A YEAR IN REVIEW 2013: September-December...... more stunning wild camps and an amazing start to Winter...
After what can only be described as a rather good summer :) Autumn got under way with a solo morning adventure to Glencoe and a whiz around curved ridge. It seemed like a few weeks since I had ventured out so I headed off early to get round Curved ridge, one of best routes in Scotland in my opinion. Great weather and dry rock after a wet night gave a great half day outing.
Keen to keep the wild camps going, the next outing was half way through September. Being way up North for work represented an opportunity and after work on the Friday I headed west towards some of the finest hills in the UK. I tackled three Corbetts including the mighty Foinaven and had a spectacular wild high camp between Arkle and Foinaven. Although the weather was not brilliant, it was ok and the remoteness and spectacular locations will linger long in the memory :) A long walk, I was exhausted by the end but still had a long journey home (about 6 hours!!)... Well worth it though.......
A final wild camp of the year was a decision made late in the day and up a local hill. At the end of September I headed up Ben Chonzie and was treated to a spectacular sunrise!! A lot of rushing about on this one as I had to be back to pick the kids up from a sleep over at 09.30am.... Managed it with minutes to spare - didn't want to leave the top of the Munro!!
Next up was a trip to Ben Dorain in October and a proud moment. My daughter had previously been up two of the easier Munros in Glenshee, so this time we tried something different. A fabulous, cold but clear day got us ascending Ben Dorain with Uncle Ross and the dug... First snowball was thrown and yet another belter of a hill day weather wise in 2013....
November started with a bang, and what a bang!!!! One absolutely perfect mountain day on Ben More, and what a way for my friend to return to the mountains after back surgery. Although earlier in the season, the amount of snow felt like a perfect mid winters day!!!! Blue skies and white mountains gave stunning views but when you throw in the odd brocken spectre, inversion and fog bows, this really was a special day in the mountains. Would the winter continue in this vain???
The promising start to winter continued for a few more weeks as two weeks later saw us heading up the Zig Zags and onto Broad Gully in Glencoe and Stob Coir nan Lochan. A lovely day in the hills again and more progress being made, this was looking too good to be true, would the great weather which we had been blessed with in 2013 continue and see us through to 2014????
Well to answer that question was a big fat NO!!!!!..... December came in and hit us with Atlantic Storm after Atlantic storm... wind speeds on the hills exceeded 100mph on numerous occasions and even today whilst writing this on the last day of the year , more storms are forecast for the next few weeks. I think I can count about three days when there have been slight lulls, and one of those day was Boxing Day wen we headed up the Cobbler to look at the SE ridge route. Turned out that the route was not in condition with unfrozen turf and belays requiring a JCB to dig them out!!!! However we did have a nice wander around :)
A final attempt was made on the hills on the 28th but the storm force winds and whiteouts beat us back!! Hoping for better weather soon!!
So in summary 2013 has been one of the best years I have experienced due to the fantastic weather throughout (well apart from December!!!). Some great trips, starting my kayaking and wild camping adventures and continuing the mountaineering journey has been great!! Hopefully we will have even a slither of he same weather luck in 2014!! and hopefull be able to share some more adventures from the Scottish mountains ...... and possibly further afield!!
Happy New Year all....
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...