Knife Edge.

Nov. 2nd, 2013 04:31 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)

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Running along the north side of Glencoe, a deep glaciated valley with a long, sometimes barbourous history, is a long, steep-sided mountain ridge.I like ridge walking; I have climbed many of the ridges in the Scottish mountains - Liatach, An Teallach, and much of the Skye Cuillin - including the Inaccessible Pinnancle, an ill-named, very exposed blade of rock sticking out of (and a very little higher than) Sgurr Alasdair. To climb the Inn Pinn, you need ropes - it is the only one of the 283 Scottish mountains recognised as being over 3,000 feet ("Munros") for which you do need ropes.

But the Aonach Eagach comes close. And it is much, much harder than the rest of the Cuillin: once you have reached the ridge, an hour and a half's climb, there is only one way to go. And the scrambling is incessant for four or five hours, without a break.

It was foggy, as it was when I climbed the Inn Pinn, which I think was an advantage: it stops one thinking of the possible dangers when you can't see down.

It is a narrow path along the top of the ridge, and lots of ups and downs - pinnacles - that require scaling and scrambling. On Liatach and An Teallach, there are ways to avoid the more uncomfortable pinnacles; on the Cuillin, whilst the ridge is precipitous, there are lots of flat bits in between those that require scrambling. The Aonach Eagach lacks both alternative routes around the pinnacles and much space in between. Certainly nowhere to stop.

I quite enjoy scrambling, but the intensity of the Aonach Eagach is just wearing. And it is not an easy scramble - it is the most difficult route before it becomes real mountain climbing (what I do I usually describe as walking!). The guide I and two others hired - absolutely essential, I reckon, and I couldn't have done it without him - had to direct me a fair bit - where to put my hands and feet. There was a lot of stretching between hand- and footholds - my limbs ached for several days after. There were many times when I couldn't see what was below me; the was one moment when I had to stretch my leg down and down a bit more, and I could feel my hands losing their grip, and I couldn't see how far I would fall. It turned out to be about two inches. But timed stopped...

At other points, the path was barely a foot wide on the ridge, with sheer drops on each side. I happily surrendered my dignity and crawled along, one hand and one foot on each side of the ridge.

I am pleased to sat that I shall not be climbing the Aonach Eagach again. I may well climb the first (eastern) Munro again, from the north. The second, westerly Munro I have climbed before. It was actually the first Munro I ever climbed, before I knew any better. I was staying at the Clachaig, a pub at the west of the glen, in 1987 or '88. It was a glorious early summer day. I had had a pint and lunch, and I noticed a path going up the hillside opposite the pub. So I climbed up, right to the top. Several years later, I read "this route should be avoided... a hazard... Not recommended".

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(The cloudy photos were taken on this trip. These sunny photos were taken on a - sunnier - trip last year. I must have many old, black and white photos of Glencoe and the Aonach Eagach amongst my negatives. Another scanning project, perhaps...)

Ice.

Dec. 22nd, 2012 04:57 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
Climbing Ben Vorlich in mid December meant a short day but lots of ice. The path was treacherous (though easily avoidable), the ground rimed and the burns, though free-flowing, had iced their edges.

It was very beautiful.

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Ben A'an and Loch Katrine.



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Ben Vorlich.



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A friend's final Munro.

Mountains

Sep. 10th, 2010 05:10 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
I spent several days last month in Braemar, walking in the hills in the south east edge of the Cairngorms. Some of these hills are very remote – one day was one of the longest I have spent in the hills, a 25 mile round trip (that's almost a marathon, with a couple of munros to climb thrown in, too!) from Linn of Dee up Geldie Burn, halfway to Blair Atholl: there were clear views of the Bheinn a Ghlo massif directly south, mountains which mark the western edge of the Cairngorms.

There were a couple of shorter days, too – a lovely walk up Badoch burn to An Socach, and a much harder walk into the face of a 50mph wind up Glas Tualichain.

There were some beautiful evenings and mornings, too.

I took pictures, natch…

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rhythmaning: (sunset)
It was a cold weekend, and that meant the air was clear. (Or vice versa.) The light was beautiful.

I walked along the coast in both directions – north for a couple of miles towards Tarbert, and south to Claonaig.

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More pictures behind the cut... )

rhythmaning: (sunset)
It was a cold weekend, and that meant the air was clear. (Or vice versa.) The light was beautiful.

I walked along the coast in both directions – north for a couple of miles towards Tarbert, and south to Claonaig.

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More pictures behind the cut... )

rhythmaning: (sunset)
On my way to Kintyre last weekend, I took a detour to Knapdale and Loch Sween. No real reason, but I had time, and I thought the sunset might be good.

I think I was right. I stopped with a view west to the Paps of Jura, which were snow covered, and to Gigha, Islay and, eventually, Ireland and the Atlantic. There were cormorants and gulls; and a large, yellow sun.

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rhythmaning: (sunset)
On my way to Kintyre last weekend, I took a detour to Knapdale and Loch Sween. No real reason, but I had time, and I thought the sunset might be good.

I think I was right. I stopped with a view west to the Paps of Jura, which were snow covered, and to Gigha, Islay and, eventually, Ireland and the Atlantic. There were cormorants and gulls; and a large, yellow sun.

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rhythmaning: (sunset)
More mountains: a weekend walking in the north west.

Some friends had rented a cottage in Coulags in Strathcarron. I got a ride up with a friend who dropped me off by the cottage and I climbed Maol Chean-dearg, six miles up the track behind the cottage.

It was a lovely afternoon. The views north to Torridon were stunning. There were showers, and a rainbow formed in the glen between Maol Chean-dearg and Sgurr Ruadh. I sat for a long while, watching the clouds and the light as the showers sped by, trying to identify the different hills and eating smoked salmon sandwiches. (I like a little luxury in the hills!)

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More pictures; and more words... )

rhythmaning: (sunset)
More mountains: a weekend walking in the north west.

Some friends had rented a cottage in Coulags in Strathcarron. I got a ride up with a friend who dropped me off by the cottage and I climbed Maol Chean-dearg, six miles up the track behind the cottage.

It was a lovely afternoon. The views north to Torridon were stunning. There were showers, and a rainbow formed in the glen between Maol Chean-dearg and Sgurr Ruadh. I sat for a long while, watching the clouds and the light as the showers sped by, trying to identify the different hills and eating smoked salmon sandwiches. (I like a little luxury in the hills!)

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More pictures; and more words... )

Glen Shiel

Jun. 8th, 2008 08:27 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
I spent two days climbing in Glen Shiel. I t should have been longer, but my boots were still causing problems, and I would rather minimise the pain and damage to my feet (I am going walking again next weekend; I'll have to see how it goes).

On the Friday, I climbed Carn Ghluasaid, Sgurr nan Conbhairean and Sail Chaorainn. It was foggy, and cool.

The next day, I climbed the Five Sisters of Kintail, from east to west. I got a lift to the start with some guys who were adding on "the Three Brothers", making it a really, really long day. I climbed the bealach, looked at Saileag and decided it made no sense not to climb it, too, so I headed east and ascended the first of four munros for the day. Then I turn west, and walked back to the hotel along the high ridge.

It was a glorious day: actually, too good: it was very hot and very sunny. It made the climbing very hard work, and it was a long, long day - longer than I had expected. Perhaps I am just unfit.

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Glen Shiel

Jun. 8th, 2008 08:27 pm
rhythmaning: (sunset)
I spent two days climbing in Glen Shiel. I t should have been longer, but my boots were still causing problems, and I would rather minimise the pain and damage to my feet (I am going walking again next weekend; I'll have to see how it goes).

On the Friday, I climbed Carn Ghluasaid, Sgurr nan Conbhairean and Sail Chaorainn. It was foggy, and cool.

The next day, I climbed the Five Sisters of Kintail, from east to west. I got a lift to the start with some guys who were adding on "the Three Brothers", making it a really, really long day. I climbed the bealach, looked at Saileag and decided it made no sense not to climb it, too, so I headed east and ascended the first of four munros for the day. Then I turn west, and walked back to the hotel along the high ridge.

It was a glorious day: actually, too good: it was very hot and very sunny. It made the climbing very hard work, and it was a long, long day - longer than I had expected. Perhaps I am just unfit.

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rhythmaning: (sunset)
I went walking in Glen Etive last month. I intended to climb Beinn nan Aighenan, but my new boots crippled me - I developed huge blisters on my right heel - so I gave up on that, just slowly wandering in the early summer heat. I sat for a while beside the burn, Allt Nheuran, and I thought it was rather beautiful; so I took some photographs.

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rhythmaning: (sunset)
I went walking in Glen Etive last month. I intended to climb Beinn nan Aighenan, but my new boots crippled me - I developed huge blisters on my right heel - so I gave up on that, just slowly wandering in the early summer heat. I sat for a while beside the burn, Allt Nheuran, and I thought it was rather beautiful; so I took some photographs.

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rhythmaning: (sunset)
At the end of April, I went hillwalking with the club I go out with. I haven’t been out much in the last year – the weekend away in the Cairngorms was my first time out in six months or so – I took advantage of a good weather forecast to revisit Creag Meagaidh (pronounced “Craig Meggy”, if it matters to you).

Lots of photos… )
rhythmaning: (sunset)
At the end of April, I went hillwalking with the club I go out with. I haven’t been out much in the last year – the weekend away in the Cairngorms was my first time out in six months or so – I took advantage of a good weather forecast to revisit Creag Meagaidh (pronounced “Craig Meggy”, if it matters to you).

Lots of photos… )
rhythmaning: (sunset)
Last weekend, I went hillwalking: a weekend with the hillwalking club in the Cairngorm Lodge youth hostel (I am sure “youth” is now meant to be ironic – at least when the hillwalking club is in a hostel) overlooking Loch Morlich.

I drove up on Friday afternoon; beautiful weather... (Lots of photos) )
rhythmaning: (sunset)
Last weekend, I went hillwalking: a weekend with the hillwalking club in the Cairngorm Lodge youth hostel (I am sure “youth” is now meant to be ironic – at least when the hillwalking club is in a hostel) overlooking Loch Morlich.

I drove up on Friday afternoon; beautiful weather... (Lots of photos) )
rhythmaning: (sunset)
Last summer, I went on some hillwalking expeditions - a couple to remote parts of Scotland. I wrote about them, with the promise of photos to follow. I never did post the photos; so here they are.

Lots of pictures of mountains and things behind the cut. )
rhythmaning: (sunset)
Last summer, I went on some hillwalking expeditions - a couple to remote parts of Scotland. I wrote about them, with the promise of photos to follow. I never did post the photos; so here they are.

Lots of pictures of mountains and things behind the cut. )

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