About Me

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Way back in time before the onset of adulthood I enjoyed countless days heading into the hills of Yorkshire with nothing more than a squashed sandwich & youthful sense for adventure! Despite long past youthful and work commitments keeping me in the city, the sense of adventure and love for the outdoors never left me. After digging my boots out and returning to the hills I attended a number of courses to improve my hill knowledge and skill base, during one of these courses it was suggested I join the Mountain Leader Training scheme and was delighted go on to gain the MOUNTAIN LEADER Award in April 2012. As well as spending time on the hills and mountains of the UK I have also enjoyed trips to the Nepalese Himalaya, Swiss & French Alps, Mallorca’s Tramuntana, Andorran & French Pyrenees, Morocco’s High Atlas, Tanzania’s Mt Meru & Kilimanjaro, Argentinian & Chilean Patagonia and winter expeditions to Norway’s Hardangervidda. Since gaining the ML I have also gained the SINGLE PITCH AWARD, INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN LEADER AWARD and the WINTER MOUNTAIN LEADER AWARD. I am now enjoying working in a freelance role whilst trying to get out climbing as much as possible.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Scottish Finale!

 Wednesday this week was the final day of my trip North of the Great Glen and should be the final days out with the purpose of gathering Quality Mountain Days and finally gaining the Winter Mountain Leader award.
 After a night of howling winds and some of my clothes still slightly damp from Tuesday's battle up Fionn Bhienn I set out for a day up and around Moruisg, this would give me a Munro and enable me to hide from some of the winds that were forecast.
 I left the car park at Craig and followed the track through the forest in falling snow right down to valley floor.
Snow down to Glen floor
Walking with a bit of a stride on as I knew I had a 8hr drive back home after the route I made good pace as I followed the track South and then East.
Look closely!
 I had chosen to make my way up the hill from the South using the shelter of the Glen as cover from the gusting wind and making use of less steep ground.
 The weather was holding and looking good until I gained height when low cloud descended, snow began to fall and the wind began to gust - changeably Scottish.
Thats more like a Scottish view!
Not even close to white out, just Scottish.
 After navigating to the summit I decided on a route that would take me back into Coire Toll Nam Bian then allow me to drop down and make a couple of smaller stream/burn crossings rather than bigger river crossings lower down, Scottish mountain water tends to be a tad on the chilly side!

As made my way onto lower ground I had the option of joining the road and walking a couple of kilometres back to the car but I opted to go through the forest track, which turned into a bit of s big and branch thrash but still better than Tarmac.
Moon & mountain.
 Summary - overall a good enjoyable day that was probably more enjoyable through the changeable weather and low vision meaning I could practice my navigation and compass skills.
The route took me approximately 8hrs which was because of the slow going at low level and through the forest.
 The main draw back of the day was knowing I had a 7.5hr drive home afterwards!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

400 (& 8) Miles On Fields Of Fire!.

Monday and I started what should be my last few days out solely with the purpose of gaining log book days by sleeping in!
 With good weather forecast for Monday I set out later than expected at 03:15am for the approximately 7hr drive North of the Gteat Glen to claim another Munro in Ben Wyvis.
 It turned into a bit of a nightmare journey due to being tired and the road conditions through the Cairngorms as snow had fallen over night.
 However it gave me chance to blast out the old tunes to keep me awake with Scottish band 'Big Country' being the main suppliers of tunes. I did make a tenuous enquiry to George McEwan at the Mountaineering Council of Scotland if still knowing the all the words to 'Fields Of Fire' would grant me a bonus QMD but this was denied :-(

 Arriving at the car at below Strathgarth Forest still full of coffee and Red Bull I was out of the car and and setting off up the hill like a Duracell bunny!
 Making my way below Tom na Callich I then crossed the 'burn' and made my way up the steeply rising slope which took me to An Caber. Here I met an elderly chap who lived locally and remarked he did the route maybe 5 or six times a year! He began to point out distant summits as the lay out in the distance, including the bulk of Ben Nevis which could be just made out on the far horizon.
 As I approached the summit a ski tourer joined me and we chatted a while and swapped phones for a chance to have summit photos taken.
 After a brief bite to eat and some water I left the summit and began the walk back to the car which would take me down the Corie due South of the summit and left me wondering why the ski tourer hadn't come the same way as the skiing would have been great!
 As I reached the Corie floor and crossed the burn again I thought it may have been a mistake not to park in the car park higher up and nearer the hill but it was too late now and I continued over Little Wyvis before dropping down to the car park and then on to find somewhere to sleep for the night!
 Summary - all in all a stunning Scottish winter day, more of a challenge through lack of sleep and fatigue than anything else but another Munro in the bag and more importantly a QMD!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Saving The Legs.

Wednesday saw me travel from the Cairngorms over to the West Highlands and to the hills alongside Loch Lochy.
Looking Back Along Cam Bealach

 I chose these hills as they I hadn't been in this area before and would be new ground and practise of some Winter Mountain Leader skills, more importantly I could put them in my log book towards finally getting the award signed off.

 I set out along the forest track and was soon heading up  Cam Bealach and into the snow line.

 I chose to walk up to the summit of Meall Dubh (837m) which may, as it turned out, have been a little over ambitious. Ascending fairly steeply and in knee deep snow at times my legs were soon calling for a break. I think the recent routine of driving up overnight before doing a route then sleeping somewhere before a route the next day then driving home is taking its toll and I am basically tired from the hundreds of miles I'm driving and from missing nights sleeping.
Not far to go now though.

Quite Steep Walking up Meall Dubh!
 As I descended and looked at Meall ma Teagna I decided I didn't have the hunger for it that day, I still had Sron a Choire Ghairbh and the long walk off to do followed by the 7hr drive home! I have also started some climbing coaching sessions to get ready for the summer which didn't want to spoil by being burnt out.

 I instead opted to to head up Sron a Choire Ghairbh and start in a homeward direction, I wasn't even half way but to know I was going in the direction towards the finish was a big moral boost.

 After reaching the summit I turned and handrails the corniced edge towards the ridge.

 The ridge was easing and not really a challenge as it was fairly wide though there was heavy cornicing to be aware of.

View through the Great Glen and onto Loch Ness
Loch Lochy
 The circular route took me just under 7hours, which was just less than it took me to drive home and narrowly avoid being taken out by a HGV in Glencoe.

 A good day all in all, had some navigation to do as the weather closed in occasionally and ticked a few boxes for me.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Wrong Side 'O Hills!

After a busy weekend at work and an indoor climbing session to fit in Monday I set off aiming to bag the Loch Lochy Munro's, it wasn't to be!
 Setting off from home late evening I planned to make the 6.5hoir journey to Loch Lochy and have a few hours sleep before setting off out on the hills.
 Unfortunately the Highways Agency had other plans with a detour that added an hour to the trip, with this in mind and growing tired at the wheel I decided to stay East and head up the A9 to pick a few Munro's off on the West side of the 'Pass Of Drumochter'.
 After managing a couple of hours sleep in a lay by I drove to 'Dalnaspidal Lodge' where I would leave my car for the day.
 Setting off in fine sunny weather it made a world of difference from last weeks slog in storm force winds!
 Soon moving into the snow line I actually wished I'd brought my snowshoes which would have reduced the amount of times I 'post holed' through the snow and made the going easier.

 As I gained height the views disappeared in low cloud meaning I had to have the compass out and do some navigation at times! All good practice.

 Munro summits the circular route covered were 'Sgairneach Mhor' 991m, 'Beinn Udlamain' 1011m and 'A' Mharconaich' 975m.
 After completing the final summit I dropped down into Coure Dhomhain and completed the circuit in around 6.5hrs.