Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

A snowy stroll - Saturday 26 January

The snow never stopped yesterday. Literally. The birds constantly made it clear that they needed fed. A 3-4 hour power cut rounded off the evening.

Our regular

There was respite today so we took ourselves out across local tracks stopping for a pleasant half hour's chat with a local man who, having spent over thirty years with the Forestry Commission, was now a volunteer warden and speaker with the Woodland Trust. The Trust owns an important area of the Glen Devon side of the Ochils, thus protecting it from the march of wind turbines. We really ought to be members.

The wall has vanished

The Ochils would have been skiable for most of their 28 miles
Sunday was a different world. One of wind, rain and rawness, the dirty piles of  snow, cleared from driveways with so much effort only the previous day, now slowly thawing. A depressing sight.  I know snow creates problems for those who work and have to travel but I'll take it over the miserable, dull, dark days.

Still, the thaw allowed me to get the top-box off the 'van - but horror!  I'd  forgotten to take the Golite Quests out and mine is now covered in mould.

Strong winds caused another power cut last night and I wouldn't be at all surprised if another follows today.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Knee problems and looking back

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Lynne on Carn a' Mhaim
After months of thinking my knee injury was improving and after some seriously painful physiotherapy (which continues) I’ve now been referred to an orthopaedic surgeon. That will take about eight weeks. Since my previous post I've limited myself to easy local walks and spent some time, which would otherwise have been more enjoyably spent in the lovely snowy hills, scanning a few more slides.

Happy days on a backpacking trip in the Cairngorms in May 1980 taking in Carn a’ Mhaim, Ben MacDui, Beinn Mheadhoin and Beinn a’ Chaorainn.

Loch Etch

An idyllic spot to camp at Loch Etchachan but alas it was too early in the day.


Lynne and Morag at our evening camp
The tent is a Saunders Basecamp which had two lovely big porches providing ample storage for wet gear in bad weather.  Not that we had much gear back then and didn’t seem to be any less comfortable than now with all the modern stuff we use. The tent saw one more trip to A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor before being lent to my idiot boss who burnt a hole in it with a cigarette. It was only two years old.

In April 1983 we had a terrific ski tour in superb spring snow during a week of still, alpine-like weather but I can't locate all the slides of this trip. I expect they are in carousels used by Lynne who, on a voluntary basis in the 1980s, gave talks to schools about the Scottish hills, climbing history, Munros and so on.  The kids loved it.

Ascending Lurchers on our way to the plateau
 The rucksack is a Karrimor Jaguar weighing 1kg which is about 300g lighter, roomier and far more comfortable than my GoLite Quest. It is still in excellent condition which I doubt the GoLite will be after three or four years, let alone after thirty years! Clothing? An old M&S jersey, an old shirt and Rohan Superstrider breeches. Certainly we carried down jackets but, looking again at these slides, I’m more convinced than ever that for the most part, and with some notable exceptions, we just don’t need all this new stuff that’s being thrust at us. Not everyone will agree of course!


Up on the plateau where, shortly after this photograph was taken, we met Swiss ski-tourers who fed us some Swiss (naturally) chocolate and simply raved about the scenery. We sunbathed above Loch Avon and all was right with the world.

Tomorrow I may try a day in the Ochils before Friday's physiotherapy - the popliteus muscle needs some attention. Oh, and I'm building a Lancaster Bomber (model that is!) and as soon as the snow disappears from its roof, I'll need to get the top-box off the motorvan before it goes for a service. And I need to get round the blogs to find out what you've all been up to.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Birthday, but first....

14 December 2012

Now, I've seen a lot of dead sheep in my time, and rescued almost as many, but never before have I come across a carcass like this. It looks as if this poor soul tumbled down the slope, landed on its back, died and was then stripped, piranha-like, by hungry creatures. The freezing weather of the past week would have made this a welcome feast.

3rd January - Birthday

Today was Lynne's birthday and obviously had to be celebrated on a hill, so off we went to Innerdownie and Whitewisp Hill. About half way along the ridge to Innerdownie we came across five elderly walkers reclining and sheltering by the wall, enjoying a break on their descent to Glen Devon. They were a cheery bunch and during exchanges of  'Happy New Year', it transpired that their cheeriness was, at least in part, explained by the fact that their beverages were being fortified at regular intervals with Highland Park! They kindly offered us a dram but since we were on the way up, we said we'd settle for the angels' share.

 This photograph from Innerdownie was the only photograph taken all day.

It was rather different scene a few years back.

After a brief stop we found the shelter and dug out the tea and sandwiches. The sun intermittently attempted an appearance but never looked likely to win the battle with the clouds rolling in from the west so, donning more clothing to combat the ever-increasing wind, we sauntered off to Whitewisp.

Hamish Brown describes the section between the two hills as 'interminable' but I've never found this to be so. In fact the tramp across Bentie Knowe is rather fine I think, but in fairness to HB he did made the comment during a 22 mile day on a west to east traverse of the Ochils.

Good ski-touring from Innerdownie to Whitewisp, left
Conditions like this soon please.

It is now three years since I started this blog but unfortunately I find that only a fraction of outings have been recorded from January 2010 so I really must do better, even if some posts are kept brief.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

New Year greetings from the bonnie Ochils from both of us. It's snowier than it looks!

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