Monday, 17 July 2017

A day for Cairngorms Connoiseurs


Heidi's last day out with me today, and the weather played ball, with lots of sunshine on offer. We climbed the Munro Mullach Clach a Blair from Glen Feshie, with great views down into Coire Garbhlach. This was followed by an interesting descent down to the rarely visited Lochan nam Bo; tucked out of the wind this was a suntrap and a perfect second lunch stop! We then had to work hard to find traces of the amazing stalker's path that zig-zags down the heather-cladded slopes down to the Glen. This is a fantastic feat of engineering, now sadly almost totally overgrown; just about follow-able, but not for much longer unfortunately. These kind of rarely visited places and old paths with history can be found throughout the Highlands, if you know where to look! Thanks Heidi for a great few days.
These Munros require some walking uphill!
Beautiful Glen Feshie
Soaking up the sun at Lochan nam Bo

Enjoying her day!

Simply stunning--Glen Feshie

And again!

Warm, vibrant path next to the River Feshie

Were we all the way up there today?!



View down into Coire Garbhlach

Roseroot growing on the schist soils at the top of Coire Garbhlach

There should be a path down here somewhere......

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Argyll stone

For our third day out together today I took Heidi off the beaten track a bit. Despite not being too far from the tourist honeypots Coire Follais is a gem of a place with a magical, remote feeling quality. It leads up to the ridge of Creag Dhubh and the Argyll Stone, which offer great view points. We descended via the rarely travelled Cadha Mor and Cadha Beag to make our way back through the pines of Inshriach to late afternoon tea at the Potting Shed Tea Room. Lovely!
Gorgeous views from the path up Coire Follais


Hard work!

Big views over Rothiemurchus

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Breezy!

With weary legs from yesterday on Braeriach, plus a less than optimistic weather forecast, Heidi and I agreed on a short day today. Starting in the pines of Glenmore we climbed to the Kincardine hills and traversed the ridge back to Glenmore. Very strong winds even at this level, though not as much rain as forecast. On the way down the sun came out to warm us up, and we finished off with afternoon tea in the Glen. A contrast to yesterday's big day, but contrast is always fun!
Coping well with the gales

Out of the wind and into the sun. Lovely.

Go on, you deserve it.....

Friday, 14 July 2017

Mighty Braeriach


A couple of years ago Heidi joined me for a NNAS Silver navigation course over near Ben Nevis. For her holiday in the Highlands this time around we made a plan to just go hillwalking, but that she would do the navigation, to put the techniques into the context of a mountain day. There are few more challenging areas for navigation than the Cairngorms, and in particular Braeriach, with its vast plateau and steep craggy coires. We did a traverse of Braeriach today starting at Whitewell, ascending via the Lairig Ghru path and Sron na Lairig and descending to Gleann Einich and thus back to Whitewell. This gives a long day with both significant distance and height gain/loss. Heidi did really well with this, and managed to navigate us around, doing particularly well following a bearing in drifting cloud from the summit. Not quite as nice weather as forecast, but at least that means it's more challenging for navigation!

Cloudberry

A breather on the way up

Wow!

Great views down the Lairig Ghru

Moss Campion near the summit of Braeriach

Concentrate!

Big views on the way down to Gleann Einich

Friday, 7 July 2017

Up and down and back again

A busy few weeks for me at work and play. I had the pleasure of spending a week working down in the Southern Cairngorms and Deeside with some pupils from an Aberdeen school. From many having never pulled on walking boots before they did well to progress to climbing a Munro by the end of the week! We also enjoyed some mountain biking. Next I was out West shadowing and assisting Alan Halewood MIC in taking some clients across the Aonach Eagach in Glencoe. This is one of the best scrambles in Scotland, continuously interesting with great views, and great learning for me. A trip down south to the Lake District followed with plenty of lovely climbing in Borrowdale, the highlight being the 5-pitch Very Severe of Fool's Paradise on Gowder Crag, great climbing and clever route-finding. Back up north and I have been dodging showers and managing to get out climbing as much as possible, including a great day up in Torridon at Diabaig. Some hillwalking guiding to look forward to shortly, always a pleasure.
Chasing the sunset, Diabaig, Torridon

Pitch 1 of Charlie's Tower VS 4c, 4a *

This is 21:30 at night!


Beautiful Glen Derry with the Aberdeen pupils

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Hebrides and home


Some enjoyable family time recently, but still managed to get out into the hills as much as possible. We spent some time on Lewis and Harris in the incomparable Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Great beaches, views, wildlife and mountains----what more can one ask for? The weather was pretty good too! We came back home via Skye, Glen Coe and Fort William to complete a lovely round trip.


View from the summit of Beinn Dhubh 506m, looking out over the Atlantic over the sands of Luskentyre, Isle of Harris

The golden sands of Luskentyre, Isle of Harris


The Minch looking incredibly calm, east coast of Isle of Harris




Great singletrack biking, South Harris
Looking back along the Aonach Eagach ridge, Glencoe

Looking forward to the scrambling ahead, Aonach Eagach, Glen Coe



Monday, 15 May 2017

South of the border


Recently I was down in Wales for a 10 day stretch, with a quick stop via the Peak District. The main aim of the trip was to undertake the 9 day training course for the Mountaineering Instructor Award. It was a jam-packed course with hardly time to draw breath; a fantastic amount learnt. This award is the highest mountaineering award for summer conditions in the UK, and deals with taking clients scrambling and multi-pitch climbing on our fantastic mountain crags. Looking forward to the consolidation period now when I need to practice all the skills I have learnt prior to assessment.

Dave 1 and Dave 2 taking a breather from the scrambling--Ogwen, N. Wales

Mark heading off on Pitch 2 of Crackstone Rib, Llanberis Pass, N. Wales