Monday, 28 April 2014


The two tops and north  ridge of Ben Starav
Ian enjoying the scrambling
Glide cracks getting bigger
Golden sun & Golden Eagle at our coffee break
 Beinn Trilleachan & Loch Etivefrom the summit
Ian on the fine ridge between the two tops of Ben Starav
Sadly the ridge is all too short and comes to an end
Guess the mountain
Ian and I had a superb day out on the wonderful Munro of Ben Starav today. With the warmest, sunniest place in the UK being over on the west coast we decided heading over to the Glen Etive area. Bypassing the honey pots of Glencoe we continued through the beautiful  Glen Etive. Ben Starav's is a huge bulk of a mountain with many fine corries and ridges. We started up the north ridge at a leisurely 11.15am. It was very hot in the glen and up to around 600m before we had the benefit of a lovely cooling breeze. Just as we sat down for lunch a Golden Eagle came soaring up and above us from the NE corrie below our picnic site, wonderful! The views were a bit hazy on the summit but hey, how can you complain on a day like this? The finest part of the day is the traverse across the narrow, rocky ridge to the eastern top giving some easy scrambling. The day was still young (for April) and Ian fancied bagging another new Munro to his list so we continued over to Glas Bheinn Mhor. Just before crossing the Etive River back to the car we spotted a Barn Owl but after fumbling for our cameras he/she was away. Fantastic day.

Saturday, 26 April 2014


The guys were up for another couple of Munros  but with  a forecast of cloud/rain we weren't hopeful in the prospect of any views on the tops today. Our plan was for the two Glen Feshie Munros of Sgurr Gaoithe and Mullach Clach a' Bhlair. It started off with low cloud and some light spots of drizzle but by mid morning as we headed up the final ridge the clouds were lifting and the sun came out. It was completely clear on the tops and we had sunshine most of the day. A strong wind but with magnificent views along the high, featureless plateau between the two hills. A grand two days with a great bunch of guys and good banter all the way.

Friday, 25 April 2014


Return clients Patrick, Lee, Hamish, Neil, James, Phil, Jon & Nick are out again with me for two days of hill fun. The guys enjoyed winter conditions exactly the same weekend last year and were keen on an overnight snow hole this time round. Well that was an exceptional year and it is actually Spring now! So our fist day we headed further west in the hope of some brighter conditions and went up Creag Meagaidh. Good visibility in the morning but as the day went on the cloud descended to below 800m. Some careful navigating still required on Meagaidh's plateau with large areas of snow still hanging on. The guys were keen for more so we continued over the Munro's of Stob Poite Coire Ardai & Carn Liath. No rain and not a soul seen all day. All great banter as always.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


Loch an  t-Seilich
Gaick Lodge & Sron Bhuirich
Wonderful single track alongside Loch an Duin
Lots of Lapwing's around
Leaving civilisation
Some sun
Lots of these too, racing along with the bike and still thinking it's winter!
The Gaick Pass is one of those wonderful and remote routes in The Cairngorm area, known as 'The Mounth Roads'. I had a great bike ride from Aviemore through to Dalwhinie by way of the Gaick ( Gaig) Pass. After a warm up on the may excellent trails between Feshie Bridge and the start of Glen Trommie the scenery becomes more and more impressive with the hills becoming much steeper either side of this glen., indeed there are always avalanches through here during the winter months, despite the relatively low altitudes of the hills. No mobile phone signals here, you're on your own in more ways than one! Plenty of wildlife but not a soul seen all day. The route comes out onto the A9 at Dalnacardoch so it was another hour or so up to Dalwhinie to catch the train back to Aviemore, an excellent 85km route

Monday, 21 April 2014


Another glorious day in The Cairngorms with hot sun, blue skies and a lovely cooling breeze. Great conditions for biking above Badaguish where there are some lovely single track routes in the pines, nice to see someone as been in there to trim back the bigger branches that were obscuring the trail. A fabulous Easter period with wall to wall sunshine every day.

Sunday, 20 April 2014


Approaching Ben Macdui
Cairn Toul standing proud
Cairn Toul & Sgurr an Lochain Uaine
Coire Brochain, Braeriach
Bod an Deamhain (The Devils Point from Carn a' Mhaim)
The fine ridge on Carn a Mhaim with fine views of Braeriach & Macdui
Cairn Toul
Cairn Toul, Sgurr an Lochan Uaine  & Braeriach from Ben Macdui
The Highlands have enjoyed crystal blue skies from dawn to dusk all through this Easter weekend. Karen and I had a wonderful day on Ben Macdui & Carn a' Mhaim. Carn a' Mhaim is usually ascended from the Lin of Dee side of The Cairngorms but we don't do easy and heading to the summit from the north side of the Cairngorms makes for a much longer day. Whichever way you try to tackle this lovely hill it will be a long day. With the superb conditions and long daylight hours then why not? Our chosen route went over Ben Macdui first before the massive 500m descent to get onto the wonderful north ridge of Carn a' Mhaim. This mountain is quite unique for The Cairngorm area being a long narrow ridge. All the way along there are fine views of the Cairn Toul-Braeriach mountains. It was base layer & sunnies all day today with just a gentle breeze to stop us from getting too warm. We headed back along The Lairig Ghtru arriving at Coylumbridge just before dark and rounded off the epic 12 hour day by walking back to the house, perfect. Same weather for Easter Monday :)

Friday, 18 April 2014


A stunning day in The Highlands and especially in The Cairngorms with wall to wall blue skies and sun from dawn to dusk. It had been below freezing at all levels overnight so any snow was completely frozen this morning. There are still large areas of snow especially on north and east facing slopes and on high plateaux. I have usually traversed the Braeriach to Cairn Toul plateau several times in the winter but this winter's constant gales meant I never had the chance. Today the UK's finest, highest walk was shear delight. Superb visibility in all directions and Ben Nevis very clear and with only a slight breeze I was down to just a base layer most of the day. By mid day all the snow cover was quite soft but a pair of crampons was useful earlier in the day, something to be aware of this time of year. My rucksack is till looking like a winter pack! Looks like the Highlands is going to fair best with fab weather this Easter holiday period.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


Last day for me working with Dof E groups in Yorkshire Dales. It was a glorious summer like day with wall to wall blue skies and a light breeze. The boys chose a route traversing over the summit of Ingleborough and down to Ingleton. This week I have been working for Home tomorrow.