Sunday, February 26, 2017

Night navigation course

Just back from the course, it is night, I feel knackered, but glad to have learned a lot today. We started having satisfaction in finding out location at the Ballater car park (good effort guys!) but then the drill became more and more interesting.
Thanks to the clear and patient explanations of Derek we manage then to play finding the way in the dark. I think that everybody who participated to the course today feels more secure in approaching the mountains.

Judith and Mark working on the map

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

MODERATOR’S LETTER by Luigi Spezia (From the upcoming AMC Handbook 2017)

I have got this story from a friend who went to USA for his PhD in psychology. He was based in Santa Cruz, California, where there is a big surfing community.  He was a climber and did not know anything about surfing, but he was fascinated by this group of people and wanted to get in touch with them.  Thus, he started going to the places where they were used to meet up; then he approached them and began listening to their chats. He also wanted to be part of the conversation and so, once, asked an easy question just to break the ice: “Who do you think is the strongest surfer of the world?”.  The oldest guy of the group, an old, tanned, long white haired, wrinkled surfer answered his question without turning his head, and with a low voice, slowly said: “The strongest surfer is he who enjoys surfing most”.

I like this answer.  If this is the meaning of strength, I want to be the strongest climber in the world: enjoy what I do, and always get pleasure and satisfaction from my climbing.  Just climbing without any frustration or anxiety for the result: for the fun of it, without the stress of the grades.  On the other hand, this does not stop me wishing to improve and push myself, always enjoying it (unfortunately this did not always happen to me!): improving not to be best, but to be better and better, but “just” the strongest, following the words of the old wise surfer. When climbing, I would like to be able to do all things seriously, but without taking myself seriously: it is just climbing, for myself, for my pleasure, without any need of acknowledgements from the others.

To have fun being outdoors with your friends is important, and in the AMC I found a bunch of people with whom I can have fun, not only when I spend my time outdoors with them, but also when we train together or go out socially.

I wish you all a chance to be the strongest walker, climber, mountaineer, hill runner, skier of the year.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Best in the West

On Friday evening the Bothy Babes, The Bothy Chef and the Victim (aka Linda, Scuz, Ed and Mark) headed west to the end of Loch Arkaig and following a 2 hour moonlit walk over the luckily frozen pass arrived at Kinbreak bothy at midnight. (The Bothy Babes lived up to their reputation and carried in the coal).  We had a the place to ourselves and celebrated with a bottle of wine.

                                                                  A Bothy Babe outside Kinbreak Bothy

On Saturday we headed off on a Corbett bagging walk around the tops at the head of the Glen Kingie. With the ground frozen and snow levels at about 600m quick progress was made to the tops and some great ridge walking was had despite the wind levels being higher than hoped, and so it was pretty cold.

Skating Pond near summit of Sgurr Cos na Breachd laoigh

After the Corbett was bagged, Linda decided that the plan for the day wasn't long enough for an Ultra runner in training so went off west to bag Sgurr nan Coireachan.  The rest of us just completed the expected horseshoe over the Munro of Sgurr Mor before heading down in gale force winds to the bothy just before dark.  Along the way back we encountered a badger trotting along the track before noticing us about 5metres away!

The peak of Sgurr na Ciche sticking out from the skyline

Ed and Scuz enjoying the view from An Eag with Sgurr Mor in the background

                                                             View into Knoydart

Back at the bothy the Chef went to work on the 5 course dinner, washing it down with wine and whisky.

Dinning arrangements at Kinbrek in front of the fire

Sleeping arrangements

Sunday dawned bright and sunny and much to Scuzzer's delight the Corbett of the day -Sgurr Mhurlagain, started with a steep 400 grassy slope directed behind the bothy (not everyone was as excited!!).
View of Gairich across Glen Kingie

Blue Sky walking

The team relax in the sunshine on the summit of Sgurr Mhurlagain