Monthly Archives: January 2009

Tourist in my own country

New year celebrations are never done to the same effect anywhere but in Scotland. Today is January 4th and I have just made it home. It was not all one combined party but rather lots of things tacked together (the good old tradition of first footing). After a mammoth family christmas I headed North with Robin on the 28th of December looking for snowy bits in the mountains. The first problem arose when we almost ran out of fuel getting up to Braemar and the second when we realised we only had four matches for two nights. The Third problem was that I used the last three matches trying to light the stove on the second night (in the Garbh coire of Bheinn a Bhuird). The fourth problem was that it was very cold and we kind of needed the stove to melt water (and cook dinner and breakfast) and the last problem was that my thermarest sprung a leak. All that aside the weather and remoteness of bheinn a bhuird was amazing and it felt very strange to be back in scottish winter and not in a white out. We then headed back to Braemar to join a massive crowd of people for hogmanay (new year) Impressively this lasted from the 30th to evening of the second with people even making it to climb hills and mountain bike inbetween the massive drinking sessions. Bob and I fitted in one day of rather scary ice climbing (the water was running underneath it and all the screws kept bottoming out after 5 cm). Robin and I then continued our road trip across scotland visiting friends and ending up at a massive local music session on Loch awe side with “big gill” (i should explain that gill is not big but is marginally bigger than “wee gill” (sorry big gill))Looking into the Central cairngorms from the North top of Bheinn a Bhuird Robin about to give the tent pegs a whack in the Garbh coire (for the climbers -the ice line about robins head is “the flume” (iv 4) the one to the left of it is a grade 2/3 and the far right of the picture is the bottom of mitre ridge (VS is summer or vi 6 in winter)Robin pretending he hasnt bust his ankle with the cairngorms in the background Some of the usual suspects – Ninian, Little Rich, Sue, Iona, Wee Ben, Stu, Bob, Paul and me on new years eve day. (taken by Jus) Little Rich celebrating his 100th munroWee Ben carrying his Paraglider above Glenshee (to later fly off Glas Maol)

One of many trips to the recycling
Frozen Heather A fragile state (bobs head as well as the ice as he proved by being sick on the first belay ledge!)
The joys of Scottish winter climbing – a 10cm screw tied off after 5 cm. Nothing like a confidence booster!
Its been strange and amazing to be back in scotland all at the same time. Whats most alarming is people asking where I’m from or not understanding me when I order drinks at the bar. It also feels weird to have no idea what things should cost and having to look carefully at notes to check how much they are worth. Amazingly the weather has really been the best thing about being home (as you might see from the pictures)(okay and the people) It is so unusual to get a high pressure system in winter when you want it and the only bad weather day was the 1st which gave an added excuse not to do anything too strenous with a hangover………..
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