Sunday, 24 July 2016

Getting ready for Sweden.

Less than two weeks to go now getting very excited, I've more or less sorted out what's going in my pack and it weighs just under 18kg. Only thing to add to that is gas once I get to Lulea as you can't take it on aircraft. I'm taking a few things that I wouldn't normally carry, the most important being a Delorme inReach SE tracker so I can let people know where I am and that I'm alright. To charge this I've a small solar panel and a backup battery powered charger, these can also charge my phone. There's no phone signal out in Sarek but I can connect my phone to my inReach which makes writing/reading text messages much easier than using the tiny screen on the inReach. I'll also be using my phone as a GPS this time. I'd normally use a Garmin but the Garmin maps for Sweden cover the northern half of the country and cost £180, a bit overkill for what I want. Viewranger do a free map of the main Sarek Peak and £5 worth of tiles covered the rest of my route, quite a saving. On course I'll be taking paper maps as well, these are at 1:100 000 scale and printed on some very flimsy paper so I'm taking two. 
There are only a couple of bridges in an area about half the size of Scotland so I'm expecting to have to wade quite a lot. To help with this I'm taking a pair of fell running shoes, the idea is to take my boots, socks and possibly trousers off wade across wearing the running shoes and putting the dry stuff back on once across. The fell shoes will dry out much quicker than boots. My sleeping bag is now 25 years old and not as good as it once was, so I've got a new one which is slightly warmer than the old one. Actually the weather and temperature over there has been better than here in Scotland over the last couple of weeks. 
As I'll be solo there's not much point in taking rope and harness and I'm not going to carry an ice axe or crampons. Which means I'll have to keep off the glaciers and stick to the ridges but I think I'll have plenty to climb even without them. I'm still in a bit of a quandary as to which camera to take, I've a DSLR but it weighs a whooping 1.5kg, or I've a small waterproof compact, very light but doesn't have a very good lens. I did think about getting a small bridge camera but decided I couldn't afford it. So I think it will be the compact and accept that I won't get many stunning photo's.    

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

A bit of a road trip.

It's been a busy couple of weeks, first I went down to North Wales to visit my oldest sister Jenny. I spent three day with her and her partner Martin. Then I went over to the Bowline climbing club hut at Brynrefail near to the north end of Llyn Padarn. I had a nice walk around the lake, brought myself some new rock shoes and then managed to hit my head on a rock whilst bouldering on Lion Rock. I ended up with a nice red cut on my scalp, silly old fool. Next day I drove up to the Pen y Gwryd hotel and set off around the Snowdon houseshoe. Once-upon-a-time I'd have run it but this time it took me all my energy to walk it - it was an incredibly hot and humid day - well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. 
After that I drove on, down to Devon in the deep south to my youngest brother Pete and his wife Ro. We walked up Ridders hill saw a very recently born Dartmoor foal and went climbing on the Dewerstone. Only the heavens opened just as we started pitch two of Colonel's Arete, lucky it was an easy climb.
Next day it was back on the road again, all the way back up to Scotland. A day at home and on up to Dundonnell for a friends birthday party at the Smiddy. Only I didn't quite make it, my car broke it's cam belt about five miles short of the hut. I won't bore you with the details but eventually the car went home and I did get to go to the ball. Three of us had a lovely walk and swim in the Fannich before the rest of the guests arrived. Then seven climbed An Teallach on a glorious day, the third time I've done it but the first time I've had any kind of a view from the top. Some of us found it easy, some found it hard someone thought they were about to die, but we all made it all the way around and had a lovely evening back at the hut.  

Saturday, 30 April 2016

August in Lapland.

The plan is coming together, flights booked, Edinburgh – London – Stockholm – Luleå ( on top end of the Gulf of Bothnia), and return. Accommodation for first and last night booked in Luleå. Train and bus journey from Luleå to Kvikkjokk and back, booked. That leaves me with fifteen days in the Arctic National Park of Sarek. Roll on August.

I'm not quite sure what I'll do once there, the maps aren't very detailed so I'm not sure just how difficult travelling around will be. There's a group of mountains just north of Kvikkjokk called Pårte which look good for some climbing. It's a small cirque around a glacier but looking at the map and some photo's it looks like I can avoid the ice. North again is Alkatj and Sarekjåkkå so plenty to go at.       

It's not over yet!!!

Three weeks ago the weather had the feel of spring about it, I thought the skiing season was over for this winter. How wrong was I? I text from a friend put the idea of a ski tour around Ben Macdui and Beinn Mheadhoin out for offers. How could I refuse?

 Starting out from Cairngorm ski centre up the Fiacaill a Choire Chais ridge.
Looking across to Braeriach from near Lochan Buidhe.
 Lynn at the summit of Ben Macdui.
Fantastic skiing down to Loch Etchachan.

 Skinning up Beinn Mheadhoin.
 Approaching the summit of Beinn Mheadhoin.
 Carry the skis across the River Avon.
The rough track up to "The Saddle".
Above the Ptarmigan for one last run down, long after the piste patrol had gone home.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Winter's end.

Winter started off very wet, here is what's left of the old road at Lynn of Quoich taken from the bridge. The river had diverted and now doesn't flow under the bridge at all, instead it's washed away a huge section of road.

 Snow in January allowed for some cross-country skiing in Glenmore forest, the owner of the Red Squirrel cafe has a track cutting machine and goes out when ever there's enough snow.
March sew some very good touring conditions, this is on Fiacaill a Choire Chais heading up to the Cairngorm plateau.

 The ESTC out in force.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

The Lancet Edge.

I did this walk back at the beginning of November, then downloaded the photo's for them to disappear into the ether. Yesterday whilst looking for something else I found them.

To start with I was late starting out so I'd lost a few hours day light by the time I arrived at Dalwhinnie. From Dalwhinnie to the start of my walk at Loch Pattack is seven miles down an estate road, you can't take your car along this road but they don't seem to mind bikes. So I swapped car for bike and rode off to Loch Pattack. At the Loch I was meet by these three locals who seemed intent on eating just about anything, me, my rucksack, my cycle helmet, my bike anything. I only escaped them once I'd crossed the rickety swing bridge, here I parked the bike an set of on foot at last as it was now mid-day. 

My route took the footpath heading up to the Bealach Dubh, the pass between Ben Alder and Aonach Beag/Geal Charn. Past the old Culra Bothy, now sadly locked and off limits due to the building being lined with Asbestos. A note on the estate gate back at the start of the road said that plans are afoot to replace the building with another brand new one. Behind the bothy my objective for the day Sgor Lutharn is clearly visible the pointy peak on the skyline.  

After the bothy the path follows a stream the Allt a Chaoil-reidhe for about two miles before heading up grassy slopes to gain the crest of the Lancet Edge ridge.

The scrambling over the rocks and the airy position was really fun but time was getting on and the shadows were growing long, I needed to get a wiggle on. I had planned to do Geal Charn as well but I decided to skip that one as I could skirt around under some crags on the side of Geal Charn and cut a corner. I still had Carn Dearg to do and the light finally faded as I climbed to it's summit. Up to the top there had been a good path to follow but beyond it the path became feint and wandered around all over the place so I soon lost it in the dark. The decent down to Loch Pattack was very trying and I was very glad to finally find my bike again, all I had to do now was the seven mile cycle back to the car.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Some Sea Kayaking Photo's

I've not posted about sea kayaking for some time so here are some photo's from what past as summer this year.
Ray in Loch Long.
Mike off Millport, Great Cumbrea in the Firth of Clyde.
Don't remember this chaps name a friend of Peter.
Lunch stop on Little Cumbrae.