Saturday, 28 December 2013

Christmas holidays and lots of running and biking low down out of the winds.

Hello everyone. Christmas has past and we gear up for New Year. My New Year will spent out at Tavool House on Mull. We have rented this amazing house for the last few years and I highly recommend it for future consideration if you are looking for a fantastic place to spend New Year with friends and family. Anyway, I am holiday so no work postings but here are a few photos of Scotland Outside and inside over the last few days. We start up working again on Jan 6th and we are busy busy right through the winter. Our winter courses are booking up fast and the snow is shaping up for a good start. The winds appear to be dying down some what and with some luck the temperatures will fall to consolidate
it all. Have a great New Year and take care out there. Catch up in the New Year.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Climbing and Canyoning work over last two days and a few cups of coffee.

I have been assessing 'NICAS' Climbing awards and doing site specific Canyoning assessments in Glen Ogle over the last two days. Today was a rather calm day after a barrage of hail storms through the night. Fresh snow sits on the tops again and teases us once more into thinking winter is upon us. I say this reservedly as folk have been out climbing and mountaineering high up on Ben Nevis, so it is possible to go winter mountaineering at present. It was a balmy day in Kinlochleven on Monday [ colder inside than out!] and today a chilly morning gave way to a warmish afternoon. Not so warm in the main flow of water though!I am back in the hills tomorrow so watch this space for a conditions report tomorrow evening.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Warm, wet and windy in the hills.

Teaching navigation requires a variety of conditions. The last two days has been perfect for the art of 'micro' navigation. Driving rain, hail, mist, fog and high winds have tested everyone's skills using map and compass. We were walking above Glen Loy. We ascended Meall a Phubuill, camped at Glensuliag bothy and ascended the very impressive Druim Fada on the second day. It's Coire Dubh and Odhar being wonderfully dark and menacing.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Enough snow remains for Winter Walking Skills Course in Glencoe.

Yesterday as predicted after Monday, I headed back to Meall a Bhuiridh in Glencoe. The aspect of this hill holds old snow well even in the melt well. The snow pack at 900 m was firm and almost reached the summit at 1080 m. Being sheltered form the very strong southerly wind was a bonus. Summit-ting into a 60 mph blasting warm wind was an eye opener for the group. The dense clagg lifted between squalls but unfortunately no spectacular views of the Southern Highlands or Glencoe today. The group of clients were school pupils from North Tyneside were really pleased to have reached the summit and at 13 years old that is a major achievement and memorable experience for them.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Very warm in Glencoe, but some snow remains.

Day one of a two day winter walking trip / course started with a search for snow in Glencoe today. We found enough and I predict we will return to the same area again tomorrow as it will be sheltered from a near southerly gale. The Glencoe Ski area is always a safe bet for an eternal optimist. The snow is very wet indeed and receding rapidly. To top off the slap in the face by a warm front, my waterproof
camera stopped working due to water ingress!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Snow in Oban after the storm.

Yesterday I failed to reach Fort William due to the storm and consequently didn't get to work on the hill. The desk beckoned and the hatches were battened down which was very sensible, as the winds were coming through at 144 mph on West Coast hills. I woke this morning to fresh snow fall in the garden and a picture post card view of Ben Cruachan. Happy days. I start Hebridean Pursuits winter skills courses off on Monday so any fresh on an old base will gratefully received. Strangely when the weather worsens I get an erge to run, but leaving the shoes outside is never a good idea. Cold feet it is then!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Shades of grey outside and inside today.

A warm over cast day on the West Coast and in Glencoe today. Coaching lead climbing inside made perfect sense. Though the forecasters keep telling us it is getting colder. A few photos of shades of grey.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Inside and outside this week.

This week has been mixed for conditions in the hills. I have been working on a variety of skills courses ranging from lead climbing training to summer mountain leader navigation refresher skills. A dusting of fresh snow lies on the tops from Glencoe though to the east. It was really warm yesterday at 600m but the northerly wind has taken a grip and it feels a wee bit cooler again. The word on the street is that it will get colder again next week, a good 50 / 50 bet this time of the year. It would be welcome as HPL winter courses start on the 9th of December so some snow would be very welcome. November has gone very quickly but it has been one of the most beautiful Novembers I can remember in the Scottish landscape.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Outside over the last few days. Not bad for November.

Variety is the spice of life, they say! I think they, are correct. The last week or so has been cold and crisp. Mostly wintry in the hills and dry at sea level. I have been working all over Scotland recently and the landscape has been as varied as the work. Here are a few photos to illustrate the diverse beauty and the ever changing landscape Scotland has to offer. Folk have been out climbing, mixed winter routes on Ben Cruachan, new routes on Ben Alder, exploring the ridges of Ben Nevis and in fact doing lots on lot's of Ben's. Others have been ski touring, rock climbing and sea kayaking. With high pressure dominating the outdoors has been everyone's oyster. It looks like the weather may warm up a little this week but that is normal for this time of the year. Hebridean Pursuits courses and winter work is well under way and we have been so blessed with the perfect conditions. Long may it last.

High pressure days you can't beat in Scotland at this time of the year.

The Mamores today, Monday.

Looking towards Ben Nevis on Monday [ last ].

Mull from Oban on Sunday.

Ben Cruachan on Saturday morning.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Navigation Training for ACOL West Highland College students.

Snow, sun, long distance views down to Jura, Ben Nevis covered in fresh snow and lots of learning. That was Thursday's work on one of the fine Grahams above Fort William. Fantastic conditions to start the mountain module for the students from West Highland College.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Fresh snow in the Galloways, Arran plastered, clear and crisp in the Trossachs.

Over the last couple of days I have been working down in and admiring the often forgotten and underestimated hills of Dumfriesshire and I also enjoyed an early winter high pressure window of warmth in the Trossachs area. It has been really beautiful in both counties. I woke this morning by the side of Loch Ken to an arctic scene of thick frost on the windscreen and sunlight pouring through the trees into my van. Driving back up to Irvine the Galloways were plastered in new snow and Arran looked majestic across the sea with a white cloak of pristine snow. It all tantalizes and teases the winter mountaineer in me. I watch and wait with excitement as the winter develops although it is a predictable battle of weather at the time of the year. If the new snow that was falling above Tyndrum whilst driving home tonight is an indicator it could be excellent.

Above Glen Ample.

The Galloways.

High above Strathyre.

Scruffy Dog Creations hat ready for winter by Loch Ken this morning.