Bennybeg and Kirkton Gorge

The last couple of days I’ve been working with Falkirk Community Trust providing an activity week for The Antonine Primary School Bonnybridge. On Tuesday I was with a group climbing and abseiling at Bennybeg. Today Craig and I were with a different group gorge walking in the Kirkton Gorge near Balquhidder.

Craig demonstrating one of the jumps in the Kirkton Gorge.

Both days have been dry with broken sunshine and the crags were nice and dry.

Ski Touring in the Troll Peninsula (Iceland)

I am just back from ski touring in the Troll Peninsula with Scott and Tina. We had an amazing time skiing great snow in remote valleys and on coastal peaks followed by a super friendly experience in the café at Dalvik on our return each day.

I would highly recommend Iceland for those who want to ski tour late April and May in a magical place where solitude can easily be found.

Could Inversion on the Troll Peninsula.

Navigation Course The Pentlands

Glorious weather in The Pentlands today for delivering a City of Edinburgh Council Adult Education Navigation Course. Navigation progressed through the day finishing with legs through open hill country away from paths. The ground was generally dry and there was sunshine most of the day and a light breeze.

Some of the team using maps and compasses away from paths.

Craig Varr

Pamela and I had a very pleasant day climbing at Craig Varr in Strath Tummel. The pick of the routes we climbed was Boulevard, which gives an excellent well protected pitch. It was cloudy with a cool wind and stayed dry whilst we were there.

Pamela leading Venison at Craig Varr.

Traprain Law

I was at Traprain Law in East Lothian today with a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors climbing team of Linda and Oleysa. We had a good day climbing a number of routes and avoiding the rain further West.

Me, Oleysa and Linda finishing a good day at the top of the classic Great Corner.

Glen Shiel and Skye

On Saturday I travelled up to Skye and stopped off in Glen Shiel to head up Saileag and Sgurr a’Bhealaich Dheirg. The ridges in the area are generally snow free apart from some remaining cornices lips and a few patches. South and West facing coires are mostly snow free whilst North and East facing coires still have considerable areas of old snow above about 850m.

Jonathan sneaking up the side of the snow near the top of Eag Dubh.

On Sunday I met up with Jonathan and we climbed Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh and Sgurr a’Mhadaidh. We gained the ridge of Ghreadaidh via Eag Dubh, which gave a fairly straightforward climb on old snow with the exception of a broken section near the top; this section pushed the winter grade up to around III on the day. We descended via An Dorus, which still has a significant section of snow and an ice axe will be useful here for some time.

Jonathan and me on top of Sgurr Alasdair.

On Monday we climbed Sgurr Alasdair via the Great Stone Shoot in fairly Dreich conditions.  We were hoping for snow to make this ascent more pleasant, however there are only patches left and axe/crampons aren’t required. A good couple of days despite the lack of views and wet rock on the ridge.


Pentlands and Ratho Quarry

Last week was an Edinburgh based for myself with a good variety of activities. Monday evening/night I was working with Davy delivering a navigation course for a group of Scout Leaders in the Pentland Hills, this was a very enjoyable and productive session. Thanks to Nikki for the photos.

Night navigation in The Pentlands. Photo Credit: Nikki Maclean.

Tuesday Euan, Ivor and I had a morning climbing in Ratho Quarry before the showers arrived. Wednesday and Thursday I was working for The City of Edinburgh Council supervising a DofE Bronze qualifying expedition in The Pentlands. It was a week of sunshine and showers with cool winds, which with the warmer weather over the weekend will have helped to dry out a lot of the local crags.

Ski Touring and Mountaineering in the Vanoise

Paul and I have just spent a week in the Vanoise. From Monday to Friday we were ski touring with NOCG (Naval Outdoor Centre Germany) and Infinity Mountain Guides. Some of the highlights were;

  • Rocher du Charvet (2856m) and the Palafour off piste run.
  • Ouille de la Jave (2867m) and Ouille des Tretetes (2948m).
  • Dome de Pramecou (3081m) and the Tour of the Grande Balme off piste run.
  • Ouille Noire (3357m) and the Pays Desert.
  • The Grande Motte (3423m) and the Couloir Petite Balme.

On Saturday, Paul and traversed La Tsanteleina (3601m) by climbing the North Face and descending the South Face and Glacier du Couarts Dessus. We had a great time on what was quite a physically challenging peak that before mid may (when the road opens) involves 1800 metres of ascent and a significant distance.

Lots more photos on the facebook page.

Edinburgh and the Pentlands

I’ve spent the last week delivering a DofE training and practice expedition for The City of Edinburgh Council based out of their Bangholm Outdoor Centre. Monday to Tuesday was training including a navigation day in the Dalmeny Estate and Thursday and Firday was the practice expedition in The Pentland Hills.

Sunshine and showers in The Pentlands on Thursday.

Sunshine and showers all week with fairly strong winds made for generally good drying conditions for the ground and crags.


The last couple of days I’ve been out in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh with a DofE group for The City of Edinburgh Council. The weather was excellent with sunshine and relatively low winds. There’s a good forecast for the next few days, so crags in the area will be drying out nicely.

Blue skies in the Pentlands on Friday.