Thursday, 17 September 2015

Cruachan Horseshoe

Monday was the last day before Andrew drove south to take up a new post as ADC at Northwood HQ.
It was our last chance to take to the hills together and we decided to make a circuit of Ben Cruachan, Drochaid Ghlas and Stob Diamh. We've both climbed these hills many times but never in such fantastic conditions. Warm sunshine, a gentle breeze and spectacular views (and only one other person on the ridge).
The perfect hill day with the perfect companion!


Next day was south to the Bealach Udal on the Kylerhea road to climb three Grahams from a starting height of 280m!
From the bealach it was a bit of a trudge over wet ground to the lochan which marks the start of Sgurr na Coinnich's summit ridge, and on to the summit cairn. A strong, icy wind was blowing so we didn't linger to enjoy the views, instead descending immediately to the col to start our climb up the formidable looking Beinn na Caillich. A stiff climb on steep ground took us to the summit cairn, then it was back over the shoulder of Sgurr na Coinnich and down to the bealach for lunch.
Ben Aslak, the third of our hills, only just makes Graham status so it was a pleasant and gradual climb to the summit where once again we enjoyed fantastic views.
With a bitter wind still blowing hard we made our descent and headed for the coffee shop in Broadford for a well earned bowl of soup.


Then it was off to Skye, after an excellent weekend in the Trossachs with some DoE groups who really got lucky with the weather.
Kay, Liz and Jane wanted to tackle some Grahams on Skye, based in Broadford YH and thankfully the weather held.
Day one was off to the Trotternish Ridge to climb The Storr and Hartaval in great conditions. We had a bit of fun exploring the fantastic rock formations around the Old Man of Storr and the Sanctuary before climbing to the summit via the broad grassy slopes of the north ridge. Over an early lunch we enjoyed breathtaking views to Raasay and the mainland peaks beyond before descending to Bealach a' Chuirn to climb to the summit of Hartaval.

September Sun!

September has been a great month so far for getting out on the hills, and luckily I've had a few days to myself to enjoy it.
In an attempt to up my Corbett count I started the month with a very enjoyable day on Beinn nan Imirean from Glen Dochart. Great views from the top but a stiff northeast wind made it too cold to linger long.
Next day I drove up Glen Orchy to climb Beinn Mhic-Mhonaidh from Eas Urchaidh. Conditions were perfect - warm sunshine and a gentle breeze to keep me cool as I climbed northeast up steep grassy slopes to reach the broad summit ridge. Wonderful views in every direction!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

.....and another one

Unst puffin

Stones of Steness and Ring of Brodgar

Scottish primrose

Unique to parts of the Orkney Isles, Caithness and North Sutherland, I finally got my first sighting of Primula Scotica, the Scottish primrose, on the cliffs at Yesnaby near Skara Brae. It flowers once in spring and once in summer and small clumps of it were flowering on consecutive trips to Orkney in July and early August.

Ardnave Chapel, Islay

Western Isles

The weather was not so good for a trip to the Outer Hebrides with Freda later in June but we made the most of our journey north from Vatersay and Barra to the Uists. In the end we had to cut our journey short due to the Calmac strike!

Garvellach Islands

June also saw my first landing on Eileach an Naoimh with an About Argyll group. Famous for its monastic ruins and Bernice cells, it's also the site where St Columba's mother Eithne is reputed to be buried.

Fair Isle

Luckily the high winds didn't affect the flight, and the group enjoyed a memorable day on the island

West Burra

A beautiful, if chilly, June day on Shetland.

Duke of Edinburgh expeditions in the Pentlands