It been a mixed year for my outdoor adventures- blighted by injury (and surgery). However it started off very well, following on from some nice conditions at the end of 2014….
January – Team Epic And TheATeam hit SCNL….. A look into SCNL and the team split, myself and Mark heading up Twisting gully with our compatriots going for Dorsal in a quiet SCNL. Conditions were a little lean, adding some difficulty to some moves but fun was had and a quick descent into Broad Gully required due to ferocious winds meeting us as we topped out.. A good start to the winter climbing for 2015 following a few hikes out and about including my annual trip up Ben Vrackie on the 1st….
February – A busy month in the depths of winter. Winter was here now and after a couple of climbs on the excellent Beinn Udlaidh and then further east in the magnificent Corrie Fee, we had high hopes for our long weekend later in the month….. The weather had other ideas… Plans had been hatched for climbs high on the Ben or tackling exciting winter ridges in the North West Highlands….. had it not been for the fact that we were lucky enough to get a 4 by 4 we wouldn’t have made it north of Dunkeld! The footage shows the road conditions and we couldn’t even head west at Dalwhinnie. However we still managed two lower hills, a feat in itself given the winter storms encountered!!
March – Glencoe in perfect winter conditions ??? First up and fine conditions hit Scotland. The plan – a climb on The Ben – The reality- a stop at Jacksonville car park showed the Buachaille looking beautiful – its picturesque profile lured us in and Crowberry Gully was tackled. An amazing day! The conditions persisted for a few more days and I decided a few days later for a quick blast up the Coe. A super early start saw me in SCNL with now one around. I blasted up and down Broad Gully and only started to meet the ant trail of people once out of the Corrie. Another memorable day- superb J
April – NOOOooooooooooo - Oh Bugger!!!! Some fine spring weather saw us head to the sea cliffs at Arbroath where fun was had climbing – a twinge in the knee soon forgotten about after sourcing some of the famous Arbroath SmokiesJ The next week I did some more Corbett bagging, not too many left to do south and east of Fort William now J. Two which had eluded me were The Brack and Ben Donich. I had a spare morning so head for Donich early and was hit by some of the last snow of the season early doors. A fine hike and back home mid morning…… The next day, a Sunday and I was working at my desk on the laptop for a few hours. I needed a cuppa so decided to make a brew and stood from the chair to head for the kitchen…….. I never made it as far as the kitchen. My knee buckled from under me when I tried to put my weight on it. It was catching, locking and giving way after only a few steps – I can only describe the feeling as someone throwing lego and broken glass in my knee!! This wasn’t good… I tried to work (I had to work not to let people down!) for the next three days minimum. I could hardly walk 10 foot. I was at a consultation the next week. X ray and a MRI showed the knee was full of debris and my articular cartilage was not how it should be. OCD was mentioned (but not the OCD you’re thinking off!! Lol. This was the start of my lay off……..surgery was required… One plus side – I now knew I had time to learn about drones….. as a consequence and having lots of spare time – I made a time lapse film (took ages to get all the footage together!!!-4 years of work ;))….
May-August – No strenuous activities i.e. no climbing up mountains etc etc that’s what the Doctor ordered me to do. However I found I could cycle albeit not as far and not at the same intensity, also you don’t always have to us your legs to get out and about. A trip to see the Wallabies (no idea if this island that has them or not but one of them does!!) on Loch Lomond gave some rest bite to my outdoor ban! The only thing that saved me going too mad was the fact that this year the summer weather was sh£*e! (excuse the language)
September- Still waiting on surgery but my knee was strengthening with the physio so I managed a bike ride up Glen Almond. It took an injury and wanting an easy (ish) day to return here. I couldn’t hike so the bike was ridden all the way – first trip out into the hill in months – Christ it felt good… Downhill on the MTB was fun too and the weather was superb!! (two weeks later I was back with the kids to show them Craignavar!!). A cracking Glen- note to self – don’t leave it 8 years before next visit…..
October – still no date for surgery but the weather was the best it had been since April. I took a big chance and headed for a wee hill called Ben a’An. Not high, close to the road , full signal and not demanding. The normal route was closed so the detour was via the Ben Venue car park. I struggled up this modest hill in stunning conditions, reaching the top as everyone left – perfect timing. I was in no rush and the pain in my knee was offset by some painkillers! I had a night to rest it before a painful descent. Not going to describe it – please watch the film as its one of the best sunsets and in particular – sunrises I’ve had – amazing … was the pain worth it – maybe…….;)
November – Surgery – After Ben a’An , I decided to keep to the bike and I had a sleepless night above Glen Tilt (also the darkest night on a hill). The Stags roared all day and all night, but sunrise from the Munro was stunning! More great weather followed and I had a late afternoon cycle above a spectacular inversion at Loch Turret J Then the letter appeared, surgery was scheduled for the end of the month. Turns out there is something called an articular condyle defect. Where the end of my bone should be nice and white with cartilage – turns out its red raw (well looks like that) with no cartilage! A few meniscal tears as a side factor too, but at least the ligaments in this knee are better than the other !!!! Time will tell what’ll need done, but I felt good after surgery… painful but what are painkillers for ;) jk! Was signed off for at least two weeks….
December – Testing knee – it was sore but was told to get it moving a do as much as possible mmm Beinn Chrulaiste. So I decided to be a landscape photographer for the day – never been on a trip to take a photo – this was my first (maybe last ?). Was an awesome day out. Usually up and down this hill in under two hours but spent over eight on it! Knee was sore and landscapes awesome so much photo taking and drone flying J Please watch the film as it came out ok and shows the beauty of the day better than my clumsy text! Next few trips were battling elements on small hills.
So for 2016 , I need to continue my rehab and continue to build the knee up. Have another appointment in February which I hope goes well…. Lots to do in 2016…..
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...