The Cuillin of Skye

For the past three days I have been on Skye with the Falkirk High Tops Team.  We have been climbing together on the Island for about six years so now tend to search out more unusal scrambles and tops.

On Friday we climbed the WSW Flank of Sgurr nan Eag.  This grade 2/3 scramble is mostly on good rock.  However, belays are hard to find. We continued the day by traversing Sgurr Alasdair and descending the Great Stone Shoot.

Yesterday, we climbed the NE Ridge of Sgurr a Bhasteir before continuing the day by climbing the West Ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean to the summit and descending the East Ridge to return to Sligachan.

Today we visited the the Red Cuillin and climbed the North Buttress of Sgurr nan Each.  This grade 2/3 scramble was first climed by Harold Raeburn and gives a good route on mostly good rock.

Gayle, Linda, Tam and Norrie from the Falkirk High Tops Team in the Cuillin.

Ben Nevis

On Ben Nevis on Saturday 29th with a large group from Breast Cancer Care. The event is very well organised for one of this size and despite the weather the success rate was very high. Always quite inspirational working with this group as many of the participants have been or are going through treatment.

Some of the group on a snowy Ben Nevis summit

The weather was actually better than forecast with the westerly winds being considerably lower than they could have been. However, with wet snow falling from about 1100m, the summit was no place to hang around for much more than a quick photo.

Pentland Skyline

Out for a run in the Pentlands today with B. We did the route of the Pentland Skyline Hill Race. It’s a classic outing and is billed as 16 miles and 6200 ft of ascent, so it’s fairly brutal, but worth checking out if you’re in to that sort of thing. The going was wet underfoot after the heavy rain of the last few days, but the weather stayed dry with only a light westerly wind and even some sunshine.

B approaching the summit of West Kip

Creag MacRanaich and Meall an t-Seallaidh

Out for a wander with Nettle on the south side of Glen Dochart this morning. We did a horseshoe of Gleann Dubh including the two Corbetts of Creag MacRanaich and Meall an t-Seallaidh. This gave a pleasant outing, but included some fairly rough and currently wet terrain. The cloud cleared during the morning to give some excellent views of the Lochearn and Loch Tay areas.

Nettle on Meall an t-Seallaidh


Completion Seminar

On Friday the 21st September Rosie and I headed down to North Wales for my IFMGA Guides completion seminar.  This is the final day of my Guides Scheme and I now have full Guide status.  Congratulations to Andy Nelson, Paul Chiddle and Andy Townsend who also qualified. 

Paul Warnock and Euan Whittaker

North-West Scotland

Jen and I have been on a short trip up to the North-West of Scotland for the past week. For the first four days we met up with B and were out with Alex from Norwest Sea Kayaking.

B kayaking near Culkein Drumbeg

Despite strong West & South-West winds and big swells forecast we were able to get out kayaking every day by making use of the sheltered areas around Drumbeg and Oldany Island on the North coast of Assynt. Additionally, despite carrying tents we were able to use a well appointed private bothy, which made for a very pleasant trip; one of the benefits of being out with a local outfit.

B, Alex and Jen on one of the beautiful Assynt beaches

B enjoying the benefits of the bothy



After a day off around Lochinver, Jen & I went up Canisp on Sunday in mixed weather. The cloud cleared on the summit giving great views of Stac Pollaidh, Cul Mor and Suilven.

Suilven from Canisp

The last couple of days we were in the Deargs South-East of Ullapool. There were fairly strong North-West winds and hail, snow and sleet down to about 700m although it was only settling above about 900m.

Jen near the summit of Eididh nan Clach Geala

Travelling Home via the Lake District


Rosie enjoying the ferry journey from Amsterdam to Newcastle.


Beautiful morning sky from the ferry.


Duncan climbing the gangway on Giants Crawl.


Steve high on Giants Crawl.

Rosie and I left Saint Gervais on Wednesday following an excellent alpine season. This time we travelled home via the Newcastle to Amsterdam ferry. I would highly recommend this journey as a more relaxing alternative to the Dover to Calais option.

We stopped off on the way home to Edinburgh via the Lake District where I had arranged to do some climbing and scrambling with Duncan and Steve. On Friday night we met at Shepherds crag and climbed Jackdaw Ridge. The weather forecast for Saturday was dry so we visited Dow Crag. A few teams were out on Eliminate A. We climbed Giants Crawl, descended South Rake and climbed Easy Terrace back to the summit of Dow before walking out.

Today the weather was very poor but we still had a good day out on the classic scramble Cam Crag Ridge.



Final Guides Test

For the past two days I have been on my final Mountain Guides test. On Saturday, with Mountain Guide Andy Teasdale, we visited the Zinal Valley and traversed the Aiguille de la Le. This gives an enjoyable AD ridge traverse on mostly good granite which can be completed from the valley in a day.

I then travelled to Gryon (near Villars) to meet Mountain Guide Graeme Ettle. On the Sunday, we made an early start for the Col de la Poreyrette and completed the traverse of the Miroir d’Argentine. This gives a stunning AD+ traverse on limestone. The Miroir is a famous rock climbing venue with routes up to 16 pitches in length.

It was a succsessful weekends climbing and I also passed. The final part of the Guides Scheme is a Completion Seminar on the 21st September.

Mountain Guide Graeme Ettle on the summit of the Lion d’Argentine.

Voie Boell, Aiguille Dibona

The Refuge du Soreiller with the Aiguille Dibona behind.


Martin and I were down in Les Ecrins yesterday. We had a great day out near La Berarde climbing the Voie Boell on the Aiguille Dibona. This route is given AD in the British guidebook, but D- in the Jean Michel Cambon guidebook which can be bought locally. It is useful to have both guidebooks as the route finding is quite complex.

We descended via the North Ridge which gives an excellent PD in it’s own right, making the Dibona a summit for Mountaineers of all abilities.

The Refuge du Soreiller is located right at the bottom of the peak and is very friendly. There are a large number of routes and peaks that can be done from this hut making it a great base for a few days.

The Aiguille Dibona (3130m).


Barre des Ecrins (4088m) from near La Berarde.


The Massif du Soreiller. A range or rock peaks giving a wealth of routes from PD to ED.


Martin on the summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

Abseiling the North Ridge.


Martin on one of the intricate traverses on the Voie Boell.

La Mortenaz

Martin and I have had a quick mornings rock climbing at La Mortenaz. This crag is a good option on hot days as the trees provide shade.

Lead climbing at La Mortenaz.