Saturday, 28 April 2018

Cairngorm Spring

The last four days have been spent in the company of a great group of chaps who decided on the Cairngorms National Park as a great place to catch up and have a reunion. From a base at Suidhe Lodge, Kincraig, we had four days to play with. Day 1 was a relatively gentle introduction, with me taking the group over the Kincardine Hills above Glenmore Forest, including the iconic Meall a Buchaille, and the famous Ryvoan Bothy. For the second day we upped the ante and, with the benefit of two vehicles, had a great day traversing the Munro of Sgor Gaoith and on to the Argyll Stone. This is a lovely ridge set between beautiful Glen Feshie and the dramatic Gleann Einich. On both of these days I had Alex Cowan along to help; he is working towards his Mountain Leader award, so this was good experience for him.  For days 3 and 4 some more of the group arrived, so I was joined by my colleague Olly Stephenson to allow us to split off in various directions. I took a group rock-climbing and abseiling at Kingussie crag in the morning, followed by an afternoon roaring around the fantastic tracks and trails of Rothiemurchus on mountain bikes. This was a welcome change in the muscles being used for some! Olly led the other group hillwalking, doing a similar day over Sgor Gaoith, for those that had missed it the day before.  Our final day, today, was a fitting finale, with a great circuit of the Northern Corries of Cairngorm, followed by the summit of Cairngorm itself. Light winds, good amounts of sunshine and great views made for a terrific last day,  and lovely to enjoy the company of all eleven folk. The group were really good fun, a delight to spend time on the hill with--thank you guys!

Abbey Road meets the Cairngorms!

Soaking in the views over Gleann Einich

Still wintry on Sgor Gaoith

The A-Team hit the bike trails

A great team

Friday, 13 April 2018

Sunny Skye

I have spent the last few days on the Misty Isle--The Isle of Skye. Fortunately it didn't live up to its name on this occasion and we had some lovely weather, plenty of sunshine, and feeling warm. Lots of rock climbing done on the sea-cliffs at Flodigarry in the north of the Island, as well as at the fantastic, remote Loch Coruisk. Our final day was wall to wall hot sunshine as we climbed the six-pitch classic route on Marsco in the Red Cuillin, The Snark VS.

A stunning evening on Marsco, Red Cuillin, Skye

Blaven, Coruisk and the Black Cuillin; Skye

Halfway up The Snark, VS, Marsco

Scoping out a way through the overhang. Loch Coruisk Crag.

Finishing up Raining Men, VS 4c, Flodigarry, Skye

Abseiling in to a hanging belay above the sea

Buoy Racer, VS 4c, Flodigarry, Skye

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Out on the rock

An incredible time of year up here in the Highlands. At the moment we have excellent conditions for winter climbing, ski-touring as well as rock-climbing. I have been enjoying getting back into the latter, with some days personal climbing but also teaching others.

Open Secret ***, Hard Severe 4b, Stone Valley NW Highlands

Inside Information *, HVS 5a, 5a, Stone Valley NW Highlands

In my element
Enjoying the rock at Duntelchaig, Inverness
Learning to belay up a second

Learning to abseil!

Jetty Crag, Gruinard, NW Highlands

Scrambling near Inverness