When you do a traverse of anything, there is always the question of which way to do it.
The Hills of Cromdale lie South West to North East for about 16km's. When I done a traverse a couple of years ago I went from bottom to top thus having the wind in our backs and being able to park the car fairly high.
With a bitting Easterly wind and wanting to keep our faces in the sun as much as possible, todays traverse was going to be from top to bottom.
Today, we saw a fox getting hassle from 3 crows, 3 reindeer obviously on a mini break from the Cairngorms and some rather large cairns.
Sometimes it's easy to overlook the little hills, but not today.
It has never really occurred to me to use raised footsteps as bollards, but I'm pretty sure that the ones on the Ben yesterday would have been pretty strong.
I had rescheduled Zoe from January (no snow) and from February (the lurgy). Third time lucky for us. It's great to meet somebody who is as passionate about the hills as myself and by having such a pleasant experience of her Summer Mountain Leader Course is now looking at the Winter scheme.
We need more people like Zoe in the scheme - a passionate hill walker who wants to pass on their knowledge to others. Go for it girl!
For Maria, it was simply a case of 'good things come to those who wait'.
We could have gone out last week but would have probably got our heads blown off. Instead, we waited for today and enjoyed 4 pitches of ice on Smoking the White Owl.
Creag Meagaidh is a funny place when it comes to weather - often on the edge of weather from the west and/or weather from the east. When we made our plan last night we were going to the Ben today but when we met this morning, we both said "Meagaigh?"
Fran borrowed a light weight helmet today to try it out - as soon as she put it on, there was a "God Fran, that is a horrendous helmet!"
After taking the p**s for some time about the helmet, we swam our way to the bottom of the route - South Pipe Direct IV,4. I think that I can honestly say that this route is one of the most enjoyable routes that I have ever done - 5 loooooonnnnnnggggggg pitches with a little bit of something on each pitch.
Most definitely topped out into the white room - thankfully with little wind. For info, there is loads of snow waiting to get moved around when the wind picks up.
After wearing goggles yesterday (again) it was quite nice to be in the sun today.
Despite what you might think, independent mountaineering instructors spend a lot of time in solitude on the hills so it was quiet nice to be working with Glenn today. Some might question what we were actually teaching ...
Today was probably one of the very few days of the year when I probably wouldn't object to pay for uplift on Cairngorm.
It's not as if Catrin forgot her crampons - its just that Catrin never had 2 complete crampons.
The thought of spending a rather lot of time cutting steps wasn't an appealing thought, so we done the sensible thing - we turned around and headed home. Obviously being a considerate person I never took the pee all day - just most of the day :)
The really cool thing about training with the Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team is that they are fit. I honestly think that if they had their own way they would still be doing laps over the back of Cairngorm.
They are probably grinning all the way back to ABZ now :)