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.
 Hamish.
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.
Ann.
 Tim.
Don't remember this chaps name a friend of Peter.
Lunch stop on Little Cumbrae.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Ben macdui.

I went for a short walk in the Cairngorm National Park at the weekend, this time just for the day so no tent to carry. I started out from the ski centre carpark and headed up into Coire an t'Sneachda.  
 I climbed up this scree slope up to the col and had fun on the scrambley ridge of Fiacaill Buttress.

After that it was across this wide open plateau, easy this time but I've had fun here in the past trying to ski across in white out conditions. At the time I was using map and compass but after that I went out and brought a GPS which would have made it far easier and quicker.

Legend has it that these shelters on the top of Ben Macdui were originally built by Commando soldiers during the second world war. They'd have to yomp across Scotland from their base at Sheil Bridge and set up all round defenses here on the top of the mountains. Just as we did in the Falklands. The slopes where the ski centre is now was where some of them learnt to ski before being sent to Norway to fight,No tows back then. 
    
Looking across to Braeriach and Cairn Toul, the huge scoop of Garbh Choire Mor could have been where the last glacier in Scotland once lay. When it finally melted is hotly disputed with estimates ranging from around 9000 years ago to as little as a few hundred. 
   
The good weather of late is finally breaking, here are the first signs of cloud building but some sunlight managing to peep through.

Coire an Lochan, with the Fiacaill Buttress on the left and the great slab in the center, not a good place to be in winter.