Avalanche Sites and Snowy Runs in the Pentlands

Last week as well as training at home to keep climbing & hill fitness I also managed to get out with Ivor to visit a significant avalanche site in the Pentlands and with Nettle for a snowy hill run. The avalanche site was from the previous week and a good reminder that avalanches can occur in local relatively low hills.

Me at the avalanche site on the east side of Caerketton Hill. Photo credit: I. McCourt.
Ivor and me at the summit of Allermuir.
Heading across the Torduff reservoir. Photo credit: J. Foden.
Nettle on Harbour Hill.
Traversing around Harbour Hill. Photo credit: J. Foden.

Pentlands Running and Snow Wading

Nettle and I were out for a “run” in the snow in the Pentlands today. We were breaking trail for most of the way and post holing for long sections. Skis or snowshoes would have been very useful. The weather was kind with sunshine most of the time we were out and strong winds only on exposed ridges. There’s been a lot of wind movement of the snow. An avalanche was reported on Turnhouse Hill yesterday and it was easy to see why today with significant drifting, wind slab and some areas of underlying old neve in high sheltered locations. Think about route choice if you are out and about in the Pentlands in these conditions.

On the way in. Photo credit: J. Foden.
There’s a path under here somewhere.
Plenty of evidence of wind movement of snow.
Summit shot.
Happy to be out. Photo credit: J. Foden.
Nettle running from the summit.

Winter Walking and Ski Touring

This week I’ve been lucky enough to get out in the Pentlands again in winter conditions. On Tuesday Ivor and I were out for a walk in glorious sunny weather with a dusting of fresh snow. On Friday Pamela and I managed an opportunistic ski tour. The snow cover was good on paths and tracks where it had a base and had drifted in on top overnight. Away from these there was no real base except in small sheltered locations and care was required. A great fun day, which helped to keep our winter skills ticking over as best we can currently.

Looking to Caerketton Hill on Tuesday.
Pamela near the ski centre on Friday morning.
Quick break and about to remove skins near the summit of Allermuir Hill.
Obligatory selfie.
Looking back to Allermuir. Thin cover away from tracks.
Quite “Scottish” ski touring traversing around the north side of Allermuir Hill.

Winter Walking and Climbing in the Pentlands

Last week saw some good wintery conditions in the Pentland Hills. This meant I was able to get out locally for some winter walking and climbing. The climbing was only in the Grade I to III range and not classics. However, it was great to get out and practice skills I’ll hopefully need later in the season.

Me and Ivor enjoying an easy gully in the Pentlands.
Looking down Right Cleuch (Right Fork) to Ivor belaying from the pinnacle.
Stunning views from Caerketton Hill.
Jen at the summit of Allermuir Hill on a day with less visibility.

Wintery Pentlands and Local Outdoor Training

Well the past couple of days have seen me figuring out how to stay fit and not let skills fade within the new restrictions, so that when I can get out and work again in the bigger hills I’m able to do so confidently. Yesterday Euan and I trained outdoors in a local park. Today I was out in the Pentlands with Ivor. The hard packed snow and ice on paths had refrozen and crampons were very useful for movement with the added benefit of allowing us to practice crampon work. #armadillomerino #usedbyproslovedbyall

Euan working hard.
Ivor, crampons very useful on the compacted and refrozen snow.
View south-west along the Pentlands.
Me happy to be out.
Rime ice on fences indicating precipitation on a north-west wind.

Snowy Pentlands Run

I managed to meet up with Nettle in the Pentlands on the 30th December for an excellent snowy run. It was clear while we were on the hill, but snowing steadily by late afternoon.

Always great to get out with Nettle.
Sun over West Cairn Hill.
View to The Kips and Scald Law.
Low light looking south-west from one of the tops of East Cairn Hill.

Local Running and Training

Over the past few days Euan and I have been training locally for when we can go further afield. Today we were out for a beautiful run in a snowy Pentlands with David. Good to see plenty of people out enjoying the conditions. It reminded us that a lot of walkers and runners may be new to winter conditions this year. If you decide you need a Winter Skills Course for walking or running, a Winter Navigation Course or an Avalanche Awareness Course these are all things we can provide. There’s more information on the ClimbNow website.

A snowy Pentlands with the Forth behind.
Heading up this morning.
David on one of the steeper sections.
Maintaining a jog on the uphill.
Looking west.
Frosty morning training yesterday.

Seven Reservoirs Night Run

Andy, Euan and I had a great time last night running the Pentland Seven Reservoirs route in the dark. It’s a half marathon route through the hills on paths, tracks and tarmac. It’s pretty muddy underfoot in places at the moment and care is required. An excellent way to spend an evening with some good views to Edinburgh at times.

Andy and Euan below Bonaly Reservoir with the city lights behind and the Forth Bridges to the left.
Euan and Andy with The Howe Christmas tree behind.
Torduff Reservoir with the glow of Edinburgh beyond.
The Seven Reservoirs route.

Navigation Course

The last two days I’ve been working for Falkirk Outdoors delivering a navigation course for the Ramblers. Given current restrictions it was delivered completely outdoors and within the City of Edinburgh Council area. On Thursday we used the Dalmeny and Cammo Estates. Today we were in The Pentlands starting from Harlaw. The weather was windy today, but generally kind for the time of year, and the participant’s enthusiasm made for a very enjoyable course.

Using orienteering maps to look at bearings in Cammo.
Navigation on pathless terrain in the Pentlands.
Planning the next leg with the Forth Bridges in the background.
The summit of Capelaw.

Training

Up until Thursday it was a week of training to keep fit for when we are able to get further afield. Local running, home gym sessions and Alien Bloc and EICA Ratho have all featured.

Euan doing circuits at Alien Bloc.
Ivor moving off an undercut on a problem at Alien Bloc.
Ivor making the move.