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Showing posts from January, 2010

The Hills are Stuffed With Swedish Girls

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Strange title for a blog post but it's the name of the book that I'm currently chuckling my way through. For years I've had male friends go on about how they had met/were going to meet the Swedish netball team on their hill adventures. Richard Happer has combined this hill goers myth with that of another quintessential hill rite of passage, the West Highland Way and what a combination.

There are few books that make me laugh out loud but this is one that is making me do it every other page. I'll be sorry to finish it.

Maybe I'll just have to go on the West Highland Way again myself to see what adventures I can have to write about myself :-)

Ben Wyvis

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Thank goodness that the weather was better for day two of the far north west excursion. We'd decided on Ben Wyvis, nice ridge and the potential that a few folk may well have beaten a trail to its summit before us. We nearly came a cropper before we even started when we got stuck on some rutted ice getting into the car park. The Snowclaw saved the day.  As we set off we could see that the cloud was being playful over the ridge and summit. So long as it didn't start raining.
Walking on the snow was a bit frustrating. Some of it was nice and solid, then you sank up to your knees. Ah well, it was giving me a workout.We eventually got onto some solid stuff. Kate donned her pointy things and I decided to keep going in the Kahtoola Microspikes.
 Things were going fine until the angle steepened. I was having problems getting good enough grip mostly due to the 2cm soft stuff with rock hard underneath. Microspikes off and proper Kahtoola Steels on. Onwards and upwards.
 Moon crater like Lit…

What to do when its not worth heading into the hills

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The trip had been planned for ages, a winter excursion to go play in the Fannichs. We'd looked at routes that limited our chances of being continually waist deep in snow but unfortunately the weather decided it didn't like our plan.

We were staying at Braemore Square Country House just round the corner from Corrieshalloch Gorge. Time to go see if there were any frozen bits left.


The sign at the bridge over the gorge


That's the A835 just above this waterfall


Another pile of amazing ice


Looking west down the gorge from the bridge


Falls of Measach

We spent an enjoyable hour ooing and aaaing at this fantastic sight but the rain was on again so it was back in the car for a wee drive to see if there was any snow left in the far north west. We didn't find a huge amount but we got some nice views.


Inverpolly


Stac Pollaidh


Suilven

What we did find though was that the Lochinver Pie Shop was closed - disaster!!! Had to settle for a Fry's Chocolate Cream instead.

Kahtoola Microspikes - the mutts nuts for winter

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Somebody told me about these last winter but by the time I managed to get a pair the worst of the winter was over and they never got used. This year is an entirely different story. They have been used on practically every outing since December. Their real forte is on those absolutely lethal frozen paths where you might feel that full crampons is a bit overkill.





They are so easy to slip on and off, even with gloves on, weigh nothing and you don't need to learn to walk like John Wayne to stop yourself from tripping up and injuring yourself. Their short spikes have been enough to get me up and down some slopes that I previously would have been reaching for the big boys. They've even see action in the West End of Glasgow with this recent weather, much to Jimmy Public's amusement. Kept me upright on the pavement when they ended up on their rear :-)

Steall Falls

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We'd had much discussion about what to do this weekend though one thing was certain, we had to end up at The Real Food Cafe as they were going to be closed for 2 1/2 weeks and we hadn't had our New Year fix yet. We'd thought of doing Ben Oss & Beinn Dubhcraig but the thought of battling through deep powder snow was not really grabbing me.

I'd heard that Steall Falls had frozen and someone from UK Climbing had put up a really good video of them going up it - this I had to see. A wee daytrip up to Glen Nevis :-) I have to admit that the wander out to Steall has usually been reserved as a bad weather low level day out and seeing the Falls in spate is pretty spectacular as you can see in this photo.



It was always going to be a nice wee day oot as the views from the drive up were going to be fantastic too.



When we got to Fort William, the first part of the Glen Nevis road had been gritted so no major issues getting along to the Lower Falls car park where we found this …

Beinn Dubh - take 2

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It was the last day of freedom before the harsh reality of work was going to interrupt my time. The night before we had sort of decided on Ben Lomond. That soon changed in the morning when I was having issues with getting in an upright position and we considered the potential state of the road out to Rowardennan. Plan B came into force and Beinn Dubh was to be revisited. I had commented at the time that I'd like to do it again with a view and thought it would be good in snow. Today gave me both. Let the pictures tell the story.................... 











Best laid plans and all that.............

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The aim of the day was Stob Binnein. We'd done Ben More a couple of winters ago so decided that a wander up the glen beside the Benmore Burn to the Bealach-eadar-dha Beinn and then onto Stob Binnein was the best option. My inability to get out of bed delayed our start so we didn't hit the trail til after 10am. We still figured there would be plenty of time but we were soon reviewing this as we hit the open ground to find that the snow wanted to play games. It was exhausting constantly hauling ourselves out of knee to waist deep snow. Realising that my lack of fitness was also having a major impact on progress I took the stubborn head off, put the sensible one on and said to Steve this hill was not ours to be had today. Still felt great to be out though