Friday, 4 September 2015

Meteorologically Autumn

Meteorologically speaking, we are now in Autumn.  Thank God.  In my head, Autumn is the training season for winter and I am fully prepared for the first Autumnal storms, the shorter days and the Northerly winds.  Therefore, when I head to the hills now, if it's not all the above it's a bonus.


I normally don't hesitate what shoes to wear on the hill - it has to have a Scarpa logo - but because the hill was 80% track and 20% moor I opted (for the first time) to wear my mountain bike shoes.  What a stupid idea that was.  I had soaking wet feet within the first 2 seconds and having to teeter over slippy schist with a pair of protruding SPD's is not a great image for somebody who is supposed to be fairly proficient in the hills.  Don't get me started on any kind of incline.

On a very positive note, I did breath a very big sigh when I returned to the bike to find it still in it's place.  Losing the bike would be a complete disaster but having to miss out on the fastest descend off any hill would have been unthinkable.




Sunday, 23 August 2015

Blowing in the wind

To say it was windy today would have been an understatement.  We couldn't even cycle side by side in fear of getting blown into each other.  Which is probably a good thing, because today we done probably the world's most boring hill and if we never had the fear of killing ourselves on the bikes, it would have been quite a boring day.  Well, actually that's not true but it sounds better than - cycled in, walked up a hill, cycled back.


I do think we found one of the countries biggest cairns today and we're not speaking about just a random pile of thrown-on-top-of-each-other-stones.  Which was probably a good thing since it did provide some kind of shelter from the blowy air.


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Glorious hill days

I know it's only August, but that's me very nearly my Scottish summer work.  Such a pleasure to spend the last few days with a really keen bunch of kids whilst wearing my Gold Expeditions hat once again.


Time to start digging out the high expedition equipment.


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Cool Cats

When I was a troublesome teenager, I thought anybody over the age of 25 was old.  Anybody over 40 was well and truly past it and should be confined to sitting on the sofa drinking hot cocoa and wearing fluffy slippers.  Oh, how naive was I.


So, how we chuckled to ourselves for the past 3 days as we were out with Albyn School deep in the Cairngorms.  Just no matter how cool we think we are, to a group of fearsome teenagers we really are not cool in every sense.


Max has been introduced to the delights of trailer camping, where there really is no need to scrimp on the quality of food.  The only thing that was missing was the bottle of Vino but even I can be sensible when little people are involved.


In typical Scottish fashion our amazing first 2 days will be forgotten with the 3rd day will be the one that is remembered for seeing nothing but a blanket of midgies all day.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Changing colours

That's the last MCofS navigation course run out of the Ochils for the year.


Frightened to say, but the sedge is starting to change colour.  Dare I say it will soon be winter?

Friday, 7 August 2015

Ardmair aka Hardmair

I am ashamed to stay that I have only been to Ardmair once before.  I remember being perplexed how to climb the routes.   It's not that I don't like the climbing, it's just that I'm not really a crack climber and if you're not good at something it is very easy to avoid.  So when Shiela suggested Ardmair, I didn't know quite how to respond.


I loved it.  Perhaps never loved the botanical battle to the bottom of the crag and the swamp to negotiate but the climbing was awesome.  Sheila, Queen of Cracks danced her way up numerous routes whilst at the bottom of the (very tight rope) I pulled faces, groaned, stuck my tongue out and spent hours trying to figure out how to use elephant bum holds.


As they say, everyday is a school day.  Today I was well and truly in nursery.


Sunday, 2 August 2015

And that was that

Oh my goodness.

We didn't even make it out the starting blocks for an attempt on the Skye Ridge Traverse on Saturday.


If I am perfectly honest, we hardly made it out the car on Saturday morning.  Within 10 minutes we were utterly drenched - nothing and I mean nothing stayed dry.  However, we persevered and had a cracking day out.

Todays mission was to get out, up, along, down, up and down before the rain set in again.


The window wipers remained on all the way from Sligachan to Grantown and the van stinks of wet dog - shame I can't blame one.

Nice to be back on the mainland :)