Club adventure week in Wales, August 2010

Report on the 3rd Annual Club Adventure Week in Wales. Saturday 7th to Friday 13th August 2010

Day One – Getting there.

We were scheduled to leave at 2pm hooray! Destination South Wales for a week of Hill Walking and other activities. We had all been looking forward to this for several months now and the excitement was growing. It was going so well but we had a flexible plan and so Sensei Merv’s phone call to reschedule the departure time to 5pm was taken as one of his dojo quotes “always expect the unexpected” No one really minded as it was so that he could go to a family get together and truth be known we all needed a little more preparation time.

5pm and the party (consisting of Sensei Merv, Sue, Roy, Val, Georgia, Jess, Elliott, Jordan, Matt, Rob, Mick, Clayton, and myself Kerrie, oh and of course our mascot Pirot the dog, known affectionately as “pira Poochie”) assembled and off we went.

Travelling in a small convoy of 3 cars and 1 van, our journey was uneventful – other than circumnavigating some Welsh roundabouts 3 or 4 times to check the signposts. After settling in to the very welcoming Travel Lodge at Pontypool. We all decided that a meal at the local Harvester was called for (good value we thought) and off to bed for an early night and get ready for our first day of walking.

 Spirits high and cant wait to get settled into the rooms - and eat.

Day Two – The top of the mountain.

We woke up to a blue sky and warm sunshine. After a McDonalds breakfast we set off to climb the highest peak in South Wales “Pen-ye-Fan”. It was a good climb and all except Sensei Merv and Mick accomplished the task. It seems only real men can take the challenge! (Sensei’s note- What Kerrie was forgetting is that we were both suffering from leg injuries and real leaders have to sacrifice their own pleasure for the good of the majority. No easy business waiting at the foot of a mountain having to drink tea and eat the finest of welsh cakes. All to ensure that they are good enough for the walkers on their return).

Group departing for the top

Georgia was the first to reach the top and although she used her mobile to let Val know, we could all hear her shouting. She is now known affectionately as “The Georgia network”.  Unfortunately this went to her head and she then started imitating sheep, rather loudly, which caused Pira Poochie to become “

On completion of the walk we found the teashop closed, or was it that Sensei Merv and Mick had been there to long and left nothing for us? No problem as Matt very kindly treated us to an ice-lolly.

We all then returned to the Travel Lodge to enjoy a hearty pasta, mince and vegetables, prepared and served from the back of Mick’s van “heute cuisine” style.

Chef Mick happily serving an even happier diner

Chef Mick telling Roy that there are no "Thirds"

After reliving the day’s fun we all decided on a not to late night so that we could start  early  and find a suitable location for bacon rolls on the way to the activities.

Day 3 – Activities day.

It started well with the now routine “Carrington twins” being half an hour late. No problem as we were having a more leisurely start with the activities been in the afternoon. Our plan was to find a suitable place for us to cook breakfast in the back of the van and with an adjacent area suitable for football etc. After about 20 minutes driving we found a perfect lay-by with a suitable field alongside.

This could be a heavy tackle

It seemed an idyllic start to the day. The bulk of the group were enjoying a football match (Roy apparently scoring a “hat trick” but without confirmation). Mick’s travelling “cafe” was producing excellent bacon and egg rolls and the water for tea was just starting to boil. Then disaster struck. The local farmer turned up and asked us not to use his field. This was immediately followed by the realisation that someone had forgotten the tea bags!
Being a club that believes in a “no blame culture” made no difference on this occasion and Sensei was very quick (in fact to quick) to say that he was sure he had reminded Roy or someone to pick some tea bags up at Tesco’s. Val, although not at Tesco’s, agreed and so Roy carried the blame.  However  Mick’s emergency coffee store saved the day.

Sensei Merv showing that he is always happy to help with the chores. There is no truth in the rumour that he was just after another bacon roll

After our brunch start to the day we split into three groups.

Georgia, Kerrie and Jess went for a two-hour horse ride.
This included going on the mountains with some very steep slopes and enjoying some beautiful views around the reservoir. They were classed as an experienced group and so were able to do some cantering and galloping. 

Roy, Val, Piro-pooch and Sensei went for a ride on the Brecon light railway into the mountains. Unfortunately it poured with rain and so the four decided not to do the two-hour walk around the reservoir. Non-the less it was a very enjoyable trip made all the more pleasant as they sat in the caboose and were able to talk with the guard about the railway and its development.

Mick, Clayton, Elliott, Jordan, Sue, Rob and Matt all went to the Llangorse activity centre to do the climbing and high wire activities. All agreed it was very worthwhile.

Elliott, Jordan.Clayton and Rob ready to go.

Unfortunately Piro- Poochie didn’t like the steam and whistle of the train but the rest of the party had had a great day and most wanted to return to the activity centre later on in the week.
It was getting rather late by the time the groups returned to Pontypool and so decided that another Harvester meal was called for.

Day 4 – The long walk.

The day started cloudy and a little wet but the forecast was good. Very important, because it was to be a long ridge walk known as the “Dragons back” just North of Crickhowell. The plan was to park Mick’s Van and a car at the start of the walk and whilst the other two cars were moved to Crickhowell, for transport at the end of the walk, Mick would get the bacon and egg rolls cooked. He was now really getting into the swing of catering for 13 and with the purchase of tea bag and other supplies having been sorted, everyone enjoyed a hearty breakfast.

Ready to go

Due to the remoteness of the walk it was important that all the correct items were taken e.g. waterproofs, gloves, first aid box and food/drink etc. Every one was given two mars bars with the strict instruction that these were for emergency consumption only. Unfortunately someone thought that meant, “to be eaten when they liked.

High up and the cloud starting to clear

The party consisted of people with a range of walking abilities and so it was important to stay together as a group and give support to those not used to being on the mountains. As it turned out every one did really well and although some had moments of  “I cant go any further” the attitude of all was excellent and the team spirit superb.
The only party member with group moral problems was Piro Poochie who wanted to run off and play with the sheep.

Half way through the walk we had a short break for lunch and Roy invited us to join him for a mug of tea. He had carried a calor gas stove, kettle and water with tea and coffee etc for us all!

Yes Roy - well done.

Sensei then wanted to check on the emergency mars bars. Only to find that some had been eaten. Mick and Clayton had thought it best to eat them as they were melting!

Some 7 hours after starting the walk we made our way down into Crickhowell. Our original plan had been to have “Bangers and mash with onion gravy” cooked in Mick’s van, which Sensei, Georgia and Clayton had been looking forward to and talking about all day. As we went over the last sty a minor rebellion broke out with suggestions of fish and chips at Crickhowell instead. No one would admit to being the ringleaders but strong suspicions lay with Mick, Elliott and Rob. There followed a heated exchange, led by Sensei, on the wisdom of changing the plan. With it being so late and still having to buy the sausages etc. It was agreed to go to the local Fish and Chip shop in Crickhowell.  We were very lucky in that there were 13 table places and we were a group of 13. Even Piro Poochie was made very welcome. The meal was excellent and Sensei and Clayton agreed that it was a good change of plan and tried to claim the credit .

It really was a huge portion and excellant flavour

Day 5 – The lazy day.

It had been agreed that we would have a lazy day in the week with people doing visits etc and so Mike, Kerrie and Clayton headed towards the Wye valley and Chepstow. Their first stop was at Abergaveny to visit a model shop and then on through some fantastic scenery to Chepstow for lunch and some window-shopping. They enjoyed some Welsh cakes that were cooked to perfection.
They couldn’t be back to late as Mick, Matt and Roy were scheduled to cook the delayed “Bangers and Mash”

The rest of the party went to “The Big Pit” a coal-mining museum with still working shafts for visitors to descend in lifts. Although it was crowded it proved to be a very interesting and enjoyable visit. The displays etc made the ever-present dangers of coal mining, particularly pre 1950, very apparent. 

The evening meal was superb and even with the very limited facilities available it was hard to envisage better standards.

  Chef Mick and assistant Matt

Day 6 – Waterfalls and Laser shooting.

The final day of activities was here. We divided into two groups with Mick, Sue, Elliott, Matt, Jordan, Georgia, Clayton and Jess heading off to Barry Island. Famous for the TV series “Gavin and Stacey”. Opinions were divided on the place. Some felt it was great with others not very impressed. Either way the beach was fantastic and the weather good. After Barry Island the group headed into Cardiff for a 2 Hour Laser gun adventure. Every one agreed on this been great fun and all collected a suitable number of bruises from diving and crawling in the dense undergrowth of trees and bushes.

Roy, Kerrie, Sensei, Rob, Pirot Poochie and Roy went off to Ystradfeld to walk around the four waterfalls. It proved to be a fairly lengthy and at times strenuous walk. Non-the less it was a great afternoon experience, made all the better by the characters, including a modern day "Tarzan", met on the way.

Rob and Roy daring each other to be the "last of the Mohicans"

We all met up in the evening for our group of 13 final supper at the Harvester and were lucky to be able to sit in our now favourite alcove.
As was now the practice we all swapped stories of where we had been and the various events. By the end  of the evening it almost felt that we had all been to both locations.

Day 7 – Friday 13th, The return journey

A group of 13 travelling on the 13th had us all wondering what would go wrong. The answer, nothing. The convoy arrived back at Sensei’s home (actually everyone apart from Sensei because he thought we were going to meet at Elliott and Jordan’s).

An Ode written by Kerrie.

The month of August was upon us. The holiday to Wales was here, so the gallant crew, plus one dog, headed off for fun, laughter, food and beer.

We climbed some wonderful mountains and saw some fantastic sights. The weather was good on our visit but our days soon slipped into night.

Each day had a different adventure. Horse riding, rock climbing, waterfalls, tin mines and so much more. For Wales offered so many choices there was so much for all to explore.

Alas our seven days are now over but the pictures and memories will stay forever.
To each other we say our good byes until Wales beckons us back once more.

Just a few comments made during the trip.

This washing up lark is not so bad ---- Elliott

“You swing this rope again and I will fill your head in,” said Rob to the instructor.

Iiiiiimmm nnnnnoooottttt neeervooous – said  *!”£$%^  on the high wire.

Who wants a mug of tea? Oh no! No tea bags!

To return to the top press here

Karate Day time lessons

Daytime Karate lessons are now being held on Thursday mornings at the Castle St, Portchester,  Day Centre. For further information please ring 07713284430 or email

These classes are for a range of people with varying abilities and in particular for the older and fairly active person that would like to benefit from the health aspects of practicing Karate and at the same time exercising their minds in the learning of new skills.

Existing students of Karate are also catered for in the lessons. In particular those on shift work and others that cannot get to their regular training lessons.

Further information

For the Portchester Karate Club and clubs in other areas or different training times, please email or telephone 07713284430.

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