For the last couple of years I’ve tried to hold onto a couple of weeks in May and June where I dont work to allow me time to tick off a couple of Scotlands classic rock routes. The weather window to do these mountain routes can be quite small and usually I come away from those weeks a little frustrated at either the amount of rain, the amount of midgies or the lack of keen partners. This year feels a little different. When you’re self employed its often hard to not take work when its offered but over the last couple of months I’ve managed to hang onto my time off and amazingly this has largely coincided with periods of amazing weather and friends who are also free and keen to climb. In the last few months almost everything else has fallen by the way side as I’ve got tireder and tireder ticking through three star routes quite a few of which I never thought I would get to climb. Its been amazing to see the mountain crags so busy with teams operating at all grades in glorious sunshine.
The majestic Cir Mhor on the Isle of Arran. Despite having lived on Arran for a few months I had never climbed the South Ridge Direct. Camping in Glen Rosa for a couple of nights was the start of an amazing spell of good weather.
Somewhat of a rest day. On a baking hot day Cecile and I cycled in to climb “Ardverikie Wall” I was on belay duty all day and climbed with my hood up to try and escape the sun. The last time I climbed this was one of the most midgy experiences of my life!
A wee bit of work. I have been running some Skye sea kayak expeditions this summer for Sea Kayak Plockton. All of these expeditions have been quite different but all with brilliant clients to some wild and adventurous places. Above – camped on Harlosh Island in loch Bracadale – we had to cut the last day of this exped short as a force 8 was forecast.
Jago, Sarah and Ceclie proving how windy it is on a wander out to see if the “Old Man of Stoer” is still standing.
Photo from Andy Nisbet (me on the second pitch of the the Robin Smith Classic “The Big Top”). At the end of 12 day streak of climbing Andy convinced me to head out for a photo shoot for the new guidebook with Graham I had been shifting concrete slabs the evening before and was feeling pretty tired but it was all worth it for some more classics in the sun with Andy shouting “stop there for a minute theres a cloud”
Adam contemplating his runout on the classic “Edgehog”. Somehow in the driest summer I remember Adam, Seb and I were up the glen on a freezing cold morning as the drizzle showers came through. It hasn’t all be endless sunshine!
Final day of a four day trip. Dave (the other supervisor) gliding up the inside channel from Back of Keppoch into Arisaig bay. These four days were the hottest I have ever spent on the water in the UK.
Al Docherty on the crux pitch of “Minus One Direct” in May. There was so much snow in Observatory Gully that the bottom two pitches (45m) were missing.
Adam on the top pitch of “Crocodile” on one of our many productive days this summer. On this day we had to desperately seek shade as it was too hot to climb in the sun.
Stormy paddling into Glen Dhu (appropriate name) with Cecile, Jago and Sarah.
Pabay post box. On the last of the Skye sea kayak expeditions we stopped for the night on Pabay on the east side of Skye. Definitely one of the weirdest places I’ve stayed with a lonely wee post box, a fancy renovated farm house (deserted) and a perfectly straight road across the island that appeared to go nowhere!
Paddling under the Skye bridge on the last day of the exped.
Cecile seconding one of the many exciting pitches of “Torro” on Ben Nevis.
Mark Chambers on the brilliant main pitch of “Alice Springs” on Creag and Dubh Loch. The last two days of my summer climbing season (in Scotland!) were brilliant with Mark and I trying to fit as much as possible into a couple of days before had to be back at work.
Third route of the day – the never dry “Sword of Damocles” was bone dry.
Here we go again” Staring up at “King Rat” at 7am ready for another day of fun.
The summer has been amazing but now I have a couple more days of work before some international trips for work and play. For once the Scottish summer has been a good warm up for Morocco and the Dolomites!