Saturday, 28 February 2015

Another stupid plan

It's been quite challenging the past few days knowing what/where to go.  So, for some bizarre reason we thought we would ski the length of Catrin.

Planning a trip is always going to throw up problems and the latest plan was no exception.  In true Di & Catrin fashion, this was completely last minute and for a whole day we flustered around setting up all the logistics and getting into place.

Our plan was to ski from Corrour to Braemar and was completely condition dependant.  Thankfully as soon as we stepped off the platform at Corrour, the skis were on.  It would have been a sorry state of affairs if we had to get the first train out the following morning due to lack of snow.

The weather Gods looked down on us on Saturday and with a strong Westerly wind blowing up our arses we made good progress along Loch Ossian.

From the East end of the Loch we encountered near perfect conditions - both over head and underfoot and we whizzed along the glen towards Bealach Dubh.

As Catrin put it "she skied like a hero" descending into Ben Alder Forest.  This actually translates as: "I actually am a skier although you wouldn't think it looking at the way I have come down."

We stupidly decided not to come out via The Fara and had 8 km of black concrete track to contend with from Ben Alder Lodge.  9 hours later and very smug we arrived at Dalwhinnie.

However, it was mother nature who had the last laugh this morning as she decided that we had too good a time yesterday and decided to strip off any last slivers of snow.  So, today we spent the whole morning recovering cars :(  Instead of skiing the length of Catrin, we only skied to her tummy ....

Skies now packed away (for a few days anyway) and the tools are poised.

Huge shout out to Braemar Mountain Sports for sorting Catrin out with a set of skis so that she could actually enjoy the ski.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A small weather window

There was a small weather window this morning before the ming arrived (again).  Thankfully Plan A didn't work out given the fact that we couldn't get the car parked off the A9 without it getting wiped out by the snowplough.

So, instead we saw this and thought, not bad for a Plan B.

Lets be honest, when it's good in Scotland it is really good.

For anybody that has skied with me recently know that I normally ski on a pair of matchsticks.  However, with the recall of the Scarpa F1 Evo boots it left me only one option.  A rather fat (all relative) pair of Black Crows and a proper pair of boots.

Felt like I had a couple of bags of sugar strapped onto my feet on the ascent, but boy was the descent good :)  So, both the Boar and the Sow East faces skied today with the girls.  I will say that as soon as we were ready for the *whoops* the cloud moved in and we lost the light.

Crossing the burn was potentially the most hazardous part of the whole day but the Mountain Safety Advisor kept us right on that one.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015


Lordy, is it really a week since I blogged last?

Last week, Thomas and I were out in the white room - to be perfectly honest there wasn't much to see which is probably a good thing since we were needing some poor visibility to learn how to operate safely in it.  The bright ? in Braemar made up for the lack of views on the hills.

Then it was full steam ahead for a whole weekend of SkiMo.

© Mr Drew Photography

The great news now, is that I have about 3 weeks ahead of me with very few commitments; I have a Catrin in situ; it has been chuckin it down since Sunday and I have enough motivation for everybody in the Strath.  Climbing, skiing or mountaineering - not particularly fussed to be honest, the conditions will dictate as always.  Oh, and new camera will arrive tommorrow - happy days ....

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The hills were smokin'

It's not often that I climb with goggles on but yesterday they were probably the most useful thing in my rucksack.

Yesterday Bob, George & Di had a rematch with the mountains and both managed to redeem themselves perfectly - there was no throwing helmets down mountains and no exploding crampons.

Pretty brutal on the hill to be honest - by the time I got home my nose had finally de-thawed and my face had returned to semi normality.

Huge thanks to George for taking the photos - I did remember my one, its just a shame that I forgot to put the memory card in.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Hall of Fame - class of 2015

[The scene:  We are at the 5* Hilton Hotel, Glasgow, for the University of Strathclyde's Sports Awards Ball.  We are standing outside the Grand Ballroom where 600 students are enjoying the evenings celebrations.  The piper starts to pipe.  To my left stands John - who laughs, looks at me and says "It's like running through the tunnel into Murrayfield".  We then enter ...]

Yup, I think there was a mix up with people because last night John Rutherford, Craig Pollock and I were officially inducted into the Strathclyde Alumni Hall of Fame and received Honorary Full Sporting Blues.

John Rutherford is a giant in the world of Rugby and Craig Pollock is a giant in the world of F1 racing.

From left: Craig Pollock; Naill Sturrock; me & John Rutherford

I am deeply honoured by this award but struggle in my head to see why I should be standing amongst giants.  I feel quite emotional writing this because I see this not an award to me but recognition to the mountaineering world in general.  Finally somebody has recognised that there is more to sports than mainline sports.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The closest thing to flying

For those of you who like my Facebook page, you will know that I dropped my camera :(

So, unfortunately I won't posting awesome ice climbing pictures.  I'll just post this one that Gregory took today as we returned to Bergen.  Fortunately it doesn't show the dribbles drooling from my mouth as I giggled too much.

© Gregory Guida

Friday, 6 February 2015

Aurland - Whoop

I've never been to Aurland before but it has been on my hit list for a few years now.

I feel as if we spent the majority of the day driving around looking for the ice, but that just adds to the adventure.

We did actually find the ice.  It was good ice too.

Seriously underestimated the amount of tat that would be required - think my 60m ropes will end being 5m long after this trip.  #schoolgirlerror

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

I can see

We actually got a view today.  OK, it wasn't a brilliant one but it's better than the white room.

Lots of training today for Divyesh who is now starting to see the benefit of Scotland's mountains as a training ground for the Big E.

Conditions look good in Scotland for the next wee while, better be good in Norge or else I'll be a right miserable mare.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Day 3 in the white room.

Divyesh has started his Everest 2017 training.  As I have always said, Everest is good training for Jockland.

This is what we saw all day:

Fingers crossed that we might be able to see something (really not fussed what) tomorrow.

Monday, 2 February 2015

We enjoyed the white room so much we went back for seconds

Thankfully, we managed to follow a trail into the bottom of the Fiacaill Ridge today.  

Just a shame that the trail never continued up the Ridge.  So we had the joys of swimming/wading/flapping our way up.  Absolutely no points for style.  

Once on the plateau we were greeted with spectacular conditions for practicing a bit more navigation.

An excellent introduction to the winter playground for the guys - just a shame we couldn't see anything.

In hindsight, that's perhaps a good thing since we couldn't see the drop on both sides.

Managed to get off the hill in time for tea and medals today, so must be improving in this time management malarkey.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Back into the white room

Out with the boys today to experience the joys to trail breaking.

A fantastic day to test equipment - very cold with a biting wind but not too much snow blowing around.

Might try and actually get off the hill before dusk tomorrow.