Autumn Days Out

Over the past few weeks I have been enjoying climbing, scrambling and walking in Scotland and the Lake District.

I have visited Kirrie Hill with Gordon and Greg sports climbing. This crag is an excellent choice at this time of year as it is very sheltered and catches the sun.

With Colin, Chris and Paul I visited the Lake District. We had a good couple of days scrambling in Sourmilk Ghyll and bouldering at St.Bees. The great advantage of visiting the Lake District at this time of year is that it is very quiet. We were the only climbers at St.Bees.

Bouldering at St.Bees

Bouldering at St.Bees

Northern Lights and Classic Mountaineering

Andrew flew up on Wednesday and I picked him up from EICA Ratho, where he’d visited Alan Lockhart who’s working with him to solve some long term injuries. We then headed North with the aim of four days of mountaineering/climbing. Andrew is planning some long term goals in the Greater Ranges and the idea was to improve Andrew’s efficiency of movement on alpine terrain, look at some specific skills and also have a good time ticking some Scottish classics without aggravating any injuries. As we drove North we were lucky enough to get a great view of the Northern Lights along Glen Dochart and North of Crianlarich. On Thursday we climbed North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor and descended Curved Ridge taking in Crowberry Tower. We had sunshine at times and the rock was surprisingly dry with most of Rannoch Wall looking dry enough for climbing.

Andrew exiting one of the chimneys on North Buttress.

Andrew exiting one of the chimneys on North Buttress.

We then headed up to Skye as Andrew had never been in the Black Cuillin and was keen to get a feel for the ridge. The weather on Friday was unfortunately worse than earlier forecasts, so Andrew didn’t get much chance to see the hills. However, we ascended Sgurr Dearg via Coire na Banaichdaich and it’s North-West Flank; climbed the Inaccessible Pinnacle by it’s East Ridge and descended the South-East Flank of Sgurr Dearg to the An Stac Screes. Having been in constant steady rain and cloud for most of the day we then decided to bail down the screes and out via Coire Lagan.

Approaching the top of the Inn Pinn in the rain and cloud.

Approaching the top of the Inn Pinn in the rain and cloud.

With the forecast not looking great on Skye for Saturday we had an early start and made for the Cairngorms. Here we walked in to Coire an t-Sneachda. After a pleasant chat with Glenn and Euan who were headed for Hell’s Lum Crag we climbed Pygmy Ridge. We approached this via the line of Central Gully Left Hand and it’s worth noting that there a couple of sizable perched blocks in this area at the moment. Once on the plateau we headed down Coire Domhain and around to Stag Rocks where we climbed Afterthought Arete, sticking to the ridge as much as possible to maximise the climbing.

Andrew on Afterthought Arete.

Andrew on Afterthought Arete.

We had accommodation booked over in the West for Saturday night and needed a shortish day to allow for flights on Sunday, so the final day saw us back in Glen Coe. We climbed Barn Wall Route on the East Face of Aonach Dubh, this requires a steady approach as although there are excellent positive holds throughout there isn’t a lot in the way of gear. We then headed around under Stob Coire nan Lochan, so Andrew could get a look at this as a potential future winter venue, before heading out along Gearr Aonach and descending The Zig-Zags.

Andrew tired, but smiling, at the bottom of the Zig Zags on the last day.

Andrew tired, but smiling, at the bottom of the Zig Zags on the last day.

Four days of Classic Mountaineering in mostly very good weather for the time of year with the exception of Friday. If you’re heading out it’s worth knowing that we haven’t had a proper frost yet and hence the midges are still around and biting, thankfully for me they seemed to prefer Andrew.

Windgather Rocks with Family and Friends

I am just back from an excellent weekend climbing at Wingather Rocks with family and friends.

This gritsone venue which is in Cheshire is perfect for novices and those learning to lead climb as well as intermediate climbers.

We had a brilliant time. Thanks to Tina and Scott for hosting.

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Beinn na Lap

Yesterday saw Ivor, Nettle and I up early to catch the train from Crianlarich to the Corrour Halt on the West Highland line. We were on a fairly tight schedule to walk up Beinn na Lap and be back down for the 12:30 train, so climbed the hill by the easiest line and returned by the same route.

Loch Ossian from the slopes of Beinn na Lap.

Loch Ossian from the slopes of Beinn na Lap.

The tracks from the station to the Loch Ossian Youth Hostel and the base of Beinn na Lap have been improved fairly recently and make for easy going. The path up the South face of the hill was dry following the recent good weather, but could be very boggy after rain.

Nettle and Ivor at the summit of Beinn na Lap.

Nettle and Ivor at the summit of Beinn na Lap.

Unfortunately, there was cloud above 800m, so we didn’t get the excellent views from the summit. However, we were up and down in time to beat the heavy rain and to get coffee and a scone at the station before catching the train home.

Beinn Narnain and A’Chrois

I was out today in the Arrochar Alps with a Falkirk Community Trust High Tops Team of Billy, Claire and Imran. Starting from Succoth in fog we climbed up Beinn Narnain and through the cloud in to sunshine and a beautiful cloud inversion, which lasted most of the day.

Ben Lomond above a sea of cloud.

Ben Lomond above a sea of cloud.

After the steep ascent of Beinn Narnain we headed out over Creag Tharsuinn and up to the top of A’Chrois. We descended the South ridge of A’Chrois, which is rough and pathless in places before returning to Succoth.

Billy and Imran on Beinn Narnain with the Luss Hills behind.

Billy and Imran on Beinn Narnain with the Luss Hills behind.

Once above the clouds we were in glorious sunshine all day with only the odd light breeze. Suncream, sunhats, shades and plenty of liquid was the order of the day.

Imran, Claire and Billy on the summit of A'Chrois with Beinn Narnain behind.

Imran, Claire and Billy on the summit of A’Chrois with Beinn Narnain behind.