The Anabasis in 50 Objects: Object 51 and onwards 

Objects 26-50       
Objects 1-25

Object Number Fifty One: The Fourteen Peaks/Welsh Three Thousanders

Object Number Fifty Two: The Crampons   Object Number Fifty Three: Rowena's Scooter

Object Number Fifty Four: Ron James            Object Number Fifty Five: Len Kata's Tent

Object Number Fifty One:

The 14 Peaks/Welsh 3000s Challenge

map Thank you to Chris Alston for this exceptionally  energetic Object.

 The Welsh 3000’s Challenge is a trek across the  three mountain groups of northern Snowdonia,  encompassing the Carneddau, Glyderau and  Snowdon.  From the start point to the finish point  (Summit to Summit), it is approximately 24 miles  long but an overall distance of over 30 miles should    be expected.  The challenge is often undertaken by  fell runners and hill walkers in the summer months,  ideally mid June or on the longest day of the year,  21st June.  Since Ordnance Survey reproduced  surveys in metric measurements, a fifteenth peak,  Garnedd Uchaf, has been added. The hut provides    the ideal location to prepare for a  challenge of this  magnitude and we have seen many  Anabasis  members successfully complete the  challenge and  partake in a few celebratory drinks  afterwards.  This  event has been used as a bench  mark for fitness  prior to expeditionary club meets in  the Alps and  further afield, however my successful  attempt was  done on behalf of the Royal  British Legion and in the  company of Andy Murphy.

After a few visits to Garth to carry out a route recce of the three sections, Andy and I opted to commence our walk on 14 June 2003.  Starting at first light, we ascended Crib Goch and made our way towards Snowdon, where we were fortunate to have the summit and views to ourselves for a brief period.  We then descended towards Llanberis and side tracked down towards the foot of Elidir Fawr.  From there, we tackled Y Garn, the Glyders and Tryfan in the scorching heat.  We were fortunate to have our supportive family to meet us at various points to replenish our rations and water, however we were stood up at our first rendezvous point as my parents had caused the ultimate distraction by turning up to the Ogwen Car Park with baby Benjamin Murphy.  We couldn’t complain as seeing him come along for the experience gave us even more motivation.

After a good feed and much needed hydration, we ascended Pen yr Ole Wen, this time accompanied by George Murphy who fancied a bit of a moonlit walk for old times’ sake.  Clear skies and warm weather made the Carneddau relatively easy going as darkness fell.  Andy and I weren’t at our best as we were both sporting numerous aches and pains from our time with the military, however we arrived at Foel Fras in a time of 16 hrs 20 mins.

We descended via Drum and met up with Di, Colette Murphy and Steph Alston who transported us back to the hut where we were treated to a fabulous bowl of Goulash and a glass of champagne.  Very proud to have joined the long list of club members who have completed the 14 Peaks, many of whom completed it much quicker and in more extreme weather.  In total, our effort was rewarded with donations of 760 for the Royal British Legion which made it all worthwhile.  We look forward to hearing of further attempts at club meets.  Good luck.

The 14 Peaks: Snowdon, Crib-y-Ddysgl, Crib Goch, Elidir Fawr, Y Garn, Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach, Tryfan, Pen-yr-Ole-Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Yr Elen, Carnedd Llewellyn, Foel Grach, Foel Fras. And the 15th: Garnedd Uchaf.

Object Number Fifty Two:

The Crampons

crampons  After labouring away at these Objects for the best part of the year  it turns out that this particular beauty was, literally for anyone in a  standing position facing the stove at Garth, staring us in the face. 
 This particular pair of crampons, it turns out, was cut from metal  catering trays at the then Ford Factory at Halewood. Possibly the  Ford Motor Company was considering diversification into the  manufacture of climbing equipment but it seems more likely that it  was a private project of one of the Duffy brothers who was at  Fords at the time. Charmingly, this particular pair crampons turned  up within a few days of my receiving a photo of my daughter Amy  donning a pair for the very first time (on the Perrito Moreno  Glacier, Argentina). I noted the many years since I donned my
 own and seeing this picture prompted one member to observe:  'By  the way, twin hasn't had his crampons on for even longer although  they are quite useful for spiking the lawn!!'  So Twin's crampons   join Object Number Fifty Two in not seeing action in anger, or  even mild irritation, on the hill. As if this Object has not charmed  you enough already, now allow yourself to be charmed again: just  as charmingly, Object Number Fifty Two turns out to be a close  relation of two other Objects, namely the Square Frying Pan and  the Pair of Ford Wellies.

Object Number Fifty Three:

Rowena's Vesta Scooter


I came to Liverpool in September 1957. After two years at S. Katharine's Teacher Training College on Taggart Avenue, Childwall and one year in Paris I was qualified and given my first post at Stanley Park Girls and began regular earning. I was 21. I lived variously in and around south Liverpool falling in and out with landladies who did seem awfully strict. There was the bus of course which took me on long journeys to work but I really needed wheels. At home in West Yorkshire I'd passed my car licence after my parents inherited a car when I was 19 but there was no question of owning a car. At the end of September and with my first salary (40 which diminished to 36 per month as I began to pay tax) I bought a Vespa 125 on the 'never never'. It was a great release, a true joy to all my friends and a loveable toy in the Anabasis. We did North Wales, the Lakes and, Mary Hobster (Win Pope as she was then did ) and I, rode to Northern Ireland and the Isle of Wight. I came off regularly on the setts around roundabouts in Liverpool. Courteous cars and buses just stopped whilst I gathered myself together again and sometimes drivers would come and pick me up. The journey back home over the Pennines was a very long and cold experience and the Floating Light was great for a hot milk and brandy once I had clipped my iced fingers off the handlebars. Ian (Cass) had first one and then another motorbike but they had to be sold as we married in December 1961. Somehow we clung on to the Vespa. He was still a student and would bump start the Vespa on the cobbles of Salisbury Road, drive me to school and hang on to the scooter during the day. Such is the compromise of marriage! In the Summer holidays of 1962 we set off to climb in Scotland, the Vespa so heavily loaded that the back tyre burst on the East Lancs. Road. Catastrophe! There was no question of buying a new tyre. So we placed all on our backs, hide the Vespa in a ditch/hedge at the side of the road and hitch-hiked to Scotland. Such was our naivety that, weeks later, we were surprised that it was no longer there. We contacted the Police to solve the mystery. They were equally amazed that we expected it to be there and even suggested that we should pay for the removal of the skeleton that they'd had to arrange to be removed. So the Vespa had died and so had the Summer. Ian had qualified, had his first post in York so we left Liverpool.
They were romantic days of early beginnings and youthful dreams. There must have been the 'down' moments but I remember all as rosy.

Object Number Fifty Four: 

Ron James

Ron James

The Object is not Ron James himself but his book, Rock Climbing in North Wales, always referred to as 'Ron James', or just 'Ron', and as such as likely to be 'he' as 'it' in pronoun form. First published in 1970, just a year before I first set hand to rock, it was, I think, the first compendium guide to Rock Climbing in Wales ('Wales' meant North Wales then, as if there was nothing to climb south of Tremadoc). There was a second edition in 1975, the only significant difference (that I remember) was the inclusion of A Dream of White Horses - It replaced Rap, also at Gogarth, which had appeared in the first edition. Ron appreared before the numerical grades (4c, 5a, etc) and the E numbers (E1, E2, etc) came along and so we had VS-, VS, VS+, HVS-, HVS, HVS+, ES-, etc. (There was nothing in the book above ES-). Despite Ron becoming out-moded and its 8 x 4 and quarter inches dimensions making it impractical for use 'in the field', it came to enjoy almost biblical status in our little group - Simon Letts, Paul Bliss, Ken Ainsworth, Stewart Prince. The status was such that Ron was inlcuded in a points system which gave, to any climb we succeeded on, 1 point to a VS, 2 to a Hard VS, 3 to an 'Extreme', 4 if it was in Ron James, and 5 if it was in Hard Rock. We took the grades from elsewhere, several of our 'Extremes' being given HVS+ in Ron. It meant that 12 points was the maximum possible and reserved for things like White Slab, Gogarth and The Grooves, with 'easier' things like Diagonal and Dwm coming in with 11 points. Ron was also handy in that he allowed for the occasional cheeky aid point which proved very helpful on 6-pointers like The Crucible and Plexus. We never got round to nominating an equivalent book for the Lakes or Scotland and that meant that the most points any climb away from North Wales could muster would be 8. So, it was utterly ridiculous, but it felt right because there was something special about our climbs in Garth's back yard. All but one of those 'Extremes' were of course E1s, but If we had known that Mousetrap eventually became an E2 we could have claimed 13 points for that one! (Ron, bless him, had it as a HVS-). One more little recollection - I found myself riding in a car once through Llanberis with a couple of male climbers, one of whom said that Ron (himself, not the book) had been seen climbing Cemetery Gates (7 points) with his wife, Barbara, and his companion observed 'that's a hard climb for a woman' (!) Ouch!

 Object Number Fifty Five

Len Kata's Tent, or another visit to remote antiquity

(following on from Object 9). No photograph is known to exist, but there is a splendid image of the owner in Object 47. Len, sadly, is no longer with us to present this Object himself so I shall. We need to go way back to the make-do-and-mend, pre-affluence times when folk kitted themselves out in ex-WD oilskin gas capes and white sea-boot hose from the wonderful old Army and Navy Store on Byrom Street ( remember the pervasive brewery smell?). My own gas cape cost five shillings (25p)- well within my budgetary limit of seven-and-sixpence.
Some of us also wore “Joe Brown” hats like Bill Murphy’s (Object 30) but in more tasteful shades. I once overheard the great man himself ( Joe, not Bill ) selling one. “Best thing ever invented,” he announced but then paused and ( lest this should  sound too large a claim ) modestly added, “for keeping your head warm.”

In those days much the best tent in the club was owned by George and Di Murphy. It was an Arctic Guinea, an expedition-proven design with so many guy-ropes it must have taken most of a week-end to put up and take down. Len tried to rival its weatherproof qualities  by placing one old tent inside another, slightly larger, one. The result caused astonishment and curiosity. So when I mentioned that I had slept in it I was asked to describe the mysteries of its interior. I refused, fearing reprisals if I spoke without the owner’s permission. This is probably unfair to Len, who was a kind, considerate chap unlikely to unleash his unarmed-combat skills at me.

Rumours that the tent was involved in Len’s role as an international man of mystery, and that it contained CIA communications equipment, were unfounded. They probably arose from its resemblance to the Arab tents used by the CIA to camouflage its gear in the Middle East. Tent and owner are remembered with affectionate nostalgia.

(Thank you to Warwick Waterworth for this antique object).

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