Category Archives: Arisaig

Big Changes

The last month has seen our numbers rise from twenty one to around seventy at Rothera.  The first aircraft were foreign planes heading to other Antarctic bases but these were soon followed by BAS’s “Dash 7” and “Twin Otters” loaded with staff for Rothera and Halley.  For the wintering team this means a lot of changes with base becoming a lot more vibrant with constantly coming planes and people as well as longer lunch queues.    I haven’t taken too many photos this month but have slowly got around to looking at some that had slipped through the net as well as processing a bit more of the timelapse I have shot over the winter.  Perhaps the random selection of photos for this month best reflects how work has felt over the last couple of weeks.  With it now not getting dark till 11pm it already seems like a long time since we had only a couple of hours of daylight.

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One that slipped through the net. The Milky Way over Ryder Bay and Mt Liotard. I think this was taken from a high bivy shortly after midwinter.

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The Dash 7 Landing at Rothera

img_8642After work beers on the veranda (yes that’s a T-shirt!) the week before the first plane arrived.

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The end result of a couple of hours work

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The digging continues – John making a start on the South door of the accommodation building.

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Another one that slipped through the net. Doc Tom about to do my midwinter dental checkup.

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Another big change! When your beard goes in your soup at morning smoko its time it went!

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Last days with the beard. Al took this of me on our winter trip – I was struggling to see my harness to tie my ropes on!

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Twin Otter facing North on the Apron. I have spent quite a bit of time recently on “fire cover” so lots of hanging around the hangar and apron.

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The start of Summer also means lots of training of new staff. Denzel – checking out an emergency shelter with the training tents in the background

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The new comms manager learning about emergency snow shelters (in this case a “snow-grave”)

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The arrival of the planes does mean some fresh fruit. My bag hanging of my peg in the bootroom. I think the Avocados have been the most popular.

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Busy times in the Hangar

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A very quiet Field Guide office with just Al on the computer. There will soon be thirteen Field guides based out of Rothera instead of just the four of us.

Also finally got around to putting some timelapse together.  A collection of stuff from around Adelaide Island post midwinter.  (Worth watching till the end for a laugh)

 

 

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, alligator, Antarctica, Ardnamurchan, Ardnamurchan climbing, Ardverikie wall, Arisaig Sport Climbing, Back of Keppoch, BAS, Belnahua, Ben Nevis, Ben Nevis ice climbing, Bioluminescence, bothy, British Antarctic Survey, Buachille Etive Mor, Uncategorized

The trouble with Sea Kayaking

The trouble with sea kayaking is there’s an awful lot of faff involved.  It also involves large amounts of driving (even though I live 100m from the sea) and it can be quite hard work.  I hate faff, do a lot of driving already and usually try and find a way around hard work.  This might explain why I havent managed to do much sea kayaking this year despite a looming assessment.  At the start of the month Matt and Oliver agreed to join me for some faffing as I got myself ready for my “5 star leader assessment” (a grand and somewhat confusing title).  The final problem with sea kayaking is that it is pretty hard to get decent pictures of the actual sea kayaking.  I am therefore starting with the ubiquitous shot of the boat on a beautiful scottish beach.IMG_2199 The three of us headed out to Arisaig to prove how inept we were at rescuing each other and ourselves – it was however a great warm up for the next 8 days of paddling for Matt and I.IMG_2203 Matt paddling away from the Cuillin in the sound of Raasay.  Strong winds stopped us getting anywhere so we were forced into a couple of nights stay at Raasay House.IMG_2208Ferry coming in.  We headed out into some fairly big swell (again no photos as I was trying to stay upright) on a particularly wild day
IMG_2214 IMG_2226 After some kit sorting and drying we headed down the sound of Luing, through the corryvrechan whirlpool to the west coast of Jura.  The bothy finally in sight after a great days paddlingIMG_5417Jellyfish on the beachIMG_5426A couple of shots of Glen Garrisdale bothy.  I’ve wanted to go here for years and it absolutely lived up to my expectations.  IMG_5434Glen Garrisdale

The next day we headed back across the whirlpool to Scarba and across to the Garbhellachs.  IMG_2228 Coffee and and super noodles on Eileach a NaoimhIMG_5448 Looking south over our campsite on the southern end of GarvellachIMG_5454 Sunset looking south.IMG_5481The next morning we had planned to leave early to catch the flooding tide.  We were met at 630 by clouds of midgies forcing us to procrastinate in the tent for 45mins.  Above – Matt contemplating getting out, you can see the smear of midgies on the mesh panel on the right.

Despite all the faff, driving and hard working I love the places you can get to by sea kayak and how simple it can be to pack up a boat and head off for a few days.  Oh and I passed the assessment.

Also posted in ali rose, Back of Keppoch, bothy, midgies, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, scotland, Scottish Kayaking, Skye Tagged , |

The Summer that Keeps on Giving

“Winter is Coming” everyone keeps saying and I am definitely keen.  Its hard to complain though with so much great weather in Scotland just now.  Everywhere I’ve been in the last few years people have talked about changing weather patterns and Scotland is no exception.  Predictable seasons seem a thing of the past and looking at this November its hard to believe I’ve climbed winter routes at this time of year in the past.  This year seems unique to me in that there hasn’t really been a kayaking season (the Scottish monsoon season) but just a couple of days with epic rainfall and lots of scared kayakers (incidentally if anyone knows Glyn Richards your throwbag washed up in Caol at the weekend).  Instead, this year we have continued to have lots of good weather days with lots of fun to be had in the hills.  I have been dotting all over the place as ever but highlights from November would include James and Dots Wedding (photos on facebook), lots of days out cragging around Scotland including a visit to Arisaigs Sport Crag – a lot better than rumours would suggest, a couple of trips up to Skye, Sea Kayaking to dinner at the Onich hotel and some trips to Yorkshire including a few night solos at Crookrise crag.IMG_3701 The Fairy pools on Skye last week.  I stopped here after a day taking in Sgurr nan gillian, Am Bastier and Bruac na Frithe.  Even managed a swim!IMG_3683Having fun on the last summit of the day (Bruac Na Frithe).  It felt like April in the Cuillin
IMG_3681Looking North and East along the Cuillin.
IMG_3670 Am Bastier and the Bastier Tooth.  You can just make out Mike Lates (I think) and two clients.IMG_3635 Looking back into Coire Lagan as I descended into Glen Brittle after a day on the Inn Pinn and Sgurr McConnichIMG_3622 Glen Brittle bay and the Isle of Canna at SunsetIMG_3117 Eilien Donan Castle.  I’ve never actually stopped when driving past before but the tide was high and it was early in the morning.  IMG_3131First view of the Cuillin.  I’ve probably stopped for some version of this shot about 10 times over the years and recently saw it on a postcard too.  Great light on the Cuillin earlier in the month though the next day I headed for home early as gusts of 60mph rocked the van.
IMG_3152bw Miles leading DT’s crack at limekilns.  A great day with the ever banterfull Scott Brooks and Miles McConville.  I reckon it adds a grade when your belayers are alternating between making you laugh and insulting you.IMG_3172 Scott setting off up “Elgins Crack” – a limekilns classicIMG_3206Photo courtesy of Miles – me getting ready to lead.  I’ve done most of the routes I can reasonably expect to get up at Limekilns but have always wondered about “Grasp the nettle”  – given E3 5b by the current guidebook but luckily turned out to be a softish E2 5b.
IMG_3262 Adding a grade – Scott topping out of Grasp the Nettle.  Photo courtesy of MilesIMG_3089 Crookrise Crag at night.  I left Fort William a bit late but still managed 6 routes (in the dark) at Crookrise to break up the journey.  I love the three dimensionalness of some of the Gritstone cragsIMG_3078 Winter is coming – first frost on Rannoch MoorIMG_3076Rannoch Moor an hour or so after dawn.  I love the light at this time of year.
IMG_3063 Hannah and I were in Perthshire for the first weekend of the month for a surprise birthday for my dad.  The colours were amazing and we did a lot of wandering around looking at waterfalls.  Above – Bruar Falls in full Autumn coloursIMG_3034 Hannah and the smallest sister in the world in Glen LyonIMG_3026 The Falls under the bridge in Glen LyonIMG_3025 Picnic for Dads birthday in Glen Lyon.IMG_1271 Kayaking to the Onich hotel for pints and dinner this weekend with Oliver, Naomi and GeorgiaIMG_1265Above and Below – Amazing to be able launch a sea kayak from 100m outside the door.  Georgia and I launched and paddled over in flat calm to meet Oliver and Naomi.  Thanks KAG for the last minute lend of a boat!
IMG_1264 IMG_1251Alfie bouldering at Sunset just round the corner from Black Rock crag, Arisaig.  I spent two days at Black Rock a couple of weeks ago and was surprised how little its climbed on.  Routes ranging from low 6s to low 7s and an amazing outlook and its only 40 mins drive away!

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Climbing, Elgins Crack, Kayaking, Scotland climbing, Scottish Kayaking, scottland Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Warm Water

The sea has finally warmed up along with some very hot weather and a lot of rainfall.  This means that I have actually been doing things other than climbing for once.  Sorry climbers this months photos are all watery and proof that I occasionally do other things than hang out in the mountains.  I have also managed to take some landscape photos which has fallen a little by the wayside in recent months.  IMG_1019

Sailing boat with the Cuillin of Rhum behind.  Went for a walk with Hannah today and it was meant to be torrential rain – we were a bit surprised to see this!
ArisaigpanSmall Isles from the parking spot on the walk out to Rhue.

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Dave doing well on his first grade 4 – Headbanger on spean gorge.  A great day in a beautiful gorge! (photo courtesy of Janna)IMG_0780

I have probably put a similar photo up before – an evenings paddle from work in the sound of Luing.IMG_0802Finally got around to doing one of the local canyons.  Matt going big on the first jump.
IMG_0839 On Expedition with Pete – decided to build him a friend to admire the view with.IMG_0910 Some fishing in the rain with my sister and Adam – only three fish!IMG_1619 Spent an afternoon on Belnahua on a day where it must have been 30+deg.  Belnahua is a great place to explore but all we managed was a lot of swimming in one of the old slate mines.  Mark, Hannah and Dave JumpingIMG_1635 Dave showing us how its done.IMG_1643 Finally the nights are long enough and clear enough for some night photography.  Looking North and West from just outside my bedroom!IMG_1650Looking NW.  The white spot is a yachts mast head light in the Black Isle Gap.MattfairystepsMatt working hard on Fair Steps at the start of Spean Gorge.

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Belnahua, Headbanger rapid, Kayaking, Rhum Cuillin, scotland, Scottish Kayaking, Spean Gorge, Uncategorized

Winter Wonderland

The last time I was in Scotland at this time of year was 2004 and I truly had forgotten what a wonderful time it is to be here.  There has been lots of sunshine, crisp cold days and the flowers are beginning to come up at sea level.  In the last couple of week I have spent my time between the Ross of Mull, Ben Nevis and Creag Meagidh making the most of the good weather.  Having written the Isle of Mull off for years it has been a revelation to see what a brilliant part of Scotland this truly is.  We have been surrounded by amazing beaches, birds of prey and lots of climbing (new route potential everywhere).  Anna (my sister) and Adam came over for a weekend and we headed out on a wild and windy walk to the Carsaig Arches – some of the most impressively weird geology I have ever seen.  The next day Hannah and I did some bouldering and some soloing of easy (new?) routes on Ardalanish beach in front of the house and then headed off to join Hannah’s mum and partner Daj for weeks ice climbing.  Then it was back to mull for more climbing and house sitting.  
Hannah Bouldering on the beach at Ardalanish

Clare Francis topping out of “The Wand” (V,5) on Creag Meagidh while Hannah looks on.  (Has anyone else been on a weeks ice climbing trip with their girlfriends mum?!)

Frozen hair mixing with a wooly hat on the second day having just completed “South Pipe Direct” (IV,4)

Clare and Hannah at the end of the first day.

Hannah coming up the start of Comb Gully (IV,4) on another beautiful clear day.

Hannah leading out the top of Comb Gully

Me Leading the “rogue” pitch of the most famous ice gully in the world – Point Five (V,5) in near perfect conditions (the pitch below was a nightmare as I got stalled with no gear for about 10mins and the spindrift poured down.  Photo – copyright Hannah Francis

We headed over to Back of Keppoch, Arisaig (one of my favourite places in the world) for a rest day and just had to stay for the sunset – making us a little late to meet friends in the pub…..

Earlier that day

Having lunch in the Nuns Cave on the way to the Carsaig Arches.  Should really be called Dead Goat and Goat Poo Cave!

The Carsaig Arches – must get back hear early one morning in good weather.  Some better shots on Hannahs Blog – http://manyhappyadventures.blogspot.co.uk/

Its been an amazing couple of weeks, life in my van made better by Clare and Daj letting us shower and sometimes cook at the bunkhouse they were in at Roy Bridge.  We also could not have been luckier with our route choice last week.  We only climbed classic ice routes and for some reason never had to queue – even on point five and Comb gully on some of the busiest days of the year for Ben Nevis.

The next couple of week I have to try and make some money and fit in what I can as well as an assessment or two.  Hope everyone else is enjoying the good weather!

 

 

Also posted in alastair rose, Back of Keppoch, Ben Nevis, Ben Nevis ice climbing, Climbing, Comb Gully, Creag Meagidh, Creag Meagidh Ice Climbing, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Point Five Gully, scotland, Scotland climbing, Staghorn Gully, Uncategorized