Thursday, 27 October 2011


Kelly and Robin were out with me on the Ben today. This was Robin's Birthday present from Kelly but unfortunately it wasn't a particularly nice day. We headed up onto Ledge Route for some excitement and had it to ourselves. There were some showers and drizzle most of the time with wet snow falling near the summit. There was some breaks in the cloud, especially late afternoon on the descent. The Pony Track was relatively quiet. Quite a chilly SW breeze today and definitely a wintry feel.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


Gill & Andy were out with me today on The Ben. The weather forecast for today was for early rain easing off and the gale force winds easing through the day. As we headed up the Allt a' Mhuillin there was hardly a breeze so we decided on a day up Ledge Route and then down via the CMD arete. The cloud was lifting and breaking through the day and high up on Ledge Route we got lovely glimpses. We saw no one all day until the summit, even here there were less than a dozen folk. Then as we headed down to the CMD arete we had the SE winds in our faces but the strong winds did shift the cloud. It was a tad breezy along the ridge and  as we got closer to Carn Mor Dearg the cloud lifted completely for a time. We got back to the NF carpark just before dark, just over 9 hours-a good day out and well done to Andy & Gill, their first time on Scottish mountains.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


This morning saw some lovely sunny spells to show off the Autumnal colours, a welcome break from the rain and cloud. I had a morning bike ride along he West Highland Way, visiting  Dun Deardail  en route above Glen Nevis. A fine viewpoint looking across to The Ben. Then a great run down the other side and back via the Lundavra Road. Much nicer views now a lot of tree plantation as been harvested.Just back before the clouds came in from the south and some rain this afternoon. Temperatures quite mild just now.

Saturday, 22 October 2011


Just back from a week in the beautiful Dolomites, Northern Italy. We based ourselves in the delightful village of San Candido/Inchinnen  which is at the eastern end of the Val Pustertal. The mountains we explored are in the Sesto/Sexten range and the area is probably most famous for the striking Tre Cima/Drei Zinnen, in English 'The three peaks' I guess. This region of The Dolomites has two languages, Italian and Germanic. We were blessed with superb weather, clear skies for much of the time and once the sun got up it was warm and summer like. The views were superb in the very clear air, a great time to go to The Alps. We saw hardly anyone out on the mountains and indeed we seemed like the only tourists in the village! It's unfortunate that virtually all the huts are closed by the end of September but that doesn't mean the mountains aren't accessible. With a good bus service up most of the major valleys you can get into some great mountain walking and via ferrata areas. This was my second visit to The Dolomites this year and I'll be sure to be back again, wonderful place.
 Meanwhile back at home it's been a bit wet and windy, a shock to the system! Brian was out working for me today on Ben Nevis with the Simmonds family. Unfortunately they had a bit of a soaking and strong winds on the top. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


With another dry day in prospect I headed out this afternoon  up Ledge Route. Despite it being a bit chilly there was not a breath of wind so feeling very pleasant indeed. All I could hear were the stags roaring and the water flowing in the Allt a' Mhuillin. Wonderful atmospheric cloud coming and going along the ridge. Will need to get out of the habit of a 'liesurley' start, ie after mid day. Winter is coming!

Off to The Dolomites in Italy on Friday for a week so no postings for a wee while. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


With the hint of a much better weather day than of late I headed a bit further east today to escape the showers over on the west coast. The wonderful West Highland train line has many stations where you can hop off and have a great adventure. Today I had just a mini run up the hill of  Beinn na Lap from Corrour station. Corrour stands in lovely isolation high on Rannoch Moor at over 400m above sea level, almost half way up the hill, a treat for west coasters. It had to be a quick dash up and down the hill having less than 3 hours between the trains. Beinn na Lap is one of the easiest and shortest Munros, time wise that is, not height wise. As expected saw no one on the hill so it's a lovely place for some solitude and peace & quiet. The views on the summit are fantastic for such an mundane grassy hill. On a good day you can see the hills of Ben Nevis, Grey Corries, Glencoe and Ben Alder as well as the finest view of Rannoch Moor. 

Sunday, 9 October 2011


The rain has been steadily falling for over 24 hours in Lochaber  but with an optimistic weather forecast of a drier afternoon today we set off for Ledge Route and The CMD arete on The Ben. I was joined by Mike & Joanas  who had been waiting for the best day this weekend to have some excitement on The Ben. The cloud was down to 600m most of the day and the Allt a' Mhuillin was looking amazing  on our walk in, with a vast volume of white water.  The usual crossing point to the CIC Hut was well in spate  and for the first time I had to go upstream for a safe crossing. We saw only two folk outside the hut and no one else until the summit of The Ben. The guys were still game for the arete despite the steady light  rain and no views. Ledge Route was well sheltered from the Westerly winds but the arete was getting buffeted in the 40mph winds, all good fun to spice up the day. Only when we were well down off Carn Mor Dearg did the rain finally ease off and the lads finished off their wee flask of Caol Isla single malt, well deserved. A distinct lack of photos today, must have been poor weather then?

Friday, 7 October 2011


Yesterday's colder weather had dumped a covering of snow down to around 1000m  on the hills of Lochaber. Keen to see exactly how much of the white stuff is around I headed up into No.4 Gully on The Ben this morning. It was lovely and quiet all day, the only living beings I saw were an high altitude mountain hare at 1000m below me in the gully and a wonderful stag and his harem roaring away, just down from the CIC Hut. It would have been much nicer if there were a few more cm of snow in the gully, the last 30m was grotty, but then it is only the first week in October! I could hear a few folk out on Tower Ridge enjoying the dry, yes DRY day and not a whisper of a wind, well  I was probably well sheltered. Unfortunately it is all short lived, much warmer tomorrow and more rain, so I guess it'll all be washed away. 

Thursday, 6 October 2011


It's been another very poor week with many days  of rain and  strong winds. Been pedalling about on the bike most days. But there's hope, looking outside my window this morning and for a few minutes Sgurr a' Mhaim peeped out of the clouds with snow down to 900m. The strong NW winds today are bringing much colder air. Tomorrow looks like the driest day of this week and even a bit of sun is forecast. The first winter day this season? Watch this space!

Sunday, 2 October 2011


I was out today with snow patch experts Iain & Mark who have many years of studying  snow patches that remain through out the year on the Scottish  mountains. So today we headed over to the Cairngorms in search of the remaining patch in Garbh Corrie Mor on Breariach. I've been up Braeriach many times but the route today via Glen Einich and then up the long featureless ground to East of Loch Loch Einich was a first for me. We cycled up the glen to make it more fun and faster. Unfortunately the forecast of a mostly dry day didn't happen, we had light rain for much of the time, coupled with very low cloud in the morning. To get to the snow patch requires a steep descent into the corrie from the plateau. The remaining snow patch this year is down to around 5m x 6m square. It's survival this year is all weather dependant and so with the cold spell forecast at the end of the week then it still as a chance! We descended the plateau and back to the bikes just as the rain stopped and then we had the return bike ride down in lovely sunny weather and DRY! well apart from the fun river crossings across the track. Fun and interesting day out.