Posted by: adamharmer | January 16, 2012

Summing Up 2011

I’ve been meaning to write this blog update for some time but as usual my life never slows down and 2011 was no exception.

It started the way 2010 ended, climbing ice. Anne and I were lucky enough to hit the Lake District and Scotland in perfect frozen conditions climbing about 6-7 ice routes, these included Cautley Spout in the Howgills, Sour Milk Gill and Newlands Hauze, Lake District, and then Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis, Scotland.

Crossing Tower Gap, Ben Nevis, Scotland

I quickly got involved with the Fast Track Instructor Scheme after this back at PyB. The scheme allows potential instructors to embark on a 4-month process of obtaining experience and qualifications.  During this period I completed the MBLA’s Trail Cycle Leader Award and Mountain Bike Leader Training.

Another quick trip to Scotland saw me working for Ken Hughes on his BCU White Water 5* Training and Assessment courses in April again, but my year by this point was gearing up for lots of miles in a sea kayak.


Well May saw me compete in the first Ocean Kayak Race on Anglesey. The weather that weekend was very windy  and was moved to the Menai Straits, but I acheived 3rd place in the Sea Kayak category. The following month saw me compete in the Windermere Kayak Race down the length of Windermere where I came 2nd in my class.

Adam out in front of the pack, Sea Kayak Race, Menai Straights

Later that week Anne and I then paddled out to the Farne Islands, off the North East coast of England, surviving the Terns was an unusual experience but perfect conditions allowed me to gain further sea kayak miles, again why?

The Farne Islands Lighthouse

Well back in 2010 I got contacted by Simon Coward of Aquabatics, in Calgary, Canada. Simon is a great friend and he suggested we entered the Yukon 1000 race. I quickly signed up for what I thought sounded like a wicked adventure.

Now for those of you who don’t know what the Yukon 1000 is, its the LONGEST CANOE AND KAYAK RACE IN WORLD, AT 1000 MILES LONG DOWN THE RIVER YUKON. Was I mad? thats what most people said….

I was therefore obviously in training for this race in July/August 2011. I won’t spoil the story, please see my following post; extracts from the Canoe and Kayak magazine article I wrote on my return.

Another stunning sunset on the 2011 Yukon Race

September saw me return to my work at Plas y Brenin, the National Mountain Centre. Although working at PyB doesn’t mean I slowed down at all, in fact every moment was jam packed, two of my highlights were working on a Mountain Leader Assessment and the last ever BCU Level 5 course the centre ran.

Tryfan in the Sun

I was also kept occupied in my evenings too. The Yukon race really revitalised my energy levels (after I initially recovered) and so 3 or 4 evenings a week I would escape the house and head off running or mountain biking.

The restful evenings were then left to plan my final expedition/holiday of the year. KENYA

November saw a team of 4; Adam Harmer, Dan Butler, Jon ‘Spike’ Green and Pete Catterall, head to Kenya to explore new rivers as part of the Below and Beyond Mount Kenya team, this was a similar team to the previous Below and Beyond Machu Picchu expedition back in 2009 to Peru.

Just like Peru, Kenya was a highly successful expedition, completing 6 first descents and also assessing Kenya and Uganda’s first BCU 5* holders.

More information on the expedition can be found at

Team Below and Beyond Mount Kenya

So a very successful year, and again I here myself saying ‘I wonder what 2012 will bring’.

If you want to hear about one of these wacky and amazing adventures why not get a group together and maybe I’ll come present to you as part of my lecture tour.

On the other hand if you need some training, someone to assess an outdoor award or get out in the hills or on the water with then just drop me an email at-

All the best for now



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