Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Monday 29 June - Post Wedding Anniversary walk

Unusually for us we travelled to the Lakes on our wedding anniversary day (41st), so today we have had a gentle outing: the mine track to near Dalehead Tarn and then over High Spy and Maiden Moor, making frequent stops and diversions when something caught our interest. On Miners Crag I mentally worked out a route up a wall, delicately traversing at the top to below an overhang. A groove above was climbed to finish. Well beyond me now, but enjoyable to imagine. There was a tinge of sadness too though.

Turning away we came across a small pool dotted with bogbean (or bogpea as I repeatedly call it, much to Lynne's amusement (ridicule actually).

Strolling was the order of the day, stops for tea frequent. We climbed Catbells to finish. It was thronged and we left quickly for the lovely descent to Little Town.

All in all a pleasant start to the holiday.

Note: The much vaunted 'heat wave' did not make an appearance and a cold wind niggled all day, although some folks were not feeling the cold with shorts being the preferred attire. Others had hoods up, some wore hats. We were somewhere in between.

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Saturday, 27 June 2015

Saturday 27 June - Over the border

Well, that's us sorted and off again tomorrow. Just hope the weather is like that in the photograph which was definitely not typical of our last holiday on and around Skye.

Having three weeks to spend in the Lake District will allow us to visit places we haven't been to for years rather than just our usual days in the north western fells, although we won't be neglecting those lovely fells.
Thanks to A&D for looking after the abode.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Sun in the Mamores

After three hot days in the hills we are sitting in the sun having leisurely coffees.

The wind, cooled by its passage over the snow field in Sgurr a' Mhaim's northern corrie, was welcome after the steep, hot climb. We lazed at the cairn absorbing what lay before us. Dots appeared on the Devil's Ridge but otherwise the hills seemed empty. No doubt the upper snows of Ben Nevis were thronged, but that was a different world from ours today.

We had no plans for any further progress; not even the ridge tempted. Not much anyway. It's better from south to north in my view and Lynne agreed. That settled the matter; we would stay right where we were.

The descent is hard on knees and quads. The quartzite screes have been pounded to fine granules by thousands of walkers all using the same route up and down. Mostly down I would guess.

The day before our Sgurr a' Mhaim outing we met two Outward Bound Trust groups, one planning to camp at Lochan Coire nam Miseach the other already camped lower down the glen in a lovely spot with view down Glen Nevis. Most in both groups looked miserable and all except one girl who returned a wave from Lynne, ignored us. How different from the foursome met in the Lake District a couple of years ago who were carrying huge packs in debilitating heat and heading for 'Seattle we think' (Seatoller). They were all smiles, relishing the fells.

Another fine day we planted ourselves on Sgor an Iubhair and watched a guided party set off for the Devil's Ridge. We just wandered about.

Yesterday,while sitting in the sun at the 'van, we engaged a chap out walking his dog. The weather cropped up and the BBC got it in the neck for only being concerned with the 'soft south'. Then he added 'of course this is the soft south to me'. He lived in Sutherland and had been the Cape Wrath Lighthouse keeper and now retired he was the part-time keeper for several lighthouses checking all was well on a regular basis. Fascinating character.

Today it is blazing hot and we think we may go home tomorrow which gives us a couple of weeks before we are off again. On the other hand we might just have another day in the hills. Hard to leave here in the current weather.

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Monday, 8 June 2015


The wi-fi signal on this pitch is barely sufficient to allow me to buy wi-fi let alone use it. So, AlanR and Conrad: thanks for your comments and I'll respond asap. Good to hear from you both and catch up with your blogs in due course.

Also, I responded to Oss's excellent post but it may have been a victim of loss of signal. If so, I'll comment again. What a life.

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Sunday, 7 June 2015

Saturday 6 June - Rain and more rain.

It is absolutely throwing it down today with high winds just to add to the drama. The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is being held at Aonach Mor this weekend but the morning training session had to postponed because of the conditions. The site is packed, partly because of this event.

Supposedly things are looking better for next week with high pressure dominating. I'll believe it when I'm enjoying the sun on a hill and not before.

We took a forest walk this afternoon and as the photo shows the weather has 'improved'! Some West Highland Wayers looking wet and weary were heading into 'The Fort' and the end of their sojourn. The weather has not been kind to them at all - and it shows.

Before and over dinner we watched a wagtail feeding a youngster. It sat on the wooden fence in the rain, sometimes for ten minutes or longer, waiting patiently while mum went off to find food. This went on for over two hours. Occasionally the young wagtail would position itself closer to the fence post, for better shelter presumably, before resuming the wait for sustenance.

A sunny finish to the day (now Sunday!). A hill tomorrow.

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Friday, 5 June 2015

Wednesday 3 June - a wintry June day

After a couple of days of more wild weather we have, temporarily, moved to Lochaber and made our annual pilgrimage to the top of a very wintry Stob Ban in the Mamores (the photo doesn't show this but I might be able to post a couple of better ones later). It is a very special hill for us, climbed in all sorts of conditions from white-outs to blazing sunshine and everything in between.

Today was one of those days when waterproofs were frustratingly on and off, on and off. I said to Lynne that I couldn't remember all this faffing about in earlier days. We didn't have all this stuff to faff about with as she pointed out, but I wonder if comfort was as much of an issue back then. I can't say I felt any less comfortable in my woollen shirt, M&S jumper, and in later years my Javelin Jacket (fibre pile) than I do today. Might be my memory though or just plain youth!

I've probably said it before but the walk by the Allt Coire a' Mhusgain is truly lovely, the scattered birches like old friends. The old stalkers path took us quickly up into Coire Mhusagain and to the cairn at the bealach. From here, set against a dark sky, the northeast face looked Eiger-ish.

The slaistery snow and slippery quartzite on the ridge required care. I took some video of Lynne on the steep scree and snow of the 'direct finish' carefully making her way towards me. It's anything but difficult but a fall from here would be unthinkable.

The big gully below her still held lots of snow and avalanche debris was in evidence. All was calm at the cairn and a couple enjoyed lunch perched near the edge of the cliffs. Another walker whom we'd met lower down eventually arrived having stopped to chat to a few others. He enthused about the ascent, the Mamores in general, about the long day he had planned and his/our luck with the weather, the Glen Coe hills to the south being cloud-covered. Light snow began to fall and the sun shone, transforming the atmosphere instantly. It felt alpine, but not for long.

We departed taking the easier exit and lower down encountered two other walkers, one wearing shorts, who asked if the winds were strong on the summit. They made some unflattering remarks about BBC weather forecasters with which we heartily agreed.

It was dry as we sauntered through the Mamore Grazings, a place of many memories. Another rewarding day in hills was over.

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