30th October 2011 Fiacaill Ridge

Martin in the Cairngorms with Fiacaill Ridge behind.

Martin and I have been out in the Cairngorms today with Adventure Edinburgh. This excellent organisation gives young people in Edinburgh an opportunity to learn climbing, summer and winter mountaineering and mountain biking skills. They operate a progressive program where participants can build on their skills week by week. Today, we were on Fiacaill Ridge looking at safe movement on scrambling terrain.

26th to 28th October The Lakes

Met up with David in the Lakes for the last few days and managed to sneak in some rock climbing on each of the days by either picking routes that are ok in the damp or on quick drying crags. Highlights were probably Gazebo on Castle Rock of Triermain (note there are still concerns over a massive loose block on the North Crag here) and The Black Icicle at Shepherd’s (the top pitch of which is pretty bold, which is not really indicated in the guidebook). We also took a look at Bleak How today, but despite good weather it was looking pretty damp.

20th October 2011 Mount Keen

Cycling towards Mount Keen in the distance.

The Falkirk High Tops Team and I made the long drive this morning to Aboyne. From here we ascended Mount Keen. Firstly, by using mountain bikes and secondly by walking. We had a good view of Lochnagar which appeared to be well covered in snow.

19th October 2011 The Fastcastle Sea Cliffs

Iain and Graham climbing on the Fastcastle Sea Cliffs.

John abseiling into the Fastcastle Sea Cliffs.

I returned today to the Fastcastle Sea Cliffs with Graham, Iain, John, Tam and Nigel from the Falkirk High Tops Team. We began the day by abseiling in near the castle ruins and climbing a couple of different routes. This is a great crag at this time of year as it receives a lot of sunshine and is sheltered from the frequent strong North West, West and South West winds. However, it is a serious venue and requires careful tactics to climb safely.

Later on in the day we headed round to The Souter area to do some single pitch climbing.

12th and 13th October Cairngorms

Up in the Cairngorms with the Norrie, Anne, Paul and Mike from the Falkirk High Tops Team over the last couple of days. On Wednesday we walked in from Linn of Dee over Derry Cairngorm and camped at Loch Etchachan with great views under high broken cloud. In the evening, as the cloud descended, we took in the summit of Beinn Mheadhoin before doing some night nav out to Stacan Dubha and returning to camp for a well earned dinner. On Thursday we asceneded Ben Macdui then traversed Carn a’Mhaim before dropping down to Glen Luibeg and returning to Linn of Dee. The cloud was down to about 850m throughout the day, but was clearing as we walked out. The snow from last week was only holding on in sheltered patches and around corrie rims above about 1000m and the temperature on Wednesday night was above freezing at the campsite (930m). A great couple of days out.

Smiles in the mist on the summit tor of Beinn Mheadhoin

6th October 2011 Loch Lagan area

Today I have been out in the Loch Laggan area with the Falkirk High Tops Team. It was a pretty wild day but we managed to ascend Beinn Teallach and Beinn A’Chaorainn. There was snow present on both peaks above 900m.

5th October Fastcastle Head, The Souter and Second Sight Fin

Rock climbing on The Souter.

Abseiling into Fastcastle Head sea cliff.

The Souter sea stack.

I have been out today with Linda, Iain and Graham from the Falkirk High Tops Team. We managed to avoid all the rain by heading to the Fastcastle area which is near Dunbar. This area has a nice mix of single pitch routes, multi pitch routes and sea stacks.

29th September to 2nd October 2011 The Black Cuillin

Sgurr Fheadain. The Spur is on the left edge, left of the obvious Waterpipe Guly

The team approaching Pinnacle Ridge.

I have just had a great three days in the Black Cuillin with the Falkirk High Tops Team. The weather was very wild on friday but we still managed to climb Collie’s Route to the summit of the Cioch (made famous by the Sean Connery film Highlander).

The weather improved on saturday. We had a great day out on Pinnacle Ridge, Sgurr Nan Gillean and Am Bhastier. The good weather continued on sunday and we had an excellent morning on The Spur of Sgurr Fheadain before returning to Falkirk. This route is featured in Dan Bailey’s book ‘Scotlands Mountain Ridges’.