Tremadog Renaissance 2018

Posted by Elfyn Jones on 06/02/2018
Champagne celebration - from Eric to the new owners, Jo and Gareth.
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It’s all happening at Tremadog this year, Tremfest is back and the really big news is that after nearly 40 years of serving teas and chip butties to climbers at his Bwlch y Moch café, well known Welsh mountaineer Eric Jones has finally decided to take a well-earned retirement. But fear not, as the new owners Gareth Streatfield and his partner Jo, have exciting plans to continue to welcome climbers to Tremadog.

"Tremfest 2018" April 21st

Yes...put that date in your diary now, April 21st is the day you can help to look after the most important crags that are owned and managed by the BMC on behalf of all climbers. Crags need looking after and every year paths and routes become overgrown, steps become eroded, trees fall down and ditches and culverts become blocked. Sadly litter can also be a problem, mainly wind-blown from residential areas and being a roadside crag, from passing cars.  

So every couple of years the BMC access team, supported by a group of enthusiastic volunteers organise “Tremfest” to get climbers involved in caring for their crags while having a great time.  The aim is to do as much practical work as possible and then local climbers can point you in the direction of overgrown and forgotten classic routes that need a spot of cleaning before enjoying an evening talk with some free (yep free!) beer. More details on this to come.  Oh and don’t forget the amazing free prize draw – no one goes away without winning something!

All change at the cafe!

But the really major news is that Eric Jones and his wife Ann have finally decided to retire after providing nearly 39 years of amazing service to climbers, bikers and visitors to Bwlch y Moch café. Eric is undoubtedly the most well know Welsh mountaineer of all time, with some notable ascents, many of them solo including the Bonatti Pillar in 1969, first British solo ascent of the North Faces of the Matterhorn in 1972 and then the 1938 route on the Eiger in 1981. In addition to his mountaineering exploits, Eric is also a notable sky diver and base jumper, possibly doing the first ever Eiger base jump and followed later by base jumping from Cerro Torre in Patagonia. In 1991 he was one of team that did the first balloon crossing over Everest. He also very nearly became the first Briton to climb Everest without oxygen – he was with Rheinold Messner and Peter Habler during their first oxygen-less ascent in 1978 but frostbite meant he had to turn back close to the summit.  A very humble and unassuming man, Eric has been a great support and inspiration to climbers and to the BMC at Tremadog and we all owe a very big debt of gratitude to this remarkable man. At 81 years of age (!!), he continues to climb, ski, sky-dive and ride a bloody great big motorbike around Snowdonia!

And as humble as always, this is what Eric had to say, "Many thanks for the kind words and also appreciation for your custom and friendship over the years. I shall now ride my bike into the sunset!!"

From the BMC and on behalf of all climbers, a very big thank you to Eric and may your retirement be long, fun and adventurous!

The new order commeth!

As Eric retires, the café, campsite and car park has been taken over by Gareth Streatfield and his partner Jo who have already made a few minor changes but are keen to continue in the same vein to support climbers at Tremadog, as Eric and Ann did.  The BMC is looking forward to work with them (see above for Tremfest!) and welcomes them to Tremadog.

The new owners want to introduce themselves to climbers and sent the following to the BMC :

Jo  was born and raised in Stoke on Trent and after starting as a clerk in a solicitors became a Barrister in 1997 working both criminal defence and prosecution. Jo enjoys making big metal flowers in her spare time and hopefully see some at the cafe soon!

Gareth  was born in Cardiff and then moved to North Wales when 4 to Gwyddelwern. (Next village to Bryn Saith Marchog where Eric grew up!) and attended Brynhyfryd high school (same one as Eric!) Left at 16 to join RAF as engineer and spent over 23 years working a variety of roles from fast jets to heavy lift helicopters. Then spent 7 years as a secondary school teacher at Thomas Telford School in Shropshire teaching Design Technology and Computer Programming. Not a climber (yet!) but prefers to spend time on the water windsurfing/surfing.

Why are we doing this??!!!

After many years of public service and long hours/days we are hoping to start a new adventure (having met on a campsite in Wales ourselves 5 years ago!!) to have a go at creating a great space for others to enjoy and support their activities in a fantastic/beautiful location.

So – go along to say hello to Gareth and Jo and support their adventure and to help keep this important climbing treasure to go from strength to strength.

And remember, Tremfest 2018 - put it in your diary,  April 21st! 



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