Saturday, 22 October 2016

Autumn days

The summer work is officially over for me now.  I can honestly say that I don't ever remember such a memorable Autumn in Scotland before.

The primary reason for this, in my eyes anyway, is that we still actually have not had the first big autumnal storms.  As a result the trees are holding onto their leaves and are displaying natures finest technicolour dream coat.  The deer grass too has changed colour and displays the most amazing carpet to walk on.

The low sun is casting fantastic shadows and the sound of the roaring Stags can still be heard.

The rock climbing days are limited for me now since I really don't enjoy climbing with numb feet and cold fingers.  It's time to enjoy the last few weeks with a light rucksack, before autumn turns to winter.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Scrambling in Glencoe

The nights are drawing in and the early morning frost is a common sight.  However, the weather remains settled and it was great to be in Glencoe with Mountaineering Scotland.

Mountaineering Scotland (formerly the Mountaineering Council of Scotland) offer some unbelievably good value courses and this weekend was no different.  Their new website will be launched soon so stay posted.

It was great working with 4 students who were keen, desperate to learn and a good giggle.

2 scrambles, 1 corbett and 1 munro wasn't a bad outcome for the guys.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Deep into the Cairngorms

Every now and then I meet somebody completely inspirational.

It's not polite to ask a women her age, and all I will say is that Jean is just ever so slightly younger than my Grandfather.

Yesterday, Jean travelled over 35km and climbed over 1616m in ascent and bagged 3 rather remote Cairngorm Munro's.  Jean got blown over once in the wind - promptly got back up, dusted herself off and continued - and fell off her bike once - once again, got back up, dusted herself off and continued without a word of complaint.

Next time, anybody who uses the 'age' excuse needs to meet a very special lady.  Jean Dougall, you really are a Beast and I salute you :)

Friday, 23 September 2016

Stone Valley

I have climbed more this last fortnight than I have all summer and it's been great.  I love climbing in the Autumn - the crisp skies, the rock still holding onto any summer warmth and the breeze keeping the midgies at arms length.  Yesterday, we headed up to Stone Valley and never saw a soul all day.  The wind certainly kept any biting things away and when the sun disappeared we were grateful of down jackets and multiple layers.

I was sad to see that the Poca Buidhe Bothy is now closed to all visitors.  How many people actually know what the Bothy Code is?  Actually, thinking about it how many people know what the Countryside Code is?  Yes, we could probably take a pretty good educated guess but ....

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The little adventures

Sometimes I think that there is too much emphasis on the big adventures.  Realistically if I can do one big adventure every year I am happy with that, so the question is what do you do the rest of the time?

Little adventures.   Lots of little adventures.  Preferably lots of little adventures with lots of variety.

As the summer starts to draw to a close (oh yes, it will nearly be that time of year to get uber excited again) it's all about cramming it in.

We done lots on our latest little adventure, but the one that will stick in the mind is the Breamish Behemoth.

For me, it was simply about getting to go riding over some amazing terrain without having to look at maps, decide where to go and tapping into local knowledge.  It was awesome.  What was more awesome was stopping half way around for the best cake that I have ever had - and from me that is a very big statement.

I haven't done much riding in Englandshire before but it comes highly rated and recommended :)

Friday, 2 September 2016

To the Alps and back

Oh my goodness, I have discovered that Alpine Mountaineering is now predominately a rich persons game.

We had lots of plans for our mini break but with the conversation rate as it is, we embraced Alpine Mountaineering as it should be.  Long walk ins, cold bivi's and good old student food. 

Now it's not that I'm adverse to spending money, but let's keep it real.  We managed to survive a week in Switzerland before finally bailing back to good old France where we didn't actually mind buying bread, cheese and wine.

As much as I love the Alps, it is very very good to be back home.  The garden has been completely neglected - actually this isn't entirely true since Derek has been very productive in the vegetable patch (more strawberry wine on the go, carrots coming along perfectly and courgettes the size of marrows) but the piece de resistance is without doubt the tree lilies whose aroma are filling the whole of the village. 

Monday, 8 August 2016

What to do after K2?

I am back in Scotland earlier than I thought I would be.  Now, there are lots of positives obviously associated with this but I am struggling to put into words how I feel about the entire K2 season being called off before it really got under way.

I feel as if I have a big wound that is still currently oozing and is refusing to heal.  I genuinely feel that time will be the best cure and perhaps now isn't the best time to try and force it closed.

I am certainly looking forward to reading Jakes Blog about the expedition (just on the off chance I don't know what happened) since everybody I have spoken to has mentioned how fantastic it is.

I will now focus on performing emergency first aid on all the house plants that Derek forgot we owned, that is in between the unpacking and (yes) repacking because in 48 hours we hit the road once again.

 After all, what's the point of having a life if you don't live it to the full?

Oh, as a footnote, can I just say a massive thank you to all the very very kind words of support that you guys gave :)