Monday, 29 September 2014


Fiacaill Ridge bathed in sun
The steepest section along the Fiacaill Ridge
Afternoon tea stop at Stag Rocks
Loch Avon bathed in glorious sunshine
Coire an t-sneachda

It was a glorious Autumn afternoon after some early morning cloud. Warm sun and beautiful colours. Not a single person seen from leaving the Cairngorm Mountain car park until returning again. Still snow patches left in Coire Domhain and to the north of the Garbh Uisge Mor.

Saturday, 27 September 2014


Family group Lianne,Scott & Harry wanted a day on Ben Nevis but a more interesting route then 'just getting to the top'. Ledge Route is a fabulous way up and an easy but exciting scramble with wonderful north face views. We saw no one all the way up to the CIC and  after chatting to one guy staying at the hut we saw no one all the way up the scramble. With a forecast of cloud, rain and strong SW winds we got some great views and it was virtually dry all day. Apart from the spectacular situation all the way up to the plateau we were sheltered from any wind. They all loved the route up, but we had to mingle with the masses on the way down, still busy with various charity and 3 peak challenge groups. We had peace and solitude again from Lochan Meall an t suidhe all the way back to the NF carpark. The new path from the top carpark is wonderful, it is less steep than the original and also lovely walking through birch. A great day out.

Friday, 26 September 2014


Newly weds Lauren & Michael from Colorado were looking for a shortish hill day and some nice Highland scenery from their honeymoon base of Troon today. Ben Vrackie in Perthshire fitted the bill. It was a lovely sunny day  with a stiff breeze. We were up and down quickly and had time for the obligatory pint in The Moulin Hotel at the bottom of the hill. Over on Ben Nevis tomorrow.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014


Cairn Toul & Sgor an Lochain Uaine
Beautiful late afternoon light on Braeriach and Garbh Coire Mor
Garbh Coire, Lairig Ghru, Cairn Toul & Sgor an Lochain Uaine
Ben Macdui from Braeriach
Carn a Mhaim & Lairig Ghru
Ptarmigan starting to change plumage
Ben Macdui from the summit of Braeriach
The weather forecast was looking good with 'mostly dry and some sunshine'. Trudging up The Lairig Ghru all morning in low cloud and rain didn't seem to correspond! I had a vision of scrambling up the wonderful and remote Angels Ridge on Sgor an Lochain Uaine (Angels Peak) in lovely warm sun and great views. Lunchtime I was sat below the start of the ridge in wind, rain and no views. So headed up the rather bouldery ridge from Lochain Uaine to the top of Cairn Toul. I've only ever been up this ridge under snow conditions and its not a great route up in summer but guaranteed to be quiet! Perseverance and the log walk up payd off as the clouds lifted and parted, the rain ceased and it was a glorious late afternoon stroll across the Cairn Toul - Braeriach plateau. Beautiful Autumn light and it was all worth while.

Monday, 22 September 2014


A fine spell of weather over the weekend and into today, poor quality of air and quite hazy for photography but lovely warm sunshine. The Fiacaill ridge in The Cairngorms was completely deserted today, only saw a couple of folk all day, despite the Coire Cas carpark being half full by mid afternoon. Must be that train up there?

Saturday, 20 September 2014


Ryvoan Pass
Nice light
A young Common Hawker
Don't want to eat this one
My long season in The Alps came to an end and a very enjoyable summer it was, despite some mixed weather. All made up for it by the last two weeks or so were we eventually enjoyed some beautiful late summer. Nice to be home and a nice bike ride over Ryvoan Pass. Signs of Autumn but still some lovely sunny summer weather.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


The Breithorn
Some cloud bubbling to the south
.....but fine, clear views across the entire Monte Rosa group
Summit smiles, the Matterhorn just peeping out of the cloud
A rare quiet summit, all to ourselves
Looking down to our ascent route
The Breithorn's several summits and Castor on the far the right
Another glorious day and we had a fabulous time up on The Breithorn in the Monte Rosa group. 4 hours up and down and beautiful views from the summit. The cloud bubbled up in the south but we got terrific views from the summit. I must be getting soft, last time I went up here I walked all the way back down to Zermatt- over 2500m of descent! The Breithorn is classed as the 'easiest' of the 4000m peaks in The Alps by virtue of its uncomplicated slopes and you can start at over 3800m from the Klein Matterhorn gondola station. Having said that it shouldn't be something taken lightly. There is still the altitude and weather conditions to consider, a quick browse around the cemetery in Zermatt and you'll find one or two headstones with climbers coming to grief on this mountain! A wonderful week in the area, we also did some easier half day walks and our final day saw the only bad day of the week, it was cloudy and some light rain/snow. We had a walk up to the Schonbiel Hutte which lies below the impressive north face of The Matterhorn and surrounded by glaciers and other lofty 4000m summits but not much in the way of views.

Sunday, 14 September 2014


I've never seen a box of chocoltaes with this on!
The locals beneath the Breithorn
Dufourspitze & the Gorner Gletcher
The Weisshorn from Riffelberg
There are many cablecars, trams and railways to whisk you up high above Zermatt for some breath taking views into the glacial world, or you can of course walk! The Gornergrat railway takes you to over 3000m for one of the grandest views of the Monte Rosa group. If you choose to walk there is a fantastic high level promenade to stroll above the Gorner Glacier for terrific non stop views and photo opportunities on every bend. Below is Riffelalp and two gorgeous wee lakes with those famous post card views of The Matterhorn. The sun was shining and the skies were completely clear again today, temperatures even warmer. It was roasting back in Zermatt even at 5pm.

Saturday, 13 September 2014


No caption needed!
The fabulous last bit of ridge to the summit of the Oberrothorn
Zinalrothorn & Weisshorn from the summit
Rimpfisch-horn from the summit
The views are just as great on the descent!

Fine views over to Monte Rosa & Liskamm on the descent
A week over in Zermatt to finish off a fine summer season in The Alps. Probably the most visited town in The Alps, famous for that remarkable mountain The Matterhorn. One of the most iconic mountains in the world and it can be seen from virtually any point in the town even if you don't want to go for a walk, including just sitting at a restaurant or your hotel! I've visited the valley and area many, many times over the last 20 years and never tire of the wonderful walking direct from the town which seems to get bigger and bigger on every visit. We kicked off in fine style on the Oberrothorn at 3414m which lies on the east side of the  Mattertal, giving fantastic views of some of the big 4000m peaks in the region. The weather was absolutely stunning, completely clear skies and a beautiful temperature.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


Last day of this, my final TMB for 2014. After 6 circuits this summer this last 9 days have seen the finest weather conditions all summer. We've enjoyed warm sun every day and the group have been treated to some of the most beautiful Alpine scenery you could ever wish for. The last day of the trip saw us over the Col de Balme and back into the Chamonix valley. Well done to the group who were up for all the big alternative routes at every opportunity.
TMB season finished but over in Zermatt tomorrow for more Alpine splendor.