Category Archives: bothy

Boats and Climbing

This spring has had some great weather for adventures in Scotland.  Over the last couple of months I have been trying to get to places that have formerly escaped me, its so easy to go back to places I love.  As the winds dropped and sun came out at the start of the month Adam and I headed to Skye for a couple of days.  I have spent a lot of time on Skye though had never got the boat from Elgol to access the Cuillin.  We had a very leisurely start with the aim of a two day traverse of the Cuillin with the Dubhs Slabs start thrown in for good measure.931A3023

Getting the boat in was great – cups of tea and shortbread with the skipper and stunning view of the full Cuillin ridge.931A3024

The last time I was in Loch Coruisk was about ten years ago on a sea kayaking trip.  We almost got stuck at the head of the loch in a force 6.931A3028

Adam trying to work out which one is the Dubhs Slabs.  In recent years there has been some hard climbs put up in this glen – theres a life time of climbing in just this one area if you get the weather and the time!931A3059

Still snow in the bivy cave below Sgurr Alisdair.931A3068

Our aim on the first day was to get past the Inaccessible Pinnacle and find a bivy spot.  With both of us happy to solo most of the ridge it was pretty easy going with the odd stop to realise how lucky we are and admire the views.  Above – Adam on Collies/Harts ledge.
931A3072

Adam soloing the East Ridge of Inaccessible Pinnacle as two other traversers gear up at the bottom.  After watching both of us they both decided to solo it as well – interesting decision making!931A3089

Bivy spot on Banachdich931A3095-Pano

Sunset views from the bivy spot back south along the ridge.931A3102

What its all about!931A3223

After a couple of days of work I managed to rustle up some friends for a trip I’ve wanted to do for a while.  Getting 5 people, 5 vehicles, 3 canoes and lots of climbing gear to the correct layby on Loch Maree was probably the hardest bit!  Above – Cecile, Tim and Chucky bringing the last boat down to the Loch.931A3229

We had opted for an evening paddle across Loch Maree followed by a 10km hike into Carnmore Crag in the Fisherfield Wilderness.  Above – Ceciles first time in a canoe!931A3237

Dark and broody getting over the hill and down towards the Bothy.931A3238

I had been into the Fisherfield area from the other side a couple of times but had forgotten how spectacular it is.  Tim on the approach to the bottom of the routes.931A3253

Cecile about to start the unprotected traverse on the main pitch of “Dragon”931A3284

Tim the red power ranger relieved to be across the traverse.931A3297

 

Cecile working out where the route goes.931A3314

On our second route of the day (Gob) we crossed paths with Al and Chucky.  Above – Al (with Chucky somewhere above) on “St George”931A3322

The landowner at Carnmore kindly leaves a barn open below the crag – Cecile and Tim chilling by the front door.931A3326

The bothy is not the nicest but it does have beds!931A3328

Sunset over the bothy931A3330

931A3362We had two brilliant days at Carnmore and then headed back to the boats in the evening.  I love how much you can pack into a couple of days in Scotland.  If you’re ever heading to carnmore I recommend the canoe approach over the 20km walk (you just need a friend with lots of boats!)

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, canoe, Climbing, Cuillin, Fisherfield Wilderness, Jetboil, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Scotland climbing, Skye, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Return to the Norm

My first month back in Scotland in 16months.  I got back to Scotland and the usual round of people endlessly discussing conditions and weather, a fair amount of rain and some less than wintery hills.  This has not been too much of a burden really as there have been loads of friends and family to catch up with amongst remembering how to deal with banks etc.  It is awesome to be back.  I have spent a large amount of my adult years in different places in the world and the one thing that really makes you do is appreciate home.  As I mentioned in my last post, a lot has happened since I left and it has been great to catch up with friends old and new and of course revisit some places that I love.IMG_8757One of the first things I did on return home was go up to the place where my good friend Joe passed away a year ago.  This might seem morbid to some but I wanted to go up the path and try and put myself in Joe and Simons minds as they headed off that day.  I have walked that path many times with many people but I will always now think of those two headed of on another adventure as I wander into the high coire of Stob Coire nam Beith.  Above – a very damp Stob Coire nam Beith.  The hills had no snow on when I first got back.931A2171Spending time in the hills with friends is always the best way to catch up.  Ruaridh came over for the weekend and we headed out in the hills in some very wintery (and windy weather).  We headed west both days to try and avoid the worst of the wind but I still got picked off my feet at one point.  Above – Ruaridh heading up the long ridge of Garbh Bheinn (Ardgour).  931A2182Ruaridh giving his “its so windy” face.931A2184View from Garbh Bheinn back towards Fort William.  Winter has returned!

931A2193On the Sunday we were joined by Jago, Sarah and Gemma and headed off towards Streap.  Streap is only 15 mins drive from my house but I had never been up it.  We didnt really expect to be able to go all the way to the summit but actually the wind was not too bad on the top or the final grade 1 ridge and we were treated to spectacular views out to the Cuillin and back towards Ben Nevis.931A2205Looking South West.931A2218Final summit ridge as the weather changes.

IMG_8793I have been doing a few days of work as well.  Someone said to me recently that as a Freelancer you basically do the jobs the someone else doesn’t want.  If thats the case I’m fine with it.  I spent valentines day with a lovely couple climbing a grade two ridge in the sun as they planned their honeymoon on Skye.  IMG_8805There has been a fair bit of bad weather days this month.  Some days you just have to find a bothy, make hot chocolate and eat loads of brownies.  Linda and Miles chilling!931A2227In between bouts of work and play I have also been sorting out a new van.  Wee Katie Tayler looks on as I start to drill holes!IMG_8762 I have managed to get a little bit of climbing done – Caspar leading up behind the flake of “Flake Route Right Hand” on Church door buttress.IMG_8775 Caspar leading the pitch above the arch just before he did a bit of a slither back down the way he’d came!IMG_8809 Stu and I headed up the Ben with various plans.  We should have known the day wouldn’t go well when we had to dig numerous vehicles out of the snow, were late setting off and had to wade through thigh deep snow to get to the base of the routes.  Above – a happy Stu trying to work out where we are.IMG_8821 Turns out that we didnt know were we were (not bad for two MIC’s!) but climbed something about the right grade.  Stu coming up the initial pitch somewhere on the middle tier of Trident Buttress.IMG_8827 My friends Jago and Sarah are living with me just now seeing what the highlands have to offer for a winter season.  I insisted they join me for some mountaineering  a couple of days ago and we got one of those special days climbing in the sun with amazing views and finished it off in the Nevis range cafe!IMG_8836Jago and Sarah on one of the last sections of “Golden Oldy”  on Aonach Mor.
IMG_8839I can see my house from here!  Its tough living in Fort William but someones got to do it.

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Ben Nevis ice climbing, Climbing, Creag Meagidh, Cuillin, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, scotland, Scotland climbing Tagged , , , , , , , |

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, Back of Keppoch, BAS, Belnahua, Ben Nevis, Ben Nevis ice climbing, Bioluminescence, 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, Back of Keppoch, midgies, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, scotland, Scottish Kayaking, Skye Tagged , |

A little bit of everything

Sometimes the weather just doesnt play ball.  June has been one of those months.  After some good weather in May, June rolled in pretty stormy which always makes planning difficult.  I had some varied work in June along with a few days off and my friend Justin coming to visit so flexibility was the name of the game.  June has been a whirlwind of activity and as the whirlwind is continuing heres the photos in no particular order.IMG_4807 I spent 4 days in Knoydart with a Gold Duke of Edinburgh Group.  This is an area that I have spent a fair bit of time in but usually in winter and not for a number of years.  Above – Kinbreak bothy (the red dot) hidden in the hills on the edge of KnoydartIMG_4815 Shelter from the storm.  The group did really well considering the rain and midges!IMG_4818 Sourlies bothy with a carpet of ThriftIMG_4822 On our way to Inverie on the last day I was struck by the starkness of the ruined building and the stormy clouds.  Its amazing to think of people living in such isolated places.IMG_4842_1 Justin and I managed to fit in a couple of adventures in amongst the weather. Above – our bivy site in Coire Lagan.IMG_4848_1 Jet Boil Master.  IMG_4851_1 Stunning views from the Lagan Traverse in the evening lightIMG_4908 I headed up to Reiff with Hannah for a quick getaway last weekend.  Hannah soloing on the stunning sandstoneIMG_4932

Scott and Kirsty (and later Andy and Miles) joined us.  Scott leading the awesome “Hy Brasil”IMG_2069 Justin and I joined a party headed out to Canna – early morning logistics and a bit of damp weather was well worth the adventure. Above – the boats on the ferry crossing out to the islandIMG_2080 Justin and Nigel sitting off the amazing bird colonies.IMG_2085 Exploring the sea caves and sea stacksIMG_2099 IMG_4726 I also did a little canoeing on the Spey with a Gold DofE training group – Above – Too much food for the barrel!IMG_4735 It was stunning on the river and actually too hot at timesIMG_4753 IMG_4781 Straight after the Spey, Justin, Rob and I headed for the classic Tower Ridge.  Turns out there was still a bit of snow around!IMG_4794Rob contemplating the step down into the gap.

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Ben Nevis, canoe, Knoydart, Uncategorized

Spring is here!

Its definitely the changing of the seasons here in Fort William.  Fresh snow out on the hill today but bright sunshine and long daylight hours.  I thought I would get a quick blog done before the end of the month as I have a few days work coming up and already loads of great photos from April.IMG_3907 I went bouldering!  Or rather I watched some friends boulder and drank some rather nice ginger tea.  Naomi cranking it out on the heather hat boulder.IMG_3915 It looks like they-re bouldering but really just sheltering from the rain and trying not to get dripped on!IMG_3928 Spring is also Duke of Edinburgh Award season. – End of another tough day at the office.IMG_3937 While on a DofE expedition I wandered down to the falls of Falloch in the evening to get this shot. IMG_3944 Loch Lomond from the West Highland WayIMG_3965 Stephen Beard cranking out one of the VS’s at Scimitar buttress.IMG_4002 My sister and Adam stopped in for a night after their honeymoon and I took them on the obligatory Fort William walk up to Steall Falls.  My sis on the bridge (only because our other sister had done it!)IMG_1988Just to prove it was in fact Spring we decided to go canyoning in the Allt Mhuillin.  Miles, Hannah and Andy feeling ready for some snow melt below Ben Nevis!IMG_1992Miles Abseiling while Andy goes for the jump

Next up Miles and I had planned to head to skye for the Cuillin Ridge.  The weather decided that it wanted to change our plans so we headed to Rubha Huinnish instead.

IMG_4030“The Lookout” Bothy at Rubha Huinnish.  As the most northerly tip of Skye we knew it was going to be good but it really was spectacular with big cliffs on all sides and amazing views.
IMG_4045 Miles in the doorway after a night in the lookout.  We had a leisurely start before heading out climbing.IMG_4051 Looking back along the sea cliffs to the bothy (the small lump in the upper cliff!)IMG_4056 Miles heading up the first pitch of an adventurous VS on the cliffs below the bothylookoutPanoramic viewsIMG_4080The next morning we headed to the Elgol sea cliffs for a quick couple of routes.  Miles traversing the bottom of the cliff with views to Rum and Eigg
IMG_4093Miles leading the crag classic “Jamie Jampot”  IMG_4137After the Skye trip I was trying to line up climbing partners with good weather days.  First up (above) a great day in Ardnamurchan with Brodie and (below) a great day at Creag Dubh with James, Andy, Masa, Steve and Scott. IMG_4146Andy Nisbet on the start of “The Hill”IMG_4154Another photo just to prove I do work! River crossing while out on a leadership assessment with the College – Mamores in the backgroundIMG_4201And finally a great day at the East Face of Aonach Dubh with Graham and Hannah.  After getting confused about routes early on we then managed to climb all three E3’s on the face and some quality HVS’s.  Above – Graham leading the “The Fly”

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Ardnamurchan, Ardnamurchan climbing, Climbing, East Face of Aonach Dubh, gabbro, Meall an Fhir Eion, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Rhum Cuillin, scotland, Scotland climbing

Hogmanay 2013

Well the Yellow Heiffer(my van) is currently packed with Kayaking gear and I am about to drive south to the Lake district for a couple of days of kayaking.  At one stage this seemed like complete madness but it is currently very warm in Scotland with the majority of the snow stripped of the mountains so now seems like quite a good option.
In May last year Wee Ben and I chatted about doing a big hogmmany in a bothy in the middle of nowhere and as the months progressed I realised that I should organise it.  I was a little more organised than usual (in that I actually invited other people) and the turn out was brilliant with some people driving for days just to be there and even an American!
A large group of us walked in on the 30th with heavy packs full of food, drink, coal and warm clothes with more arriving the next day.  On the 31st we woke up to horizontal rain and some warm temperatures so had a very short day wandering up the glen and up to a good view point and then the party started…..
In the main room of the bothy on the first night planning the next day.

 The bothy with rainbow on the last morning as we were packing up to leave.

 There was a lot of old coal in the fire so when we did finally get it going it got a little too hot!  This was actually a little worrying as the whole thing started to sparkle!

 A very wet wander up the Glen.  Miles showing great technique on a river crossing

 Getting near the head of the glen as squalls of snow/rain/sleet hit us.  Ruaridh leading the way.

 Finally it cleared enough for a snowball fight with the remaining snow.

 Ali C very happy with his jacket.

 Scott and Miles back at the bothy on the 31st.  The drinking started about 1430 and ended 12 hrs later when Scott and I checked that we had in fact drank everything!

 The main room of the bothy all set up for party games and lots of food – Dinner was massive involving Haggis on oat cakes, samosas, onion bhajis, chicken fajitas, cheese balls, pizza, christmas cake, cheese and biscuits and chocolate.

 When it did clear on the 31st it was amazing.  Ruaridh (far right) looking down the glen back to the bothy.

HDR shot of the sandstone slabs running with water under a heavy sky.

Thanks to all who showed up, it was an amazing couple of days in a brilliant place.  Same again next year?

Also posted in ali rose, Coulin Forest. Coulags Bothy, mountainstothesea, scottland

The Rest of January

January has been a whirlwind month of catching p with old friends, seeing family and the odd trip into the mountains. Thanks everyone for your hospitality and help over the last six weeks, I am off to China and Hong Kong on Friday (with a brief stop in Holland) and will be back in Scotland in April.
A few photos of the last couple of weeks.

Having driven down from Torridon to sort out my chinese visa I drove back up on the promise of good weather. This photo was taken just before dawn of some glacial erratics leading away towards Sgurr Ruadh with the clouds in the valley below.
The night before I spent in this bothie in Coire Fionaraich.
From the summit of Sgurr Ruadh looking back at Meal Chean Dearg and Beinn Damh (the sea loch on the right is the head of Loch Torridon)
The Torridon Ridges (about an hour before sunrise) L-R Beinn Alligan, Liatach and Beinn Eighe.
Skiing, Scottish style – A classic shot from early January. Toby, Ally and Ruaridh checking the map down the valley at Spittal of Glenshee.
Ally Ross out in front on the way up Ben Tuilieachan above the spittal of glenshee.
Summit cairn with rime ice.
Tobi, Ali (hidden behind), Ruaridh and Louisa skinning up the ridge in the very strong wind.
Two Skiers silhouted on the way up the ridge.

Next update should be from Lijiang, Western China
Also posted in mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Scottish Skiing, Torridon

The Unblelievable (Part 2)

Canoeing, it would seem, was not the best idea considering the weather for this new year period. We did pack and set off (in the cars at least) but a few phone calls and a look at a very icy loch confirmed that skiing was a better option. After a day at Glenshee and I nice warm night in a bunkhouse we skied up the valley from the linn of dee to Bob Scotts hut were we were met by some rude drunk Aberdonians (one boy drank 3 bottles of red wine in three hours and then did not appear to be able to talk – this said Aberdonians are hard to understand at the best of times!) – hard to see beautiful places full of rude idiots. The next day Clare, Bob and Robin headed down the valley and off to Hogmanay at Tummel and Rich (the dirty one), Lucy and I continued up to the ice cave (otherwise known as Hutchinsons hut). We were treated to clear skies, lots of snow and an empty hut. The next day we slept till 8am having not woken up for the bells but still managed the deep slog out to the cars in daylight.

The final straw – loch laggan frozen up (looking west)
Bob “the mountain man” taylor (he grew his beard just for the photos) slogging up after I forgot to bring his skins down.
Clare and Rich in the dry, warm kitchen of the bunkhouse the night before we set off
Looking up the valley – the hutchinson hut is in the furthest back coire on the left.
Trying to find a place to cross the river – beautiful wind blown snow in the valley.
Rich cools his bum off after some hard uphill slogging
From L to R – Me, Lucy and Rich almost up to Hutchisons hut
Rich in the ice cave – ice covered the walls of the hut inside and out – note the gas cylinder on top of the stove to help it along.
Rich and Lucy outside the hut on Hogmanay. This was taken at about 9pm just before bed!
Messing around in clear evening – I have been told to point out that I am writing a name – yes, a name. the squiggle below the A is where i fell over – oops i gave it away!
A panorama looking up the valley on the ski in to hutchinsons.

Unfortunately I have no photos of the epic ski out in up to waist deep powder. Hard work but hilarious as we all spent time stuggling and disappearing into drifts. By the time we hit the “easy bit” Rich and I were spent – just in time for Lucy to get a burst of energy to get us down the last 4 km. A great Hogmanay.
Also posted in hogmanay, scotland, skiing