Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A DAY IN THE ROUGH BOUNDS OF KNOYDART

George and I went up to the wonderful area between Loch Arkaig and Knoydart today. For George it was an early start from Glasgow and a longish day on a superb ridge walk taking in the Munro's of Sgurr nan Coireachan, Garbh Cioch Mhor and the beautifuly shaped Sgurr na Ciche. A fantastic area with ridge walking of the highest calibre in a remote and  with a 'wild' feel, so wild we saw no one all day. Sgurr na Ciche must surley rank as one of the most beautiful mountains in the Highlands with great views of Knoydart and Loch Morar. We had another very warm day, with t-shirt temperatures all day and the tops clear, although the cloud did increase during the day.

Monday, 28 June 2010

WIND ON BEN NEVIS

Today I was taking a group of 3 (originally 5) from the wind power developers 'Eurowind' up The Ben. There was an interesting and controversial conversation about their wind farm developments in Scotland on the way up the hill.  But thankfully the wind got so strong on the mountain that I didn't get too deep into my points of view on their concrete windmills in The Highlands. Ukar was sporting a novel pair of boots (see pic) which incorporated some kind of spike device on the sole that flipped out for security on snow/ice, shame the boots gave him loads of grief in the toe area on the descent, don't think they'll catch on over here somehow. There was low cloud and drizzle in the morning but on the way down the sun came out and it was like summer again. Much quieter today with only a few folk out this morning. At least the wind kept the midges at bay, hopefully the guys didn't have any bright ideas about a windmill on The Ben!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

NAVIGATION - PART TWO

Liz & Terry were with me again for their second day of navigation training. Today we went to Glen Roy and covered micro navigation techniques, including pacing and timing. This is a very quiet part of the Highlands, famous for the 'Paralell Roads' which aren't roads with cars on! They are reminences of the retreating glaciers, interesting landscape and a nature reserve. We saw no one all day, no big mountains here but great terrain for navigation with some featureless terrain. It was another very warm day, a nice breeze on the tops to keep the flies down. Some heavy showers in the late afternoon but by then we were settled into
The Glen Spean Lodge Hotel- a very comfortable place for a drink and very friendly, hospitable owners.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

NAVIGATION BELOW THE BEN

Liz & Terry are with me  this weekend on a two day navigation course. Today we were on the southern slopes of Aonach Beag and worked our way through lovely, remote terrain back via the Meall Cumhann area. This is ideal ground for learning all techniques for map reading and compass work, especially when all the summits are free of cloud. Why is it when running navigation courses I always seem to get clear conditions! As well as the navigation there was time to appreciate the grand views, remotness, peace and quiet and the flora & fauna. Today we spotted, amongst many other things, Alpine Bistort, Cransbills, Fragrant Orchid, tiny baby frogs and a beautiful, fragile 'baby' dragonfly not quite able to take off yet!

Friday, 25 June 2010

BEN NEVIS - LEDGE ROUTE & CMD ARETE

Another dry, bright and hot day, t-shirt weather again on the tops. Scrambled up up Ledge Route and back across the Carn Mor Dearg Arete on Ben Nevis today. A great way to see all aspects of the Ben  and only 15 minutes walk on the pony track  so a quiet time out. Many flowers and plants out now, massess odf moss campion, starry saxifrage and rose root all over the place. A grand day out as Wallace said to Gromet! Hot and mostly dry weekend ahead.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

KINTAIL, ON A LOVELY DAY

A beautiful sunny and very warm day after the low cloud of yesterday. George & I went up Beinn Fhada in Kintail. The finest way up this big buly mountain is via the excellent West ridge from the Beinn Buidhe summit which has some craggy ups &downs including some mild scrambling and one slabby descent which can be avoided. The ridge abbruptly comes out onto the Plaid Mhor, a vast plateau of high grassy walking for the last 20 mins to the summit. An array of flowers out on the hill at the moment including copious ampounts of heath spotted orchids, moss campion and sea thrift high on the hill. We saw no one all along the ridge, which for some odd reason doesn't seem to be the most popular route to the top. The descent path to the bealach na Sgine is a delight, almost  Alpine like path alll the way down the glen.

Monday, 21 June 2010

FIVE SISTERS & 10 MEN

On the Five Sisters of Kintail today with a group of 10 guys from London. Lots of banter and joking along this great day out of wonderful ridge walking. Unfortunately the weather was dissappointing, we were in low cloud for much of the day, only on the last summit did the cloud break as we finished in bright sunshine! All the guys did well, they get out together only once per year for a hillwalking day and this was their toughest day to date. It was quite worrying to bump into a solo walker and a separate group of 5 just below the Ciste Dubh summit who didn't have a clue where they were, despite the group of 5 gaving maps, compasses and even a GPS! At one point the solo walker commented 'I'll just follow you lot'! Mmmmm!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

ANOTHER SUNNY DAY ON BEN NEVIS

Yet another blue sky day on Ben Nevis today. There was a cool Northerly wind which died down by mid afternoon so very pleasent on the summit. My group today were treated to superb clear views, I took them over to various vantage points to get a glimpse of the North side of the mountain, as well as to escape the constant crowds coming up the hill. There seemed to be even more than the usual 3 peakers' today, presumerbly as the longest day is fast approaching. The usual colourful charachters were on display, including Scooby Doo having a fag!
Away from Technology again over the next couple of days-I'm over in Kintail. Hopfully the great weather will continue.

Friday, 18 June 2010

LEDGE ROUTE-BEN NEVIS, LIESURLEY STYLE

I had a very liesurley start today, not jumoing onto the bike and up the hill till after 1pm. Another cracking blue, blue skies and very warm day. There was a lovely breeze though so perfect weather. I headed up Ledge Route on Ben Nevis, the classic easy but very spectacular scramble on the Carn Dearg Buttress. There is still a sizable lump of snow at the bottom of No.5 Gully so I thought I'd give the alternative start to the route a go seeing has never been that way before. It goes over to Moonlight Buttress then traverses across back to No.5 higher up. Loer down in the Ciste corrie were a group of young deer with their hinds who weren't at all bothered by my presence. The route takes a traverse line into spectacular scenery and lots of flowers-moss campion & starry saxifrages in abundance. There was no one about on the route, brilliant! Afternoon splendour in great weather but all too soon it ends, never mind just have to do it all again sometime! The Red Burn is running very low at the moment and underfoot everything is so dry as our heatwave continues!