With ten days left in 2013 (and also with the poor December weather!!) - I have been spending the last few days looking back on the last 12 months. It seems hard to imagine presently, but I think this year has produced some amazing weather and with it some memorable adventures in the Scottish Highlands. Not getting this out this month has left me with cabin fever, so this blog is getting a battering with the aim of providing some sort of mountain fix!!! I am starting by looking at the first four months of the year an picking out the trips that stood out for me....
January - Well this could easily be called Corbett's January as I managed three outings and three Corbetts. Starting as I meant to go on was a New Years day hike up Ben Vrackie in the snow ( http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=27869 ). A good way to clear the head, up my local Corbett.
Next was a trip through to the west coast and a battle up Garbh Bheinn in extremely windy conditions!! There was a lot of wind and snow being blown about so the ridge walk/battle seemed a safe bet - didn't stay long on top though as the winds were horrific!! http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=28439
A few weeks later and I had a strange encounter with a reptile in the snow. Was strange seeing this animal in such cold weather. After almost being stuck in the car when the snow got a little deep I headed up Gairbeinn and was treated to an unexpected cloud inversion on the summit ridge. Always feels better when these treats occur unexpectedly :) http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=28914
February - Undoubtedly some of the finest Winter Walking and mountaineering I have experienced occurred in February, mainly thanks to a settled high pressure system that brought calm and cold conditions for Scotland. The highlight for this (and the year probably) was a memorable hike along the CMD Arete and onto an almost empty Ben Nevis! The weather was perfect, the snow was perfect and the experience was amazing- video shares some of this.....
However before the CMD Arete experience, I did manage a day in Glen Etive, bagging another Corbett and as the weather was so good, I headed up Creise too, it was too good to leave off!! One of those days you don't want to head home on - another perfect weather day: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=29124
A trip up Ben Vorlich as a short escape was also enjoyed : http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=28771
before heading up The Ben http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=29355
February was going to be hard to beat!!! But we tried !! March started off with something a little different - utilising our purchase of some Scupper Pro sea Kayaks we explored the East Neuk. We got wrapped up and headed over to a few memorable landmarks that I have seen for years but never been able to get close to - namely The East Vows Beacon!!!
Back on dry (and cold ) land we headed to The Cobbler to bag an impressive gully in unimpressive (read storm force winds!!). Chockstone Gully gave a great route and day out and although we did not "thread the needle " (we would have been blown away) - it was an enjoyable day http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=29995
Then to finish the month myself and my brother completed another classic winter mountaineering route - School House Ridge at the bottom of Glencoe.. http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=30166
After a memorable few months things semed to tail off in April and for one reason or another I didn't get out as much as I had done. However a late snow fall saw us investigating yet another classic winter route - sron na lairig. However half way up we got a glimpse of some dodgy looking exit slopes (read large pieces of wind slab had broken away with lots of soggy snow ) so we retreated to return another day.
An amazing start to the year, but there were more memorable trips to come...
to be continued...... ;)
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...