Thursday, 28 June 2012


Tomorrow I'm away working over in The Alps for a wee while. I'm guiding on  two Tour de Mont Blanc's, the popular trekking tour round the highest peak in Western Europe. I'm home again 21st July but may have chance between trips to put some pretty Alpine views on here. Hope the summer comes along again in The Highlands.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Dwarf Cornell

It was a beautiful sunny and very warm morning in Lochaber. I made the most of the sun before the cloud increased and band of rain moved in by heading up the fab East ridge of Carn Dearg Mheadonach. This great wee scramble is a favourite of mine, a feeling of remoteness. The ground over fro the Allt a' Mhuillin to the Allt Daim is still very dry and a pleasure, especially with so many flowers out just now, including Dwarf Cornell. I made fast progress despite the usual hanging around taking in the views and photo opportunities. Then suddenly on the summit and grand views of Te Ben's north face in glorious sunshine. There was a lovely stiff breeze today to keep cool and keep the midges at bay. A stroll back down to the NF carpark and back to my bike in 5 hrs. Trying to get photos up but my pc is being very difficult with me! Photos soon.

Monday, 25 June 2012


The team, at the start. This was the driest period of the whole 24 hrs!
Still smiling on The Ben's plateau
vis down to not a lot on the summit
Snowdon's summit and final peak
It was a rather wet affair over the weekend in most parts of the country. This was  my fourth guided trip of The 3 Peaks Challenge this season. We set off up The Ben in very low cloud and drizzly conditions and it remained like that right through the day. My group this weekend were all work colleagues, 8 ladies and 1 guy. I was working for Achieve Mountains again, this weekend Achieve had several groups out on the challenge.  After our soaking we headed down to the Lakes and Wastwater had burst it's banks, flooding the road so a no go for the minibus. We headed down to Snowdonia and greated with pretty much the same conditions as The Ben, low cloud and drizzle/light rain. The  group did well keeping their spirits up in the poor conditions. The hardest part of these events is the grim conditions of trying to dry gear in a mini bus, a non event really. So as I always advocate, 3 sets of everything and that includes boots! It was upsetting to see so much litter on The Ben this weekend. Who are these thoughtless, disgusting animals littering the mountain? A big thanks must go to all the guys who were picking up all the lout's litter after they had 'done their thing' on the hill. In sharp contrast it as been a beautiful afternoon back here in Lochaber. The warmth and sunshine has returned.

Thursday, 21 June 2012


Sunrise over Carn Dearg Buttress
Ciste Corrie
Ledge Route

CMD & NE Buttress
I had planned on a bivvy over the shortest night of the year but unfortunately there was cloud last night and I'm getting too picky and used to glorious weather recently! So instead I set off at around 1am to see the sunrise instead. It was a warm night and despite the high level cloud cover there was no need for a head torch at all. I saw no one heading up to the CIC Hut which was surprising-does no one celebrate the Summer Solstice any longer? I caught the best of the sunrise half way up Ledge Route but it was only short lived, too much cloud. Still a lovely morning to be out. The Pony Track down was deserted and so a very quiet day on The Ben. So the days are now getting shorter, not far off till winter :)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


Mini cruise to Rum, glorious weather
Skye from Halival
Mountain Avens
Tralval from Askival

High altitude goat on Hallival
Just hanging in the sun

Deserted beach at Kilmory, Skye beyond
Kilmory red deer
Dolphins guiding us home
Dolphins wanting more play
Another fine spell of weather on the west coast once more. With just a couple of days for some mountains and sea we headed over to the magical Isle of Rum. The journey starts with a fabulous road or train journey to Mallaig via the 'Road to The Isles' and Tuesday morning was a cracker, clear blue skies on the hour long journey passing outstanding mountain scenery to catch the Cal Mac ferry. The two and a half hour sailing over to Rum is like a mini cruise, stopping off at the Isle of Eigg before continuing to Rum. We stayed just the one night at the quirky and wonderful Kinloch Castle, dumping our overnight gear there before heading straight up onto the Rum Cuillin by early afternoon. This time of year the daylight hours are so long that start times can be whenever you wish! The mountains on Rum are of similar geology to the more famous Skye Cuillin, being like a miniature mountain range and with only easy scrambling in places. We wandered and scrambled  up Hallival and Askival and soon had fabulous 360 degree mountain and sea views. We saw no one all day as we enjoyed the warmth of the sun and dry conditions underfoot. There are Manx Shearwater burrow nests on all of the hills here and these lovely sea birds are usually out at sea feeding all day and return to the nests in the evening. After lingering on the final and highest mountain on the island, Askival, we made the long journey back to Kinloch via the coastal path that runs from Dibidil Bothy. With late evening approaching it was a beautiful walk back with constant views of the mainland mountains of Knoydart and Torridon in the distance. We crammed in another day before heading back home on Wednesday, a low level walk to the delightful beach at Kilmory. Along the way there are many wildlife opportunities including many red deer in the area. The easy track leads to a small beach with great views over to Skye. Again we had fab sunny skies and with temperatures warmer than yesterday. Sadly we had to get back to catch the 3.30pm wee ferry back to the mainland. We booked onto the Sheerwater ferry which runs marine watching trips from Arisaig and to round off our trip we had the luck of having many dolphins, whales and Manx Sheerwater's escorting us back to land. Our trip was only two days but Rum and Eigg have so many wonders that a longer spell will always beckon, but there is always another time.....

Saturday, 16 June 2012


The lads outside the CIC hut with Carn Dearg Buttress
The fun begins
The delights of Ledge Route 
Happy scrambling on Ledge Route
Bit damp and cloudy, but atmospheric along the arete
Sadly no NF views from the CMD arete today
Simon L, Simon O, Steve,Nigel and Mark were out with me today for an adventurous day on Ben Nevis. We wandered up to the CIC Hut and relied on the weather forecast of an improving weather picture for the afternoon, it turned out the weather forecast wasn't what we got. Anyway, the guys were up for Ledge Route after I enthused how wonderful it is. The light rain/drizzle didn't dampen their spirits and the cloud base was quite high. We had the whole corrie and route to ourselves, it seemed. The guys made great progress and were up at the top in no time. After a short mingle on the Pony Track to the summit we disappeared into the cloud  and peace again for our trip back down via the CMD arete. The rain had increased and the cloud base had dropped by this time so no views of the North face sadly. Well done guys in getting tow great routes on The Ben in 9 hours.

Friday, 15 June 2012


Still smiling at the summit in winter conditions
Mars Bars - sponsers of 3 Peaks Challenge  events
Free advertising is best!

It was a very  wild and wintry time on the higher tops today. With a 40 mph Easterly wind and snow falling above 950m on Ben Nevis we were once again fooled by the regular heatwaves we've been enjoying recently. Today I was guiding a group on the Ben Nevis leg of their 3 Peaks Challenge event. We set off just as the rain came on and it rained/snowed for virtually the whole day. One of those gear testing days again. Good points for all the unseasonable weather was the quietness of the hill, having said that there was a good assortment of  'alternative' mountain clothing on show by some hardy folk today.

Thursday, 14 June 2012


It was yet another beautiful sunny morning in Lochaber, much like it's been for quite a while now. Today I was guiding a big group of 11 folk from The Netherlands, assisted by Richard. They are are on a 2 week tour of The Highlands and Ben Nevis was the highlight of their trip. There was a lovely cooling breeze today which kept the midge at bay. By mid afternoon some cloud did bubble up and it was quite chilly on the summit. We finished late in the day in glorious blue skies and warm evening sunshine.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


A last look at the weather forecast this morning was indicating the best of any sun was toward the NW coast and Skye. Laurence fancied another scramble in wonderful surroundings so a trip up The Forcan Ridge onto The Saddle was appealing. It's been a while since I have been along this wonderful easy scramble onto the Munro summit of The Saddle. There is a fab stalkers path running from the roadside right to the foot of the scrambling. The sun came out in places and it was so nice to be amongst beautiful ridges and many Munros with warm sunshine and dry rock. It was quite busy considering it's a weekday but we were alone enjoying the splendour of the route in relative peace and finishing at the Saddle summit to ourselves. Laurence fancied another hill so we headed over to the 2nd Munro today of Sgurr a Sgine and finishing our circuit today by descending over the delightful ridge of Foachaig. The obligatory stop at The Cluanie Inn on the way home for refreshment to end a fab day.

Sunday, 10 June 2012


Snow, I mean No views today
The remaining snow patch below the  bealach of Beag & Mor
Strolling to the summit of Aonach Mor
What a contrast in weather conditions today for Kath on her final day of Munro bagging. There was cloud down to car park level as we set off for Aonach Beag and Aonach Mor from Glen Nevis. We had drizzle then rain all day and the usual pesky midges lower down with absolutely no breeze, nice! Such a shame as this traverse is full of wonderful views but Kath was happy having two fantastic days to make up for the lack of views today. Bonus points were that we saw no one all day until last few metres down to the Nevis Range Gondola when a couple of runners passed us by. Then out of the cloud we heard the horns and cowbells from the Mountain Bike Championships which has been on all weekend. Still nice to have a ride down in the gondola and a free bus ride back to The Fort, there are some free things in The Highlands still :). Well done to Kath these last 3 days, 7 Big Munro's. Let's hope I can still get up them all when I reach that certain age!