Drumochtor and AMI AGM

Over the weekend I was up at Glenmore Lodge for the Association of Mountaineering Instructors Annual General Meeting. Thanks to all those who made this and the associated training workshops very successful and enjoyable.

Nettle and I shared transport to the event and on Friday took the opportunity for a fell run up Creag Ruadh and Druim nan Sac near Dalwhinnie. There were very limited snow patches at height on Friday and Saturday. However, there was some fresh snow in the Cairngorms on Sunday and through last night.

Nettle at the summit of Creag Ruadh on Friday.

Lochaber Traverse

I have been out the last two days with Falkirk Outdoor Activities. Yesterday, we traversed from the Aonach Mor Gondola to the CIC Hut via the East Ridge of Carn Dearg Mheadhonach. Although this is a good winter route, I would not recommend it in summer conditions.

Today we continued to Glen Nevis via Ledge Route on Ben Nevis.

We did not encounter snow during the two days. I looked down Number 4 Gully during our descent. There are a number of large rocks waiting to fall as the remaining snow retreats. I would not recommend this route at the moment.


Farragon Hill

Pamela and I were out for a walk up Farragon Hill today. The hill lies between the Tay and the Tummel and we chose to approach from the south. This avoided passing through the barytes mine on Meall Tairneachan, which lies on the western approach, on a working day.

Pamela at the summit of Farragon Hill.

It’s worth noting there’s a lot of forestry and forestry tracks on this approach, which aren’t shown on older maps although OS Maps online seems to be pretty much up to date. The hill stayed below the cloud all day. There are currently no snow patches or frozen ground on the hill, which is just under 800m high. Some very limited snow patches were visible on higher hills nearby.

The Lowther Hills

The days I’ve had pencilled in for possible early winter climbing don’t seem to be lining up with conditions at the moment, so I’m trying to take opportunities to keep hill fit wherever I can.

The summit of Louise Wood Law.

Today I broke a dreich journey back up from Derbyshire by stopping at Elvanfoot and walking/running around some of the eastern Lowther Hills. The route took in Louise Wood Law, White Law, Dun Law and Glen Ea’s Hill. There was a scattering of snow above 600m although this may disappear tomorrow.

Manor Valley

At this time of year when it’s very windy in the higher hills or it’s not been cold enough for winter routes it’s always good to get out for something a bit random to keep hill fitness up. After a couple of days this week where I’ve ended up at the climbing wall it was great to get out with Nettle today as he’s usually up for the more esoteric option. We headed out fell running around some of the hills above the Manor Valley near Peebles today as a way of keeping under the worst of the wind. It also worked well as the weather was coming across the higher hills before it reached us, taking out some of the sleet showers.

Me and Nettle in the wind on top of Notman Law.

Our route took in Notman Law, Greenside Law, Deer Law, Conscleuch Head, Black Law and Black Cleuch Hill. The going was on tussocky grass, heather and bog and was often trackless, making for a good work out. We also managed to find a bit of scrambling/bouldering, which provided amusement given the conditions. Rain/sleet showers on and off with a dusting of snow settling above about 650m and winds of circa 40mph+ on the tops.

RCI Assessment

RCI assessment last couple of days. It was a bit damp at Blackford and Rosyth!

The Borders

At this time of year I’m always keen to get some days in to maintain hill fitness ahead of the winter season. When winds are forecast to be strong on the higher hills or there’s rain further north it’s always worth giving The Borders a thought. Mick and I had a good day today on a circuit of hills south of Drumelzier. Although we encountered some pretty strong winds it would have been worse higher up and we were in sunshine all day, but could see rain clouds further north and west.

Mick at a cairn on Drumelzier Law.

Our circuit included The Scrape, Pykestone Hill, Grey Weather Law, Long Grain Knowe, Middle Hill, Taberon Law, Drumelzier Law and Logan Head. The walking was excellent and generally on small tracks and paths with very little boggy ground or deep heather. Visibility was good with views to Arthur’s Seat, The Eildon Hills, The Cheviot, The Lowthers and Tinto.

Pentlands and Blackford Glen

This morning I delivered the final session of a four week navigation course for the City of Edinburgh Council Adult Education. We did a loop from the Hillend Ski Centre. The group navigated me around the hill using the skills they’d learnt in the previous weeks before wrapping up in the warmth of the ski centre café. It’s been a great course with everyone keen to learn to navigate and hopefully there have been a few lightbulb moments.

The group developing a plan for the next leg.

I then met up with Euan and Ivor for a bouldering session at Agassiz Rock in Blackford Glen. The rock was sheltered from the wind and warm in the sunshine. It’s worth noting there’s some loose rock high up on the right at Agassiz at the moment.

Ivor making short work of an easy problem at Agassiz Rock.

Lowland Leader Assessment

The last two days I’ve been delivering a Lowland Leader Assessment for Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors. Based from Action Outdoors we used the Union Canal, Callendar Wood and Callendar Park areas on Saturday. Today we walked mostly in farmland and forestry south of the Falkirk Wheel on a good route planned by the candidates.

Fraser, Sara and Stan near the Falkirk Wheel today.

It was an enjoyable couple of days with well prepared candidates despite a good amount of rain falling over the two days.


Pamela and I were looking to get away from the worst of the wind and rain today and so headed for the Moorfoot Hills. The plan worked and although winds were probably around 40mph for much of the day we managed a good round of hills and avoided the rain. Starting from Gladhouse Reservoir we headed via Moorfoot and then up The Kips to gain Blackhope Scar. From there we took in Emley Bank, Bowbeat Hill, Bowbeat Rig and Dundreich before descending over Jeffries Course and down Cotly Hill.

Pamela at the summit of Blackhope Scar.

This is a good horseshoe above the head of the South Esk, but does involve significant rough going over heathery and boggy ground.