Friday, 27 February 2015

Green Lowther

Had some time to myself today so took a walk up on to Green Lowther from Wanlockhead.
It was good to get out and I do like the hills around here, but it's pretty industrial what with the turbines everywhere and the telecoms masts. Still, no-one else around so got a bit of breathing space.
Definitely best with snow cover....

Loving the new signage - thanks Andy!!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Blackhope Scar

On Thursday Jane and I took advantage of some decent weather and set off towards Peebles to climb Blackhope Scar, the second highest of the Moorfoots at 651m
From Gladhouse Reservoir we followed a good track alongside the River South Esk before branching off to the east just south of The Kipps. The track took us up on to open moorland to the north of the summit, and a boundary fence leading right to it.
The sun shone and there was an icy wind blowing but thankfully the boggy ground was still pretty solid so our trudge across the wide open hillside was pretty straightforward and we reached the trig point fairly quickly.
Great views of Dundreich and the wind turbines........
A good one to blow away some cobwebs.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

An Teallach

Since I had come north specifically to volunteer as client while Tim prepared for his WML assessment it was pretty vital we found some decent snow, and early Friday morning we set off for An Teallach.
The plan was to walk in to Glas Tholl from Dundonnell House and climb directly up on to the summit of Bidean a Ghlas Thuill via a 300m snow and ice filled gully from the corrie floor.
Now I have reached the summit of this particular Munro a number of times but never by such a direct route! The route looked long and challenging, despite being only a Grade I climb. Still, I had every confidence in Tim who is an excellent guide. The snow was hard packed and the climb seemed relentless.
It took us over 3 hours to reach the ridge - I say 'us', I mean 'me' since I don't doubt that Tim could have danced up in under an hour!
In the end, we topped out just as the sun was setting over Sgurr Fiona and the surrounding mountains. Conditions were perfect and the views were magnificent.
We dropped back down into the corridor as darkness fell and headed back to the car, and a long drive home, under a canopy of stars. A truly awesome day!

Cul Beag

The weather the next day was bright and sunny with little chance of finding much snow in the hills near Achiltibuie so we decided to take a walk up Cul Beag. I had climbed Cul Mor a number of times but had never been on her smaller neighbour.
Tim and Kiera accompanied me on the short route from Loch Lurgainn up to the col on the north ridge and then south to the summit. The views of the surrounding hills were stunning - a big reward for a short day.
Little did I know what was in store for me the following day.....

Coigach and beyond

By the time I met Tim (and Kieran the dog) on Wednesday a lot of the previous week's snow had disappeared, requiring some changes of plan, and so we set off for Achnasheen and Fionn Bheinn. The plan was to slog up Creachan nan Laogh to the east ridge before dropping down north into the Toll Mor and contouring round then attempting a Grade II climb up to the summit. 

There was plenty of snow in this north facing corrie, temperatures had dropped and the wind had picked up. The climb was not too long but for me it was quite challenging and I was glad Tim decided to belay me. The slope got much steeper as we neared the cornice and it was with some relief that I hauled myself over the edge before belaying Tim back down to collect a nervous Kiera.

Very snowy conditions on the summit but pretty soon we descended below the snow line to pick up the car and drive to Coigach after a really enjoyable day.

Ben Vrackie

On Tuesday 10th I headed north to meet Tim in Assynt to spend a few days having some fun in the snow. Conditions were so good en route that I couldn't resist a stop at Pitlochry to climb Ben Vrackie, the splendid Corbett which overlooks the town.
Loch a Choire was frozen over and there was still a lot of snow left on the upper slopes. A keen wind was blowing at the summit so I only stayed long enough to enjoy the view before heading back down to continue my journey north


At 697m this Graham is the most south-easterly of the Lowther Hills and on a glorious February day 2 weeks ago Jane and I set off to climb it.
It's quite a long drive out via Thornhill but conditions were fantastic, with blue skies and just a few remaining patches of snow. It's a good track all the way to the summit where we stopped to enjoy a quick lunch and some great views.