This afternoon’s amble is to Malham Cove in North Yorkshire, near Skipton. This was a very bright late Spring day surrounded by Hawthorne blossom. after the walk down the valley there is a bit of a climb up but the path resembles the M1 for traffic and there is a proper staircase. There were people in trainers and ….oh you know. It’s hard getting the balance of not ‘meddling’ in nature but the need for protection, and allowing people to visit and thus strengthening or managing pathways to avoid the damage from millions of boots…..like mine.
This is the last walk near Grindelwald (1034m) for a while. After taking the cable cars up to the tourist activity centre at First (2166m), we take a steady 6km walk to Buchalpsee. This is one of the more iconic views in the area. Whilst only about a 100m climb, the route is almost like a motorway with tourists, however the fauna and flora are quite amazing….as are the views. It’s a walk where the Swiss signposts say 1.5hr but it takes us about 2.5hr as you just have to keep stopping for views and to examine the endless variety of rockeries of flowers and spot a marmot. Oh and I added a photo of me to show we were really there.
Shame I said just 10 photos but there we are.
This walk needs the steamer from Glenridding down to Howtown. There is a decent amble back along the lakeside but still has its ups and downs. This autumnal day Mrs D took me up and over the top to Place Fell. But it was a bit late on the top for any decent photos.
Prepare a decent lunch and a couple of flasks for todays walk.
This was written for the Nottingham City Council campaign and is on the NCC intranet but it might get more publicity for reading out in the open
We are encouraging more children to read as part of the council’s new literacy campaign ‘Ambitious for every child’. We know that an early love of books and reading can help children to be more successful in the future. In this blog, our Education Director John Dexter reflects on his early experience of books and the impact it had on his life and teaching career…
The great children’s writer Roald Dahl said of reading: “I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.”
When I was a child, we had very few books at home, only one or two suitable for children, so I read those several times, but my Dad took me to the library every few weeks. I loved those trips, partly being with him, which was rare, and partly as I entered a new world every week:
- Outer space, imaginary planets, inconceivable journeys, hideouts, far off islands, distant countries, danger…
- The world of pirates, ancient peoples, Victorians, Romans, firefighters, commanders, heroes, ghosts…
- Safely in a war zone, a baking hot African country, the freezing ice sheets of Antarctica, the beauty of mountain landscape, the enchanting Far East, the hill stations of India, an adventure with superheroes…
Sometimes escaping, often fantastic, occasionally scary, always learning. But so grateful for the world I entered. It’s not just about learning the basics of reading to access the modern world, it is about being literate, about learning and sharing, enjoying and getting ideas, or having ideas challenged.
As a teacher, you might expect me to say all this but I was never very comfortable with English, let alone English Literature (a subject I failed aged 16). Not until I met with Mr Scholar (great name for a teacher). As I chose to study science, my school insisted we had “extra” English lessons – I almost despaired but probably not as much as Mr Scholar. So we came to an agreement, there was no syllabus, no exam so why didn’t he tell us what he loved to read: fiction, non-fiction, plays poetry… that set me on the road to enjoying reading and that helped me become literate.
When I worked in secondary schools, I am proud of the literacy challenges we put in place: every Wednesday, 25 minutes of silent reading, save those who struggled to read helped by trained sixth form literacy coaches. This routine said:
- reading is important enough to have on the secondary curriculum
- there is a need for time set aside to read seriously and
- promoting discussion between pupils and between staff and pupils about reading, about books, about fiction or non-fiction is healthy
- ambitions can be fuelled by literacy
For me that was great, I honestly believed reading was just so undervalued. I once made my Year 11 Science class read aloud for a whole hour lesson. At the end, one student said: “I can’t believe how much I have learnt Sir, it helped me make sense of many of our lessons.” This said something about me, probably, but I just hoped he would read the rest of the book.
I was sooooo enthusiastic to get my own children to read. But here sits a secondary teacher with no idea how to teach reading, so it was the obvious: read to them, read with them, listen to them, tell them stories, find stories, get them to find stories… and I remembered that’s what my Dad did too; he took me to the library and he took books out as well. Adults can model the importance of reading by reading themselves, set aside time, and help choose books or give them as gifts.
I am envious of the wonderful array of books available today, and at reasonable costs, but the Dolly Parton Imagination Library sending 60 books over five years to small children offers a great opportunity to start reading, start imagining, to relax reading and even to find a better balance in life. But most of all to learn and enter the funny, exciting and wonderful world Dahl describes.
Go on, be ambitious and give it a go.
If you wish to support Councillor Mellen’s big read, please do so here.
OR BETTER Still tell us all about a book you loved as a child, or loved reading to your children or grandchildren or would give as a gift?
An amazing experience, which would have been incredible and fantastic but was made even moreso or as we teacher’s say “EBI” ( even better if) for the fact I went with 9 great Nottingham City colleagues and we had a wonderful Chinese guide and interpreter, all of whom added the value to make it totally amazing.
You cannot go up the Pearl of Shanghai and look over the biggest City in the world (population 24 million) and not think – this is where the future of the world will be centred and so we need a plan, not a Brexit neither an educational plan but a proper plan.
China is a long way away – 5750 miles to be precise or exactly 24 hours from me leaving a hotel in Shanghai to arriving at my front door in Nottingham. But it’s also a long distance away culturally and we so enjoyed discovering just touching upon something of its culture.
It’s a country of the highest population 1.4 billion –roughly 24 times the population of the UK and yet the 4th biggest by area which means a lot and I mean a lot of tower block apartments offices and hotels. Shanghai is the biggest City in the world. (24.2 million). We travelled to Ningbo about 4 hours away, including crossing a bridge of 16km to Ningbo, a City the size of London. It’s busy on the roads but those on cycles, motorcycles or even walking seem to just move at random and hey the cars stop and we saw no accidents. Green spaces are precious.
We enjoyed wonderful cuisine – not like westernised Chinese food. We ate like royalty with exquisite food brought out for us, vegetable dishes, meat, noodles, all kinds of tastes, flavours and textures but not too much rice, rice comes at the end and you are not really expected to eat it. Oh and we used chopsticks all the time. Meals were very sociable, no distractions and plenty of conversations, and no rush, no TV, little wifi. That’s less cultural and more….common sense.
We were very well looked after by our guides, interpreters and hosts, who took us to the most interesting of places from tourist spots, to restaurants and of course to ensuring we travelled to time. In China one is never late. They could not have been more helpful, supportive, informative and generous, as were the hotels we stayed in and all the colleagues we met. And there was a thing – I asked one teacher what she hoped for her pupils “to give them every opportunity to learn”. QED the commonality of the vocation.
The culture is well documented but we were shown honour, respect, admiration and treated with huge kindness and generosity by our hosts. I was delighted to be part of a team that did exactly the same for one another on the trip especially when ‘stuff’ happened and they looked out to encourage, share and support even though we hardly knew each other beforehand. Representing different sectors the conversations gave us all further insight and arguably the best of CPD (one early years, two Primary heads one Primary adviser, four middle leaders from Secondary, one partnership lead and me from the LA). Such enthusiasm to ensure “this works” for our children.
To be a tourist and see the bund and river at Shanghai as well as to go up to the 263m Pearl of Shanghai were something but also wandering the tourist shops and trying to bargain was fun. A privilege to visit the oldest library in China (Ningbo) founded in 1561 and be welcomed as honoured guests was special. More special for us educators as we value our school library or local library and we value lifelong learning. Nevertheless our visit enabled us to consider just how ignorant we were of Chinese history and culture and the potential in the Far East.
What did we miss ? – very little, we had tea, it tasted different but we were ‘tasting’ China. We did not have access to facebook, twitter or google and we had withdrawal but we chatted and we asked questions and discussed education and other matters and we enjoyed the company, well until we hit wifi in a hotel then we caught up on messages via a message/chat system called wechat. We missed traffic jams, we missed litter, we did actually miss a few hours of sleep somewhere along the way. You know something else? We didn’t miss pupils, even English pupils, at that even Nottingham City pupils because we stopped at a service station in this vast country and met 10 pupils from one of our local primary schools – having an incredible time – though perhaps a little tired ( much like us) they were full of the experience.
And so to education and some things I have learned and of course I may be wrong that the whole system looks like this but here are my ponderings :
• Families really value education. Politicians value education. Children value their education. Teachers are highly respected (highest in the world according to this survey). This is a deeply cultural matter and about ethos, respect for schools, for teachers and for learning. We met teachers (sure a small sample but the message overwhelms) full of enthusiasm and diligence, we saw little disruption, and amongst pupils a willingness to work hard and and try your best. There is the extreme high pressures involved in the Gaokao exam but setting that to one side the atmosphere in schools was overwhelmingly positive
• Proper resource follows the commitment – beautiful buildings; pride in showing us round. I saw huge sportshall ( possibly 4 full size basketball courts and on the floor above about 30 ping pong tables ( I even played the Principal). Their lecture theatre seated 500. We did not hear any complaint about lack of funding – of course that may be for other reasons, However the conversations reflected on their pride in schools and I was glad to be with a group of Nottingham heads and teachers also proud of their schools. Pay not be better ( not sure really about buying power etc) but most of us would trade a bit for having a culture and pride and a community which hugely respect teachers given consideration and of course good behaviours. [Although my own view is that a vast majority of parents do respect us in the UK – just some politicians and the press don’t always and look where they sit in terms of trust and respect.]
• Teachers teach large groups of 40, and whilst they had nice staff areas to work in, with space to share and discuss, to plan they too felt pressures. It maybe around (only) 3 hours a day at the front but they have no technicians or TAs or other adults in classes. Oh and those evenings when pupils are back in school for several hours studying and doing homework, guess who supervises. Heads and teachers take pride in pupils and in their learning. We heard about two schools at the Bureau sharing speeches and we shared about our two, and common features – pride in the opportunities we offer, in the children’s achievements and the aims and ethos in every school and that included to help our children be global citizens. I asked how the head got his children to work hard – “I don’t have to do anything” he said. Just think what all that means for attendance, punctuality behaviour, background disruption, offering opportunities…..
• I loved the creativity I saw, in particular pride in traditions, but also in creating new traditions. We saw some amazing artwork, incredible calligraphy, beautiful ceramics, others saw sport and music to an amazing standard. We met artists in residence and I was invited to play a computer at a board game, a computer that literally picked up pieces in response to my move and you guessed it – the programme and the hardware created by ….a pupil from scratch.
I also had a discussion with a Chemistry teacher – he had created something but our interpreter didn’t know the words, we had a small hand held device that translated and he said it was a ‘CRT’ and I said ‘oh a Cathode Ray Tube’ and we whooped! I mentioned Thomson, electrons, Crookes and we needed no interpreter – science can be such a powerful language in itself but check out these facilities:
• Willingness to stay and learn and take every opportunity including boarding, yes boarding for the weekdays because half an hour journey home was “too far”. Long days without TV, without Facebook, without mobile devices and perhaps without immediate family because, they all believe in the benefits from social activity and learning. So we saw some pupils who did more hours of homework in a two days than some of our pupils would do in school in a day. Of course there are concerns about resilience and pressure too.
• Hospitality and generosity – we took gifts with us for our school and Bureau colleagues and received many back but sometimes individual pupils wanted to give us something they had done, some clearly stayed up to make gifts for their visitors.
I was privileged to pass as one of my gifts the music of Sheku Kanneh Mason ( an ex pupil at my old school) who also kindly wrote me a personal message for the schools which I had translated – that went down really well. ( thank you Sheku). But oh, we had fun – trying out our mandarin, working out currency, bartering, wondering where we were heading when taken by taxi to a school, getting trapped in hotel door (me trying to metaphorically to “open doors”) – looking out for each other and smiling our way through.
• Education bureau officials welcomed our vision for future work with them, they are interested in what we are doing and especially how we measure impact. How we know our City wide plans and also our school plans are being effective, as well as our regulator (ofsted) view. They are keen to foster further links Ningbo > Nottingham and Nottingham > Ningbo. we have lots of ideas from championing exchanges and learning mandarin through to just a better basic understanding of China and our own Chinese community. To be honest they struggled to understand how our system works if it means a local area does not have any control of schools. Welcome to my world!
It is quite an amazement that across the world they are interesting in learning from us.
My colleagues are now busy working out how to manage exchanges, to plan visits with children and to welcome children here to Nottingham. We are looking at how we can work together across the distances and cultures but with an internet and with colleagues here and our own traditions – Nottingham has a University campus in Ningbo which we visited and so there is much to consider and challenge and much remains to be curious about. For me I am committing to try and open more doors with friends in Ningbo – and not these doors.
Why music? – aspiration, awe and wonder, incredulity, resilience, emotion, character, spirit, culture, humanity, civility, inspiration, opportunity, participation, perseverance, confidence education educate ….
“Without music, life would be a blank to me.” – Jane Austen
There has been and I suspect always will be much discussion about music in school, from Ed Sheeran wondering why government does not want it on the curriculum when ‘musicians are “wealthy and pay their tax” ‘ to others like Mylene Klass and Julian Lloyd Webber, famous musicians saddened to see music slipping away from schools.
So here is the reflections of a science teacher and school leader in a comprehensive in Nottingham who for a while as headteacher did a bit of a Newton and stood on the shoulder’s of previous headteacher giants but appreciated the view, the mission, the importance and the priority beyond “a subject”.
Why teach music? What? Why teach anything?
I am a science teacher, 36 years in classrooms doing my bit to inspire my subject: chemistry, science to my pupils and students BUT recognising the bigger picture of what schools do. Contributing to the proper education of children and young people. Sure there is also maths and English and humanities, languages art, design and performance and there is extra curricular in sport and performance. There are the social and character skills of growing up leading to autonomy, independence and ‘mattering’ but leaders, heads CEOs and teaching staff should think big, be ambitious in the curriculum and with the opportunities provided in their school.
BUT 1. We are limited by accountability – progress 8 and attainment 8 and a desire for an EBacc with subjects almost chosen at random it would appear ( why no RE?). Music could wither because it just can.
AND 2. We are limited by resource – notably availability of teachers or costs such as peripatetic staff and frankly music is quite expensive but……read on
in my classroom my pupils did science, usually chemistry some continued to A level and into HE
- Some were exceptionally talented and became > professional scientists
- Some needed chemistry in their work and became > medics, vets, pharmacists even physicists and geologists or physics or science teachers
- Others were good, could have been scientists but frankly could have been anything and are all manner of precessions and roles
- Others were just interested and merely wanted to be scientifically literate.
That’s what I faced in my classroom and taught them to my best ability, trying to get them from group4 to group 1; a challenge I loved.
But aren’t the same arguments true for any subject including music. will become professional musicians, some need the music for their profession but almost all pupils love music, spend ages listening to music and being moved by music, or composing or going to concerts……
So beyond the value of studying music beyond that, there are amazing benefits: teamwork, aspiration, hard work, good mental health, peace, joy, comfort…where to start, if music be the food of love play on…..
At Trinity the curriculum promoted music. Orchestra, singing and instrumental work. Every year 7 learnt a musical instrument, we had music lessons lessons and orchestra on the curriculum. then of course GCSE and Level music, music tech, performance…. we had concerts, lunchtime recitals, liturgies and celebrations with music often at the heart and soul. we brought in our primaries, we visited our primaries, we showcased the school to pupils, to parents and to the community.
In Y9 the whole year gave a concert, yes everyone in year 9 to all of year 7 and 8. 175 pupils, the biggest mix of ability you could imagine from some above and beyond grade 8 on an instrument to those still wondering exactly what those black dots meant. It was a highlight of the school year. It showed everyone, pupils and staff just what aspiration could mean, it showed when you do your bit, you contribute to an amazing event. Your little part alongside everyone else little part adds up to something bigger than the sum, massively so. It gave a message “Do that in music and you can do so in sport (they did) in charity giving (they did) and in lessons.” Yes, in lessons if you contribute, join in, you too can increase the learning of the group which includes you, and includes the teacher. Be confident, be civil, find inspiration, become curious, realise reward and success. Did this contribute to an outstanding judgement? Probably.
Daily Telegraph asked and answered: “Can embracing the Arts help teachers broaden their students’ horizons?” A quick google search shows very many schools that can prove the benefits.
But you don’t build this and our amazing concerts and shows and prize givings overnight. A generation ago (1980s) Trinity school was heading for closure when the head Mr Bonner was appointed. He had a vision, amongst which every pupil would learn music, every pupil play or sing in a concert. One day every pupil in a concert and every every family, friend and relative present to watch. We just about managed it as he retired in 2005. So many pupils over that time headed to conservatoires, or to the royal academy, others became professional musicians others got involved in amateur music or church music or jazz music or music teaching……I can go on. Over that period even I got cross at times, I recall helping him unload some kettle drums, I think they cost a bit less than my entire budget “but john wait until you see the effect on the orchestra” – he was right. It became almost a standing joke that staff were not appointed unless they could teach a bit of music, e.g. an instrument or play in the orchestras. I wondered how I got a job! He appointed genuinely outstanding music staff, hugely dedicated and an incredible music lead. Such incredible talent, creativity and industry alongside the amazing ability to find music to allow a beginner to contribute but a star to shine. Peripatetic staff who could bring young children on, who could encourage them in their instrumental but also to take part in a brass band or a jazz group or a strings group, the chamber orchestra etc. Not only that but singing echoed that – proper choir singing, high standards but also music for the ‘ boys vocal group’.
There is no simple magic this is a long term project and the lessons were incredible but results proved so much QED was never so true. Music needs dedication and hard work (great our pupils learnt about dedication and hard work). The rewards are somewhat unmeasurable, but not unforgettable, pupils part of and integral to, the events many pupils remember – concerts, shows, special prize evening (dominated by musicians). Admiration of friends and family, yes the school s a community and as a Church community fulfilling its ethos, mission and and ambition. I believe music wiped away much bullying (yes we did still have some). After Sheku Kanneh Mason won the BBC young musician of the year in 2016 he returned to school on the Wednesday and as he walked through the gate almost the whole of lower school ran to the fence to cheer and applaud him. One night on bus duty I asked a sixth former how her day had been, incredible sir I’ve been getting into Shostakovich thanks to Sheku.
We need music in schools, the decisions are for school leaders and governors but also for government to ensure adequate funding and a sense of value and worth, music can’t be ‘the extra’ but it is expensive – staffing costs, peripatetic costs, instrumental costs.
Otherwise our secondaries will drop down to having a few part timers and a small music GCSE, group as few chose it in Y8 ( as more and more schools push options into year 8).
Did my subject benefit from music and performance? It’s a resounding YES from me.
….and here is another school in Bradford which has put music centre stage with amazing results, highlighted in the educational press recently (2018).
As John Rutter says
“It shames us in the UK as a nation. Music education isn’t a frill to be left to the private sector and open only to those who can pay, it’s at the heart of what makes us human and civilised. Any politicians reading this?
Some of our ex students – from groups 1 to 4, professional ones to those who just appreciated the opportunities have commented below. You may not see them without scrolling down especially on a mobile phone. They are well worth a read.
In a way it doesn’t matter if it’s a NEW week or a NEW term or a NEW year – or all three in one!
Schools start the new term with INSET and those slightly odd first days of admin and assemblies, but they will nevertheless ring out with their ‘year group assemblies’ and classrooms and numbers of teachers saying “It’s a new start“.
It is so good we can give a fresh new clean start, some children really need this, probably some adults need it too. There is something special about the first page of the new book, the new uniform, the new shoes. Almost all the new year 7 will have had a photograph taken at home before they came to school in their new uniform at their new school. Its a new world as well as a new beginning.’
Even staff love their clean, new mark book, new planner and new diary. I wonder when do they become those old tattered friends filled with details of lives? Whilst I appreciate what ICT can do for us, opening a new ‘Word document’ just does not have the same effect. As for my new exercise book – does writing on any page get better than that crisp new page at the front after writing “your name and subject”? In my career two pupils when asked to do this have actually written ‘your name’ and one pupil wrote ‘Fred Bloggs‘ after I actually said don’t write ‘your name’ but write your name for example Fred Bloggs – hey ho I’m such a poor communicator.
Of course it isn’t really a brand new start, unless you are Y7 or a brand new shiny teacher, but it is a new year. It is a chance to start afresh, staff have had a break, and the rhythm of school brings us full circle with a new intake and the school year has rewound to the start once again. I worked outside of education a short while and talking with friends it does not happen so clearly elsewhere, people holiday at different times and the ‘new’ does not happen. I know that some blog readers will not be believers but there is an echo of the church calendar. When a church gathers on a Sunday it’s the first day of the week, and some time is spent reflecting on the last week, seeking forgiveness before looking to the new opportunities in the week ahead. There is no doubt we need to reflect in school. My first teacher planners which I genuinely treasure are hand written with the left column my plan and the right hand column my reflection. A reminder how I sat with my ‘old’ planner to see what had gone well and what had gone badly, to do more of the former and none of the latter. Following the story of my lessons I can see (and still recall) sometimes it worked sometimes it didn’t BUT it was vital in that important aspect: ‘ how can I improve?’
Back to the new term, new opportunities, new ideas to try and and meanwhile forget the rotten, bad bits of the past, to an extent putting that behind us. This is also a time when we tend to think a little about what is really important to us as we begin a new year, you probably heard some of it in the head’s ‘Welcome Back‘ speech. Pupils often need a new start, and not always at the start of the new school year, a little bridge back into their school community and a new opportunity, probably not too many if the action plans don’t work but forgiveness might be important for some. They too will embrace the challenge of the new year, maybe the new school for Y7 or the new Y10 curriculum they had a say in choosing for themselves, or a very big shiny new Y12 confidently or with a big dose of trepidation starting those A levels ( hey it’s a big jump this new year). Fear and joy, it is just so exciting, well and scarey. Pupils need support and bags of encouragement – some secretly want to take part in the school play this year, learn a new instrument, take up a new sport, or even make new friends or just make amends. Parent and teachers can help them – or hinder them.
I always found the first full ‘normal’ week back quite hard, I’m not sure what the next class would bring into the room, I got a bit sick of the sound of my voice, the holiday had no bells and now they ring the lesson start and end. Nevertheless it is the start, it’s the beginning of an exciting new journey. Welcome back to the new term and being in the challenges and opportunities of teaching and learning.
And some questions for you to think about in the nouvou world:
Q1 When we and our pupils are so busy how do we find time to reflect?
Q2 I made my Y12 write themselves a letter about how their revision and Y 12 mock exams went immediately after they were over in the summer. We then opened them this week and reflected. What activities do you use to help pupils (and staff) reflect, in the busy routines?
Q3 Is there a limit to how many times can we give a new beginning before we say that really is enough?
and a bit more thinking about the mundus novus in Church schools:
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning …
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Hebrews 8:13 By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
Ephesians 4:24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
You might like to read other posts from my timetable of teaching – each is set out from lesson in the school week, before or after school or at the weekends, appropriate to the time of day. I have also started a class lists or “set lists” which was to answer the questions: “why be a teacher?”or “why have other responsibilities in a school?” Shortly I am starting a new area about progress from one role or experience in teaching to another with hints and tips about successfully moving on in the job and your teaching career.
I am John’s trusty Lowa boots, however he doesn’t trust himself when we speed along (rightly, sort of his ‘getting frail’ age) therefore he also uses his Leki sticks…sometimes. We covered 107km in 9 days walking but don’t get excited most was down mountain or at best along mountain and occasionally uphill.Lots of my walking was done on ice and rock, stepping stones. So this is the pearl of the Alps Saas Fee – beautiful save the glacier is recedingI was not stepping on these Alpine flowers I am just trying to show you their size. They are everywhere and very pretty, very.
I do occasionally put my feet up, stop for a rest or a view, we don’t do coffee. This looks steep, it was, I am pretty sure John was a scaredy cat, he walked but rarely looked down – he should have seen it from my view!This is an avalanche protection barrier, there was no snow above or on the paths today but there was another steep drop to the village below, good job John trusts me.The paths are well marked, well signposted but always marked in “hours”. These times were measured using local olympic walkers so I had to add at least 50% extra time.See now there is a lunch stop view. John takes lunch, we would happily keep trekking. He can be weedy.and here is a close up of the waterfall into that Lake, notice that as the star I am still in focus.
This is John riding the cable cars. He likes it, as he gets up big mountains quickly, we Lowa’s think of it as – well cheating.This is a small glacial pool, which I crossed at just under 4,000m, and yes I did get wet but being a Lowa I’m Ok with that, as I am very waterproof. Mind it was cold, icy cold unsurpsingly.…..and these are the surroundings but the scale is tricky if you can enlarge the photo you’ll see those little dots at the top are climbers….This day we took him into proper ‘over 10,000ft’ snow and ice, notice the trousers, first time we’ve met them. This looks like sludge as it’s the bottom of the glacial snow line. We welched in this for about 200m, that is 200m more than the last time we were here, which is thanks to global warming. That Leki pole sneaked in – he needed that as the snow was, well slippery.Here is the snow plus marker pole, just beyond was a few thousand metre drop, visibility was either great or down to 5m. Shortly after this we were taken for hot chocolate, but JD drank it all. Huh promises promises.and this is us on the glacier underneath that top, it was a bit scarey too, made worse by rock falls which prevents us walking further…secretly pleased wethinks.Socks, we needed to pay homage to socks. Socks, thank you.
Thanks you Inghams