|A trial with panorama mode on my smart phone, not perfect, I can assure you though that the view was excellent!|
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Sunday, 18 March 2012
Saturday, 10 March 2012
There is obviously a very good guidebook and a lot of information on the web but I thought I would just share a couple of our 'top tips' if you are heading out there for the first time (next year now).
|Edd, Matt & Myself|
|Trapfoss, brilliant route|
|The little dots at the bottom are us, these waterfalls line the valley|
|Matt top roping at Kroken|
I packed for everything, from rain to extreme cold but most days I found myself wearing softshells and having a light jacket to belay in (Nano Puff). However speaking to Sandy and Rob who were there working, the week previous was extremely cold, down to minus 20 so definitely worth packing for everything. We flew with Ryanair to Oslo Torp (Sandefjord) who are renowned for taking your money!! So I got the lightest bag I could find (as the bag can lose you a couple of kilo's) and weighed it before I got to the airport. We each had 15kg and the 10kg hand baggage, I wore my boots (Phantom Guides) and down jacket through check in. We all took abit of food, tea, coffee etc... when I go again and there is a few of us I will be buying an extra 15kg bag just for food as reckon this would work out cheaper between you rather, than buying all the food in country, excluding the fresh stuff.
We hired a Ford Fiesta from 'Sixt' which was big enough for four people and only used one tank for the whole trip. One week after returning I did however receive a random receipt from 'Sixt' for an additional driver fee which we did have, but I presumed we had paid for this when I received an email thanking me for paying the full amount, so that is worth bearing in mind, apart from that it was the cheapest rental company I found at the time.
Thursday, 26 January 2012
|Luke on P2 of Ventriloquist|
|Myself on the crux pitch|
|Yours truly getting in the groove of Auricle|
|Luke on the final difficult pitch of Ventriloquist|
Saturday, 21 January 2012
I'm a bit behind with the blog so here are some of my photos from the past two weeks...
|5/1 Luke on Chimney Route VI,6 Stob Coire nan Lochain|
|9/1 Luke and the Mamores from the Cairn Mor Dearg Arete|
|14/1 Mark on Stirling Bridge V,7 Aonach Mor|
|13/1 Luke on Two Step V,5 Ben Nevis|
|15/1 Mark underneath Stand and Deliver V,5 (route 1 of 2 for the day), Camilla left. Aonach Beag N face|
|15/1 Three classic Ice lines, L to R - Royal Pardon VI,5 / Camilla V,5 / Stand and Deliver V,5 Aonach Beag N face seen on our approach to the NE Ridge III,3|
|16/1 Konrad on Smiths Route V,5 Ben Nevis|
|19/1 Liam on Va Va Voom M8, Newtyle Quarry, Dunkeld|
|20/1 Luke on P1 of Sioux Wall VII,8 No.3 Gully Buttress, Ben Nevis|
|20/1 Myself on P2 of Sioux Wall|
So there you have it, the weekly life of a winter freelancer! Please don't hire us to actually work, we're having far too much fun!
Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Leaving the main road after Invergarry the rain seemed to increase in ferocity as we wound our way down the 22 miles of single track which ended in the small hamlet of Kinloch Hourn. The windscreen wipers intermittently revealed the last dregs of civilisation slipping out of view; we drove deep into the heart of the glen.
It had been raining for most of the day now and this coupled with the snowmelt of warmer temperatures was causing the line between road and river to blur continuously, torrents overtook tarmac. It had been a long time since I had seen this much water pouring off the hillside and our emersion into this water world was complete where we finally parked, as the road ends and Loch Hourn begins.
Steve and I had made a last minute decision to seek a bit of adventure before I returned to work and he had to get his head down to some revision for imminent exams. With the forecast looking so bleak it was hard to imagine getting much done but the holidays were nearly at an end and we both wanted to burn ourselves out before the return. Looking for something big to do we both realised that neither of us had been into Knoydart, mainland Britain’s great wilderness. There are few ways to penetrate this vast area, roads only reach its very edge and the sea defending three of its sides, by boat or on foot are the only ways to unlock its secrets. This would be the ideal stage upon which to set an epic escapade!
We knew we were going to get the question was just how wet. Having psyched ourselves up we left the car and quickly put our waterproofs on managing to only get slightly damp in the process. So the march began, it was 10km to the bothy at Barrisdale where we planned to stay the night before attempting the three Munros the next day, this should take us 2hrs 30mins; or so we thought! Silence descended along with the darkness but the rain didn’t let up in intensity by now the water was seeping through the two pairs of waterproof trousers I was wearing and my boots were beginning to fill up. The path wound round the edge of the shore moving away from the lapping waves only to climb over impassable sections of cliff and ford the rivers. Given the state of the rivers on the drive in we knew that where the path crossed the now raging streams we may have some difficulty but little prepared us for what we found at the first crossing point. The river was only 5m wide but was moving so fast that there was only white water visible. Moving down to the shore we found a slightly better place to cross and waded thigh deep to the other side with relative safety. The question of how wet we would get was answered; soaked!!
Staggering on the wind had now picked up and this only confounded problems as we were met with our final hurdle just 2km from the comfort of the bothy. There seemed no obvious place to cross this one. A bridge marked on the map must have been washed away and it looked as though you would be immediately swept away as soon as you stepped into the water. I was feeling particularly fool hardy and indestructible for some reason and seeing only 7m between us and the bothy I decided to go for it at the narrowest section. This was a massive mistake as I was soon up to my waist and my legs were taken from under me. Just getting back to shore by the skin of my teeth I avoided the watery grave that awaited me as I was swept into the loch wearing full waterproofs and carrying a 13kg bag, what an idiot!! Taking stock of the situation Steve reminded me of one of the many reasons I go into the hills with him. Taking the logical approach he got the map out and we soon realised we would have to climb up the river bank to where we could cross safely at its source. This involved 500m of height gain and a detour of 4km. The rain and wind did not allow us any respite and after an hour and a half we reached the great bog where the river split into many streams allowing us to pass more safely. Right on cue Steve’s head torch began to flicker and die; just what we needed! Luckily mine was quite powerful and we pushed onwards above the snow line to a col where we could just make out our final destination. Slipping and sliding back down the 500m to sea level we arrived at the bothy, 5hrs after leaving the car. The lack of a fire meant that it would be an almost impossible task to dry our clothes but we hung them up and got some food on. The luxury of having shelter from the rain was incredible and we sat steaming in our wet clothes, eating and sipping whisky before bed.
Waking at 6am from my waterlogged nightmares I could hear the wind howling outside still. Tea seemed to be the best option and we sat in our bags brewing up. Moral was at an all-time low, the last thing we wanted to do was get into wet clothes and face the maelstrom again. One hour turned into two as we sat at stalemate with the wind, finally as it grew light and we could drink no more tea the weather eased. A frantic rush of activity followed as we shoved wet clothes on, Steve chanting “Hardcore do you want more?” to get himself in the right frame of mind to force on his dripping trousers!
Morale took a u-turn as we left the bothy in high spirits and soon were half way up the first summit of Luinne Bheinn. The weather seemed stable and we powered up to about 800m before a sudden rise in the wind speed forced a crawl to the summit. Being unable to dry out our boots made for very cold feet above the snow line, stopping for more than 10 minutes meant my feet started to freeze so perpetual motion was necessary. Meall Buidhe fell quickly but the wind tried its best to beat us back. By this point our late start meant it was three o’clock and we were stood at the col staring up at our final hurdle Ladhar Bheinn, the decision was made almost immediately to go for it; we hadn’t walked all this way to not get the three done! Estimating 2hrs 30 to the summit we set off at a ferocious pace soon to realise that our legs were tiring. A steep climb to the ridge brought us into view of the impressive corrie as dusk fell. Pushing on up the ridge the snow became thicker and progress ever slower and more laboured, thighs were starting to fade as we realised that the 300m of ascent was going to take a lot longer than expected. Our head torch beams probed the darkness looking for the relief of the summit which was seeming impossibly far away, starting to stagger and stumble I was getting to the point of exhaustion. Luckily I could see Steve was feeling the same so no pride was lost in stopping for a much needed glucose injection and rehydration station. The cloud was down as we dragged ourselves up the last 100m climbing to the summit arriving at 6pm to see the lights of Armadale which seemed a world away from our isolated island of snow in a sea of darkness.
Tuesday, 3 January 2012
With my 25th birthday fast approaching I felt that some sort of celebration was in order. I had two options either a massive drink or spending some time in the hills with good friends. I decided on the latter, secretly knowing the former would follow! Finding partners was easy, back from Spain and spending Christmas with his family near Edinburgh was a dreadlocked man with thighs of steel; Michael Coppock, and ever keen to get out on the hill in the run up to her Winter Mountain Leader award (WML), kayaker extraordinaire Georgina Maxwell completed a Munro bagging team to be reckoned with!
Due to Mike having no transport we decided to try and tick some of the southern Munros. The Ben Lawers chain seemed the most logical being close to Mike’s house and having a possible 8 Munro ticks in a day. Staying at Mike’s house the night before, we would meet George and her border collie Jackson at the car park in the morning. Loaded up with leftover turkey sandwiches Mike and I left at 5.30am arriving to wake George from her comfy, car slumber at 7.00am. Starting in the dark we made fairly good time up to the first summit of Meall Greigh but despite my enthusiasm for the day I couldn’t shake the feeling I had a very serious case of man flu building! This was soon forgotten however when our resident WML trainee announced that she had forgotten her gloves! With the wind chill being pretty severe Mike kindly provided some so as George could guide us round without her hands falling off.