Another weekend of forecast high winds, mild air and driving rain made us reconsider a plan to find a possible winter route (would’ve been struggling!) so we decided on something a little different.
With the Easter break coming up I wanted to check out the path around the northern shores of Loch Katrine. Bike loaded the night before (with some effort – darn Presta valve on front tyre ;)) and we had a leisurely start of 10.30. The forecast had actually improved overnight – suggesting a dry day – it was wrong and the forecast from a few days before came to deluge us… A heavy drizzle soaked us as we headed along the loch. However just as we reached the boathouse, it broke and we had 15 minutes of dryness which we took advantage of to take some photos… The rain soon returned and thoughts went to the possibility of catching the boat back!!
However we persevered as we soon saw Stronachlachan across the water- it looked close – it wasn’t!! The Loch twisted to the North West and a good bit of cycling was still required! The dilemma now was whether to have a brew at Stronachlachan or continue onto our initial destination – The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond…
We decided to carry on.
The mist and rain continued but as we descended down to Inversnaid some brightness in the sky suggested we may have made the correct decision. A memory from a by gone youth and a night in an old boat house as a 13 year old saw us investigate and travel a short distance along the iconic West Highland way…
A newer boat house now stood on a secluded bay (or so I am told!). A cracking spot for a spot of lunchJ The clouds started to part and lifted above some of the lower peaks of the Arrochar Alps across the water. Cars sped up the busy A82, but less than a kilometre away but we were experiencing wilderness (well it felt like it!) on a private beach in the Trossachs ;)
Coffee and bananas had and I led the way back to Inversnaid leaving my companion a little time to reminisce on a night in childhood in the old boat house. I waited at Inversnaid… and waited … and waited a little longer…. Eventually he emerged pushing the bike and waving over…. HIS BIKE HAD A FLAT – DISASTER! This was the furthest point from home!! However a foam inserting canister came to the rescue and worked very effectively… We headed back up the steep pull to Arklet and enjoyed a fine cycle back along Katrine to the car… A great day out J
Last August I headed into the hills above Glen Carron and whilst there did a vlog on my camping gear… However following the vlog I was getting lots of queries on what type of camera equipment I take into the mountains when making a video. So it’s only taken 8 months to do , but I made the below vlog detailing what camera I use:
It’s been a lean old winter and a brief chilly spell came along. Not having much time I decided on an early morning raid up a nearby hill, Ben Vrackie. Been up here loads and usually make at least four ascents in a winter season due to its proximity to home and proximity to a major road network (a good back up option when the weather is really bad!). I knew my timings and set he alarm for 04.33! Dragging my carcass out of bed, I was on the road by 05.15 and headed north on the A9. Arriving in the pitch black, I was soon heading up the familiar track from above Moulin. 5 minutes later and I realised I had forgotten my water – doh! – I considered leaving it , but quickly realised that would be silly! Back to the car and off we set again!
The good path was circularly lit by the head torch and I steadily made progress, hoping to reach the summit for sunrise (something I failed a last winter!). However about 50 vertical meters from the summit a bank of clag decided to settle on the mountain and I cut my losses and headed for the ridge in the vain hope that I may catch a glimpse of the eastern horizon! It was not to be, so I did my piece to camera about what camera equipment I use and headed to the nearby eastern summit.
As can often happen, the weather gods that dampened my spirits minutes before obviously felt sorry for me and within a few steps from the summit the southern horizon appeared above the clag – WOW – what a few! The sun was now above the land and I decided now to get camera 3 out of the bag (four cameras were used).
Camera 1 was The Sony DSC-HX9V compact system and was used for the in car shots and boots on at the car park scene. Camera 2 was The Sony Nex-7 and camera 3 was the drone – The Phantom 3 Standard!
It was cold- probably about -5 before adding the wind chill and previous experience told me that getting the drone up might be a waste of time due to the batteries getting cold (whether it be craft, phone or hand piece batteries), however I was in luck and up it went, getting footage above the fog, fantastic! However it didn’t last long before the phone died and I had to bring her homeL
Never mind, my hands had lost all feeling in tem anyway and getting the drone away and gloves on was nice!! A short walk and I was on the true summit of Vrackie with Pitlochry and the lowlands at my feet. Camera 4 was then deployed – The GoPro 3 black edition. I sat it on the egg timer on the nice flat surface of the cairn and got a lovely sweeping panoramaJ
Whilst waiting, I did more filming to camera discussing oxters and their essential and pivotal role in keeping batteries warm! I then went into great detail on other camera bits and bobs – all the while trying to warm a phone and a drone battery in “the oxter”. However it wasn’t to be and the drone said no to another flight as the batteries were too cold – never mind, the sony and gopro were still filming away J
By eight o clock I decided I needed to head back ad collected all the gear and headed back down. Back to the car and back home with the family before mid-morning – fantastic!!!
Next up I headed to the editing suite (read broom cupboard in the house!!). I was looking forward to editing all the information I had said to camera, especially the importance of keeping batteries warm and having spares etc etc I had done what I preached and had numerous batteries for all four cameras – superb!!
Imagine my disgust when I reviewed the footage to find out that my external microphone batteries’ had died due to the cold- and I hadn’t even noticed-noooo-school boy error!!
The audio was terrible and I really struggled editing it to be able to hear anything. I was going to bin this film but didn’t. So if you bother watching remember to turn up the volume and apologies regards the terrible audio – remember batteries for all equipment-including external mics – lesson learnt!!!
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...