It does not matter how many times I see the hills and lochs looking fantastic, summer or winter, it just takes my breath away.
With my boyish enthusiasm I headed into the hills above Crianlarich yesterday. Even with many winters behind me I still get that burning desire to be in that clean and pure environment. With blue skies and a dusting of snow on the tops it certainly looked and felt like a winter day. The plants looked dry and tired; ready for a winter of hibernation. There were no little bugs to be seen and relatively few birds. The frost in some places prevented unpleasant bogginess (is that a word? If not it should be!). Once on the ridge I was in my happy place again. A few other folks had the same idea, not many mind. The ridge between An Caisteal and Beinn a Chroin is pleasant with same enjoyable rocky steps and even some neve and artistic icicles. The only downside is the 5km boggy walk down an otherwise perfect glen. No complaints really!
Great day with Simon on the Buachaille in late September sunshine. Lovely dry conditions on the North Face Route (severe), followed by January Jigsaw. Stunning conditions, but late summer sunshine often tantalizingly just around the corner quite a lot of the day! What a privilege to be on this amazing mountain in such great conditions (….. with Simon :)).
Lovely little journey into the Chalamain gap and the long traverse to Lurchers. Met some nice folk en route including a lady courageously testing out her new hip! Headed up Summit Buttress a grade 2 scramble on pretty solid ground with a couple of thought provoking steps! Great positions though. A scenic descent with the national park spread ahead of me encouraged a few jogs along the track and back to the Sugarbowl car park. Then with a little time before dinner I launched ‘Patience’ off Ardersier and we headed towards the imposing if not austere Fort George.
Amazing weather in Glencoe this week. The weather on the West Coast can be variable and it is fair to say pretty unpredictable; perhaps why it feels so special when it all comes together. Spent several days with some lovely folk in this amazing part of the world sharing my passion. What a privilege.
Well that’s the end of one chapter and the start of another! Just finished my Open University degree. It has been a long journey which I thought I would never finish! Work, family and other demands caused me to insert a lengthy intermission. I would have given up completely in the last year, but she wouldn’t let me ………. Now I can focus even more attention on my relationship with the outdoors through climbing and mountaineering, providing technical advice to outdoor establishments, first aid training and a little paddling with the new toy! To cap it all, just met up, for the first time in exactly 30 years with my Junior Soldier troop – seventeen years old, skinny and fresh faced when I last saw them. Now look at them, I felt like a proud dad!
The Highlands have had a stunning start to the summer with a good week of lovely spring weather. The rock was warm and dry and the breeze minimal. Is this the start of another good summer, or a worrying indication of the effect our use of fossil fuels is having on our home?