Friday, 30 September 2011


While everywhere but the west coast of The Highlands are enjoying the heatwave with blue skies, we're having to cope with  Atlantic weather fronts flirting over us. So  with today's forecast predicting rain by mid day I set off for a quick morning out and trying to get down before getting wet. I set off from the Aluminium smelter in The Fort and went up Ledge Route, getting to the summit of Carn Dearg in 1 hour 56mins. There was a stiff southerly breeze across the ridge to spice things up a bit and keep me moving. Only the running shoes today and a light rucksack so a quick run back down and getting home before the rain and less than 3 and a half hours in total. the rain started 30mins later so feeling smug! I suppose I may have been quicker but for taking photos and helping someone who seemed to be navigationaly misplaced on the Allt a' Mhuillin path. 

Monday, 26 September 2011


At last an reasonably dry and bright day! Today I was on Ben Nevis with  mother and daughter team, Sarah and Terri up on holiday from London. The Ben was much quieter than of late and we enjoyed some good sunny spells in the morning, unfortunately we got rain and cloud near the summit and it was actually snowing at the top. The strong winds had died down to a mere breeze today. Unfortunately the day was completely spoiled by some disgusting litter louts leaving their challenge artifact on the summit. The last pic shows the offending article; a small boat with a pair of wheels on it! Presumably it had been pulled  up for some sort of stunt/charity and  they decided to litter the mountain by leaving it at the top, thanks. 

Saturday, 24 September 2011


The usual daily cycle of rain/showers/bit of sun continued today as karen and I headed out wet  west on the train to Inverailort. We headed over from there to the head of Loch Boraid which lies in a wonderful, remote setting between the road to the isles and the Knoydart area. The path that's marked on the os map is in reality quite an indistinct route, and I guess that's why we saw no one all day. The rain did actually ease off and we had an dry afternoon with a few glimpses of sun. The paths are saturated and the burns (even the smallest ones) are still in spate. There was an interesting crossing on one of these and Karen went for the adventurous and more exciting way across it, purely for photographic reasons I thought. The next crossing at the east end of the loch was impassable so we had a hike further up stream and uphill before we could negotiate that one. We mad it to Glenfinnan just before dusk and saw some beautiful, remote land that I guess few folk have ever been. 

Thursday, 22 September 2011


It was another showery day and very wet underfoot. Today I was coaching the 1st year students from Lochaber College on their Adventure tourism and managmemt degree course. The main aspects of today was basic navigation on the hills to the east of Glen Roy. We also covered personal movement on the hills on a variety of terrain, but it seemed that most of this was quite wet! 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


It was a bit damp and breezy today on the west coast.  I was out with the 2nd year students from Lochaber College  here in Fort William on their  Adventure Tourism management BA course We were concentrating on core hill skills today including navigation, personal movement on rough ground and most importantly,especially in today's conditions, having the right kit and keeping water tight! We went through various navigation skills on the featureless ground on  Meall Bhanabhie which stands at the dizzy heights of 327  metres. Nice views from the summit as we  enjoyed some drier and sunny periods in the afternoon.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Another day of showers and limited sunny spells. The winds were increasing as the day wore on so I decided on a short, lower altitude hill day but with a scramble thrown in. The south side of Meall an t-Suidhe has three rocky buttress's and two of these give some easy, broken scrambles. I headed up the right hand of these, just as an heavy shower came in. For those who enjoy nice clean rock for their scrambles then maybe this isn't for you! The route starts up a wet, slimy gully then onto steep heathery slopes eventually getting to the foot of the broken buttress where the main scrambling begins. There is quite a bit of lichen on the rocks which was a bit slippery today in the showery weather and half way up the route the wind increased, all good stuff to keep you concentrating. I wonder if there is a scrambling grade system for steep heather too? A nice half day out and feeling remote despite The Ben path directly below. The Ben seemed quiet today, a nice change.

Sunday, 18 September 2011


It's been a weekend of showers and sunshine and if you timed it right the views have been stunning in the Autumn colours and clarity of light. Yesterday started very wet and very low cloud but there was beautiful late afternoon and evening sunshine. Today on Ledge Route I timed it nicely, leaving late morning and capturing the hour or so of sunshine whilst on the most spectacular sections. It's also been quieter on the hills so peace and views have been great to savour. Looks like next week is another 'changeable' week, another week of day by day 'looking out the window' forecasting then?

Thursday, 15 September 2011


Final day of walking for the multi-international group on their week long trip in The Highlands. Today was an absolute cracker. Beautiful  clear skies, no wind and warm sun by late morning. Stunning scenery as we walked up the Allt a' Mhuillin to the CIC Hut then over to the Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe and finally back down to the Ben Nevis Inn for a welcome cool beer. It felt like summer had returned to the hills today.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


It was a showery and blustery day on Skye for us today. We had travelled over from the east yesterday in dreich weather but today it was a fine bright start. We had a lovely walk through Glen Sligachan from Kilmarie to the Slig Hotel. This classic low level walk runs through the heart of the mountainous area of Skye, dissecting the Red and Black Cuillin mountain's with ever changing views. The colours are beginning to look the lovely autumnal hue.

Monday, 12 September 2011


While the SW Highlands were facing gales at sea level with heavy prolonged rain we were enjoying some sunshine in The Cairngorms today. Today my group of  11 from various countries  headed out from Coire Cas carpark and we had a nice wander into Coire an Sneachda in The Northern Corries. There were a few showers and a stiff SW breeze but we had fine views as the clouds lifted off the summits to reveal the crags. We headed back down to the cafe at the carpark then continued down to Loch Morlich via the excellent new  footpath which passes through beautiful river and forest terrain. Nice to see the resident reindeer grazing today, as always posing nicely for photos.