Tuesday 31 May 2011

First mobile blog from my Galaxy S2

A New venture for me, I've no idea if this will work. If it does a whole new wold awaits!!

Monday 30 May 2011

Burnhope Seat

Burnhope Seat Trig
       A short walk across the border from Cumbria into County Durham. Taking my life in my hands there, dangerously close to Pieman country! We parked below the forlorn looking ski tows of Yad Moss and followed the towline up onto the broad plateau. This was damp underfoot to say the least, many detours were made to avoid the worst bits. The trig point is in County Durham but only by 20metres or so, it is unusual as its built on a large plinth with a couple of steps so that Marilyn baggers can surmount it with ease. Although it had been dry so far the weather was closing in over in the west, so beat a hasty retreat to Darn Gill. The old mine level marked on the map was found just as the rain came pouring down. A while sheltering under the road bridge and still the rain came down, so on with the waterproofs and as we set off back to the car of course the rain stopped.

Sunday 29 May 2011

Birk Fell

Buckden Pike behind the trig on Birk fell

        A dismal morning, high winds and driving rain, so I wasn't going to venture too far. I still had the Marilyn of Birk Fell to climb, so that was why I found myself sat in the car at Arncliffe in Littondale, as it rocked on its springs. At least the rain had stopped, so off I went. I walked up onto the ridge helped by the westerly, once on the ridge the wall provided a bit of shelter. The path hugs the wall for most of the way thank goodness, after a couple of miles the trig appears to the east of the path. This however, according to the book isn't the summit. The actual highpoint of Birk Fell is about another mile further on, it is marked by a small cairn. I retraced my steps to the bridleway, and followed it down to the hamlet of Litton. The valley was sheltered and gentle meadow paths led me back to the car. This completes the ascent of the Marilyns in the dales so its time to move on to pastures new in the search for more summits.
Summit of Birk Fell 

Sunday 22 May 2011

Hard Level Gill

Ruins of Old Gang Smelt Mill
    On the way back home from Hoove and with the weather improving I decided to have a mosey up Hard level Gill as far as the old mines and smelt mill at Old Gang. Much of the buildings have had their imminent collapse arrested with careful remedial work. These buildings will be familiar to "Coast to Coast" walkers, the route goes right past them.


East from the trig on Hoove
        A wild, windy day with heavy showers. I parked on the top of "The Stang", near Arkengarthdale, and headed roughly west into the teeth of the gale. Todays target was Hoove, a little trod "Marilyn." It was only about 1 mile to the grid reference which was in theory the high point of this mainly featureless moorland. Even the rock outcrop marked on the map wasn't there! The designated point looked no higher than the trig point which was a few hundred yards to the north. I visited this as well for completeness.

Thursday 19 May 2011

Ilkley Moor

Gritstone blocks near the summit
        Ilkley Moor is a Marilyn, and other jobs in the area  gave me an opportunity to visit the top. I must admit that the vast amount of the work was done by the motorbike, a tarmaced road takes one all the way to the ridge. (Just beyond the radio masts in the photo.) The path was in the process of being repaired, there were lots of pallets of gritstone slabs waiting to be placed in crucial spots. At last we have had some better weather, the sun has shone, although tempered by a cool wind.

Sunday 15 May 2011

Winter Hill

Memorial Stone: 100 years since reclaiming the public right of way
       Another wet day, very wet and windy in-fact! I had seen the mast on Winter hill from a distance many times, but today with Ian I visited the mast up close, and of course the trig point. We ascended Smithhills Moor and stopped at the shooting hut for a spot of lunch. Sadly we were only able to see perhaps 80ft of the total 1035ft. Our route for the return leg lay along Dean Ditch, the path was wet to say the least! It was a shame that the weather was so poor, and that I was unable to see the huge mast in all its glory. I shall have to go back, possibly on the bike up the private access road.

Friday 13 May 2011

Back Home

Cia-Aig Waterfall
   Waking up to more rain in Glen Nevis, made the decision to drive home very easy. The plan for the day was to see what the weather was like at Callendar and if fine climb Stuc a' Chroin. However when I got there the rain was tipping down and the sky was black, so home it was. An enjoyable break though, despite the weather, and quite productive too. I have enjoyed blogging whilst away, using the computers in Glen Nevis hostel, I forgot the lead for the camera so I have added the photographs once home.

Thursday 12 May 2011

East of Drumochter

Summit of A'Bhuidheaneach Bheag

    A poor forecast for the west coast, so I decided to look elsewhere for better weather. As far east as I could reasonably drive was the answer, so I drove to just south of Dalwhinnie. Parking beside the busy A9, I left the car to climb the obvious track to the disused quarry between the Munro's of A' Bhuidheaneach Bheag and Carn na Caim. A' Bhuidheaneach Bheag lies about 2.5k due south of here, but the direct route would be wet underfoot to say the least. I followed the clear track, which tends to seek out drier ground. The cloud and then heavy rain came in and lasted for about an hour, the cloud lifted briefly to give a limited view form the summit of A' Bhuidheaheach Bheag. I turned and retraced my steps back to the quarry, and then with the wind pushing me along followed the fence to the second Munro of Carn na Caim. Once again I was lucky, the low cloud clearing to reveal a 360 degree vista. Then the hard bit, back against the wind to the top of the track. The strength of the wind was amazing, stopping me in my tracks. Once back at the quarry track down I went, easy going all the way back to the car. Just 4 hrs there and back, I wore Inov8's with Amphibian Goretex socks, best combination of the week.
Summit of Carn na Caim

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Ardverikie Forest

Coire Mor Chlachair

Summit of Geal Charn
Summit of Creag Pitridh

    A better day promised the weather forecast, so I decided to tackle the 3 Munro's of the Ardverikie Forest. Leaving the car at Luiblea means a long walk in, but the estate roads make for easy going and at least I wasn't submerged in fir trees like yesterday. I had only walked about a mile when the first heavy shower blew through, it was to set a pattern for the rest of the day. My waterproof trousers were "on and off like a brides nightie". the real climbing only starts after Lochan na Earba, the old stalkers path has been well maintained and height was gained quickly from the col a short scrambly few crags were negotiated and good proges was made acoss the stoney ridge. The summit of Beinn a Chlachair was guarded by a mass of boulders, the view extensive as the cloud had cleared just long enough for a few photos. I retraced my steps to the col, descended the stalkers path a little way and took its northern branch for a couple of hundred yards before leaving it to stike upwards to the summit of Geal Charn. The Cairn was huge and acompanied by an unuasul trig coloum. The ground was easy so a beeline westwards brought me down to the Creag Pitridh col. A very short although steep climb and I was on the last summit of the day Creag Pitridh, once again good views. Gentle slopes led back to the outward track and a return to the car along the same estate roads. Today felt so easy in comparison to yesterday, partially the weather but it also felt good to be back in trainers, even if it meant wet feet! A round trip of 20 miles in six and a half hours.
Sandy shore of Lochan na Hearba

Tuesday 10 May 2011

The Loch Lochy Munro's

The Upper Cia-Aig Glen
     Another title would have been "Tested Before the Storm", because any sane person would have turned back. I parked near the Cia-aig waterfall. After a bit of a wait as I thought the rain might stop, I set off (in the rain) the route follows a nature trail and then a forest road high above the river, until the path emerges from the forest about 3.5km up Glean Cia-aig. The path from here is really quite sketchy and much bog-hopping must be done before the more obvious path is reached continuing under Sron a choire Ghairbh. I followed this to the col, the Cam Bealach. the wind was very strong blowing through the col like a wind tunnel. The amazing zig-zags lift you easily onto the ridge, however today the wind and rain made for a scary experience. I didn;t linger at the summit, I couldn't stand up!. I retraced my steps to the col and had a long think, whilst I wrung the water out of my Buff Mitts! I was reluctant to leave the other Munro unclimbed. I set off up the thread of a path and although the wind was still driving the rain in it didn't seem to bad. The going was relatively easy if rather steep and before long I was on the summit of Meall na Teanga. I would have liked to return by a different route but the wild and wet precluded this, so I returned by the same route. The burn which had to be crossed in upper Glean Cia-Aig had swollen quite alot in the few hours that had elapsed, but I was able to make a safe crossing. All that was left was the walk out which seemed even longer than the walk in! It managed to stop raining for about half an hour as i was approaching the car. there was probably none left in the sky, it had rained continuously for over 6 hours. I certainly felt like I'd earned these 2 Munro's, I think the approach from the east would be easier and the views better although I didn't get any so who knows.

Monday 9 May 2011

Beinn a Chaorainn & Beinn Teallach

Summit of Beinn a' Chaorainn

        These two Munro's are to the west of Creag Meagaidh, and are really a part of that group. My route today was from the farm at Roughburn on the Glen Spean road. The path leads up through the plantation, eventually finding a fire break, which gave access to the open hill. There was only a thread of a path here and there. It wasn't long before full waterproofs were required and these stayed on all day. The southwest ridge gave easy walking and what seemed quite quickly I arrived at the first top. the summit of Beinn a Chaorainn was seen through the thin cloud which was coming and going. It had cleared when I reached the top, and continued clear over the next top, although the wind was terrific. I descended diagonally across the grassy and mossy slopes to the cairn at the head of the glen. Steep slopes gave access to the northeast ridge of Beinn Teallach, I followed this ridge to a cairn which marked a false summit, I didn't realise this at first in the dense low cloud. Upon reaching the true summit (one of the lowest Munro's) the cloud cleared giving a great view north to the head of Glen Roy, the paralell roads clear to see. The navigation was easy from here, due south from here would do the trick. It was a good job the weather closed in and the rain pounded down for the length of the ridge, only abating as I reached the flats at the bottom of the glen, a short walk back through the forestry and I was back at the car, just as the rain came on again! This was an easier walk than I anticipated, although  of course there's no easy Munro's
Summit of Beinn Teallach

Sunday 8 May 2011

Glen Nevis

    A n easy day of it today as I drove up to Glen Nevis Hostel from home. It managed to rain from Carslile to Crianlarich, but once on Rannoch Moor the sun started to shine. The hills of the Black Mount were clear of cloud, and nad remnants of snow in the high corries. I stopped for a stroll round the slate quarries at Ballahullish, then again at the Corran Ferry. A quick shop for food in Fort William and then I got booked into the hostel. another tick as I haven't stayed here before! Glen Nevis and the slopes of the "Ben" are bathed in the rays of the evening sun as I type this.  Tomorrow the weather looks mixed so I shall make a dicision  over breakfast regards my hills for the day. At the moment I think the Laggen area, (its more likely to be dry there?)

Friday 6 May 2011

Planning for Scotland

     The blogs will in the main go quiet over the next week as folk take on the TGO challange. I shall be in the Fort William/Great Glen area myself next week, staying at Glen Nevis Hostel to start with at least. The objective is to climb a few hills if the weather is acceptable! I've got a few Munro's to mop up round there. I'll be on the look out for backpackers as I tramp the hills and glens.  Good Luck to all.

Thursday 5 May 2011

Old Park Wood

Old Park Wood Foreshore

        A half day available today so a short walk beside the Leven estuary, from the shore at Old Park Wood. I've been to the car park before, but never explored the area properly. We walked along the shore, which is a carpet of sea washed turf.  Having stopped and watched Eiders and Shelducks whilst eating our butties, we continued below the limestone cliffs and woodland. We explored the cave, which is marked on the 1:25000 map, but we were surprised by its size. Our route continued round Capes Head and made our way back to the car through the woodland, seeing a Roe Deer at close quarters. The day was very humid, and eventually at about 4.30pm it started to rain! Quite a novelty after such a long dry spell.

Monday 2 May 2011

Kirroughtree and Dalbeatie


       With a forecast for great weather I made a last minute booking at the Youth Hostel at Minigaff (Newton Stewart). The plan was to ride two of the "7 Stanes" mountain bike trails in Southwest Scotland.Having ridden the trail at Ae, I knew the trails would be well and graded for flowing riding, so I waslooking forward to some great fun.  I rode Kirroughtree on Sunday and then Dalbeatie today (monday). Both were good but as widely thought in the mountain bike world, Kirroughtree is fantastic. I must admit that I missed out "The chute", but there's always another time. A great weekend.