Tuesday, 22 May 2018


An Teallach, Oct 2012
Over the last few years social media has had a major influence on businesses and how they market themselves. There can't be many organisations that don't use some form of social media to promote their company. From big organisations to the sole trader, we are in a world where advertising takes on some form of social media.
When I decided to start up my own company I didn't even have a computer! My main means of marketing were leaflets and word of mouth. I eventually got myself a pc and my first portal of getting myself into the market was a blog. At that time Blogger.com was the first and only form of social media. I began my blog well before I had a website up and running. I only remember a handful of outdoor instructors and companies who wrote blogs way back in 2006. I knew nothing about websites but some 'expert' did inform me that having a strong link attached to your website was a really good thing to get your site up in the Google rankings. My blog was that medium.
Ben Lawers, Jan 2005
Tapping away at a blog over a decade ago I did wonder if anyone would actually be reading it! My main aim at that time was to inform potential clients that we had snow and ice on the mountains. A means of getting folk interested in winter instruction up in the South Eastern Highlands where I lived at that time. Having your blog linked to other websites got you connected too.
I can't remember the stats for daily or weekly views, it was probably less than one hundred per week I suppose.
The Matterhorn, 2006
 I've stuck with Blogger.com since I started. Other formats have come and gone. Wordpress seems to be the new kid on the block but I like blogger. It' simple, free and a brilliant way to showcase your photography work, as well as written work.

CMD arete, Ben Nevis, Feb 2012
So then a strange thing called Facebook comes along. I was quite happy scribbling away on my blog and some fast moving social media hits the world. Before we know it everyone is at it! The world was taken by storm. Everyone becomes a photographer and instant gratification. Then to make everything even faster some smarty pants invents a smart phone with camera. The 'selfie' was soon born. A new wrangled thing called Twitter is also invented but I never quite got that one. Of course like everyone else we start using Facebook and with mobile cameras becoming better quality we can even upload movies onto all these platforms.
Cairn Gorm summit, Feb 2013
 Facebook really has taken off and in the last couple of years it seems blogs have gone out of fashion. So much so that some outdoor folk have abandoned them completely. It's a great loss. Facebook seems to be such a throwaway kind of media. You can flick through so quickly on your super fast phone in your super fast world. There's even a thing called Snapchat (younger folk use this 'cos they had Facebook nicked off them by middle aged people). Snapchat is so instant you can bin it! A throw away society indeed.
Sneachda cliffs, October 2014
For me the blogger format is still the best. A place to come to and spend some time. Reading a good (or bad) story. Looking at some big, stunning images (or bad, grey ones). It's also a brilliant wee diary for all my adventures over the years. Try scrolling back through your facebook account just a couple of weeks. Then again, don't, you'll be ther forever. With blogs you can find a day you had out so easily. I know it's sad but when you have a few days of bad weather it's nice to look back and see we did get a summer.
An Teallach, Janury 2018
Just to bring us back to the beginning of this wee post. My main aim of my blog is advertising! My followers have increased steadily over the years. Some posts, like in winter, get 1000+ views. Tarmachan Mountaineering's blog has been in existence for well over a decade. That's a long time in this day and age. It must still be relitively popular, it's still here! Google own it too! It can't be too bad, I just came in the top 10 Mountaineering Blogs  from Feedspot:


Keep watching. I ain't going away yet. :)

Saturday, 19 May 2018


Scrambling on the Fiacaill Coire Sneachda
All quiet in Coire an t-Sneachda
Coire an t-Sneachda snows
Our route
The fun begins
This is fun
Big blocks
Half way along
Last bit
The top
Lunch time views
Feithe buidhe snows
Ptarmigan on summit of Cairn Lochan
Coire an Lochain
For two folk it was a special day today. Alex and Ian had never been scrambling and joined me for some tuition to take their hillwalking onto another level. Scrambling is that grey area between hillwalking and rock climbing. We headed onto the Fiacaill a Coire Sneachda from Coire an t-Sneachda. Going from the coire gives some steep, pathless terrain and broken ground. To get to many scrambles it involves some of this, it's ideal terrain to get used to. Alex and Ian hadn't much experience of this. It was glorious weather, blue skies, warm sun and a beautiful snow bunting singing it's heart out in Sneachda. We got up to the ridge line and onto the fun scrambling. We had the place to ourselves for most of the way. Ian and Alex did a grand job and we're soon smiles after some initial trepidation. Up on the plateau a strong wind blew so we headed to my favourite view of Loch Avon for lunch and out of the wind. On the way back we did some navigation across the plateau and up to Cairn Lochan. Right on the summit was a ptarmigan enjoying the fine views. No dotterel seen today. They are usually here by this time in May. A grand day and two folk now armed with some scrambling skills to venture off . Great day to be out. The fine weather holding on for some days to come. Make the most of it folks, It may well be our summer!

Thursday, 17 May 2018


Rob all smiles on An Teallach
What chances are there for a client to book one day for An Teallach and getting  stunning, almost perfect weather? That's what Robert got today. His wife had bought him a day out on the finest mountain on Earth for a Christmas present. What a pressie! Robert had always wanted complete the full traverse of  An Teallach via the Corrag Buidhe pinnacles. Here's the route.

Sail Liath looking back to the Fisherfield Forest
We set off on a glorious morning at Corrie Hallie. This is the usual start point for the long but easy approach march to the first of An Teallach's summits, Sail Liath. It's a good trail up to the mountain's first of many summits and the ground conditions are very dry just now, a pleasure!

Toll an Lochain from Sail Liath
Once on the top of Sail Liath you get the first sight of An Teallach's Corrag Buidhe crest and impressive the steep coire which plunges from the spires, Toll an Lochain. From Sail Liath the ridge narrows and it's a roller coaster ride over a couple of minor tops. The first of the pinnacles gets ever closer and  becomes more impressive.

Loch Toll an Lochain far below
On the crest, Sail Liath behind
The Corrag Buide are a series of four Torridonian sandstone towers. Some wonderful and exposed scrambling lies ahead. If desired you can bypass the entire scrambling of these with a traverse path that lies below. Wny would you wish to do this though? You will miss all the fun!
On the Corrag Budhe
The steep pinnacles are interspersed with some narrow sections of ridge, time to pause and admire what's in front. The first of the scrambling has a very exposed but short section near its top. After this the scrambling becomes easier, or maybe you just get tuned in! There are lots of variations along the crest and the down climbing can be made less intimidating by easier routes which are obvious.
Big holds, big views
The odd gap to jump!
Down scrambling on big ledges, or small, whichever you prefer!
The third pinnacle is my favourite. It looks spectacular, lovely scrambling and in the middle of the crest. Grand views back and in front. Good spot for a pause and bite to eat at the top. Why rush on a day like today?

Down and No.3 ahead
Beinn Dearg Mhor and Loch na Sealga
There are grand views out to the Fisherfield Forest and Torridon mountains from the ridge. Today the clarity of air was wonderful. Not a breath of wind for most of the day. It was base layers, shades and sunscreen up high.

Heading toward Lord Berkeley's Seat
I guess the most 'famous' of the Corrag Buidhe is the final pinnacle, Lord Berekeley's Seat. This one narrows to an arete and the summit leans over into the void with Toll an Lochain a long, long way below and no obstacles in the way! It's obligatory to sit on the top with your legs dangling over the abyss.
Scrambling down from Lord Barkeley's Seat
Looking back to Lord Barkeley's Seat
Final easy slopes to Sgurr Fiona
All too soon the scrambling finishes as you head up the final easy slopes to the first of An Teallach's two Munros, Sgurr Fiona. The scrambling is now over and back to 'walking' along the ridge. Of course the views are still impressive in every direction. Wonderful vistas out to the coast and ahead lies the next Munro summit of Bidean a' Ghals Thuill, just 2m higher than Sgurr Fiona with not too much of a drop in between.
Bidean a' Ghlas Thuill from Sgurr Fiona
Views out to the coastline
Up again soon
The classic view of An Teallach
It's less than an hour of walking between the two Munro summits. On Bidean a' Ghlas Thuill you get the classic and stunning view of An Teallach. The Corrag Buidhe pinnacles looking wonderful on the skyline.
There are many variations routes on An Teallach, spurs and ridges in every direction. Most folk head off down to Dundonnell on easy slopes. The call of a pint at the hotel was enough for Robert to decide he would like that option! The bog was completely dry on the final stretch to the road. No midges. Heaven.
A grand day out and nice to catch up with friends in Ullapool.
Sea views from Sgurr Fiona

Lord Barkeley's Seat behind us

Lord Barekeley ( now Robs ) Seat

Jus brilliant fun

We love ridges!

Tuesday, 15 May 2018


Gordon photographing in the sun
Male ptarmigan
Mountain Hare
Weather front approaching
Loose dog alert!
Technical stuff this photography
Superb, clear visibility
Another one enjoying the sun
Poor wee Meadow Pipits never make the limelight
Gordon was out with me on a One day wildlife photography workshop. His main aim was to capture the ptarmigan. He had never seen one, until today. It was a glorious early morning with clear skies and excellent clear air. We had the whole area to ourselves up in the Northern Corries. First off was a lovely mountain hare munching away on heather for a good 15 minutes. Then along comes an irresponsible dog owner with his dog off a lead. This is a big problem in the Cairngorms. This period is vital for all ground nesting birds. Please be more responsible if you intend taking your dog s out on the hills in Spring. Thankfully the hare shot off and munched elsewhere and the ptarmigan didn't seem phased. Plenty of male ptarmigan about. Gordon got some great images just before the high level cloud came over. A lovely day to be out on the hills with warm sunshine and superb clarity of air.
All my wildlife photography courses are run on demand, geared towards the individual.