Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The long way round...

27th July 2013
Driving to the cobbler to find rain and low cloud is becoming a habit, we turned tail and headed to Ayrshire in the hope of some dry rock and to salvage the day. 

Pulpit Arete (severe 4a***) Frustration Wall (hard severe 4b**) and Conclusion Crack (hard severe 4b*) made for a short but interesting day climbing on the basalt crag of Loudon hill... we must go back and do Cave Crack and The edge.

Whose supper keen then ...

12-13 July 2013
Craig and Mark headed to the Coe on Friday after work looking for adventure. Racing to the start of January Jigsaw we knew that it would be dark before we finished the route. We climbed to the big block belay and abseiled off in the dark. We down climbed curved ridge and got back to the hut at 1am.

Next morning we dragged ourselves to the East Face of Aonoch Dubh. The plan- warm up on Eves arete and climb a couple of the "Severes", but being Scottish and not used to the 30ÂșC heat we climbed Eves and went for ice cream...

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

One Wheel on my Wagon

On Friday and Saturday Craig was working for GoWhere, an excellent mountain bike (and more) holiday company based in Innerleithen, but covering Scotland.  It is run by the MTB route encyclopaedia known as Andy McKenna and his good wife Aneela, who we have the good fortune to know and have ridden bikes with for some time.

Andy, having man-flu, called Craig in to do some guiding with Prof James, over in Scotland for a bio-chemistry conference but, in reality, it seemed more like a whisky tasting tour with much biking thrown in.  James is a super keen biker from Salt Lake City and we have plans to go there and hook up with him for some sweet riding in the US if all goes to plan.

I met James on Friday - a real cowboy who greeted fellow travellers on the trail with a 'Howdy' everytime :) - and we went for some big ups on the bike around the secret trails in Glentress then headed up the Black route to the radio mast and dropped down into the adjacent glen.  It's never a real day on the bike unless you hike and we found a short cut, unintentional, through a fire break in the trees and re-entered the glen much higher up - meaning more biking and tracks for us.

Scottish hospitality - seats provided as necessary :)
Down the glen we met Neil from Alpine Bikes who joined us and we headed for '3G' and a little 'Community Service' and had a blast down there.  After a long hard day on the bike in hoooooot weather, we called it a day, went for a shower then met for dinner and had a few beers and a chill.

The next day, Aneela joined us, Andy still being unwell, and we headed for some beautiful exploring across the hills from Inners' to Peebles and had another fab day in the hills, descending into Peebles for lunch at the Deli-Bean, where a lurgy ridden Andy dragged himself out to join us for lunch.

Awesome lunch


More climbing saw us up Janet's Brae and into the Buzzard car park and more sweet single track, reminded me of Chamonix big time, onto the new track joining Peebles and Inners' - what joined up thinking there is around the Tweed Valley - great vision from the local community and council.

Anyway, back to the Traquair Arms and a well earned pint saw me heading home with heavy heart leaving sun, great biking and new, and old, friends.

Very well deserved!
All in a fantastic couple of days.  Hope to be back real soon.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Creag Mhor - Walk Mhor too

Working with Glasgow Life on Sunday meant Craig missing the Wimbledon final - boo hoo - but fine weather, company and scenery more than made up for it.

Creag Mhor near Killin (not that near!!) was the target Munro for the group and an 8am start saw us starting to walk around the back of 11am after a long drive up Glen Lochay, parking near Kenknock.

A long walk in on the higher path saw us enter Coire-cheathaich towards the lochan then strike up to the ridge line of Sron nan Eun to the 820 contour.  A direct line up the ridge saw us summit around 5 pm - yes that big a walk in.

The group did very well in the searing heat but we found water as necessary on route and found great views from the summit to the isles, Ben Nevis, Arrochar Alps and others.

We descended more directly, down towards Allt Batavaime and followed the burn down SE to the path - passing a no doubt surprised couple of campers seeking solitude in the middle of no where.

A long walk out in the setting sun was wonderful in a glen full of history and active use to develop natural, Scottish forests.

A chippy stop in Callander around 950pm saw us home in Glasgow around 1115pm and me home for the back of mid-night; a very long day.

Well done to Christine, Fiona, Marie, Stephen and Bruce for a fantastic effort to get to the top as a team and back all safe and well - tired but hugely satisfied :)

Next up is Ben Dorain...looking forward with anticipation.

Field Mouse Ear - a bonny wee flower indeed

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

'Descent Route' - someone said

Craig and Mark went for a CPD day in lieu of  Craig's SPA training which was disappointingly cancelled at the last minute.  With only one half finished climb this season, it had to be a dash ahead of the rain to try for Agag's Groove and January Jigsaw - the old classics which never let you down.

Early start saw us walking in from Jacksonville around 715am and getting on rock in good time.  Found some Dwarf Cornel on the way, which is a wonderful wee flower and fairly rare on the hills around this way...

Once on route, I took first and last pitches; Mark the middle two to keep things fair.  We topped out in to increasing wind and the cloud level dropped significantly.  We could feel the rain coming and had already set up an abseil down from the top of January Jigsaw but all too soon the rain started and put paid to further climbing.

With heavy hearts, we stripped the ab and headed across the E side of Crowberry Tower, seeing a neighbour of mine doing Curved Ridge with his club - well done Martin :)  A quick half Mars at the top of CR and we were off.

We down climbed Curved Ridge which is always fun but darn sore in climbing shoes, retrieving our bags then heading back to the car, and the start of Mark and Jane's holiday up north.

All in a great day and hopefully some more climbing to come.