Category Archives: scotland

Roadside Scotland

As the seasons change from winter to spring its traditionally my time of year to do a lot of driving.  While winter hangs on in the mountains but the sun starts to shine a bit more work spreads itself all over Scotland and there are a lot more options for outdoor activities to be had.  The best thing about going away from your home country is the appreciation of it when you get home so with the beautiful weather I have been making an extra effort to stop and check out some of the roadside views.931A2351The drive from Fort William to Glasgow is always amazing whether its blue skies of torrential rain.  I’ve stopped here (Loch Ba on Rannoch Moor) many times in the past to take photos but never in so much as a rush this morning.  Luckily there was lots of light and not too many photographers so I could get a couple of handheld shots.
931A2262The change to spring is also the change to rock climbing – Chucky high “volcane” on Meall an Fhir Eoin Beag at Ardnamuchan.  931A2284Caspar and Chucky shelter from a brief rain squall.  Ardnamuchan has lots of amazing Gabro that dries really quickly.931A2286Matt after his introduction to Ardnamurchan cracks!931A2290Before the clocks change!  Packing up after a great days cragging.931A2317Some locals coming to visit our campsite.
931A2323What Scotland should look like!  The view down to Ballachullish from School house ridge.931A2347As ever a photo doesnt tell the full story this was actually a very windy day!  Vertical spindrift on the ridge of Sgurr Dearg.931A2396The three bridges of the Forth from North Queensferry train station.  You can just see the new bridge on the right hand side.931A2399Looking back towards Dalwhinnie distillery.  I cant drive past this without hearing my dad say “highest distillery in the world”931A2406Loch Laggan at Sunset.  931A2421As well as all the driving I have still been doing some things closer to home.  Connor up high in Glen Nevis climbing Bewsey crack (in a t-shirt!)931A2430One final winter hit.  I took Jago and Sarah on the classic “ledge route” on Ben Nevis.  Sarah even convinced me to go to the summit so we headed down Coire Leis for a full tour of the mountain.  You could have ice climbed, rock climbed, skied and mountain biked all in one day on Ben Nevis this day.
931A2443The view down Loch Lomond.  I am always amazed how the scottish roads cut through some of the most impressive scenery.

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Ardnamurchan, Ardnamurchan climbing, Ben Nevis, Ben Nevis ice climbing, Climbing, Creag Meagidh, gabbro, Meall an Fhir Eion, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Scotland climbing 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, Cuillin, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Scotland climbing Tagged , , , , , , , |

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, bothy, midgies, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Scottish Kayaking, Skye 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, Cuillin, Inn Pinn, Pinnacle Ridge Sgurr nan Gillean, Skye

May Madness

Spring is an awesome time of year in Scotland with a lot going on and the tourist season kicking off.  With not too much work booked in for the start of May I decided to get some professional development done as well as a bit of climbing.  I had planned on a Cuillin Traverse with James to reacquaint myself before the Skye work season kicks off but the weather decided not to play ball.  Instead we headed out to Neist for some climbing in the sun. IMG_4258 I’m still waiting to get the shot of Neist Lighthouse that I want but this sunset was awesome at the end of a good days cragging.IMG_4307 James is currently breaking into the “VS” grade so what better place to do it where all the routes are big and steep!  James leading the classic “Shocks and Stares”IMG_2035Next up it was up to Thurso for 5 Star Sea training. Above – the first mornings launch site looking a bit full on!IMG_2036_2So we headed to much calmer water!  We had planned to paddle round Duncansby Head (John o’ Groats) but moved further west to paddle round Dunnet Head – the most northerly point on the British mainland.  IMG_2039_2Looking back at Dunnet Head.  Not really 5 star sea kayaking conditions!  We then headed out for a night paddle – belowIMG_2045IMG_4371After leaving Thurso I drove down to Sheigra – an area I have never been too.  I headed out in the evening to one of the climbing areas to find waves breaking over the wall which is 30m high.  Above – stormy seas as the sun sets.IMG_4381Driving out to Reiff to meet Tim Hamlet I stopped to take a shot looking back East towards Stac Pollaidh.
IMG_4410 Tim at the very steep “Inverpollaidh Rock Gym”IMG_4431Me on the not so steep “Moon Jelly” at Reiff.  (courtesy of Tim Hamlet)
IMG_4477Somehow I convinced Tim to have a shot at the worst looking route at Reiff.  “Stop… Go”.  Tim stopping and going!  Turns out its a bit harder than the guidebook suggests.IMG_4482Then it was time for more training – this time 4 Star Canoe.  I am not known for my ability in a canoe but this was a lot of fun learning some of the dark arts of open boating.IMG_4483 Shelter from the storm!IMG_4504Ollie surfing with style on the FindhornIMG_4555Hannah cruising on the final rapid – quality facial expression!IMG_4571And finally back home for a couple of days.  I spent a day working on the Aonach Eagach and then met up with Hannah and Miles to go climb the classic “Agags Groove” on the Buachille.  Above – Hannah and Miles checking out the Buachilles Glacier.
IMG_4584Miles Cruising on the steep pitch (Vdiff!!!)IMG_4585Miles making another inappropriate derogatory comment about my climbing/belaying.

Mays  not over but things are about go get busy.  More photos coming soon………

Also posted in agags groove, alastair rose, ali rose, Buachille Etive Mor, canoe, Climbing, Kayaking, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Reiff Climbing, Scotland climbing, Scottish Kayaking, Stac Pollaidg

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, bothy, Climbing, East Face of Aonach Dubh, gabbro, Meall an Fhir Eion, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Rhum Cuillin, Scotland climbing

Shelterstone

I usually manage a climbing trip to some far flung destination every year but this year looks a little different.  I have so many places I still want to get to in Scotland and with the vote on independence this month (yesterday!) I decided to stay at home.  First up was the Loch A’an basin in the Cairngorms.  If you have never seen this side of the cairngorms scroll down to the last couple of pictures and I’m sure it will entice.  For me I really wanted to get some routes done on the shelterstone and managed to convince Adam into walking in at night to go for “The Needle” the next day.  Before the needle (and before Adam got up) I nipped up Afterthought arete and we headed back to Stag rocks in the evening to climb “Monarch of the Glen”.  The day after we climbed “Prince of Darkness” on Hells Lum – Same grade as the Needle but a fair bit harder in my opinion!

IMG_1043Adam starting up the first pitch of the needle.  This route was first climbed by one of my all time heros Robin Smith – Hard to picture him leading this stuff in 1960!
IMG_1068Adam enjoying another exposed pitch with Hells Lum crag in the background.IMG_2536Midgies!  Enough to ruin any climbing day but thankfully only in our camp for a wee while at dawn and dusk.
IMG_2537My wee yellow tent below the Sheltersone crag.  Just like Yosemite really!
IMG_2542Looking down the wonderfull Loch A’an at dawn.
IMG_2544Carn Etchacan, Shelterstone and Hells Lum from the head of Loch A’an
IMG_2556The trouble with climbing (or maybe its the best thing about it!) is that once you do the route you want to do you see another couple that look just as good or better.  I could spend a fortnight camped in the same place and climb every day, especially if I get to wake up to this view every morning!

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Cairngorm Rock Climbing, Cairngorms, Climbing, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Needle, Shelterstone, The Needle Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Colours Changing

As some will know I am not the biggest fan of summer.  Dont get me wrong I love the long daylight hours where the evenings never end or sitting in the sun on a warm day but if truth be told I do find summer days a bit boring.  Give me a stormy day any day of the week and I am much happier.  August in Scotland finally sees the colours change to something a lot more exciting, golden bracken and purple heather across the hilss with the nights “fair drawing in” makes for a much more impressive landscape.  August was again busy for me and quite exciting as I finally bought a new camera body, something I have been planning for about 2-3 years!_MG_1681 Patrick with one of the smalles lobsters of the season_MG_2191 Adam at the base of the first fall in Cruachcan canyon.  This canyon is great if you like, wet slippy sharp rock, sketchy downclimbs, shallow pools, and awkward loose abseils.  A long day_MG_2194Matt at the base of the first fall in Cruachcan canyon
_MG_2246 The end of the summer means the Mackerel shoals are huge – 12 rods for 45 mins = approximately 200 fish.  Or if your the instructer = lost of killing, hooks in your fingers and blood everywhere!_MG_2260 Iona staring down the 200 fish ready for saltingIMG_1655 Falls of Orchy on the River Orchy.  I took this before a great day on the river with Patrick, Dave, Mark and MattIMG_2338

Heather and Bracken on the summit of Lunga looking North.
IMG_2428 The Sound of Luing by night.  I have been planning this shot for a while and we finally got some good clear nights in the middle of August.  The bright glow is Oban with the yellow patches the villages of Easdale and CullipoolLunga-pan Another panorama from the summit of Lunga looking WestrfsunsethouseSunset over the Caol in front of the main house at high tide – another shot I’ve been planning for a while.

September for me means a bit of time off so watch this space.

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, mountains to the sea, Uncategorized 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.

Daveheadbanger2

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, Arisaig, Belnahua, Headbanger rapid, Kayaking, Rhum Cuillin, Scottish Kayaking, Spean Gorge, Uncategorized

Good Weather and Bad

 

Summer has definitely hit Scotland in the last few weeks though as I write this I think that might have changed!  Have had some great adventures here and there – the trouble with living in Fort William is there is just so much good stuff around its hard to go further afield.  It does of course help that Lochaber has had some stunning weather recently.  First up this month I met Tim rather late in the day in Fort William and went for a quick blast up the Ben.
IMG_0687Tim on a rather misty “Observatory Ridge”
IMG_0693Tim on the Crux of Observatory Ridge – this was the first section I recognized from a winter ascent of the ridge a few months ago.
IMG_0713 A week or so later Hannah, Laura, Tim and myself headed to one of my favourite mountains, Garbh Bheinn (Ardgour).  Above – Tim leading the first pitch or “Golden Lance” and Hannah (to the right) leading the second pitch of “Butterknife”
IMG_0720Laura high above the clouds on the third pitch of “Butterknife”
IMG_0723On the summit!  Surprising that Tim and I are smiling after the route proving to be somewhat more difficult than the grade suggested.  I dont know if I’ve ever fallen off every pitch of a route!

The next day we headed to Ardnamurchan chasing the good weather.
IMG_0730Mark on “Star Wars”
IMG_0748Tim on the start of the slabby section of “Return of the Jedi”
IMG_0764Mark fiddling in some rubbish gear on Dome buttress
IMG_0774End of the day – Hannah finishing up “Krackatoa”
IMG_1593The fact that I have been working a lot is not really a bad thing!  An average night on the island enjoying the good weather.
IMG_1600 IMG_1603Tim, Laura and Hannah in the back of the van after a days climbing.
rfsunsetAnother great sunset from just outside my bedroom!

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Ardnamurchan, Ardnamurchan climbing, Climbing, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Scotland climbing, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , |