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Most of the hiking I do is with SHOT (Salford Hiking Old Timers - it was just supposed to be temporary label until someone came up with a better name, but nobody ever did!). Most of the members started out as members of Salford University Hiking Club who wanted to keep going on trips after graduation. The club was set up in 1993/4 and is still going strong. It has its own website at

SHOT trip to Snowdonia, October 2003

On this trip we stayed in a bunkhouse that belonged to a pub in a hamlet called Rhyd Ddu, but unfortunately turned out to be not next door but about a mile away, through two gates and down a track. From the outside it looked as if it would accommodate about six people in reasonable comfort, but in fact there was sleeping space for 22 and we had it filled almost to capacity. Twelve of the beds were in a normal dormitory; the other ten were in the form of mattresses covering the entire floor area in two small loft spaces accessed by ladders. There was no common room, the kitchen was literally a cupboard with a sink and a stove in it, the dining facilities consisted of a single picnic table outside, and the toilets and showers were shared with the neighbouring campers. Apparently there are plans to enlarge it, but it's still going to be a tight fit.

Bunkhouse Loft in bunkhouse Ascent (bunkhouse is close to lake) Looking down on Rhyd Ddu Panorama from Snowdon
The bunkhouse; ascent of Snowdon; Rhyd Ddu from Snowdon; panorama from top of Snowdon.

SHOT trip to Helvellyn, June 2003

We spent midsummer weekend at the Greenside bunkhouse, which we've used on several previous occasions.

Greenside Me on Swirral Edge
Getting ready to set of on Saturday's hike, and part-way up Swirral Edge.

SHOT trip to Cader Idris in Snowdonia, March 2003

Weather and scenery fabulous, accommodation considerably less so. Despite its attractive outward appearance, Caban Cader Idris - a former school near Dolgellau - was possibly the grottiest bunkhouse we've stayed in. The kitchen was serviceable enough (the toaster didn't work but the grill was pretty effective, and there was a good-sized fridge), but the beds left a lot to be desired. At least three of them had so much of their wire bases missing that they were positively unsafe! The place had storage heaters but couldn't be described as cosy despite the unseasonably warm weather, there was no hot water in the washbasins, one of the two toilets had a broken seat, and the showers could only be described as tepid. Somebody had dumped a pile of clothes in one of the showers prior to our arrival, which implied a lack of cleaning! There were signs telling us not to park in about half of the available space (apparently the neighbour used the area as a turning circle) but we had to ignore those because there was nowhere else available. In fact there was only enough "official" (i.e. gravelled) parking space for three vehicles, and even that had to be shared with the occupant of the neighbouring chalet, who fortunately was away for the weekend.

Caban Cader Idris Dodgy bed - not much wire left!
Caban Cader Idris, where we stayed. Looks lovely from the outside, but the second picture shows the state of some of the beds!

Walk up Cader Idris. The first photo shows us at the summit. The second one shows the scree route down that we decided against taking, instead opting to retrace our steps down a longer but less hazardous route.

Our makeshift barbecue At the Centre for Alternative Technology Justine making waves at CAT Marianne at CAT
The makeshift barbecue we built on the Saturday night, and Sunday's visit to the Centre for Alternative Technology near Machynlleth.

SHOT New Year trip to the Outer Hebrides, 2002/3

This year's traditional New Year trip to Scotland was to the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, where we stayed in Rockview Bunkhouse in Tarbert. While the south of England flooded, we could hardly have asked for better weather!

Portree Independent Hostel Portree harbour Dunvegan Castle
The Isle of Skye, where we stayed overnight before catching the ferry from Uig to Tarbert the following afternoon: the very friendly Portree Independent Hostel; the harbour from the top of the "Lump", with the Old Man of Storr visible in the distance; Dunvegan Castle.

Loch Lacasdail Anne & me by Loch Lacasdail Clisham ridge Summit of Strathabhal Descent from Strathabhal Descent from Strathabhal
Walk on our first full day on Harris: up the side of Loch Lacasdail with Anne, then over Strathabhal and back down the other side of the loch, about ten miles in total. The third photo shows the view across to the Clisham ridge.

Taransay & bay at Seilebost Lobster pots at Leverburgh Enthusiastic chickens! Northton beach
A leisurely stroll up the road from Leverburgh to Northton (SW Harris). The panoramic picture, taken from Seilebost, shows the Isle of Taransay, which was populated until the early 1970s, and where the BBC recently filmed "Castaway". Other pictures: lobster pots at Leverburgh (An T-Oib); a few of the chickens that greeted me with great enthusiasm when I went to look round the back of an empty house in Northton; the gorgeous beach at Northton.

Stornoway harbour Stornoway war memorial
Stornoway harbour and war memorial.

Dinner time Ceilidh
Hogmanay: at dinner in the bunkhouse, and Julian and Anne dancing at the ceilidh in the community centre.

Tarbert North Harris from South Harris
Walk on New Year's Day: Morning sun on Tarbert (the biggish white house on the left was our accommodation, and the glare is off the side of the ferry); view across to North Harris from the (treeless) South Harris Forest; me with West Loch Tarbert in the background.

St. Cuthbert's Church Stockinish Post Office Bernera Post Office - the UK's smallest? Looking south from Callanish Callanish Standing Stones Callanish Standing Stones
A grand tour of Harris & Lewis. St. Cuthbert's Church, at the southern tip of Harris; a great little post office in Stockinish, on the Golden Road (so-called because of the enormous cost of building it) down the east side of South Harris; what surely has to be the UK's smallest post office on the island of Great Bernera, on the western side of Lewis; looking south from Callanish; Callanish Standing Stones.

Carloway Broch Sunset from Carloway Blackhouse Village
Grand tour continued: Carloway Broch (an Iron Age fortified house; you can see Gus between the two sections of the double wall); sunset from Dun Carloway; the Blackhouse Village, which was inhabited until its occupants were rehoused in council accommodation in 1974. The houses have recently been restored and I believe most are now in use as holiday cottages, one of them as a youth hostel.

Meal at Harris Hotel
Our meal at the Harris Hotel on the final evening. Standing at back: Chris, me, Neil. Round the table: Darren, Anne, Bernie, Anna, Mark, Andy, Julian, Gus.

The Black Cuillin from Portree
Back on Skye: the Black Cuillin from Portree.

SHOT trip to Lisbon, December 2002

Not strictly a hiking trip, but we did do a lot of walking while we were there. Over the last five years we've started up a tradition of an overseas Christmas dinner, with Paris in 1998, New York with a stopover in Iceland(!) in 1999, Milan in 2000, and Barcelona in 2001.

Main city square in Rossio Praça Figueira
City squares in the Rossio area of Lisbon.

Port wine shop
Drooling over the port in a shop window.

Outdoor lift Looking towards castle Convent from lift Me by the top of the lift
The outdoor lift that we went up in Baixa, and views from the top.

Tram 28 Alfama view
On the number 28 tram (takes you through a selection of interesting areas of the city), and the view from a viewpoint in Alfama.

View from castle park View from castle park Castle Cheesy group photo
At the castle.

Cathedral Cathedral cloisters Roman & Moorish remains
The cathedral, its cloisters, and the Roman and Moorish remains there.

Houses near waterfront in Alfama Praça Commercio Cristo Rei
Houses by the waterfront at Alfama; Praça Commercio; Cristo Rei, on the other side of the estuary.

Monastery in Bel&eacutem Monastery in Bel&eacutem Monument to the Discoveries View from Monument to the Discoveries Looking back towards bridge & Cristo Rei Bel&eacutem Tower Bel&eacutem Tower
Views around Belém: Monastery of Jeronimos (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos) and its cloister; Monument to the Discoveries (Padrao dos Descobrimentos) and the view from the top; looking back towards the Cristo Rei; Belém Tower (Torre de Belém).

Saturday dinner Saturday dinner
At dinner on Saturday - we were fortunate to find a decent restaurant in Bairro Alto (the main nightlife area) which was able to seat 15 of us without a booking. My bread, egg and garlic soup had to be tasted to be believed!

Palacio da Pena Palacio da Pena Castle at Sintra Castle at Sintra - overlooking town Castle at Sintra Palacio da Pena from castle at Sintra
Sintra: the incredible hilltop Pena Palace (Palacio da Pena) and the neighbouring Moorish castle.

Big beers at a cafe in Baixa Funicular tram Expo '98 site
Last few piccies: huge beers at a cafe in Baixa on Sunday night; one of several funicular trams in the city; part of the Expo '98 site, not far from the airport.

SHOT trip to Braithwaite, October 2002

The October trip was to Braithwaite, near Keswick in the Lake District. The weather was drizzly all morning on Saturday, and although it cleared up in the afternoon, the cloud stayed low. As I was recovering from a bad cold I didn't undertake anything too ambitious: just a morning walk to the summit of Dodd (accompanying the group who were going on to launch an assault on Skiddaw) followed by an afternoon in Keswick. The other group walk was of the horseshoe surrounding Braithwaite. Sunday, by contrast, was beautiful - at least in the morning - but with the prospect of the M6 ahead of me I wasn't hanging around for long enough to do a walk.

Youth centre Zoë
The Methodist youth centre we stayed in.

Bassenthwaite Lake Braithwaite and its surrounding fells Keswick (on the left) and Derwentwater
Views from Dodd Summit: Bassenthwaite Lake to the north, Braithwaite (and the fells of the horseshoe walk) to the west, and Keswick and Derwentwater to the south. The summit has only recently been cleared of trees planted by the Forestry Commission and the views are pretty spectacular even in poor weather.

Looking over Braithwaite towards Skiddaw in the late afternoon, after the weather had cleared up. The low peak toward the left-hand side of the picture is Dodd Summit.

Mark H & Tim's 30th birthday trip to South Wales, September 2002

Mark and Tim chose to celebrate their 30th birthdays with a hiking weekend based at Smithy's Bunkhouse in the village of Pantygelli, just north of Abergavenny - and, needless to say, with a pub within easy reach.

The bunkhouse Outside the bunkhouse: Mark and Rachel with Thomas Daniel Thomas on an old tipper truck
At the bunkhouse: junior members Thomas and Daniel, and a few others.

Sugarloaf Ascending Sugarloaf At summit of Sugarloaf Skirrid Inn (Wales' oldest, apparently, dating from the 1100s) The hill that overlooked Pantygelli
Our walk on day one: a 12(ish)-mile circular route taking in Sugarloaf and the Skirrid Inn.

Llanthony Priory A public bridleway is supposed to be passable to horses and bicycles - but they'd have had trouble with this one!
Our walk on day two began and ended at Llanthony Priory. It was supposed to be a walk along a public bridleway to a waterfall but the farmer clearly didn't encourage use of the bridleway and we decided against searching for the waterfall when we reached a farmyard full of extremely vicious dogs.

SHOT trip to the Berwyn Arms, near Llangollen - June 2002

At the end of June we had a weekend based at a pub in North Wales called the Berwyn Arms. Despite the vast amounts of alcohol consumed on Friday evening, some substantial walks were undertaken on the Saturday. I joined the group walking the Berwyn Mountains ridge. By the end of the day my knees were in such a poor state that I was only fit for a stroll along the canal towpath in Llangollen on the Sunday, but plenty of others had the same idea because it meant they'd be able to get back to a pub in time for the World Cup final!

Chris T Emily Chris T
In the pub, Friday night and Saturday morning.

On Cader Berwyn(?) View on the walk Calf
Pictures from the walk on Saturday.

Canal walk Canal bridge Canal Bridges around the canal Ducks Ducklings paddling furiously! Horseshoe Falls
Canal walk on Sunday.

Horse-drawn barge Whelans on barge Whelans on barge Whelans on barge
The Whelans' trip on a horse-drawn barge.

SHOT New Year trip to Tobermory, 2001/2

We have a hiking club tradition of spending New Year in Scotland. This year it was Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, where we took over the youth hostel. Nice hostel, and a gorgeous location. Not many peaks got bagged though!

Tobermory seafront Tobermory seafront View from the golf course Waterfall in Aros Park
Around Tobermory

New Year's Eve (Hogmanay): this year's fancy dress costume theme (another tradition) was "circus performers and sideshow freaks". We participated in the local ceilidh in full costume!

Thomas & Daniel
Thomas and Daniel Waddington, two of SHOT's more junior members.

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© Lynne Donaldson
This page last edited 30th August 2004