Category Archives: Back of Keppoch

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.

2i8a6785

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.

931a9998

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.

img_8615

The end result of a couple of hours work

img_8613

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

img_4303

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

beard-001

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

dsc01696

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!

931a9986-hdr

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.

931a0093

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

931a0087

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

931a0022

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.

931a0021-hdr

Busy times in the Hangar

931a0009

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, Arisaig Sport Climbing, 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, Arisaig, bothy, midgies, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, scotland, Scottish Kayaking, Skye Tagged , |

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, Arisaig, 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