Most of the places I’ve been to this month have been promising 5% chance of rain or less but this seems to have been more a sign of the Met Offices’ optimism that actual reality. With a few more days off than expected this month I have managed to catch up with lots of friends and family, finish the bolting work at a local sport crag and get to some pretty cool places on personal trips.
First up I joined Tristan and Lizzie with a host of other kayaking friends for a week of sea kayak day trips from Glen Elg. I’m usually not a big fan of day trips in a sea kayak but in the knowledge that there would be some stormy conditions and some other paddlers that like that sort of thing it felt like a good opportunity to put my dislike of faff aside.
Kag, Tristan and Lizzie paddling into Kyle of Lochalsh in stormy weather. Our first day saw us launching at Sconser and surfing all the way to the Crowlins, through the Crowlin gap and on down to the bridge.
Kayakers under Kilt Rock. The longest day on the water was Staffin to Portree, a trip I had wanted to do for some time. It was fairly tough paddling into a head wind at the end but worth it for some amazing coastline. Being based in Glenelg this was a fairly long day to fit in before it got dark. The fish and chips in Portree at the end of this were amazing.
Kag passing one of the many pinnacles on this section of coast.
Next up it was straight to Wales for a couple of days work. As usual in October the weather didnt quite play ball despite again promises of 5% chance of rain. I did manage a couple of routes at Gogarth with Chucky
Chucky on the brilliant top pitch of “Concrete Chimney”.
From Wales I did a massive drive up to the Reiff Climbing Festival. Saz, Al and I had decided to go to the festival no matter what the weather. It turned out to be terrible weather for climbing but great fun with a good group of people.
It did dry up to try a couple of harder routes. Adam making the off the deck dyno on “Lilidh”
Stoer Lighthouse. We woke up to this view after a late ascent of the Old Man of Stoer and then headed off on a two day canoe trip from Elpin to Boat Bay. Connecting Loch Veyatie and Loch Scionascaig and a series of smaller lochs has become a bit of a classic and I was keen to see how hard the portages were.
Can you see two canoes? Bob (back) and Adam (front) in the middle of 2 km portage between Loch Veyatie and Loch Scionascaig. This, the “eastern portage” is essentially a 2km portage and rumored to be harder than the western one. As 2km portages go it was pretty straightforward and easy.
Bob completely in his element on cooking duty with Cul Mor in the background.
Autum colours at Cread Dubh above the Spey. Its quickly been turning to winter in the highlands and the colours have been fantastic. Every time the weather starts to get me down I realise how many amazing adventures there are to be had in Scotland at all times of year.
I’ve also been tidying up some qualifications this year and this month finally feel able to take stock having completed the last one on the list (for now!). I moved back to Scotland “full time” 5 years ago and wanted to bring my qualifications up to speed in the UK. On one of my many long drives recently I started to count up the cost in both time and money of doing this. The good news is that its been a lot of fun and I’m now at a stage where I don’t feel the need to work too hard on any other qualifications, the bad news is that I worked out I have spent over 60 days on training courses in the last 5 years (bearing in mind that I have only been in the UK for 36months of that period!) and its cost me at least £8000 just for the courses (not the kit or the consolidation days). The process has been massively rewarding and through it I have re-engaged with so many friends and made so many new ones. When I started in the outdoors at 18 I’m not sure what I expected but certainly not the huge variety of work and adventures that can be crammed into a few short years.