Category Archives: scottland

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, Arisaig, Climbing, Elgins Crack, Kayaking, Scotland climbing, Scottish Kayaking Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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, bothy, Coulin Forest. Coulags Bothy, mountainstothesea