Monday, May 28, 2012

Taking advantage of the last day of summer, Mark and I headed up to Logiehead on Sunday for a bit of sunny climbing (a rarity up here!).  Disappointingly, as we approached Cullen we could see a bit bank of Haar hovering about the coastline threateningly.

Walking down through it to the crag was a bit depressing - possibly the only place in Scotland where fleece would be needed to stay warm!!

Luckily, the Haar was on its way out, and buy the time we'd finished the first route it was back to blazing sunshine and quality rock!

A good day, and a good bag of routes with the added excitement of being chased by gulls when we topped out a bit too close to a nest.

Ice cream and Irn  Bru in Portsoy nicely finished the day!


Sunday, May 27, 2012


Saturday saw Naomi, Ann & John tackle the high level round of Glen Muick, starting off up Broad Cairn and going round to Lochnagar. Despite being a route we do quite often this was the busiest we've ever seen it with people all over the place. Ironic given that as hill-walking days go it wasn't the best - too hot and too hazy. Mustn't complain though. For the record it was 19 C in the shade on top of Lochnagar.
Still a bit of snow in the Cairngorms

Lochnagar from the Stuic Butress

Then it was back home and a big BBQ with the lazier members of the AMC (except for Mark and Judith who had done Beinn a Ghlo...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A sneaky holiday post

Sick of the scottish dreich, Juliette and I decided to try hillwalking in the "sunshine" this year and so while out visiting my folks in France, nipped out for an ascent of "La Frau" - a 1925m peak near to Montsegur.

Juliette in the woods
Starting out up the GR7 we all seemed well, despite our map being a print from google maps,  the start of the day was through some forestry land - and in true form as we got higher, the paths resembled less and less what we had on our map - eventually forcing a retreat once we started heading down hill, when there definitely should only have been up!  Luckily Juliette spotted a terrace above us in the woods that turned out to be the path we were after and so after our initial humming and hawing we were off again!

Juliette with Montsegur in the background
The Skull

heading up towards La Frau

Once we got out of the woods and onto the hill proper, the views north and east were fantastic and the hill had a couple of interesting cliffs with caves.  Unfortunately, the temps were in the high 20s, and being a pasty scots lad, that's pretty close to the point where I burst into flames!  Luckily by applying 1" thick coating of suncream and hiding under a sunhat of sombrero proportions I survived to the summit!  I was extra suspicious as at this point we spotted a Bearded Vulture (Lammergier) following us.........

The views from the summit over the Pyrenees proper were stunning, with still a lot of snow in evidence, and someone had nicely left a skull-on-a-stick in the cairn too.

The Pyrenees from La Frau

The descent was substantially quicker than the ascent in the heat at we were back at the van, and our big container of water in virtually no time - a good few litres were quaffed to replace that lost on the hill!
The Summit c/w skull on a stick

Still, back to Scotland, drizzle and midgies - but at least no shortage or water!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May Weekend in Barrisdale

A small group of AMC headed for the White House in Barrisdale for the May week end  and hoped to avoid the forecast snow showers.

With there no longer being a boat to hire from Arnisdale we all walked in from the road end at Kinloch Hourn along  the loch which gave spectacular views of Ladhar Bheinn and fine walking through pine and silver birch trees with primroses and bluebells dotted along the track side.
The Whitehouse
On Saturday the day dawned bright and sunny.  Bruce headed up Ladhar Bheinn while Mark, Ed, Kathryn and Judith set their sights on Luinne Bheinn and Meall Buidhe.

The weather stayed fine all day in Knoydart while there were snow showers visible inland [certainly were, see previous post - Ed].

The Luinne Bheinn party headed  to Mam Unndalain and up the rocky ridge to the Luinne Bheinn summit which gave great views round Knoydart, to Skye, Rum and Eigg.  From there we walked round the ridge to Meall Buidhe where we met numerous parties from Inverie.
Barrisdale Bay

Eigg and Rum
From the summit we dropped into the rocky northern  Choire Odhair with the aim of trying to find a ledge under the slopes of Luinne Bheinn to take us out directly to Mam Barrisdale without losing any height.  Ed had been reading an article in the Scottish Mountaineer about this descent route. There were no difficulties in finding the route and it took us out where we wanted with a short walk down the track back to the White House.

Plotting the route
Saturday evening saw the party expand with Evan and Louise arriving to enjoy the good weather.

Sunday was another fine day with Ladhar Bheinn, Luinne Bheinn and Sgurr A Choire Bheithe being ascended by various parties.

Kathryn on Ladhar Bheinn
Food was up to its usual meet standards despite having to carry in all we needed – we even managed to bake a chocolate cake in the hut Rayburn!

On Monday we all walked back to Kinloch Hourn in the sunshine and enjoyed tea and scones in the tearoom.

It was a great weekend with good company, excellent weather and a fantastic location.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Strathfarrar Six

Last Saturday an elite team of AMC-ers gathered in Cannich campsite for Ann’s official birthday meet, kept deliberately quiet as it clashed with the club meet that we couldn’t make. Capitalising on the availability of transport the route of choice was the traverse of the fine ridge of six Munros (four Summits, two Tops) on the north side of Strathfarrar.
The Mullardoch hills from the first ascent

Ann, John, Mel, Steve and Morna met Rod (on another early start from home) in time for the charade of the opening of the locked gate that passes for an access arrangement to the glen. Then, cars suitably positioned, we headed up onto the eastern end of the ridge. This seems like the more unusual direction to tackle the route but none of us had done it that way and it has the advantages of getting the bigger climbs over with sooner and better views. The pull up to the first summit was a tad tedious but things improved once we had some more extensive views. There was a lot less snow around than the previous weekend but the biting northerly wind made up for that. 

Final summit in sight

The cloud finally got us
The traverse of the next few hills was very pleasant but uneventful until second lunch on the final summit, when the thickening cloud finally touched ground and the snow started. After marvelling at the unusually thick snow flakes that looked more like cake decorations, we dashed along the final bit of ridge and dropped into the shelter of the corrie, where it was more like summer. Then back to the campsite for a chilly but dry BBQ and birthday cake!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sunshine in the West

Saturday 28th April
Former AMC member Stuart Mcleod (AKA 'Mental') and Mark set off to tick 3 Munros in Glen Etive – Stuart is counting down to his last one later this year. 

After leaving one car at the bottom of Glen Etive we headed a few kilometers up the road and in the morning sunshine headed up  Sgor na h-Ulaidh.  From the top we had fantastic views across to snow clad Ben Nevis, and to the back of Bidean, as well as most the rest of the West Highlands. 
View across to Ben Nevis from Sgor na h-Ulaidh
We then headed across to neighbouring Beinn Fhionnlaidh , enjoying a scramble up rocks/choss to the 841m top and from there to the summit. It was cold on the top so we headed down the south west slopes to have a late lunch in a sheltered spot beside the lochans below the summit. 

A long slog ensued across undulating land to reach the north east ridge of Beinn Sgulaird.     Unfortunately this meant descending to 250m before reascending.  This final hill tired us out, especially Stuart, who had spent too much time on cruise ships around the Galapagpos Islands lately, and consequently wasn't up to his usual fitness!  It was a late finish which meant  missing last orders for food at the Kingshouse so we had to settle for a liquid supper!

Sunday 29th April
After an frosty night we awoke to clear blue, sunny skies.  However, due to the 25km and 2500m of ascent the previous day, we opted for an easy day climbing on Aonach Dubh. This crag is a 30  minute walk from the road and we did Curving Crack (S**) in 3 pitches. After enjoying lunch basking in the sunshine, we headed up Archer Ridge, the classic 3* V.Diff., another 3 pitches, before reluctantly heading for home. 

The West seems to have missed all the East coast rain and the ground and rocks are very dry and so worth a visit if you are looking for dry rock.
Stuart starting up Curving Crack