May has seen a lot of changes, both in weather conditions and Covid restrictions and guidance. The month started with winter still being very present in the Scottish hills, which allowed us to get a couple of last wintery outings.
Focus changed for us through the month to rock climbing in both North Wales and Scotland; delivering National Governing Body Award training courses, such as Mountaineering and Climbing Instructor, Mountain Leader and Lowland Leader.
The highlight was probably Paul popping up with Finn to complete a traverse of the Skye Ridge in pretty favourable conditions.
During the lockdowns I’ve found it really useful to set myself some goals. Having a target, even a small one, definitely makes me more likely to get out and invariably I feel better for doing so.
Over the last few weeks I set myself the goal of visiting/revisiting all the trig points within the City of Edinburgh Council boundary that you are legally able to.
To stick to the spirit of the restrictions I tried to do this by not making special journeys, but by visiting them after a bouldering/climbing session, as part of a walk with a friend or as a run from home.
If you decide to do something similar many trig points will be on farm land or golf courses. Please do make sure you access land responsibly and don’t disturb livestock, damage crops or interfere with games in progress. Access legislation is different in England and Wales to Scotland and this should also be considered.
Restrictions are hopefully easing up. In Scotland we’re now able to travel from our council area for outdoor work and things should ease further on the 26th April. If you have any climbing or mountaineering goals ClimbNow could help with do get in touch.
Another catch-up post. The cold spell in February allowed some winter climbing local to Edinburgh. On the 11th and 12th of February the low level snow and cold conditions allowed Cliff and I to climb on rarely in condition Green Craig in the Pentlands. We climbed East Gully, Reindeer Cave Gully, Edinburgh Lights and had a look at another line. Harder routes on this crag are fairly bold and the rock is very friable, so take care if heading up to climb.
On the 13th February I persuaded Jen to head out in the dark to belay me on an even more rarely in condition short ice route above the River Almond in Cramond. Current Covid-19 restrictions mean some unusual route choices.
A few catch up posts. Back in February it was cold and snowy enough for some local ski touring in the Edinburgh area. On the 9th of February I managed a morning tour with Pamela in Dalmeny including the novelty of skiing to the beach for a paddle.
On the 14th of February Euan and I had good long tour in the Pentlands just as the thaw was arriving.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.