully to his appointed role as backmarker, arriving back at Crowden with his wife a good hour after the rest of us.

Soon after elevenses the clouds finally engulfed us and protective outfits were donned to guard against the stinging hail, which was also rather wet.


We eventually reached Black Hill summit, pictured at the head of this entry. It amazes me how the summit area has changed for the better since the Pennine Way paving was laid a few years ago. In places smooth grass has taken over from what was once a deep black quagmire.

We didn’t linger at the summit.

The cairn on Tooleyshaw Moss was our next target, from where we could look back to see someone standing on Black Hill’s trig point. So it can’t have been as windy as we thought!

Our group of eight managed to stay mainly together as we sloshed our way across Tooleyshaw Moor to White Low, following a trail of marker posts.


The descent was mainly into stinging hail, though it did clear a little from time to time.

Lunch had been taken in relative shelter between showers. It wasn’t a long break as the weather was chilly and damp.


Whilst everyone else descended by the lower path down Hey Moss, I took the higher route past what is marked on my map as a ‘Pillar’ on Hey Edge. This looks to me more like a trig point in the middle of a moor than a pillar on an edge, but who am I to judge?


I dodged a deep quarry to drop steeply and rejoin the others above Crowden. We were soon joined by Vicky and Heather, who had varied the route by starting with a gorge scramble, presumably up Crowden Brook. They seem to have enjoyed it. I’ll remember Heather for her huge white gloves that looked to me like the ends of false arms.

On the last lap to Crowden, some of the party looked a little bedraggled.


Here’s our approximate route - 14 km with 450 metres ascent, in about 5 hours.


We reached Crowden Youth Hostel at about 2pm, and spent a pleasant afternoon in good company with tea and cake and chat. Looking out of the window to see whether it had cleared sufficient for a further stroll, we decided “No, another glass of mulled wine, please?”


There’s a slideshow (27 pictures) here.

After a good meal, we enjoyed an evening of photo presentations from many of the twenty plus folk who were present. Sue’s E5 Photobooks were admired, and a couple of my Pyrenees Adventure books were sold, one of them to Jerry, who I now realise with some embarrassment that I may have been rather rude about in the book. I’ll leave readers to make their own discoveries, but I do apologise unreservedly to Jerry, and I’d be interested to hear about how his trip progressed after Lescun.

Crowden Hostel is due to close at the end of March, and we were the final group booking, so far as I could ascertain. Here’s what the Pennine Way Association thought about the closure when they found out by chance in November 2013.

It was with both a measure of surprise and disappointment that the members of the Executive of the PWA learnt of the forthcoming closure of the YHA hostel at Crowden in its current form on March 31st 2014.

Indeed it was only when former Secretary Peter Stott tried to reserve a room for a stay next Spring that we , or anyone else as far as we can ascertain, were aware of the situation. Subsequent investigation by both Peter and Chris Sainty revealed from the YHA that a decision and mutual agreement had been reached with Rotherham Council to close the hostel as a functioning youth hostel and all matters relating to the hostel would be handled in future by the owners Rotherham Council. This was confirmed by Mr Colin Gratton-Rayson who is the Outdoor Learning Youth Work Manager for Rotherham Council. Mr Rayson stated that the hostel would be available for bookings by groups. The definition of a group is not at the moment clear but is believed to be not less than ten people per group. Crowden had been operating as what is known as an Enterprise Hostel and the status of these is reviewed on a periodic basis.

To say that this change is a disappointment is an understatement as anyone who has walked over from Edale, even on a good weather day will appreciate, as accommodation hereabouts is very limited. What is of more interest is the covert way the whole process regarding the change has been, with no known news appearing in the press or from the organisations concerned and no information in the outdoor press. This is a major cause of disappointment as there appears to have been no consultation whatsoever.

As it happens Chris Sainty had made a reservation at Crowden some tine ago and he has now received contact from the YHA that his booking has been transferred to the Old House at Glossop. It is obvious that this change will cause difficulties for Pennine Way walkers and it is to be hoped that facilities will become available in the Glossop area as an opportunity exists here for an enterprising organisation.

*The AAC(UK) is one of the the largest UK Mountaineering Clubs with over 9,500 UK and overseas members. The principal benefits of membership, at no extra charge, are:

  • Mountain Rescue Insurance; worldwide, without age limit and inclusive of repatriation;
  • Alpine Hut Rights; discounted accommodation costs in alpine huts belonging to the National Alpine Mountaineering Federations.

(We use the AAC mainly for the discounted accommodation in mountain huts across Europe, saving up to €10 per person per night.)