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Smiler on the 5 Sisters
Thursday 23rd December
Met up with Smiler at Cluanie Inn before dawn. He was determined to the the Five Sisters of Kintail (sorry Jason ...) although I was sceptical about the time, given that this is the 2nd equal shortest day of the year! Anyway, after a slog up to the bealach we made steady progress over the ridge, which was the usual mix of snow drifts & firm stuff. All pretty tiring (as I think is tradition, we skipped the last sister) and we made it back to the car just before dark. 7.5 hours?
 
 
Rainbow Meall nan Tarmachan
Wednesday 22nd December
Very cold at the moment, -16 deg as I drove to Kinlochewe overnight. The road to Torridon was quite icy but at least it was a bit warmer down by the sea (-8!). I decided to do one of the routes in the recent UK Climbing article on the NW Highlands, Deep South Gully on Ben Alligin. It was quite a long walk round to the northern side of Ben Alligin to the gully (in soft snow) and the gully was not in perfect condition but ok. It brings you out nicely on the Horns of Alligin from where I completed the circuit over Sgorr Mhòr and Tom na Gruagaich. Quite a long day, only just made it back before dark. Great weather as you can see from the photo.
 
 
Ben Alligin
Monday 20th December
Did "grade I Gully" on Meal Corrainaich (very gentle) and then followed the ridge almost to Meall a Choire Leith before retracing my steps and heading down the south ridge of Meal Corrainaich back to the car. Quite a bit of fresh snow - and a very slow, careful drive down to the main road!
 
 
Goat Track Gully
Saturday 18th December
Met Smiler in Aviemore and went up to Coire an Sneachda where we did Goat Track gully in lean (but well frozen) condition. Made myself unpopular leading a 75m third pitch on a 60m rope. Windy on the plateau so we descended by the goat Track, which turned out to be covered in very hard ice (never seen conditions like it) and quite committing - facing in and front-pointing the whole way down to the corrie floor.
 
 
View from Ben Each
Sunday 12th December
Good weather and quite a bit of snow about so I headed out to do Ben Each and Stuc a Chroin. However, it was quite hard going in all the fresh snow so I never made it to SaC, which is quite a long way (and a fair drop) when you see it from Ben Each!
 
 
Smiler on Carn Dearg
Tuesday 23rd November

After messing about for about an hour trying to get up the forest road, which the forestry mob have ploughed up, we parked in the north face car park and walked up to the Ben from there. We stopped for tea in the CIC hut, which really is good now and then headed up top do the Ledge route. The snow cover was ok although not perfect but the great weather compensated for that. From the top of Carn Dearg, we padded down snow slopes on the NE ridge, getting back to the car in good time.

 
 
Atob Coire nan Lochan
Monday 22nd November
Reasonable day and meeting Smiler in Fort William for the Ben the following day so headed up to Stob Coire Nan Lochan in Glencoe. Went up the easy face route following some welcome tracks in deep snow and descended the easterly ridge and the zig zags. Pretty good snow cover on the ridges already.
 
 
Not much of anything!
Tuesday 16th November
A rather less promising day today. Went up Beinn Ghlass from the Ben Lawers visitor centre (which is no more - gone!). A bit of a whiteout on top, throwing snowballs to figure out what was up and what was down... then Ben Lawers in a gale, see photo. Glad to get down!
 
 
Two guys near the top of Ben More
Monday 15th November
Good weather forecast for today so I decided to go up Ben More which looked to have a fair bit of snow, and so it proved. Went up the main NE ridge, good crampon conditions and then down the slightly more easterly ridge next to it, again with decent cover.
 
 
Rainbow Meall nan Tarmachan
Friday 5th November
Better weather (than thursday!) forecast so I thought I'd do the Tarmachan Ridge from the Ben Lawers visitor cente. Heavy rain early on but it dried up and was too bad in the end. Not many people about!
 
 
Views to the south
Sunday 31st October

Reasonable weather forecast so I thought I'd nip up Ben Vane from the Brig o' Turk side. Turns out to be quite a trek but it's a nice area, worth a look! Good views to the south, you can just make out the "claws" of the Cobbler.

 
 
An Teallach
Monday 25th October

Eliza and I spent a couple of days in Ullapool and I took the opportunity to do a couple of the munros up there - Eididh nan Clach Geala and Meall nan Ceapraichean. Quite a long walk-in but rewarded by good winter conditions high up, cold and about 6-7 inches of snow. Great views of a snow-capped An Teallach and the hills north of Ullapool.

 
 
Creag mac Ranaich
Tuesday 19th October

I was originally planning to do Creag mac Ranaich and Meall an t-Seallaidh above Balquhidder. However, as I walked up Glen Kendrum there were signs about shooting with "high-powered rifles" so I changed route to avoid getting shot at and after ascending Creag mac Ranaich, dropped into Glenogle. I walked down Glenogle along the old military road, which is fantastic , hewn from the rock. An in-between day, dry periods followed by showers.

 
 
Temperature Invesrion
Tues 12th October

A temperature inversion forecast so I thought I should get out, high-up somewhere so I did Ben More and Stob Binnein and was well rewarded with views above the cloud. I walked up from Benmore farm; this route takes you past the "Cuidhe Chrom", which is due some investigation in winter.

 
 
Poor rope management on Manchester Buttress
Sat 9th -Mon 11th October

Went for a 3 day trip to the peak district with Nigel, as part of one of his JMCS meets. On the first day we went to Froggatt, then Birchen Edge and finally Stanage - awesome as always.

Heather wall, Green Gut, Trapeze, Sickle buttress at Froggatt .

Nautical Crack, Heave Ho, Stoked, Powder Monkey Parade, Emma's something-or-other 9not sure which one), Trafalgar Wall

Manchester Buttress, Bishop's Route & Heaven Crack at Stanage

 
 
Ben Dearg Mor from Ruadh Stac Mor
Sat 25th -Mon 27th September

After much talk over the years, Jason and I did our round of The Fisherfield 6. On Saturday we parked near Dundonnel and walked in, camping (on a superb flat slab) on the slopes below Beinn a' Chlaidheimh. On Sunday morning we dropped our bags on the ridge and nipped up & down B a' C. Then we continued along the ridge to Sgurr Ban and Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair. At this stage, Jason had had enough so he took the tent and set up camp in the glen while I polished off Beinn Tarsuinn, A' Maighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor. Monday was a long walk out via Sheneval. Great weather throughout; cold but that's what you want in Scotland I think!

 
 
Beinn Bheoil & just about the only view the whole trip
Mon 21st -Tues 22nd September

Walked to the Culra bothy from Moy to do some "clearing up". It's about 4 hours walk-in from Moy but makes life easier on the way back. On Monday, I arrived at the bothy at about 4pm and nipped up Beinn Bheoil getting back just before dark. One of the rooms was being used by a "developmental" group who went nuts for about 3 hours. Finally got some sleep and got up early to do Carn Dearg, Geal Charn, Aonach Beag and Beinn Eibhinn before walking out to Moy. About 8 hours both days.

 
 
Tarmachan ridge
Thursday 16th September
Drove up to the Ben Lawers visitor centre to do my little circuit of Meal Corrainaich and Meall a Choire Leith. A bit windy but very pleasant, about 4 hours.

 
 
Orderly march from the Ben
Monday 6th September

Went up Ben Nevis with the Loveman boys, Chris & Steve, and Seth Jenkinson. It was a very windy day and quite a few of the people we passed on the way up had not made it to the top but we struggled on and it was just about ok in the end. A good day on the Ben!

 
 
Gable - reflections
Tuesday 31th August

An even better day today but we wanted to do something a bit shorter so we got Eliza to drop us off again and we walked back alongside the lake (the "screes" path) which was very pleasant with some great views up the valley.

 
 
Tweeting, texting, walking, texting ...
Monday 30th August

Great Gable day: Nice weather and quite a lot of people about. Always amazes me that my Gran got up this in her house shoes all those years ago.

 
 
Illgill Head
Sunday 29th August

Annual Lake's trip with Mum. Saturday was a write-off weather wise but sunday was brighter, although very windy. We got Eliza to drop us off at the western end of wastwater and walked over Whinn Rigg and Illgill Head back to Wasdale head.

 
 
Forgot camera, phone battery dead ..
Monday 23th August

Drove over Laggan way (on a slightly improved forecast) to do Creag Pitridh & Geal Charn. A fairly straightforward slog. On the way down I bumped into a group of teenagers on an outward bound expedition who asked me "surely you don't do this for pleasure?". They were only there 'cos their parents hate them.

 
 
Ridges of Binnein Mor
Sunday 15th August

Another good day forecast (very good as it turned out) so I drove to Kinlochleven to do a scramble on the NE ridge of Binnein Mor. I had spotted this on a previous trip to Binnein Beag but was a bit unsure in wintry conditions. Well, a very nice scramble as it turned out, surprised it isn't better known about. Took in Sgurr Eilde Mor (that's all the Mamores finally) to make a nice long day - about 7 hrs.

 
 
Andy ... you got a photo?
Saturday 14th August
Got the ferry over to Arran with Andy K on friday night and after a night in the midge garden that is the Glen Rosa campsite, we set off early to do the classic Sou'wester slabs route on the Glen Rosa Pinnacle. Not quite as good a day as forecast but its stayed dry. The route was pretty busy which was just as well as I headed off-piste and had to be put right. Still, job done, nice route, long walk back to the campsite and the 7 pm ferry. Followed to the mainland by 4 blokes on jet skis, whichlooked a bit like a scene from Quadraphenia.
 
 
Ben Venue appearing out of the mist
Monday 9th August

Damp weather forecast for the start of the week but I did manage to get over to Aberfoyle and nip up Ben Venue. Wet in the morning, brightening up later on ahead of forecast thunderstorms, that I don't think ever came...

 
 
View from Carn an Fhidhleir
Tuesday 27th July

An improved forecast today so I went to do two remote peaks in the SW Cairngorms (An Sgorsach and Carn an Fhidhleir) which I'd been putting off on account of the long walk-in - over 40km round trip. However, I took the bike and although the estate roads are pretty bumpy, you eat up the distance pretty quick. It took much less time than I though - 6.5 hours round trip from the Linn of Dee - and it turned into a pretty nice day with good views north to the big Cairngorm mountains - Braeriach, MacDui et al.

 
 
View towards Ben Alder range
Tuesday 20th July

Left the hostel early-ish and did Carn Dearg and Sgor Ghaibre, descending over Sgor Connich to Loch Ossian. The lodge there is weird, like Blofeld's lair, masses of security. Walked back along the loch arriving back at the hostel for about 4 O'Clock where I sunbathed (so much for the forecast for storms) until the train arrived at 6:30 pm.

 
 
Loch Ossian
Monday 19th July

Parked the car at Crianlarich and took the train north to Corrour for the long-mooted trip to do the hills in that vicinity. It was pretty miserable on the first day but I managed to nip up Beinn na Lap - a nice brisk 3 hours or so and went back to stay at the fancy hostel on the station platform

 
 
Striding out towards West Lomond
Tuesday 6th July

Had mother staying during a period of pretty bad weather but we did manage a day on the Lomond hills, which was very pleasant - dry if rather windy

 
 
Nigel on  Wild Iris
Tuesday 29th June

The weather slowly starting to break down but still good in the east so Nigel & I went to North Berwick law for "a bit of fun". Top-roped (all?) the unprotected routes on the two slabs and then did Wild Iris in the bolted area.

 
 
Nigel leading Kestrel Crack
Tuesday 22nd June

The hot weather continues so I went cragging at Dunkeld with Nigel. Did Consolation Corner, Hogg's Hindquarters (quite interesting for the grade), Kestrel Crack and Recess route.

 
 
Glenfinnan viaduct
Monday 21st June

Did the corryhully horseshoe (Sgurr Thuilim and Sgurr nan Coireachan,yes another one!) from Glenfinnan, passing the impressive viaduct and the rather unusual Glenfinnan Lodge en route. The weather still warm but cloudy again across the tops. About 7.5 hours round trip.

 
 
Sgurr na h-Aide (easily mistaken for Sgurr na Ciche!)
Sunday 20th June

Stayed at the excellent campsite in Roy Bridge and went to do the outstanding (i.e. unfinished) hills around Glendessary on Sunday morning. A long walk in to Sgurr nan Coireachan followed by a long ridge wallk to Sgurr Mor, returning via the bealach above Glendessary (also a long walk). About 8 hours round trip, the weather not as nice as the picture suggests as the higher hills were in in and out of cloud most of the afternoon. I still find Glendessary an unwelcoming estate - wire fencing across the road at one point.

 
 
Andy on D Gully Buttress
Saturday 19th June

Andy & I nipped up to Glencoe. We were going to do the North Face route on the "Buchaille" but ended up doing D Gully buttress, which was quite nice and about as much as we could manage after watching the football the night before.

 
 
Good views north to Glencoe
Tuesday 15th June

As it's been dry, I decided to do Meall nan Eun above the rather boggy ground surrounding Loch Dochard. I cycled as far as Clashgour and then ascended the shoulder to get into the next glen. I found a nice slabby way up the eastern flank of Meall nan Eun which saved a bit of time. Straight back down though and quite a long walk back to Clashgour. That's the Etive hills all done!

 
 
Beinn nan Aighenan
Tuesday 8th June

Rubbish weather at home but it was forecast to be a bit better further north so I decided to do the "out-of-the-way" one in Glen Etive - Beinn nan Aighenan . It was dry day for the first part of the day (& the ascent) but started to drizzle after that. Quite a nice rocky little hill if a bit hard to get to. About 5.5 hours round trip.

 
 
Snowing
Tuesday 25th May

day 2: The two munros at the southern end of the Fannichs, An Coileachan and Meall Gorm. This involves a long walk-in from the A832 but the hills themselves are more interesting than I anticipated so itmade for a good day, which had a bit of everything: sun, sleet and snow. About 7.5 hours round trip. Fannichs done!

 
 
Slioch
Monday 24th May

Mixed weather forecast but I went north to try and clear up the unfinished business in the Fannichs. day 1: a pretty short day doing the isolated munro Fionn Bheinn from Achnasheen - nice and cool after 2 weeks in California.

 
 
Devil's Point
Tuesday 27th April

The forecast not so good today with winds increasing in the afternoon so I got up earlyish and headed for Carn a Mhaim, cycling as far as the Derry Lodge. A 45 mins walk leads to the foot of the mountain and a good path gets you efficiently to the top. I walked out along the ridge to the north which was nice but lead to a boggy walk back along the glen. On the bright side, the wind was not as bad as forecast and it proved to be a pretty serviceable day. The rivers are very full at the moment and I had to do some up-to-me-thighs wading (a bit of that yesterday too). 6.5 hours round -trip, back home in time to cut the grass before heading to Glasgow for a gig.

 
 
View towards the Northern Cairngorms
Monday 26th April

A reasonable day forecast in the east) although quite high winds everywhere) so I decided to do some sweeping up around Glen Muick. I took the bike to cycle along the lock and then did Carn a'Choire Bhoidheach, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor and Carn Bannoch. The going was generally good although soft snow (there's still plenty left on the plateau) and a string headwind slowed things down a bit. However, once the first has been done, the other 2 are not too much further and the abundant snow definitely makes it for a more interesting backdrop in these parts, with good views to the north. About 7.5 hours round trip.

 
 
Ben Lui
Tuesday 20th April

The annual trip to Ben Lui, with the secondary objective of Beinn Chleibh (i.e. for bagging). A passable day forecast with high winds easing in the afternoon (generally turned out better) but cold enough for me to hope that Central Gully might be in good condition. What I hadn't counted on though was a lot of new snow in the corrie. I guess the winds had been high and had deposited some quite deep patches of wind slab which lay on harder old snow. Things started to "whoomp" as I climbed the approach slopes to the gully and I turned around at the entrance, having probably gone too far already. So a change of plan, I headed straight for Beinn Chleibh and then returned over Ben Lui's west ridge. Quite a long way - a round trip of about 8 hours. That is why I normally do this one on the bike!

 
 
Definitely "Y" Gully
Monday 19th April

Slightly colder weather so I headed for Y-Gully on Chruach Ardrain. I did this with Andy lasts year in poor conditions but had noticed from the road that the line was complete, particularly the left branch which we avoided on the previous occasion. It did prove to be better in terms of cover but the snow was not great (despite the supposed freeze) and I was glad to make it to the top without the whole thing sliding off. I descended over twisting hill and made it back to the car within 4 hours which isn't bad for a 250m winter climb.

 
 
No. 3 Gully
Tuesday 13th April

Thought I'd have one last look at the Ben before all the snow melts. I made an early start (ok 7 am from the car park) but even then the snow was slushy by the time I got to Coire na Ciste. Options such as Ledge Route looked surprisingly incomplete so I headed up No. 3 Gully which was ok due to part-frozen tracks - also most of the cornice had gone - and made for a pleasantly ascent to teh summit ridge. I descended by the CMD arete which had some pretty rotten snow on it in places. 7.5 hours - am I slowing down?

 
 
Spring In Glencoe
Monday 12th April

The great (but warm) weather continues. I fancied a nice rocky scramble followed by a bit of snow so I set my sights on Broad buttress on the Buchaille in Glencoe. The rock was a bit damper than on the Cobbler (north facing) but after good scramble I did indeed find some snow. I continued from the top of the Buchaille to Stob na Doire before retracing my steps and descending into Coire na Tulaich, followed by some guy with no crampons who kept needing to axe-brake. Made sure I kept out of his line-of-fire!

 
 
Last pitch of Punster's Crack
Sunday 11th April

Andy came to see me at work and suggested we go rock-climbing at the weekend. A mountain route. Already! To avoid a repeat of previous disappointments in Glencoe, I suggested we tried to the Cobbler as it is relatively low and south-facing. Turned out to be a superb day, rock very dry as we struggled feebly with Punster's Crack (in the "Classic rock" book, been wanting to do it for ages). When we finally made it to the top we were met by a round of applause from walkers at the summit. A classic old-style "traverse round the steep bits" route.

 
 
Improving in the afternoon ...
Tuesday 6th April

Terrible weather forecast for the beginning of the week- high winds and rain - but there was a promise of an improvement on Tuesday afternoon so I thought I'd nip up Ben Ledi just for the exercise. If this was an improvement, what it must have been like before! Poured the whole afternoon although I found a few moments of enjoyment on small snow patches on the North ridge. Easily pleased, I suppose.

 
 
Approaching Ben lawers
Monday 29th March

A bit colder for monday (before poor conditions return on Tuesday) so Nigel suggested we looked at some routes in a small corrie called Creag Loisgte, high on Ben Lawers. Things looked quite promising on the approach but on closer inspection the lines were incomplete. We started up "Front Stalls Gully" but backed off the second pitch which was just steep rock with no snow or turf. We settled for the wide grade I higher up the corrie and a descent over Beinn Ghlas.

 
 
Corrie Sharroch
Tuesday 23rd March

Forecast to be a bit windy in the west so I decided to go over to Glen Clova and see if any snow had survived in the climbing corries around Corrie Fee. Made a bit of a mess of the approach and ended up having to traverse into the corrie after some forest-bashing. Nothing doing in the main Corrie Fee area but the slightly more sheltered Corrie Sharroch had some snow in it and I found a little gully that was more or less complete and cramponed up to the plateau. A bit of a windy walk over to Mayar and then descended the main Corrie Fee path back to the car. A bit of modest outing in truth! 4.5 hours.

 
 
A Mharchonaich
Sunday 21st March

Milder weather continues. I drove up to Drumochter to try the Northeast face of A' Mharchonaich which I've admired from the road for a while. It looks quite steep but in reality is a steady 35/40 degree snow slope. There had been a freeze over night and the snow was quite nice and firm. The route brings you out on the summit quite fast so I continued round the loop to Sgairneach Mor before descending back down to the glen and walking back up the road to the start point near Balsporran cottages. About 6.5 hours round trip

 
 
View over to Loch Lyon (I think)
Tuesday 16th March

A return to some more typical weather ... legs still a bit sore after the Inverness marathon on Sunday, I decided to take a look at the NE ridge of Beinn Achallader near Bridge of Orchy. It looks quite good from a distance but in reality it's quite broad although there are a couple of rocky steps near the top. The snow conditions were best described as soggy and here has been a lot of depletion on some aspects. I continued over to Beinn a Chreachain and, as there was still plenty of snow in Corrie Chreachain, I descended the wide gully above the east end of the lochan. Long walk back to the car - about 7 hours round trip ?

 
 
Mighty Lochnagar
Tuesday 9th March

Shocked to see a couple of clouds in the morning but not to worry -they soon burned off leaving another hot sunny day. Did Lochnagar from Loch Muick. More snow o the approach than I've ever seen, thankfully there was a good (no doubt hard-earned) trail and generally the snowpack is firming up with the sunny days / cold nights. I got talking to this guy called Mat who I kept bumping into, basically we did the route in opposite directions. I went up the Black Spout, which was in good condition and he descended it, which I consider pretty brave as he had no crampons and it was a bit icy in places . Anyway he survived ok and we met up once more on the descent. All pretty leisurely - 6.5 hours.

 
 
Approaching Corrie Kander
Monday 8th March

The unbelievable weather continues. I decided to take a trip to Corrie Kander which you can access from near the Glenshee ski centre to look at a couple of easy gullies there. Ended up doing "twisting gully" which is not too steep and goes through some surprising nice terrain. Snow a bit soft near the top and a little concerning. Carried on over Cairn of Claise which was hard going at times on breakable wind crust. About 5.5 hours round trip.

 
 
Carn Mor Dearg
Tuesday 23rd February

What a superb day - in fact what a superb winter (apart from road conditions etc.) Got the gondola from Aonoch Mor, climbed the ridge of death (Carn Dearg Meadhonach), which was in easily the best condition I've seen it - loads of snow but a good track / trench all the way. From there the I took the CMD arete on to Ben Nevis, eventually getting back at the gondola for 4.30 (luckily runs till 5 at this time of year). Loads of surface hoar on the snowpack - could lead to avalanche problems if there's more snowfall.

 
 
Stob Coire Sgreamhach
Monday 15th February

Oh not a good day to forget your jacket. Got pretty wet (snowed more-or-less all day) as I did my Sron na Lairig, Stob Coire Sgreamhach route in Glencoe. Snow conditions not great low down but plenty on the ridge. Hurried round in my wet duvet jacket - 4.5 hours.

 

 
 
Narrow part of Tramachan Ridge
Monday 1st February

Went to look at some grade I routes supposedly on Cam Chreag / Meall nan Tarmachan above Killin. Started out quite a nice day although things gradually deteriorated. Not sure that I ever found the routes (Fan Gully, Easy Gully) but there is a nice Grade II (Clark's) that I should check out with Andy some time. Made my way to the top, possibly by Easy Gully and had a nice walk along the narrow part of the main ridge, which was well snowed up as you can see from the photo. Did the "tricky" step which was icy and definitely not a "walk" at the moment.

 
 
Nigel - unrecorded route ?
Monday 25th January

Nigel and I went to Ben a Dothaidh, planning to do a route called Haar. Looked very thin though so we decided to investigate a nice thick ice smear on one of the buttresses. It gave a nice ice pitch which made me think a bit. After that easier ground weaved its way up to the summit ridge. Maybe a new route? we will see.

 

 
 
Glas Bheinn Mhor
Sunday 24th January

Did my little circuit around Ben Starav but this time continued on to bag Glas Bheinn Mhor. It was a pretty nice day although it clouded over when I was on the summit ridge. Great ridge-walking conditions; hard snow, good for crampons. 6 hours roughly.

 
 
North face Sron na Creise
Tuesday 19th January

Managed to go skiing at Glenshee on Monday- snow a bit hard but good cover. Went to Glencoe today to do one of the gullies on Sron Na Creise. There is a wide gully with well defined parallel walls that looks steep from the road but is pretty gentle in reality. The snow was a bit soft but this gully soon brought me out on the ridge from where I continued to Creise and Meall a Bhuidhe. Finding the ridge to Meall a Bhuidhe was quite challenging in near-whiteout conditions but I did find it after a bit of mucking around and was rewarded with good, hard snow - most enjoyable.

 
 
Couldn't get to the Ben Fhada
Tuesday 12th January

After a failed attempt to go skiing at Cairngorm on Monday - they didn't manage to open the road - I headed to Glen Shiel for more disappointment. Tried to do the Ben Fhada but ran into all sorts of problems; the farm road to the start was completely iced up and undriveable (first time I've needed to use crampons on a road!) , deep snow on the way up to the hill, gale force winds. It was all I could do to walk up to the corrie and have a look round.

 
 
Winter climbing in the Pentlands!
Saturday 9th January

Andy and I only went out for a quick walk in the snow in the Pentlands but needless to say we could not resist the snow covered crags under Caerketton Hill. We did an excellent little ridge (grade II?) then descended and did the gully next to it. Andy didn't have crampons and managed to get himself into some death-defying situations. We finally continued on our way to Flotterstone where Caroline picked us up - she's neat. A brilliant, unexpected day out!

 
 
Spindrift on Stob Coire nan Beith
Tuesday 5th January

Hatched a plan to look at the Bidean Nam Bian buttresses - Diamond, Church Door. Quite a long walk-in (tracks most of the way though) but a very spectacular spot when you arrive. Ended up getting to the top of Bidean via Central Gully which splits the two main butresses. The gully had couple of short ice pitches plus a lot of wading through dodgy wind-blown snow. From the summit I headed over to Stob Coire nam Beith in a gale of spindrift and descended into the corrie beyond. 6 hours.

 
 
NE ridge Beinn a Chaorainn
Monday 4th January

Andy had to go home so I drove over to Creag Meagaidh to do the NE ridge of Beinn a Chaorainnand the outlying munro, Beinn Teallach. I walked in from Roughburn which was hard work as there was deep snow on the forest road, although thankfully large sections had tracks. There was a guided party on the ridge but other than that I had the place to myself. Nice scrambling to the top and then a long slog over to Beinn Teallach before another descent requiring a head torch. Only 8 hours today though.

 
 
Andy on Aonach Eagach
Sunday 3rd January

Andy & I got a rare climbing day in and went for the Aonach Eagach in Glencoe. Hard work getting to the start in deep-ish, unconsolidated snow. We almost had the ridge to ourselves - one other party - and moved unroped apart from the pinnacles. It's a long day out in winter though and despite making reasonably good progress, the last part of the descent was completed in darkness (with my wind-up head torch - thanks mum). 9.5 hours despite having a car at both ends.

 
 
Different type of day!
Tuesday 29th December

Went to do the Pentlands traverse from 9-mile burn to Flotterstone with Mum and Stef. However, it was hard going again in deep-ish snow (ski-tourers were out) and after a himalayan ascent of West Kip we decided to head back to 9-mile burn. This involved a highly dangerous walk along the A702 - there's too much snow to walk at the side of the road.

 
 
Tinto, the lanarkshire Breithorn
Monday 28th December

Unbelievably cold and clear day so Mum & I went to Tinto in Lanarkshire. Lots of people out enjoying the excellent snow cover. We didn't set off till after noon and the heavy going meant we only just got back before dark.

 
 
Binnein Mor
Wednesday 23rd December

I started out with grand plans of climbing Sgurr Eilde Mor and then traversing the ridge over to Na Gruagaichean and back to Kinlochleven. However, the trail from Kinlochleven was unbroken and the road up to Loch Eilde under deep snow so all I could manage in the end was an ascent of Na Gruagaichean and that took 4 hours! Brilliantly quick descent down the snow-filled gully between the two summits of Na Gruagaichean.

 
 
Devil's Ridge
Tuesday 22nd December

Stayed in Glen Nevis YHA and did my Devil's Ridge circuit (in reverse). Deep snow made the ascent of Sgurr a Mhaim hard going, but the Devil' ridge itself was in the best condition I've seen it - and great views. I followed tracks till half way up Stob Ban after which the going got much harder. The descent from Stob Ban was fiddly - fresh snow on rock. I ended up back at the car around dusk. -9 degrees in the car park, a sign of things to come.

 
 
West peak Ben Challum
Monday 21st December
Quite hard to move on the roads and on the hill, on account of the snow. Did Ben Challum up and down from Kirkton farm (wig wams). Deep snow on the ground made it hard work in places. The final ridge between the two peaks is always nice though.
 
 
Accidentally deleted the photos...
Tuesday 8th December

Did Glas Tullaichean from Glenshee, this time via Loch Nan Eun, descending the road from the top (hard to find

 

 
 
Accidentally deleted the photos...
Monday 7th December

Went to the Ben Lawers visitor's centre and did Meall a Choire Leith, which I'd failed to do previously when I got blown off (well nearly), Meall Corranaich. Plenty of snow about and navigating over the tops was quite difficult in near white-out conditions. Found a good descent back to the top of the resevoir All in all this could make a nice little outing if you started from close to the dam.

 
 
Accidentally deleted the photos...
Tuesday 1st December

Attempted to Bynack Mor with Smiler- his training walk ahead of some guiding work - but the winds were very strong and we didn't make it far beyond Strath Nethy!

 
 
Accidentally deleted the photos...
Friday 30th November

Did the usual circuit from Drumochter - Sgairneach Mor , Ben Udlamain and A'Marchonaich. Pretty good snow cover on the tops. The weather was cold, windy but bright.

 
 
Definitely the top!
Friday 27th November

Beinn Bhuidhe above Loch Fynne. Somehow I knew I wasn't going to enjoy this one and I didn't! The forecast was for strong winds and showers. To me "showers" means it will not rain for some parts of the day!

Added to near-storm conditions, there's been quite a lot of snow and some quite deep drifts already but all wet and unconsolidated, which is always hard going (especially when you're not used to it!) To cap it all, I made a navigation error and took in the subsidiary summit before realising my mistake and retracing my steps for the munro. Followed by a long walk back in the dark, mainly on a good tarmac road you could drive a 3-wheeler up. Hey-ho.

 
 
Middle Fell
Tuesday 3rd November

Another windy day so we decided on Middle Fell, which is a little lower and less exposed. It's a nice rugged little hill though and the descent was made interseting by some serious fording - river-crossing techniques coming into play!

 
 
Rain in Ennerdale
Monday 2nd November

THe traditional ascent of Great Gable. It was forecast to be very windy, at least early on, so we ascended via a path called Aaron Slack, which was sheltered by the mountain itself. It's actually a nice way up but when we got to the top, we found the wind wasn't that strong and we descended the normal route to Sty head and back to Wasdale head. Dramatic views.

 
 
Langdale
Saturday 31st October

Mother, Eliza and I took our annual trip to the Lakes. The weather not so promising this year.

On Saturday, Mum & I went up Harrison Stickle and Pike O' Stickle but we didn't get to Langdale until around noon and the descent via Stake Pass is quite long , so we ended up coming back in the dark. All part of the fun (and we had torches anyway). Mountain rescue were all over the valley as a group seemed to have got themselves into trouble.

Sunday was a washout. Driving out of Ambleside was quite exciting through deep puddles and the train's were messed up due to a landslide at Shap.

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Glen Affric
Thursday 29th October

Finally, the elusive Beinne Fhionnlaidh ! After a long and very boggy walk up to Carn Eige, I traversed round to Beinne Fhionnlaidh and actually got some views. The weather was fairly unpleasant later on and I made an ill-advised descent off An Leath-chreag before the long walk back. As the people in the B&B had warned me ... "a big day".

 
 
SE ridge of Tom a Choinich
Wednesday 28th October

A bit of a mixed forecast but I drove north to tie up some loose ends from my previous trip to Glen Affric (Toll Creagach and Beinne Fhionnlaidh). I did a nice little circuit of Toll Creagach and Tom a Choinich on the first day. The weather was reasonable, if damp later on, and it is wet underfoot.

 
 
Stob a Choin
Tuesday 20th October

Andy & I went to do Beinnn Tullaichean at the end of loch Voil (in support of his "bagging" activities). The weather was forecast to be bright with very strong winds but the wind wasn't so bad in reality.

 
 
Towards the Saddle
Tuesday 13th October

Rather modest day forecast so we thought we'd nip up Sgurr na Sgine (again in Glen Shiel). The weather was indeed poor (Andy has no waterproof overtrousers!) and the route took a bit longer than we thought - around 5..5 hours but at least the car worked when we got down.

 
 
Kintail
Monday 12th October

The new bagging team headed up to Glen Shiel do do three relatively accessible munros above Loch Cluanie: Carn Ghluasaid, Sgurr nan Conbhairean and Sail Chaorainn. It was a nice day, great air clarity, and the paths are up to the usual Glen Shiel high standards (except the final descent from SnC). All good till we got back to the car. Despite Subaru making this virtually impossible to do, I managed to leave the lights on and the battery was flat. After a couple of failed attempts to jump-start, we called the AA and, after a couple of hours, a truck arrived from Kyle of Lochalsh and got us going.

 
 
Carn Dearg
Tuesday 29th September

Andy & I went to do Carn Dearg in the Monadh Liath - seems like we're both on the baggers' trail. We took a devious route "round the back" which was probably a mistake because it was very wet underfoot. The ridge is ok but only dubious reward for all the bog-hopping. Not great weather as you can see in the photo. the way back by the standard route was pretty boggy too.

 
 
Monday 28th September

Went with Ian to fulfil his ambition to climb Ben Lomond. It was a fairly miserable day, as per the last time we went out. His Mum had done bl recently before which made it all the worse when we got turned back by ferocious winds no more than 75 m from the top. My new boots from "Go Outdoors" leaked badly - will post on how I get on with them over that!

 
 
Mayar from Dreish
Tuesday 22nd September

Very windy day forecast but I thought I might be able to sneak up Dreish which I'd foolishly left out on a previous trip to this part of the world - Glen Clova. Although the climb up Kilbo path was a bit worrying on account of the threat of falling trees (!) the ridge itself was manageable and I ended up going over to Mayar as well to complete the "circuit".

 
 
The Queen's well
Monday 21st September

Went over to do Mount Keen - the most easterly of the munros - partly to escape rain in the west. The weather wasn't great here either but it's a nice walk along the glen followed by a fairly short ascent so no great problem. Got followed down by a wild(ish) horse/donkey who stopped every time I looked round - what's the name of that game ? Grandmother's footsteps ?

 
 
Ben on a good morning
Monday 14th September

Good weather holding out so we decided to try for Tower Ridge on the Ben. To be fair Andy had given me plenty of warning that this might happen, but he decided that he preferred a sleep outside the CIC hut so there he remained while I nipped up the Ledge route and met him in Glen Nevis.

 
 
Andy in King's Chimney
Sunday 13th September

We stopped at a campsite in Glen Sheil and drove to Skye in the morning. We had planned to do some climbing on the Chioch but it looked dripping wet (although it dried out during the day). Instead we got onto the ridge via the An stac screes, under Sgurr Mhic Choinnich via Collie's Ledge and then up King's Chimney to the summit of Sgurr Mhic Choinnich (my 2nd time this year!). King's Chimney is a nice pitch, definitely undergraded at "Diff". We descended the ridge (damp in places) and back to the car at Glen Brittle.

 
 
View from ben Nevis
Saturday 12th September

Andy came up with a crazy idea of doing North-east buttress on Ben Nevis. Actually a pretty good idea as it turned out. Conditions were good - the rock much drier now and, after some initial route finding problems, we made steady progress up the ridge just using the rope here and there. The notorious "man-trap" was no problem (might be in winter though!) and we were soon up "40 foot corner" and onto easier ground to the summit. We descended the zigzags track which people were still setting out on well after 5pm.

 
 
Stuc a Chroin
Friday 11th September

High pressure well in control now and I had a free day to fill before heading north with Andy for the weekend so I went to do Ben Vorlich / Stuc a Chroin from Glen Ample. Stumbled across a nice "gill scramble" on the burn leading up from Glenample. It was that sort of day - hot and tiring but good for the tan.

 
 
Remembered the camera, but no battery left
Monday 7th September

High pressure moving in so Andy & I decided to try to get some climbing done - we've not managed a lot this year. Today was not the day though ... we carted the gear up to the east face of Aonach Dubh (Glencoe) and Andy even set out on a route (Eve's arete) but he only got about 6 feet off the ground. Everything is so saturated from the recent heavy rains that the moss covering on the wall was soaked and basically unclimbable. So we walked over Stob Coire nan Lochan instead, which is enjoyable but hard with the packs.

 
 
Forgot camera, sorry
Tuesday 1st September

Good walking weather (not great, not terrible) Went to Glen Feshie and climbed Mullach Clach a'Bhlair, trying to peer into the narrow Coire Garbliach on the way, then over to Carn Ban Mor and a steep decent back to the road head.

 
 
Sunday 16th August

A little window of better weather so Andy & I went to the Hawcraig for bit of cragging and did some of the usual favourites; Maureen, 3-step corner, Destiny's groove, Ugh, Fishhead arete.

 
 
View of Ben Alder
Monday 10th August

Went up to Laggan to do Geal Charn (Graham says he definitely detects munro-bagging - what rubbish, only one more Geal Charn to do!). A pleasant enough day / mountain ok but quite a long walk-in and had to wade across the Markie burn (sic) which would definitely cause problems in wet weather.

 
 
A Chailleach
Monday 3rd August
Went to do A'Chailleach and Carn Sgulain in the Monadh Liath. Not the most exciting group of hills but the setting is nice and you can drive a long way up Glen Balloch so it makes for quite a short day - under 5 hours. Still suffering from the effects of the "sf" though.
 
 
Weisshorn

Alps 2009

 

So was it swine flu ? Graham thinks I was just being a wimp but I wasn't really back to normal until a week after we got back. Anyway here's a nice view of the Weisshorn from the Europahut.
 
The Dom

Saturday 25th July -30th July

Very pleased to meet with Mcgloven and get going to the Europahut on the first leg of our leisurely journey to the Dom hut. This is when my problems began. It started as a sore throat and a bit of a light head overnight and but the time we headed up to the Dom hut the next morning I was labouring. I felt a bit shaky all day but managed to sleep a little so we got kitted up at 3.15 am and started off for the Dom.

It was harder work than it should have been and I moaned at Graham, especially over the more strenuous sections like the Festijoch. But I did find some energy in the end and we got to the top around 8.30 am (still first party to the top, gloat).

Graham pretended to be tired too, just as well he wasn't 'cos he more or less had to carry me down - I was shattered. I was in no state to carry on down to the valley so we stayed a second night in the hut and went down the next morning.

 
Frustrated again - Barres des Ecrins from the dome
Saturday 18th July -24th July

The plan for the first part of the trip was to get acclimatized and find a Swiss guide to take me up the Weisshorn, a very long-standing ambition of mine, then to meet Graham for an assault the Dom.

Things started OK. I got to the Flue hut on saturday evening and on sunday did a nice long walk around the Spizi Flue, down to Taschalp and back to Zermatt. The next day was my practice climb (which they like you to do). I chose the half-traverse of the Breithorn which is a nice little rock climb, all done in crampons. As a bit of a treat, I stayed that night at the Riffelberg hotel and did the ridge from the Gornergrat to the Stockhorn, which takes a fair while. So the acclimatization was going well but the news from the guides office was not so good; a lot of snow and unsettled weather forecast. I kept training by going up the Gross Castel - I was staying in the nice campsite at Randa by this stage - but the Weisshorn just wasn't happening. I ended up on Pollux on Friday morning with a guide called Giani and two guys called Paul & Steve. It was a enough nice day but not the Weisshorn! Which is now unfinished business of course...

 
Party descending Ciste Dubh
Monday 13th July
Thought I deserved an easier day so I did the very nice & somewhat isolated Ciste Dubh. This one could be good in winter, maybe the cleft in the summit block? About 4.5 hours door-to-door.
 
 
Stag keeping a watchful eye on me
Sunday 12th July
Got up early to to the South Glenshiel ridge although I picked the worse day of the weekend to do it (hence the best picture was low down). So it rained for 6 of the 7 munros only clearing up in the late afternoon. Still, I'm starting to prefer rain to heat, must be age. Round trip about 10 hours using the bike to cycle down to the start.
 
 
Sgurr na Ciche - now I get it
Saturday 11th July
Stopped in Glen Garry to do Gleouraich and Spidean Mailach. A nice walk on a brilliant path (till the descent). It was not as hot as recently but still 20 degrees + in the valley. Great views of Sgurr na Ciche from here - now I see why it's so admired.
 
 
Nasty looking cloak on Bheinn Mhanach
Monday 6th July
Cycled up the glen from Auch to do Bheinn Mhanach. The forecast was for heavy rain/lightening in the afternoon so I tried to make it quick. I got to the top ok but, just as I was heading for the subsidiary summit of Beinn a Chuirn, there was a rumble of thunder from the other side of the glen where a "cloak" had settled over the tops. So I ran down and cycled back through the rising waters ... the cloak soon made it to Bheinn Mhanach so maybe a good call ?
 
 
Beinn Damh from Maol Chean Dearg
Tuesday 30th June
Stayed at Gerry's hostel and tidied up the unfinished business from the last time I was there - Maol Chean Dearg and An Ruadh Stac. Very hot again but not too hard, although the final boulders on MCD are a bore. An Ruadh Stac is very enjoyable, particularly the vast glacial slabs that make up the first 150m. Roughly 6 1/2 hours.
 
 
Bidean an Eoin Deirg
Monday 29th June

Took my bike to enable an ascent of Maoile Lunnaidh from Craig. Otherwise you have to go from Glen Strathfarrer which has some weird access restrictions. It was too hot for cycling (or anything else for that matter) and I ended up pushing the bike part of the way. The ascent of Maoile Lunnaidh via the west ridge was wearing but OK and a gentle stroll brings you onto the summit. Much more fun on the way back!

 
 
Devil's Point
Tuesday 23rd June
Stayed in the Braemar YHA and got up earlyish to do Beinn Bhrotain and Monadh Mor. It was a really hot today today (mi-20s) and Beinn Bhrotain was a real slog. The walk back to the bike was a fair distance also but the close-up views of the Devil's Point made it worthwhile. Another 8/9 hour day.. good alps training.
 
 
Beinn Iutharn Mhor
Monday 22nd June
Cycled up Glen Ey (near Braemar) to do 3 fairly remote ones - Carn Bhac, Beinn Iutharn Mhor and Carn an Righ. The weather was warmish and turned a bit showery in the early afternoon, improving after that. All in all a long way (and slightly dull), even using the bike.
 
 
Beinn Fhada (I think)
Tuesday 16th June
Stayed in the Trekkers Lodge at Kintail and did Saileag, Sgurr a Bhealaich Dheirg and Aonach Meadhoin. Managed to mess up the start, following a stalker's path well wide of the bealach (Lapain) and having to lose height to correct it. Ouch! If you wanna go up, go up. Nice and surprisingly easy ridge apart from that.
 
 
View from bealach
Monday 15th June
Went to do the 2 along along Loch Lochy - Meall na Teanga & Sron a Choire Ghairbh. Set out from Laggan in reasonable wetaher but it soon deteriorated into a pretty lousy day. Luckily not too long though - around 5 1/2 hours ...
 
 
Nigel in his midge veil
Tuesday 9th June
Went rock climbing with Nigel on Ben A'an. A bit midgy though better higher up. We did Ash Wall, Diagonal Groove (chickened out of Hanging Crack again), Birch Wall, Atom Slab and the Last Eighty (which I made a bit of a mess of).
 
 
View towards Ben Challum
Monday 8th June
Went to do a couple in Glen Lochay that I'd not done before - Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnich. The ascent of Creag Mhor via Sron nan Eun was quite pleasant but it all got to be quite hard work in pretty warm conditions again. Still this one can be boggy and it was good 'n dry today. Just over 6 hours
 
 
View towards Ghars Bheinn
Tuesday 2nd June
(still in Skye, still very hot) Thought I'd check out a part of the traverse that Lorna, Ashley and I had route-finding problems on (don't mention An Stac), the traverse from An Casteil to Sgurr Dubh. Once you know it, it's easy ... climbed Sgurr Dubh Mor while I was at it. Back at the campsite at 1.30.
 
 
Finally ... the In Pin
Monday 1st June

Finally, the In Pin. If you've got nae mates you've just got to do it - a bit scary but luckily dry as a bone. I continued along the ridge over the multiple tops between Sgurr Dearg (Inaccessible Pinnacle) and Bruach na Frithe. This section is a lot longer and more sustained than I'd realised. It was very instructive to see the state that people doing the whole ridge were in by this point, particularly those on a one-day strategy. It ended up being a 12 hour day for me, just doing part of the ridge. Would have been more too had it not been for a very kind guy called Donald (a local guide) who I'd chatted to earlier in the day and drove up from Glen Brittle to offer me a lift.

 
 
Sunday 31st May

Back in Skye ... must be a good year. Met Clare & Graham and friends (& Molly) in the campsite at Glen Brittle on Saturday night. Sunday morning we left early, with Ruth, to do their penultimate munro - Sgurr Mic Choinnich - which they walked past on their ridge traverse some years ago. A really hot day and made even harder by the ascent of the An Stac scree - awful - but the ridge is great and I think Clare may have rather enjoyed what was her first outing in a while...

 
 
Shoskred
Tuesday 26th May

Nigel persuaded me to have a look at some routes in Ratho Quarry, just to the side of the climbing arena, which are mainly pretty fierce looking. We managed to get up Shoskred (over graded) and Monkey Puzzle.

 
 
Climbing by lamplight
Tuesday 19th May

After a less than impressive "early start", we all headed to a "roadside" crag called Carn Liath at about 11.30. The 40 mins walk-in the guidebook suggested was a hike in its own right. Due to lack of time, we only managed the one climb but what a climb - Mummy's Church - which starts in a cave system - headtorch required - before you climb out to daylight.

 
 
Jogn at the summit
Monday 18th May

Went up to Skye to meet John Wright and his friends Chris and James. I missed a glorious day on Sunday. Anyhow, we went out on Monday to do the Pinnacle ridge on Sgurr nan Gillean, which started out very pleasantly. Unfortunately, it started to chuck it down near the top which made the whole expedition rather more dodgy than I like. We later found out that people were killed on Am Bhastair, daresay the sudden deterioration in weather was a factor. The chopper was in and out all afternoon.

 
 
View north from Craig
Tuesday 12th May

Got up early and over Beinn Tharsuinn then a nice scramble up Bidein a Choire Sheasgaich and (starting to get hot now) Lurg Mhor . I descended via Meall Mor - steep - and then an exhausting climb back up to the Bealach Bhearnais where I picked up the gear, drank plenty of water and headed back for the road. About 9 hours.

 
 
Loxal Monar's Matterhorn = Bidein a Choire Sheasgaich
Monday 11th May
Drove up to Craig on a fantastic day and carried my tent to the Bealach Bhearnais and camped there (no steak, just salami sandwiches). Did the two just east of camp, Sgurr Choinich and Sgurr a Chaorachain. Hot and tiring.
 
 
Great Gable and the Scafells
Sunday 3rd May

We decided to make a go at Pillar Rock despite rather dubious conditions. After a very long walk-in from Ennerdale (3.5 hours), it was freezing at the base of Pillar Rock and the idea of climbing was not appealing at all. I'm afraid to say we chickened out again and settled for the quick scramble up Pillar and the very long walk back.

Not a terribly successful trip, rock climbing-wise.

 

 
 
Andy on Donkey's Ears
Saturday 1st May
The plan for the Cuillins scuppered by the weather, Andy & I headed for the Lakes with the idea of doing a route on Pillar Rock. However, despite an improving forecast, things still looked rough over the tops at about 1 pm so we went to Shepard's Crag and did a couple of routes we've done before - Donkey's Ears and Little Chamonix (we chickened out of Ant's Highway).
 
 
View from Bealach nan Sgairne
Tuesday 28th April

Got up early and headed up to An Socach then made my way round to the very remote outlier Mullach na Dheirgain before heading over the main peak (height-wise) Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan. All nice ridges but again the weather was not great & a long walk back to the car. Just over 8 hours, which I was pleased with ...

 

 
 
Alltbuithe youth hostel
Monday 27th April

Drove up to Morvich in Kintail and walked to the "most remote youth hostel in the UK" Alltbuithe. I walked over A Ghlas Bheinn on the way in in fairly unpleasant weather, wet and windy, finally reaching the hostel at about 6.45 pm which to my surprise was nearly full. Turned out to be a party of tree planters from "Tree for Life".

 
 
 
Saturday 25th April

Went to Rosyth quarry with Andy; did Heathy (twice), Grenville, Chemical Warfare, The Flying Bink and Gold Foil. Both had little "spills" on the last twoo routes but no harm done.

 
 
View north from Ben Lawers
Tuesday 21st April

First dodgy day for a while but I went over to do the Lawers round. I started with Meall Greig as I've never actually done it (it's too tempting to blow it off) . Got round the circuit (4 munros) in mixed weather although it improved in the afternoon, as shown in the photo. 5.5 hours. The only place I saw anyone was the summit of Ben Lawers.

 

 
 
Nigel on Kestrel Crack
Monday 20th April

Nigel & I went to Dunkeld - warm day again and did Holy Tree groove, Cuticle Crack, Kestrel Crack and Twisting Rib.

 
 
Ivy crack - not as bad as it looks
Saturday 18th April

Andy and I nipped over to the Whangie, before he headed to Edinburgh to see a lecture by Richard Dawkin (or was it Stephen Hawkins?). Surprised we'd not been here before - it's a really nice spot. Andy led Cave Crack, then I had a miserable failure on teh arete next to it. Undeterred, we progressed to Back-step corner which is a strenuous b**r and then Ivy Crack, which is not as hard as it looks!

 

 
 
Looking back at Culter Fell (taken on phone, sorry)
Monday 13th April

Mum & I drove down to near Biggar on the edge of the Southern Uplands to do Culter Fell. It was a superb day - it's been a good spell of weather - which was just as well cos the hill has the potential to be boggy. After we did Culter Fell, Mum insisted on doing the next one as well...

 
 
 
Tuesday 31st March

Aberdour today - nice weather. Did Fishhead, Ugh, Flake & Wall, Maureen, Destiny's Groove.

 
 
 
Monday 30th March

Went to Rosyth quarry with Nigel to see if we could get the rock climbing started. Did old favourites like Andys's, Drizzle, CND, Chemical warfare but got smoked out - someone set fire to the quarry entrance. A fireman arriving on the scene said "one of the usual spots".

 
 
Looking towards An Socach
Tuesday 24th March

Winter's back, just a little. Poor day forecast but I went and did An Socach, adding to my collection of Glenshee hills. Quite a long walk-in from Baddoch but not too much ascent.

 

 
 
Carn na Caim
Monday 2nd March

Monday / Tuesday looking stormy but Tuesday worse so I got going on Monday morning and headed up to Dalwhinnie to Meall Chuaich. The weather was supposed to deteriorate in the afternoon (which it did) but I hurried along and managed to do the adjacent hill A'Mharconaich before it turned. Soaking walk back to the car though.

 

 
 
Carn nan Sac
Monday 23rd February

Glenshee again- more navigation practice and somewhat dull munros. Walked up Carn nan Sac in mist, then Carn a Gheoidh then over to Carn Aosda. Only cleared up on the way back to the car. Still, served the purpose.

 

 
 
Y Gully - worth the effort?
Sunday 22nd February

Persuaded (conned) Andy to come and have a look at Y Gully on the north face of Chruach Ardrain. The walk in's not too far but when you get close you realise that the face is not all that. Added to which it was very damp. In fact, there was a distinct possibility of drowning in the stream running under the left branch of the Y so we headed up the right branch. An enjoyable if soggy plod up to the summit.

 

 
 
Views over the Cairngorms
Tuesday 17th February

Monday was a bit of a write-off but Tuesday was supposed to be a little better so I went over to Glenshee to do Tom Buidhe, Tolmount and Carn an Tuirc. Actually the weather turned out to be nice, although much too warm and a bit misty in the afternoon. Pleasant for the half-term skiers, although slushy now!

 

 
 
Stef om Meall Glas
Sunday 15th February

Drove up to Killlin with Andy & Stefan to do Ben Lawers. Unfortunately, things have warmed up and all the excellent snow has turned to slush for now. That combined with strong winds made the going tough and we decided to call it a day at Meal Ghlas (although Stef later revealed that he would have liked to continue). Good day though.

 

 
 
Jim on Striding Edge
Tuesday 10th February

Fulfilled my long-standing ambition to do Striding Edge in winter conditions. An even better day today, hardly a cloud in the sky & people all over Helvellyn - on the ridges, in the gullies. Striding Edge was great, care required but not too scary. We came down Swirral Edge and took in Catstycam before heading back to Glenridding. Superb

 

 
 
Fairfield
Monday 9th February

Jim and I finally managed to do our long-talked about winter trip to the Lakes. After some difficult driving conditions, we met up in Ambleside and set out, in cloud, for Fairfield. But the weather got better and better and with masses of snow, we got just what we came for. Lots of cramponing, falling over. .. Good day.

 

 
 
Fuar Tholl
Tuesday 2nd February

Long planned trip to Fuar Tholl after a night in the legendary Gerry's hostel in Craig (it's Gerry that's legendary, not the hostel). It's a great craggy mountain, must be lots of rock climbing in summer but the weather was not as good as the picture suggests. Continued over to Sgorr Ruadh and Beinn Liath Mor in increasingly foul weather. About 7.5 hours round-trip. Reasonable snow cover up here.

 

 
 
East ridge of Beinn A Chaorainn
Monday 1st February

Finally got to Beinnn a Chlachair which involves a longish walk-in from Moy (Andy - Ardverikie wall looked dry). It was a pretty windy day as I headed up a little gully to the summit. I was wondering if I'd make it but things actually quietened down on the ridge. Funny that, across the glen, Creag Meagaidh was clear - I could only look on in envy.

 

 
 
View from Ben Challum
Tuesday 27th January

I skied at Glencoe on Monday but conditions seemed a bit firmer than I expected so headed out on foot today. I went to Ben Challum, forgetting that I'd done earlier in the year. But, to my surprise, deep snow made the original plan (north ridge) a non starter & I ended up slogging straight up the flank. Nice at the top and on the way down!

 

 
 
Glenshee - nice day
Tuesday 13th January

A lull after the weekend storms, probably before the next one. Not much snow left in Glenshee (met the SAIS forecaster - cat 1?). Did a nice round up to Glas Maol, starting some way below the ski station, had a look into corrie beyond and then crossed over to Creag Leachach before heading back to the car.

 

 
 
Wintery on Sgairneach Mor (but clear!)
Tuesday 6th January

A bit warmer but more cloudy and windy today. I went to have a look at the east face of A'Marchonaich. In fact, the weather was a bit brutal so I cramponed up the east ridge rather than try anything too hairy but it was a nice, quick way to the top. I plodded round the ridge to Beinn Udlamain, fighting the wind and drifting snow, all in cloud. This almost convinced me to skip Sgairneach Mor but I'm glad I didn't 'cos it was somehow cloud-free. Mind you, the wind really picked up on the way down and I was glad to get out before it got any worse. 5 .25 hrs.

 

 
 
Crossing Coire Raibert
Monday 5th January

Very cold today and the roads up to Cairngorm were pretty slow, especially the last part from Glenmore. I had planned to go over to Beinn Mheadhoin but it was hard going in deep drifted snow and I gave up half way down Coire Raibert, knowing what wa in store if I continued - no peak and a horrendous slog back up from Loch A'an. So I ended up doing good old Cairngorm and heading back to the car park. Usual sight of BMWs trying to scratch their way out of the snow.