Ok so a bit of tongue in cheek here , but I was a bit depressed about not getting out in the mountains this weekend, however I should not have been....!!! Had a brilliant day of outdoors activities with the people closest and dearest... a day sledging 5 mins from the front door - a happy family !!!
NB - Now 12hrs later a warm front is well and truly in control and snow rapidly melting!!!!! pics and vid to for the memories :)!!
Creag Coire an Dothaidh
Centrigrdae had been talked about since last year after Salamander Gully proved such a great day out. With strong easterlies blowing for much of the week it also seemed a good choice. We met at the usual meeting place around 08.00am and headed to the train station at Bridge of Orchy. The weather was looking good, not blue skies, but still not raining or snowing as it had been when I left my house a few hours earlier further east!! There were four of us today and we made steady progress to the route. To get to the start of the route we roped up and added an extra pitch and soon we were under the “obvious overhanging rock” and waiting to head to the first ice groove at the end of the wall!!
However waiting was the game today. We spent over an hour and a half at this point waiting on the team ahead to clear the first pitch. Standing on a slanting edge only just big enough for one foot lead to some sore calf muscles and creaking knees!!! Another climbing party had joined us at this point and they eventually decided against starting the route as we had waited so long, and they headed off after over 90 mins they would have had the extra delay of waiting on us too!!
Eventually we got going, I must admit that I was not enjoying this until now – all this hanging around, cramp and getting cold was not my idea of fun – however I suppose it comes with the territory…. Anyway first proper pitch slants rightwards under a wall to the ice. This section was rather cruddy, the turf was not 100% frozen and it was a traverse basically across wet snow and grass until the first ice groove was reached. Belay was set up and off we went up the ice groove – now this was more like it!! This was my first winter climb of the year and I must admit it was not until we got on to the ice that I realised again why I was doing this. It was much more fun now. The ice was good, the turf frozen and my aching, cold legs and arms were finally moving and generating some heat!! Up and over the ice groove and to the belay which was just below a sloping ramp with a little ice in it right hand side- just enough to get up. The bottom part was thicker but the top was really thin and a couple of outcrops of frozen turf appeared at exactly the right time!! Over the ramp then a little hop up to the next part – if I had been a little more flexible – it would have helped here!!! Then up into a little scoop. The last pitch was a little more ice and a little more turf – a nice little end to the route….
However due to the long wait – it was now nearly 16.00. Our other team was finished and back at the car and we were aware one of them had a long drive home to England, with this and the fact that day light was starting to fade we literally ran off the hill once the crampons were taken off!! Can’t say that my La Sportiva boots are the comfiest things to run in!! However we made it back just as it was getting dark!!
The drive home was interesting with white roads and blizzard from Comrie eastwards – however I eventually made it home and was happy with todays outdoors activities!!!!
The forecast was for blue skies, and with snow capped peaks I
felt the need to get out and about. I did not have much time so I wanted to
choose a peak close to the road that would not take up too much time (I was
also due out the day after too so did not want to tire myself too much!).
However the only down side was going to be the wind – 40-50mph
and 85mph gusts on exposed ridges and summits!! It was forecast to be coming
from a south easterly to easterly direction so a bit of searching through books
and maps and I decided on Garbh Bheinn near Kinlochleven. I planned to ascend
up the WNW shoulder hoping that I could keep out of the wind if need
I left the car just before the bridge at around 09.00AM and it
was a little gusty but not too bad. I headed up Torran nan Crann – trying to
keep my feet of the water ice and on the grass to stop me slipping (was not too
bad – not enough for crampons yet!!). I quickly reached the snow line at Torran
and the views over to the Mamores from here were brilliant. The white peaks
with clouds scudding by was awesome. Stob Ban looked particularly close.
Looking west I could see down Loch Leven into Ardgour past the Pap of Glencoe.
The route levelled out a little here but I could see it was going
to be a steep pull for the rest of the way!! I headed up toward Stob Coire
Sgoite going past two or three little rocky outcrops (which were easily skirted
round). The wind was not too bad, but every now and again I’d be hit by mini
“snow Devils” which were probably being caused by down winds coming over the
summit perhaps?? Anyway there were quiet impressive – you could see them coming
down the hill like mini tornadoes towards
Looking up I could not see the summit and there were a few false
summits on this walk. The clouds were whizzing over the top so I knew that when
I reached the top it would be very windy. My main concern at this point though
was “the stiff scramble” when reaching Stob Coire Sgoilte. It looked a little
daunting when I reached it, but I traversed to the right (south) of the crag and
gained the ridge via a short steep gully. The top was now in sight and the wind
was certainly picking up!!
I reached the top took some pictures and video and about turned!
It was now 1145. It was taking me longer than expected. I think this was due to
the powdery snow which covered the loose rocks which made the going a little
tough with crampons on L(that’s my excuse
Aonach Eagach!! A few memories whilst flicking through old pictures - my first mountaineering experience - the Aonach Eagach!!!
I was flicking through some old pictures tonight and found some oldies of what I think is probably my first "mountaineering" experience. A the time (2001) I had only walked a handful of Munros but already had the bug. A couple of friends were up for Easter and invite me along to join them on a "ridge walk"!! It was late April and it was showery when we left the central belt. I remember reaching the top of Glen Ogle above Lochearnhead and witnessing a white Tarmachan ridge - at this point it was suggsted we try this but we kept to our origional plan of the Aonach Eagach. My Dad had told me to watch it as it was steep so I headed his advice!! I can remember borrowing my friends fathers boots as they were compatible with crampons and of we headed (I had no proper mountaineering equipment back then and I think I did my first 50 or so munros using old "Catapillar boots" and cotton shorts and shirts with tresspass cagules and trousers!).
It was chucking it down with rain when we parked up but as we ascended it slowy and surely turned to snow and soon we were following the footprints of others who were in front of us- guessing they were going where we were going (a map and compass were also handy!!) Anyway I have recollections of standing at the top of Am Bodach and the snow stopping and the clouds dispersing - what a view of the ridge - capped in snow!!! It was an awesome sight. The next thing I remember was an extremely tricky down climb on wet snow from the top of Am Bodach!!! A steep and immediate introduction to mountaineering!! Not sure if I'd leap straight in now (although a winter traverse is on he hit list soon (with better equipment and knoweledge however!!).I can also remember crossing the pinnicles and then a descent south from Sgorr nam Fiannaidgh which was initially scree then steep grass and boulders. My feet were kiling me in my borrowed boots (these fell apart th next day in the mamores and were trapped together using a rucksack strap) and the after a second day of hiking in Glen Nevis I had some rather larger blisters!! I have attached the old pictures below and my origional report under it :)
Eagach Ridge :
Climbed with Ad and Dave. Left the car in Glen Coe – Ad drove
Weather was heavy rain when we left the car– had Ads old
mans Boots on for use with crampons.
As we ascended the view to the three sisters was fantastic.
Also the rain started to turn to snow and was heavy . Path dissappeared.
We Were going to turn back near the summit of An Bodach due to
snow but just as we were , the weather cleared for the rest of the day
Leaving blue sunshine and brilliant views. The ridge was very
When we went down the first 20 metre drop I about shit myself
on the slabs with wet snow on them. Very good scrambling
Best day yet. Once at end descended down the scree like
Went to the Clachaig for Beer and Nachos before going to
So after last weeks first ever trip to the Lake district, we now had our new sit on top Sea Kayaks - the Scupper Pro.... The last time I kayaked was probably 20 years ago (a few days here and there in between but nothing serious) so I was keen to get the new "ship" out and about!! My friend has more experience though so we decided on a wee trip to the North Sea if it was calm enough - if not then there was a inland loch we could go to the christen the boats..... When we arrived at the beach the wate looked excellent - a few little waves but pretty calm beyond that. However - 40 minutes later - after coffee and getting equipmt ready - it looked a little rougher - however not too bad. We headed out and had some practise. Beyond the wash however the swell was getting larger so we decided to head bck in and go to an inland loch for some practise!! The conditions at th Loch were completly different as you can see inthe video. Great wee morning spent - and looking forward to more kayaking trips!!
The Global warming part in the video is tongue in cheek but the kayak should allow us to get out doors and provide an alternative when things in the mountains are not looking so great - also looking forward to some kayak/mountain combo trips in the near future........
Well new venture for 32013 is to utilise the new sea kayak I bought in the lakes yesterday - hopefully do some kayaking into the mountains - ben alder and Suilven spring immediatley to mind - anyone have any other suggestionsI wonder ???
Not thought much about it today - been up Birnam hill (was well impressed that my 5 year old just about sprinted up it (he never wants to do anything out doors!)
Perhaps it because I bribed tem with a trip to Toy r
Brother sent me through some old hill walking pictures which then led to me looking at some old pictures in my computer- have stuck som down below - old man of storr, cobbler, Elie estate......
After a few dinks last night and not getting to bed until nearer 3am, my plans for a new hill were a bit scuppered. I decided on one close to home that did not require driving along un gritted roads. So Ben Vrackie it was (again!!).
However I decided I would take to Bealch path this time as I had not done this before. Every time I have gone up the main path!! So I arrived late and the car park was full. It was going to be a busy on the hill!! I set off and the sun was shining. It would be an understatment to say I was 100% today due to Hogmanny!! However I soon reached the split in the path and headed around the back of Meall na Aodainn Moire. I then decided to head directly North from the lochan and avoid the path. I had not been this way before and it certainly brightened the ascent! There were traces of a path here and there but it was mainly pathless, steep at the bottom before relenting toward the top. I did not see another person till I reached the summit - amazing considering both car parks were full on return. This was not the case on the way downhowever - the hill was very popular and busy today lots of people enjoying themselves :) A nice little start to the new year and the views were magic - could see the lomond hills in fife clearly and down Strath Tay towards te centra bel.....
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...