Our Grand Tour of The Highlands as moved onto Skye for a couple of nights with Martin, Eva and Lesley. We had and a coastal walk from Broadford yesterday before our big day out on The Cuillin today. The group were quite keen to do one of the big hills so we had a nice traverse of Bla bheinn, up the lovely and unfrequented South ridge from Camasunary Bay which presents a wonderful long ridge walk with some easy scrambling and fantastic views of the main Cuillin ridge. From the summit we then descended the 'voie normal'. A drizzly and low cloud early morning soon transformed into a quite spectacular afternoon, the cloud formations were wonderful, the sun shone and the colours vibrant. What a day! Everyone loved it and Skye lived up to all expectations-and more. We saw no one all along the ridge. Fantastic.
Monday, 27 June 2011
Lesley, Eva and Martin are with me this week on a Grand Tour of The Highlands. We had two nights in The Cairngorms and after a warm up stroll yesterday on The Speyside Way they were all keen to get out on the mountains. With a reasonable forecast of dry conditions at last we headed from Coire Cas carpark and up onto Ben MacDui. The cloud was right down at the carpark when we set off but as we headed up via Lurchers we came out of a temperature inversion and for the rest of the day we had cloud free views and quite mild weather with only a light breeze. From the summit we headed over to the Garbh Uisge for the lovely views down Loch Avon basin before heading back via The Goat Track. We had some lovely wildlife sightings today including a pair of ptarmigan and six chicks, lots of singing snow buntings but best of all a female Dotterrel and her young. Highlight of the day also included the distinct lack of people and especially the absence of litter, unlike the next highest mountain in the UK.
Saturday, 25 June 2011
Friday, 24 June 2011
It was a glorious day to be out and about up the hills. We had sunshine through out the day and the summit of Ben Nevis was out of the cloud. Sophie and I had a group of French folk out on Ben Nevis, they had already been up a few mountains this week so the fit,strong group enjoyed the walk up the Pony Track with ease. It wasn't too busy although quite a few 3 peaker's had just set off when we were near the bottom. The John Muir Trust volunteer's were out on the hill today doing a good job of clearing out the culverts on the upper path to prevent water erosion. The photo of the guy with plastic shopping bags wasn't part of the group by he way, it was one of many light weight approach individuals on the hill. We finished in fine style with a pint or two sitting outside the Ben Nevis Inn, no midges today, wonderful. Today I was working for Walkabout Scotland.
Thursday, 23 June 2011
Just on a whim I persuaded Barrie out for a jaunt up Ledge Route on Ben Nevis yesterday evening. I was away down south for the actual Summer Solstice so this evening was the closest and well near enough the date. So we set off at the North Face car park at 6pm just as the clouds were lifting off the tops. It was mild evening and we were soon up to the CIC and onto the route. This is the best grade 1 scramble in the area and Barrie was loving every minute of it. We made fast progress and were on the summit of The Ben before 10pm. Of course we weren't alone, a few folk recce- ing there challenge for the next morning, apparently dragging a motorised wheelchair up the Ben. The only thing that spoilt the day was the usual disgusting litter on the summit, there is even folk writing graffiti on the rocks on the summit area now, pathetic little individuals. Rant over! Barrie has taken up a new sport of 'Planking' which he demonstrated on the trig point. We descended without a soul in sight, very rare on The Ben. We made the car park without torches at midnight. A good night out in Fort William!
Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Last week I was out in The Italian Dolomites for a week of walking with George. We were based in the bustling little village of Selva, in the Val Gardena which lies in the western end of the Dolomites. Well when I say bustling it was actually very quiet as the 'summer' in this part of the Alps doesn't really start until 18th June. There was no bus service and virtually all the gondola/cable car uplifts were not in operation. So in fine Scottish tradition we hoofed it up onto the mountains from valley level to summits every day. Despite not being 'summer' we had fantastic weather, mostly sunshine and as the week went on the temperatures rose to the mid 20 centigrade. The Dolomites are an area of amazing rock pinnacles consisting of various forms of limestone. The flowers down in the meadows and higher alp's were glorious too. We did plan to do a few 'Vie Ferrata' but because of lack of transport that didn't happen, but a wonderful time just walking the hills is just as spectacular.
Friday, 10 June 2011
Wednesday, 8 June 2011
I took a stroll out along The West Highland Way today to try out my new camera, Panasonic GF2. The flowers are looking great just now with Orchids starting to flower, the Butterfly Orchid still as a couple of weeks to go before flowering. All these flowers are just alongside the footpath: Heath Spotted Orchid, Fragrant Orchard, Yellow Saxifage, Primrose, Starry Saxifrage, Bluebells, Bugle, Wild Strawberry. The weather still unsettled and the midge as just made an appearance.