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.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Impressions of the Tarptent Notch.

I've been out in my new tent a couple of time now and am beginning to get used to it. The first time I went up to the Fords of Avon near to Cairngorm where I intended to spend the night. Unfortunately it was so windy I was having difficulty stand up never mind pitching a tent. So I ended up retreating to Bynack Stables or where it once stood. I managed to find some shelter amongst some moraine heaps.  
To pitch it, peg out the ends, open up the little triangles. Set your walking poles to the right height and slide them through the air vents and put the point into the ring in the fly sheet. Peg out the door and do the other side, it really is that quick and easy. To keep the ground sheet taught there's two small straps which go around the handles of your walking poles.
The ground sheet is about 2ft 6ins wide at the hips and tapers towards the head and foot ends so there's not a lot of room inside. Between the inner and outer at the hips is about 2ft either side which is more than enough stowage space for a rucksack and boots on one side and cooking on the other. The inner door zip is L-shaped and opens half of one side and on the other side is another L-shaped zip but at the other end. It's not possible to open up all of one side which I found awkward when trying to retrieve things from down by your feet. The ground sheet is made of silicon nylon which has quite a shiny finish, my mat is a short Thermarest Neo air which also has quite a shiny finish. The two together don't make for the most restful nights sleep. I'll have to think of a way to improve this.
For the next try I climbed Braeriach from the end of the Glen Feshie road and camped by the out flow of Loch nan Cnapan on the way back. This time the weather was much milder but it must have rain in the night as the fly was wet when I woke. Inside I was happily dry.
 The standard inner is all mesh, I brought the half mesh half solid version  as I thought it would be a bit warmer in the windy Scottish hills, I'm not sure it is though.