Back on the mountains…
A month must have passed since I pulled myself over the top of Central Gully, and stood in awe, gazing at the superb inversion that greeted me….. A couple of wee trips to Dunkeld saw my mountain addiction only partially fed though….
A Late Spring snow fall finally tipped me over the edge! Big, massive snowflake filled the skies above Perth on the Thursday and come Friday the mountains were teasing me with their big fat white coats on….. “We won’t be wearing these for long” came the message ! I broke and my usual routine of spending Friday night finishing up my work and loose ends was replaced by a frantic haul around my utility room (read mountain equipment room with a few white kitchen appliance goods) throwing crampons and gear in the back of my favourite red rucksack! I was soon off- headed for the Munro that had teased me earlier. Evening ascents are not unusual, especially from this time of year onwards, but doing them in such good winter nick certainly was a little strange!
As I arrived at the familiar parking spot near Advorlich House, I noticed one car left, suggesting either someone was later setting off or had a similar idea to myselfJ
I was soon striding up the hill, through the gates and past the classic signs of Spring –lambs – lots of lambs. Usually close to their mother but on the occasion when they hadn’t sensed me coming they soon scampered, bleating for their mothers… weather and life can be cruel and I later found a few lifeless lambs who had succumbed to the colder weather….
As is usually the case, the snow started becoming thicker underfoot soon after passing over the finally bridge before headed in to Coire Buidhe…. It was deep and wet making it a little slippery! I soon met the owners of the last car; we exchanged pleasantries and set off in opposite directions. The weather was also improving. It was still bitterly cold with an icy wind, but the cloud was starting to break from the west. The weather front was moving east, the dark clouds were being replaced by broken, sunnier skies to the west. It made grand viewing, the white peaks were now catching the light as the sun lowered to the west, but black clouds provided a suitable contrast in the background.
Onwards I went up a slope that has seen my footfall many times, might be my go to hill, perhaps – but there are a few others that maybe hold a better stake to that accolade ;)
The snow was deep, and a found myself thigh deep at times. This was great fun – a taste of winter when summer beckons. I was soon at the top and the views were magnificent. Today the star attraction were the Lomond Hills in Fife. Snow covered and illuminated by the setting sun, they looked fantastic. After a short break I decided to head down, a slippery descent but soon I was enjoying a few well deserved beers…….
It was a grand trip, but MORE beckoned. My thirst had been quenched but no excuses are needed to get out! The other half of Steaming Boots was returning from holiday and had a rat to feed!
A late start saw us trying to miss the band of rain as it moved eastwards. A number of plans had been hatched but plan B was decided upon. An ascent of Ben More (again!) but by an unfamiliar route. The East Ridge. We set off and before long had fences to climb and it seemed a combination of nature and manmade obstacles, were trying to block our way to the summit! Numerous signs for open hillside now had diversions and much construction is occurring on this side of the hill – not too sure what it is but a wilderness it certainly is not! Perhaps due to this, this is a side of the hill not frequently visited by hill walkers. Open hillside was crossed and no paths, a nice feeling and not another soul was met once we had left the construction site. Weary weekend warriors reached the summit in cloud. However we didn’t have far to drop down to enjoy some views over the Stob Binnein (or is that Stuc a Chroin;)). Good craick and good to be out. Am now back on an even keel with my addiction under control …. For now…….
Back to the Hills
Following a couple of rather memorable outings (namely the northern light wild camp excursion – then an inversion treat on Lui!!) I have found available time at a premium, due to family and work commitments, the bane of all our lives! As days, then weeks pass, I find the urge growing from within, a need to get back out and climb a hill, or sample the outdoors in some fashion…. Is it a primeval urge or just an addiction to fresh air and exercise – who knows – but last weekend my addiction was biting away badly! Having been away from home most of the week I needed to spend time with the family (priority number one), but priority number two was to get out….
I arrived home late on Friday and a favourable weather forecast saw me getting the car parked and bike out at the Cally car park before 06.15… It was a chilly morning but the skies were clear. The last time I was here was as a 9 year old Cub Scout, and my behaviour was less than exemplary on that outing! More of that later………. I set off on the bike up through the trees and past Mill Dam, the shade provided by the trees was not welcome as the freezing temperatures were likely to cause my numb fingers to fall off!! Another two rounded Lochans whizzed by and something about kettles and ice plucking rocks during Ice ages popped into my head- a long lost memory from the Geography class room!
As I passed through the gates near Raor Lodge the sun was finally starting to warm me up. Even this early in the morning the power of the sun at this time of year quickly heats things up…. Well maybe not that much as it started to snow at this point , but it only proved to be a flurry and nothing to worry about. Loch Ordie was the intended destination. I hadn’t thought about a trip here until I was recuperating from my knee op and looking for some reasonable cycles to help in my healing. As it turned out I ended up on a high camp above Glen Tilt back then, however Ordie was proving perfect today. I reached the western shore and sat taking in the blue skies and sunshine. I even had time to get the drone out and make a short film…….Follow below link to film
This was great, and what more I was being well behaved. About 30 years previously there may have been a cub scout walk here and maybe three of these cubs maybe loosened the moorings of a few of the fishing boats……. A little fun we thought pushing them out then pulling them back in, until someone let go and two of the boats floated off into the middle of the loch. Time to scarper!!!!! A few hours later and finally the guilt got too much, confessions rolled off the tongue and groundings were dually handed out…. Lesson learnt – don’t think I’ve been near a fishing boat since ;)
As always the cycle back, nearly all downhill, was fantastic! An Osprey swung by to have a look which proved a highlight. I was back home for the family awaking near 9 and sat outside enjoying a coffee knowing there would be no guilt or confessions required this time…..;)
As an extra, a family weekend was had, but the urge remained and come Sunday evening I visited the hills above Dunkeld once more and had a quick leg stretch up Birnam Hill….. The addiction was still calling though and it would be another week before it was to be fed by proper big snowy mountains ……… To be continued….
Some thoughts and reports from my outdoors activties...