Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Last boost of summer

With the clocks changing, and winter approaching, it was nice to escape recently for some warm, sunny rock-climbing in the Costa Blanca, Spain. There is a huge variety of terrain here....lots of sport climbing obviously but also scrambles and long traditionally-protected routes. Returning home to overnight temperarures of -6 deg C and snow on the hills came as something as shock! It's turned a bit milder now, but more snow forecast over the next few days..........






Saturday, 21 October 2017

Introduction to climbing

Earlier in the week I had the pleasure of introducing Paul to rock-climbing. Although he had done some indoor climbing before, this was to be his first experience on real rock--a totally different kettle of fish! Due to showers being forecast for the Inverness area we headed for the cliffs at Cummingston on the Moray coast, well known as often being the driest place in the whole area! We top-roped some climbs to ease Paul in, and recapped principles of safe belaying. Next I had him commit to his first abseil (with a safety rope), which he accomplished really well. Then we looked at lead-belaying and I led some climbs with Paul seconding. This gave more of the "real" climbing experience, and allowed Paul to have a go at using nuts, cams and other trad gear. We finished off with an ascent of the free-standing pinnacle/stack, with an airy abseil to descend. Lovely to think back to my own first experiences climbing twenty years ago, and remember how much I loved it. I still do!







Friday, 29 September 2017

Schiehallion

Sherri and Barbara had set themselves the target of climbing Schiehallion on Wednesday as part of their My Peak Challenge. Schiehallion is a Munro (mountain over 3000ft in the Scottish Highlands) in the Perthshire Highlands, and is a popular objective. Although we didn't quite make the summit in very difficult conditions, they should both be really proud of themselves. If the weather had been kinder they would have cruised it without a problem. Well done both, and thanks for a fun day out. The short video clip shows what the ladies were up against, as they hid inside a bothy bag whilst taking a breather. Well done both of you, really impressed with all you have achieved.


Friday, 8 September 2017

Briefly blue

After what has seemed like a very wet August in the Scottish Highlands, the first few days of September brought a warm, dry interlude. Keen to make the most of this I teamed up with Henry for a few days of rock climbing. The highlight was a warm bluebird day on the great little mountain of Stac Pollaidh in the NW Highlands. More please!

Stunning view from the summit of Stac Pollaidh


A belay with a view!



Enjoying the initial pitch of Party on the Patio Direct VS 5a



Final pitch of Western Buttress V Diff


Time to head home........

Last view of Stac Pollaidh

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.....