Saturday, 8 September 2012

Walks programme

Just a quick note to those of you who've been asking about the programme........
I've been so busy with private groups since July that it's not been possible to run other walks.
Hopefully I should have a programme running from mid Oct to Dec on the website very soon.

Sandwood Bay and beyond

Just back from a blustery but enjoyable week based in Durness and Inchnadamph, 2 of my favourite hostels. Our plan was to walk from Cape Wrath to Blairmore last Friday, but the forecast was for high winds so we decided to do the 9 mile round trip to Sandwood Bay from Blairmore in glorious sunshine on the Thursday. What a treat!
As luck would have it, Friday started pretty calm so we headed off on the tiny passenger ferry and waiting minibus to Cape Wrath, to begin the walk south to Sandwood and beyond. The going was across wet and rough ground but we made better progress than I had anticipated despite some pretty damp, misty conditions.
Rain and wind swept in on Saturday and, though we managed some short, wet excursions on foot, the highlight was a visit to the famous Lochinver pie shop!
We managed a couple of good days on the Corbetts of Spidean Coinich (weather too foul to do all 3 of Quinag's summits) and Cul Mor during the next 2 days before heading home.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Pendant les grandes vacances........

Just returned on Friday from 5 days with Macs Adventures, walking in Glencoe and the Cairngorms with a great group of French visitors. It was lots of fun, despite mixed weather, and it gave me a chance to revitalise my spoken French! We covered a lot of ground, exploring paths in Glencoe and Arisaig, Glenlivet and Cairngorm - we even got some sunshine.
Then it was off to Skye for Saturday,  and a change of plan that saw me on the Aonach Eagach on Sunday with Andrew. Great conditions for some fun on this fantastic ridge before he heads back down south and I head north to Sutherland this week. A real treat.

Actually, since leaving Arran mid July the pace has been hectic......
5 days in July were spent in Ardgour and surrounding area climbing Grahams  - Druim na Sgriodhain, Sgorr Mhic Eacharna + Beinn Bheag, Meall Onfhaidh + Aodann Chleireig to name but a few. Some good weather but also some real low cloud.

I also helped Mark Clark to the summit of Hill of Stake - 2nd last point of his High Points Project, which he has now completed. There us a book to be published....

Then it was on to Slioch (still no views!) and An Teallach before sailing to Harris at the beginning of August for Kay's final Corbett. 11 of us celebrated her success on the summit of An Clisham. On the 2 following days a few of us tackled the 3 Grahams on the island before making for the coffee shop and the tranquility of Luskentyre beach in the afternoon sun - fabulous!

A couple of random photos......

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Wild camping?

Nice tent!

Stob Ghabhar to Arran

Had a great day out with Brian and Kay on an east - west circuit of Stob a Choire Odhair and Stob Ghabhar. The weather was good, with just a little mist on the tops, and the sun really broke through for our descent south east to the much eroded path down the glorious Allt Toaig waterfall.

It was off to the Isle of Arran a few days later for 2 weeks holiday (and just a little work!). Kay sailed across the Firth of Clyde one day to join me on a blustery traverse of Caisteal Abhail from North Glen Sannox across to Cir Mhor and down into Glen Rosa in the late afternoon sun.

Sunny days have been scarce so far this July but the group I took for a fine high level walk in the hills above the beautiful Coire Fhion Lochan was lucky to enjoy warm sunshine and outstanding views, both of the Arran hills and over to the Mull of Kintyre and Jura beyond.

The highlight for me came a couple of days later while enjoying some solitude on the rough moorland hills in the south of the island. I had just reached the trig point on the summit of Tighvein when a magnificent Golden Eagle rose into the air from the ground behind the cairn 2 metres away. What a sight! Did I have my camera to hand? Sadly not, but I watched it soar into the air and head south for quite some time.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

A couple of Rum photos

Sadly no sightings of either otters or sea eagles this time.

West Highland Way

Huge congratulations to Karen and Richard who completed their first WHW at the weekend. Hope you enjoyed it, despite the weather!

Green beret

Finally got pictures of my boy to post. On 7th June Andrew passed the series of really tough Commando tests required to earn the green beret of the Royal Marine Commandos.
Mum is so proud!
Still 5 months officer training to go.....

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Island hopping

Mostly been working on some of Scotland's beautiful islands over the last month or so.
The Shetland Isles trip was a joy, and the weather fantastic. Fair Isle, Papa Stour, Muckle Roe, Hermaness all provide a feast of fantastc scenery - amazing natural architecture teeming with bird life. The group got up close and personal with puffins, great skuas, guillemots and arctic terms. We watched gannets diving, heard storm petrels purring in the walls of Mousa broch, and sat enchanted at the sea edge as seals played in the clear waters.

Island hopping, part 2

Then followed a trip to the Small Isles, once again in glorious weather! First to Eigg where the group stayed at the wonderful Glebe Barn. We seemed to cover most of this small island on the first day, from the landmark Sgurr of Eigg to the cliffs in the north and the white sands looking over to Rum. We took a boat for a brief visit to Muck and were entertained by dolphins, minke whales and the sight of the Manx Sheerwaters rafting on the still waters.
Rum is very special and our good weather continued, allowing us some wonderfu,l days exploring the Rum Cuillin, Bloodstone Hill in the north, and the area around Kilmory, famous for its red deer project.
These Small Isles are truly beguiling.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Beinn Bhreac - a long and winding road!

The beginning of May saw us back on the bikes again to tackle this isolated Corbett at the headwaters of the Tarf Water.
Our cycle from Calvine to Bruar Lodge was hampered a little by strong winds and some piercing rain showers, but we made it in one piece and, after a snack by the Lodge, we headed off towards our hill.
A good stalkers path climbs up the side of the Allt Beinn Losgarnaich and on to the featureless, rough and boggy ground which must be covered to reach this Corbett.
Fortunately it was not so wet underfoot, but sadly the mist closed in as we reached the summit, and an icy wind forced us to retreat hastily and find a more sheltered spot for lunch further down the slope.
The bikes were a real asset on the way back down the glen, and we made good time though we were slowed slightly by a young canine companion who insisted on following us for near 15km - nothing deterred him!
It was a long trek for a small dog, and many thanks to Susan at Calvine who took him in till his owners could collect him.
One more Corbett to go Kay!!


The sun shone on us the next day too as we headed across the bridge to Skye to tackle the fine traverse of  Garbh-bheinn and Belig.
There were some airy moments on the narrow summit ridge of Garbh-bheinn, and the chance to enjoy lunch with the Cuillin ridge as a glorious backdrop.
We continued on to Belig in the warmth of the early afternoon, via the sheltered s-w ridge, before heading back down to Loch Ainort just as a light rain started to fall.

Catch up!

This is turning out to be a really busy time in the hills, and admin has taken a bit of a back seat. I've been really lucky with the weather too, enjoying lots of clear and sunny days.
Towards the end of April 3 of us set off from a very quiet Ratagan YH to cycle into Glen Elchaig to climb 2 Corbetts, Faochaig and Aonach Buidhe.
For the most part the track up to Iron Lodge is a good one and even the reluctant cyclists made good time. Large numbers of deer grazed at the side of the track, along with the highland cattle and some young calves - a previous bad experience here caused us to give the latter as wide a berth as possible!
The slopes of Aonach Buidhe are grassy and featureless on the south side and the summit was shrouded in mist with just a sprinkling of snow. We descended steeply to the col and into sunshine to pick up an excellent path up onto the summit plateau of Faochaig where we found a sunny sheltered spot by the cairn for a late lunch.
It was a pleasant descent in the Spring warmth back to the bikes and no complaints as we cycled easily back down this beautiful Glen after a long and successful day in the hills.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Loch Ossian

What better way to start the day than a mug of coffee and a bacon roll on Crianlarich station.
The train to Corrour on Saturday morning was on time and very busy - standing room only!
The sun was shining as we set off to enjoy a circuit of the Leum Uilleim horseshoe and, apart from a short flurry of snow, it shone all day.
The views over Rannoch Moor and east towards Ben Alder were great, and we had plenty time for afternoon tea by the lochside before the train home.


Loch Lomond was stunning in the early morning sun on Friday as I drove west on a rare day off to do a short circular walk in Strathlachlan. A cap of cloud covered the Arrochar tops and hid the sun on the Cowal peninsula, but the day stayed dry, and a profusion of primroses brightened the track.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Glen Dessary

What fantastic weather to be out in the Scottish hills!
We were lucky enough to be on Sgurr Mor on Saturday, enjoying great views in all directions. Long slog over from Glen Dessary to Glen Kingie and beyond, but worth it for lunch on this lovely Munro.
Loch Arkaig is one of my favourites but that road in doesn't get any shorter!
On Sunday we headed to Kintail for the traverse of A Chralaig and Mullach Fraochh-choire. The sun shone for us all day though there was a bite to the wind on this entertaining ridge.
All in all, a great weekend.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Culzean Country Park

Had a great trip here during the week - a leisurely 3 hour walk taking in woodland, beaches, rockpools and formal gardens. Not to mention the stunning cliff walk from the castle! A wee bit drizzle hid the views of Arran, but plenty of birdlife to watch over lunch.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Lazy Sundays?

A promise of early spring sunshine on Sunday tempted us out onto the Luss hills for a shortish but hugely enjoyable circuit of Tullich Hill and Beinn Bhreac above Glen Douglas. Fantastic views the length of Loch Lomond - hard to believe we were only at 681m. Icy wind on the tops but some real heat from the sun in sheltered spots. Lots of frog spawn about now, and even saw a lizard!

Monday, 5 March 2012

My First Blog

Hi there,

I'm looking forward to filling this new section of my website with tales and photos of all the exciting trips that are planned for the forthcoming year.

Check back again soon for my latest update!