Saturday, 18 June 2011

Summer Climbing - Cobblers!

Summer should be for climbing in shorts, bitten by midges and nice warm rock to shake off winter chills.

On the other hand, this is a late planned trip up the Cobbler on 16 June saw us on the rock at 8.30 pm.  Windmills with the arms to get blood back in the fingers did not harbinge summer thrills.

Frozen fingers and more at the first belay was not expected and Mark, fast approaching with every piece of clothing on, compounded my thoughts of an early bail. 

Mark pulled over the lip on pitch 2 and we set up the abseil, avoiding the crux final pitch in impending rain and deep cold...JUNE, SUMMER, ur havin' larff!

Interestingly our tat from last year was still in place; so we cut it out, put new stuff in and off I went.  A slip on the way down shifted the tat over a sharp edge and cut the sheath on it...aaargh - altho it was fine, it was backed up and so never in danger :))  Mark did a quick repair on it and down he came for a sprint back to the car in 46 mins from the bealach; that's fast!!

Great night out; good exercise and navigation and two top pitches made it worth the effort.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Simply Epic - MTB Cycling Expedition to Speyside

Bill and I went on a great course with Jules Fincham over the Speyside hills.  The trip started badly with Bill's mobile home breaking down o/s Aviemore and having to be towed to Inverness for Bill to pay even more money to keep his fleet of Mercedes on the road.

Anyway, after a intro and brief from Jules, we were off and running to the hills, through Boat of Garten then Carrbridge on Route 7...a great trail to get us started with our fancy trailers on the back of the bikes.   Some nice climbing and eventually we pitch up on a nice flat field nr River Dulnain and time for food - nice curry out a packet with Mars Bar for desert!

Weather looked dubious for the next day and we were not disappointed with a cold front bringing snow on the higher ground, a coldish sleep and rain first thing.  Nice breakfast of tomato soup, sarnies and crisps set us up for the ride home, with the sun coming out the moment we got on the bikes :)))

A great trip through the hills and a monster climb to test the legs took us to the top of the burma Road, then a great descent brought us nearly home.  Jules used local knowledge to keep us of the A9 and we got home in plenty of time for the wonderful Lisa to make us sausage, bacon and egg to replenish lost calories.

All in a great trip, lots of learning - new routes, camping stuff, Jules loves his plant pots, pulling a trailer up the hill can be tough and Lisa's a great cook.

Highly recommended by Simply Epic.
Simply Epic Expedition to Speyside from C Coid on Vimeo.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Mountain biking in Glen Orchy

The Simply Epic crew were out on a charity day with an 'over-privileged adult from Newton Mearns' - Peter!

Peter owns a detached villa, a holiday chalet, runs his own business and owns more cars than he can fit in his drive way...a great candidate for us to help 'over-privileged' folks...he even let us pay for is petrol on the short journey to Tyndrum; a true aristocrat :)
One of Pedro's many cars.
Headed up to Tyndrum - buying our charity case a coffee and cake on the way - and headed off in the rain with the prospect of fun and games ahead on the bikes. After reaching Bridge of Orchy, we headed up Glen Orchy on sweet single track and one of many food stops - plenty of Mars Bars to keep us going.

On the way we found what we thought was a new piece of single track but Mark assured us we were looking at a wide - super wide - logging trail for heavy goods harvesting vehicles...we thought they must be heavy duty motorcycles for harvesting...and proceeded to rib Mark for Clear and Present daftiness!!  Anyway, Peter demonstrated the size of log which a motorcycle might bring up on a good day...much to our amusement!

Moving on, we found a good river to cross, which has been much worse before, but we had fun crossing in our shoes...apart from Peter who got his hobbit feet out for a laugh.

Anyway, after a detour near the end through trees and plenty of mud and moss, we had a a good cycle up the road to Bridge of Orchy, then the A82 to Tyndrum, into the wind big time :(, followed by a quick change in the car, using a poly bag as a towel...then a quality coffee and snack at the Green Welly.

Overall, a stellar day in the rain on the bike; reminds me of why I ride!

Great fun, and more to come of course.
<iframe src=";byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=ff9933" width="398" height="224" frameborder="0"></iframe><p><a href="">Mountain Biking in Glen Orchy and the WHW</a> from <a href="">C Coid</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p>

Saturday, 7 May 2011

The Long Climb VS 4c *** Ben Nevis

The guide book says this is the longest vertical face climb in mainland Britain, of almost alpine stature.
Friday 29th April 2011, up at 4am, meet Craig 5am, no faff, coffee and head into the night. Just over 2 hours later we roll into the north face car park, bags on and head up the track. 25 mins later and we are the top car park and heading to NEB. After negotiating the snow patch at the bottom of Orion face I led up the first slab taking the right hand variation (4c). The next pitch (4a) has a super cool airy traverse from the belay to gain two parallel cracks. These are climbed for 45m and offer really good exposed climbing. The ground eases and we are in the basin of Orion. The traverse is straightforward enough but still holds snow. Through leads and we arrive at the second slab. This is a great pitch (4c) up the slab and traverse onto the left edge for some super moves in a fantastic position. Craig climbed through and we headed for what the guide book called easier ground, but our keen nose for a line had us seek out difficult loose ground instead. 8.30pm (dusk) and we are weaving our way across the Orion face, Zero Gully and eventually topping out of Slav Route and Ben Summit at 9.17pm (see photo below for route).

Handshake, hug (for surviving what was an epic long climb), pic, half a sarnie and we bundle the gear as quickly as possible into our sacks and head for the tourist track under the cover of darkness.

Coke, fish & chips, cramp in the car (me) big Z'zzzz (Craig) and we are home in Glasgow 23hrs later at 3am.

What a day, what a climb, what a team ...Epic.

More details can be found on Mark's blog, and Craig's Blog

The Orion and Minus faces of North East Buttress with the Long Climb in Red

 Getting to the bottom of the route proved tricky

Craig following the parallel cracks (4a)


From pitch 7 looking towards Tower Ridge

Mark, serious face

Mark heading up the second slab pitch (4c)
Mark and Craig both happy to be on the summit at 9.30pm. Magic !