Monday, 28 October 2013


There were some breaks in the cloud and even a bit of sun now and again. The Cairngorms were very quiet today.

Sunday, 27 October 2013


Another morning of nice sunny spells in The Cairngorms, the rain not setting in until mid afternoon. I had a great morning heading up to Bynack Mor on the excellent path. I got up to the plateau area at 800m and was contemplating carrying on down to The Fords Of Avon but it was looking a bit darker on this side of The Cairngorms. So it was a great ride back down, mastering some technical terrain with the numerous steps and drainage gullies on the path. Finished off the day going over the Ryvoan Pass down to Nethy Bridge and then The Speyside Way back home.

Saturday, 26 October 2013


The weather this morning was much, much better than what was forecast, in fact it was a lovely morning to be out on the hills. Karen and I had a quick blast up to Cairn Gorm and enjoyed lovely views with fantastic autumn colours, plenty of sunshine and light winds. Nice colours too down the Allt Mor and back to Glenmore. I forgot to take the camera. There would have been some nice photos today!

Thursday, 24 October 2013


Looking across to Ben Macdui from Braeraich plateau
Garbh Coire Mor looking wintery
Lairig Ghru
Glen Einich & Sgor Gaoithe
Wintery on the hills of The Cairngorms with a light dusting of snow above about 1000m. There wasn't a great deal of clear weather on Braeriach today, after promising blue skies over Aviemore and a reasonable weather forecast. There was light rain on the bike in to Loch Einich and not for the first time this week, the tops were clagged in. A cold wind on the tops and the snow made it look and feel like a definite step toward the winter season. Next few days look quite wild and wet!

Monday, 21 October 2013


A clear summit on Beinn Teallach
Beinn a' Chaorainn from Beinn Teallach
Looking north from Beinn Teallach
Kath & Louis on Beinn Teallach, the only summit we had a view from!
For Kath's & Louis's final day on their Munro long weekend we headed south and west to the two Munros of Beinn a' Chaorainn & Beinn Teallach. With the weather forecast looking good we headed round to the east side of Beinn a' Chaorainn and planned a more exciting route to this summit via the lovely scramble on the East ridge. Just when the clouds looked like breaking up they rolled in again and we were once again engulfed in cloud which was claggy and moist. Such a shame, so we headed up the other steep ridge which finishes on the south summit. No views again but as we worked our way over to Beinn Teallach we got our break and the clouds lifted. A sunny summit at last! Well done to Kath & Louis with a tally of 8 more Munros taking Kath up to 139. They're back with me next May for more Munro fun!

Sunday, 20 October 2013


Comfy seats on the summit of Sgairneach Mhor

Another day of low cloud and moist air. Kath and Louis weren't going to let the weather get in the way of bagging another clutch of Munros, we romped round four of them today. The summits of  Geal charn, A' Mharconaich, Beinn Udlamain and Sgairneach Mhor lie to the west of the Drumcochter Pass and can easily be walked in a day. There are some cracking views over to the Ben Alder area from these hills, but not today unfortunately. We only saw one other person on the hill today so at least we had the hills to ourselves!  Will we get a view and sun tomorrow? Well looking better according to the forecasts, we'll see!

Saturday, 19 October 2013


Kath & Louis on A' Bhuidheanach Bheag
2nd Munro, Carn na Caim, conditions the same!
A bit drier on the descent
The new power pylons and access road in Dromochter
Return clients Kath and Louis are back with me for a third time for more Munro fun. Kath is nearing her half way mark on the Munro list and today we headed for the two hills to the west of Drumochter, A' Bhuidheanach Bheag & Carn na Caim. The cloud was well down this morning and stayed there all day, with some claggy and moist conditions once in it. Some light rain by mid day so a nice soaking. These hills offer some challenging navigation, despite the many stalkers and estate 4wd tracks that get high onto the featureless plateau. So it was map and compass for me for much of the day. The ugly and devastating new power pylons and access tracks are now well under construction between the A9 and base of these hills. Recommendations from many bodies of burying power lines for much of the route fell on deaf ears, is this the future of an independent Scotland? Looking like a drier and brighter day tomorrow for us.

Friday, 18 October 2013


We were lucky to escape with a dry day on Ben Nevis today. I was guiding 7 folk from the London area as part of their 3 Peaks Challenge event. They chose the far more sensible and pleasurable way of going about this by doing the mountains over 3 days rather than the manic approach of a 24 hour challenge. It was a blustery day but we had decent views with cloud base at 1000m. Chilly and damp on the summit but it was nice and clean after the fantastic efforts of all the volunteers who cleaned all the litter off the Ben last weekend, well done.
Looking like we are going to get a soaking tomorrow, out guiding over Dromochter hills.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013


Over in the west for a few days work on Ben Nevis this week. Today was a stunningly beautiful day. Sunshine, a gentle breeze, fab autumn light. Howard was out with me on his 70th birthday, I had guided him to the summit of the Ben 5 years ago on his 65th birthday. We had gone via the Pony Track that day. So for his 70th he deserved something more spectacular. I talked him into Ledge Route and he was fired up for it. We had the whole route to ourselves and enjoyed the fine weather. The stags were roaring in The Ciste Corrie as we headed up tbe best scramble of its grade on The Ben. Howard loved it. We descended in the fading light and full moon. A birthday present Howard will remember for a long time. Where do I take him on his 75th?

Sunday, 13 October 2013


Top of Castlegates Gully & Loch Avon
Top of Pinnacle Gully, Shelter Stone Crag and Loch Avon
Top of Hell's Lum
Coire an Lochain
Coire an Lochain
What a superb couple of days in The Cairngorms. The recent colder weather had put down a fair few cm's of snow and on Friday the hills were bathed in beautiful sunshine, in fact it was virtually blue skies for two days. It wasn't just 'cosmetic' as the amount of rime ice all over the crags and on the plateau was amazing. Snow down to 850m on the central plateau.
Karen on Beinn a' Chaorainn

Sunset over Meall a Buachaille
The Barns of Bynack
On Saturday Karen and I had a big day out on Beinn a' Chaorainn. Most folk would head up this Munro from Derry Lodge but we fancied doing it the long way and started form Glenmore and the excellent path to the Fords of Avon refuge then the easy stroll to the summit. A good 11 hour day in wall to wall sunshine finishing in a beautiful sunset. Some of the snow had slowly melted off the lower slopes, well it is only mid October after all.

Friday, 11 October 2013


Beautiful day and the first real snowcover this winter. Ankle deep snow and rime ice above 850m in The Cairngorms today. Wall to wall blue skies. Hardly a breeze. Superb.

Sunday, 6 October 2013


It was a lovely sunny day in The Cairngorms. I had 4 members of The Highland Hillwalking Club from Inverness out with me today. They were looking for some advanced navigation. We covered lots of micro navigation and much pacing & timing. A bit of cloud would have been welcomed! The high winds decreased as the afternoon wore on.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


Another very windy day on the mountains with the same weather pattern of blue skies over Aviemore and a big cloud cap on The Cairngorms. Lurcher's Crag or to give it's correct name Creag an Leth-Choinn is quite often free of any cloud when the rest of the main Cairngorm plateau is shrouded. With it being just that bit lower in altitude it was also quite pleasant today and only some buffeting in the very strong SW's. Quite a wind chill earlier in the morning. To make a longer day of it it's nice to descend down into the Lairig Ghru and this afternoon it was beautifully warm in the glens and amongst the shelter of the pines. Very dry underfoot for quite a while now, but looks like things will change next few days!