Category Archives: Cuillin

Scottish Spring

Its no secret that Spring is the best time of year in Scotland.  Whether you’re into Climbing, Skiing, Whitewater kayaking, Sea Kayaking, Mountain Biking or Hill walking its merely a case of having the right clothes for the job and being able to read the weather forecast.  As ever I have tried to hold onto some time for personal adventures in the spring and this year have managed some adventures I’ve been planning for many years.IMG_5221

Rum Cuillin traverse with Al and Matt.  For years I’ve wanted to do a traverse of the Rum Cuillin peaks between ferries.  This is only possible on a saturday as its the only day with a morning ferry and an evening ferry – the only thing that has stopped me in the past is that I dont really do much running and 31km with 1900m of height gain always seemed a long way!   IMG_5202

Amazing scrambling on the ridges.
IMG_5204

Al and Matt running off the last main summit.  We carried onto two subsidiary tops from here.

IMG_5158Al making things hard for himself on the way up Askival

931A5792

Mark with An Sgurr of Eigg behind him.  Another thing I have been planning for years is to climb on the Sgurr of Eigg.  As one of the most prominent landmarks in the Western Isles and one of the most photographed and painted places in Scotland its just crying out to be climbed.  A good forecast had Mark and I on Eigg for two days of amazing climbing with even a bit of mountain biking (purely to access the crags) thrown in. 931A5795

Kilometers of rock and only a few recorded ascents.931A5809Mark on the steep start to Oceans Wall

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4ec

Hannah and I also chased the sun out to Lewis for 5 days of exploring.  Anyone who hasnt been climbing on Lewis is going to get very bored of me describing how good it is.  Above – Hannah soloing an easy slab on our last day before getting the ferry home.931A5752

Sunset from the van on our third evening on LewisIMG_4954

Pools walls, Ard Uig.  An amazing crag above a tidal pool with an array of brilliant routes.  UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4e5Theres still winter somewhere.  Malcolm Airey and clients on Tower ridge at the end of March. I managed two brilliant days of ice climbing on Ben Nevis before packing up my ice tools for the season.

 

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4e7

Another trip I have been planning for years is to ski over to the Hutchinson Memorial hut in the Cairngorms.  While planning a couple of days scrambling with Jago and Sarah we suddenly realised that lots of snow had fallen in the East and it was a blue sky forecast.  We had an amazing ski from the summit of Ben Macdui to within 100m of the bothy door.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4e8

Classic Scottish spring skiing.  I was introduced to a new word – to “sprackle” appears to mean skinning across grass, heather and rocks!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Relaxing in the sun outside the Hutchie hut.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It doesnt always go to plan.  Scot and I had planned to ski the Grey corries traverse in Lochaber but a broken binding after the first summit saw us drinking coffee in the cafe instead

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve had some great days climbing as usual.  Luca, Matt, Mike, Al and I headed to Neist point to escape the wind for a weekend.  Al Docherty cruising one of the many classic cracks at Neist point.  Its been pretty cold for climbing so far this spring but if you find the crags that arent in the wind its not so bad.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Matt Rowbottom on another classic crack in the sun.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have managed to do a wee bit of work this month.  For some reason I dont have any photos of the lovely sunny days out sea kayaking – just a cold but beautiful traverse of the Skye Cuillin with Chris and Sam.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Getting ready for bed

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chris making one of the exposed steps across the eroded dykes of the Cuillin

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

First day in the Cuillins this year for me and the first ever for Chris and Sam – the Cuillins never dissapoint!

It continues to be a fairly cold spring in Scotland so I think I’m going to continue to pack two jackets and wave my hands around a lot.

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, An Sgurr Climbing, Ben Nevis, Ben Nevis ice climbing, bothy, Cairngorms, Climbing, Comb Gully, gabbro, Hebrides Climbing, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Neist Lighthouse, Rhum Cuillin, Rum Cuillin Traverse, scotland, Scotland climbing, skiing, Skye, Tower Ridge, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

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, bothy, canoe, Climbing, 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, bothy, Climbing, Creag Meagidh, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, scotland, Scotland climbing Tagged , , , , , , , |

May Madness part 2

Thought I would throw some more photos up while I have a bit of time.  Winter does not seem to have left the Highlands quite yet but there has still been some stunning days.  I have been spending quite a bit of time on Skye for work and play with a few mad dashes back home or elsewhere.Clac-Glas I drove up to Skye after lunch one day and went for a quick solo along the the Clac Glas Blabheinn traverse.  Above – The summit of Clac  Glas with Blabheinn beyond.IMG_4613 The great prow of Blabheinn.  Its awesome to revisit places I havent been in years.  I climbed the crack up the prow with Rasta Gav in 2002 – seems like yesterday.IMG_4628 There are some views in Scotland that never get old.  Stepping out the van at Elgol as the sunsets.  IMG_4647 I was back on Skye with Adventure Training Scotland (the MOD) working the last couple of days of a Rock Skills course with Calum Musket and Max Hunter.  Great fun in a great location.  Above – Calum on the classic “Integrity” with two of the lads.IMG_4649 Max getting ready to get of the Cioch.IMG_4660 Calum and Max sorting the ropes after a fairly wild group ascent of the Inn Pinn.IMG_4669 What to do after a damp day in the hills?  Calum leads the way into the fairy pools.IMG_4692 I had an unexpected free day on Skye yesterday (not technically May I know) so Miles and I headed out to slay one of his dragons – Pinnacle Ridge of Sgurr Nan Gillean.  IMG_4708 Miles cruising up the upper part of Pinnacle ridge with some other climbers just approaching the abseil behindIMG_2048This morning Hannah, Miles and I headed out for a quick blast down the Inchree Canyon.  Hannah on the big jump.

Also posted in Canyoning, Canyoning Scotland, Cioch, Climbing, Inn Pinn, Pinnacle Ridge Sgurr nan Gillean, scotland, Skye