Monday, 30 December 2013

It's the SatNav!

Craig, Bill and Mark went up north seeking action on Saturday before an MCofS Avalanche Course on the Sunday.  Biblically wet weather and winds saw a climb reduced to a potential walk then reduced further to a day in the Ice Factor.

To be fair, it was a great few hours of quality ice climbing on well maintained routes with some fine hard sections to hone winter climbing skills for...well, most likely more indoor action given the truly bad weather we are having currently (current equating to a month plus)!  Boooooooooo...

Anyway, a fine trip round the gear shops, with the only purchase being a hat and a map, saw us settled at Kimber's place thence some scran at the Grog and Gruel :)

Sunday saw us out on the hill with Heather the Weather from MCofS on a fine winter day; the amount of snow above 650m is hard to believe given the rain we've had recently but we plunged a probe fully 10 feet down in a hollow and the pack is about 1.3m deep on the SW aspect of the Nid.

We had an excellent training day discussing aspects, slope angle, digging hasty pits and walking Rutschblock tests, propagation, windslab, SAIS, temperature gradients, layers, graupel, hoar frost and facets, and most importantly, when to run away!

Looking for avalanche debris towards the back corries
We had an excellent journey on the day, including a long bum slide down towards the Transceiver Park where we played around with some fancy kit; the next thing for the hills!?

The air is very moist at present, evidenced by rain no doubt, but also by the amazing build up of rime ice on the ski furniture;

Serious rime!
All in, we found it a great day's training, well worth the money with plenty of consolidation and new knowledge; big thanks to Heather Morning of MCofS for an excellent day and for organising these events.  Even if you think you know about avalanches and how to stay safe, the course made it clear that new research was updating and amending previously thought best practice regularly; get along to one and keep safe.

Best lunch spot of the weekend...

Can we climb now please???

Monday, 2 December 2013

December, and a wee paddle by the seaside

Winter climbing being rather poor, biking being too energetic, Craig Bill and Mark opted for a wee kayak down at Loch Lomond on a rather splendid day; sunglasses and skip hat being prerequisites for the day.

After some faffing associated with loading up the car with kit (grrr), we headed down and launched in the sun with silly ambitions of getting to Tarbert!  Notwithstanding, we got down to the 'dive at five' and crossed the loch for a pleasant lunch on the jetty at Rowardennan.

After gorging on sarnies, we headed up the east side of the loch and enjoyed the sun and 50 mile views before crossing to Luss and playing at eskimos.

All in, despite Craig's rasping cough, a great day was had by all on the water.  More kayaking needed in the near future...

Falko Dreams

Craig was out with the ladies (9 of them!) from Glasgow Life on a very pleasant walk along the beaches near Direlton, over looking the Forth of Forth, Fife and some outstanding geology from Scotland's distant past.

A quick resume of the local geology, North Berwick being tropical and highly volcanic some 350m years ago, saw us head off on the walk.  There is some fabulous evidence of the violent volcanic past with lava flows, caves and glacial features aplenty from more recent times.

Sea Buck-Thorn
A wonderful short walk along the dunes, typically chilly east coast wind and a pleasant lunch spot over looking the water, saw us back to the bus and a very pleasant coffee stop, thence home.

A new coastal area for Craig and one very much worth returning to, with plenty of bird life and points of interest.