Monthly Archives: April 2013

Pre road trip

There seems to be some concern that I dont actually work.  I have been a little concerned about this myself recently and actually did a bit of work last week.  This was right before Hannah and I set off on a climbing road trip down to her mums wedding and back.  Today we are in pembroke waiting for the rain to stop so thought I would squeeze in a quick blog from the weeks leading up to our road trip.  Again, I should have taken photos of the bad stuff like laying concrete in the rain with Bob or paddling round a quarry with some 10years olds from Renfrewshire but I just forgot to get my camera out.  Lots of climbing photos from around the UK to follow but for now…..

I left Ardachy house early one morning – had to stop as I drove out of the driveway to take this.  The always changing view to Jura
I headed off to meet Ruaridh and the one and only Sandy Norval for some routes on the South Wall of Garbh Bheinn in Ardgour.  Sandy had been back in the uk  from india for about 26hours at this point – seen here seconding “Scimitar” (VS 4c)

Sandy and Ruaridh then came back to mull to hang out at Ardachy house at the end of the epic house warming.  Scoor beach (the next beach over from Ardalanish)

A few days later Hannah and I drove to Glasgow and managed to get a quick route in on the amazing etive slabs, Hannah belaying here on “Vein Rouge” (HVS5a) – its been a while since i climbed on the slabs and had a bit of a “moment” 30feet above my gear on the last pitch!

The guidebooks stacking up in the van ready for the road trip

Hannah leading the middle pitch of “Vein rouge”

One of the last days at Ardachy, fetching bunkbeds across the ferry from Iona

The one and only Fingal Francis let loose on the beach at Scoor
Tony, Clare, Iona, Hannah and Finn on the beach at Scoor.

So far the road trip has been brilliant, getting sandbagged off routes in Northumberland, blown off crags in Yorkshire and visiting old haunts in the Lakes.  Then a wonderful couple of days with Clare and Daj watching them get married and climbing in Swanage with them and now on the road….  lots more fun and climbing to be had till we are both back at work in just less than 2 weeks.

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Warming the House

The house warming at Ardachy continues but I thought that I should get a quick post in before more people arrive and more exciting things happen.  There have been hoards of people at Ardachy enjoying Tony Francis’s hospitality on Mull and getting up to some amazing adventures.  People have come from all over and it has been amazing to be with friends old and new in such a spectacular place.

Just before the house warming Hannah and I went to see my family who were staying at Duntroon.  We went for a walk and got some unique views back across the sound of Luing (where we work in the summer) towards the Ross of Mull

The latest member of the Francis Clan – Fingal (Finn) attacking Hannah

First day of the house warming – Main Wall at Erraid, brilliant single pitch climbing on immaculate pink granite above the sea.  Climbers on “Oliver” (VS 4c) and “Walls without balls” (E1 5b)

It might be sunny but its still not too warm – Ruaridh happy in his down jacket.

Jo on “One Dead Puffin” (HVS 5a) at Erraid – the route on the front of Scottish Rock guidebook (probably had more ascents than the rest of Erraid put together because of this!)

The main evening of the house warming with music and whisky in full flow in the Yurt

View from the top of the Yurt

Charlie and Matt in full swing

The next morning was a bit hazy but Ruaridh and I went and climbed “White Shite ” (VS 4c), one of the only multipitches around.  Great fun and better (and harder) than the name (and grade) suggest.  – Climbing purists might be able to spot my quality gear hanging on the rope, this is not a route to get your gear wrong on!

Ruaridh on one of the cruxes of White Shite

Steven scaring us as he goes for it up the upper flake of “Troglodyte” (HVS 5a) at Scoor, Dune Wall (for the climbers – his last gear is underneath the overlap!)

The beautiful Dune wall in the late afternoon sun

Next up Robin, Clare, Bob and baby Anna showed up with a few sea kayaks….

Hannah, Tony and I headed around Iona for the day.  Above – the boats pulled up on the beach at our lunch break (you can just sea snow on Ben More)

Yesterday Bob, Robin and I paddled out to Staffa to check out Fingals cave.  Above – Bob and Robin in the mouth

of the cave

Bob “This is so good I never need to go sea kayaking again” Taylor looking happy – you can just sea robin coming through the small sea arch behind him

Its a long way home!

On the way home with Staffa behind

An HDR shot of my new sea kayak on the beach at Staffa

Today has been a bit more restful with some good food and playing on the beach – Hannah trying to control Bob and Clares Powerkite..Under control.  You can make out the paps of Jura above Hannah.

Now theres a few more people to show up to make sure the house is properly warm and then I should really do some work next week!

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