Sunday, 31 January 2010

St.Margarets School return!

Snow shelter building, even if you hit grass!
Using boots only practice.

Self arrest practice.

The Gang!

the sun shone all weekend.

Andy and Richard spent the weekend working for in Glencoe with the pupils form St.Margaret's School in Edinburgh.
The pupils did so well as we had to go very high to find a really good snow to use for teaching skills on.
On Saturday we went up the Little Buachaille and on Sunday we went up Meall a' Bhuiridh.
Thanks to the school, its staff and the pupils for a lovely weekend and their enthusiasm to try new things and really push themselves up these beautiful hills!
We look forward to next years adventures!

Glencoe shine on Friday 29th Jan.

Looking up Lairig Eilde.
the guys reaching the summit of Stob Dubh.

Looking out towards Ben Starav and beyond to the west coast.

Andy was out up on Stob Dubh above Lairig Eilde on Friday, this is an ideal peak for running winter skills and walking courses on as its fairly easy to ascend and the starting point is relatively high.

The conditions were just great, light winds but great visibility! The views across the glen and towards Mull were some of the best this winter.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

A damp day on Mull today!

Loch na Keal.
Beinn Ghraig 591m a fine wee hill for the afternoon...

An amazing fungus!

Part of a new canyon that i will be definitely descending in the spring.

Today I was on Mull exploring some nooks and crannies I had wanted to have a look at for working in and on.
The met office had promised sunshine at 3pm but hey hoe it just got damper!
It was a interesting hunt around and i have now some new ideas for clients in the summer.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Misty Morning Hop!

My wee boy was two yesterday! Can't believe how quickly time passe's!

The woods glistened with dew and early morning mist, the cold air hung low in the glens and the trees seemed relieved not to be swamped in fresh snow.
Taking Ben out out early before his party was a joy, the often over looked corners of the highlands offer so much in contrast to the higher fells and mountains, of which i have Ben to thanks as these rambles are becoming hugely important in my exploration of scotlandoutside.
I am out working again this weekend in Glencoe and has places and dates left for winter courses until end of April and then we will be starting to gear up for the sea kayaking season and residentials at Tavool House on Mull. The seasonal aspect of our work is so compelling and refreshing!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Broad Gully and Dorsal Arete.

Andy was out with Rodi and Mari-ann today in Glencoe.
The guys were on the first day of a winter leading course, so we started by looking at all things snow! We went up into Broad Gully where conditions were just great for winter belays and then climbed up onto Dorsal Arete just before the steeper pitches where we found ideal rock belays to set up. We short roped down the gully and ended by having a look at snow profiles and pits. A fun and constructive day !
The weather was mixed, the snow pack stable and the corie was pretty busy with folk on a variety of routes including SC!
The guys are out tomorrow and the forecast looks really good!

Friday, 22 January 2010

The mighty Dorsal Grat!

Andy near the top ploughing through the new snow.
Scott on the top pitch.

Scott belaying below the arete.

Andy enjoying the Dorsal Grat!

Today Andy and Scott took on the Dorsal Grat!

The new snow on the arete was so banked out it covers most of the usual rocks that normally offer great runners and belays.

The Dorsal Arete is an amazing, easy route giving splendid positions high above Stob Corie nan Lochan and avoids any issues of potential avalanche conditions. The belays are just perfect.The weather cleared up as the forecast had predicted, blues skies were the order of the day!

On a different note, do watch 'Three hungry boys' at 4pm on channel four on Saturdays over the next few weeks. Tavool House outdoor centre will be featured , the film crew came out with Hebridean Pursuits Ltd to film part of an episode.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Short Roping coaching In Glencoe.

Today Andy was out with Jamie and Matt in Stob Corrie nan Lochan instructing the 'black art' of short roping! They took an interesting line up the buttress that protects the entrance to the corrie

Being steep and slabby it proved great terrain for some serious experience in this challenging skill.

They moved up and over towards the Boomerang gully area and ascended onto the ridge to the left of this, some steep lower offs left us in the gully and some reasonably unstable new wind slab, the snow being chalky in look and feel made interesting route choices?
Parties were out on Twisting gully, broad gully and Ordinary route, but generally very quiet up there!
Winter remains!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Heading west this week...

Looking south into the southern highlands from the ski slopes summit of the Fly Paper.
Stob Coire Nan Lochan

The Black Mount across Rannoch moor.

You can always find space!

The east is still covered in metres of snow, making the later months of the winter very promising! Most folk seem to be heading west for an easier and allot safer time!
Here are some shots of Glencoe to wet your appetites and confirm that Scotland outside is the place to be!
Hebridean Pursuits Ltd still have places left on winter courses this winter so check out the website at
Have fun out there and take care!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Ben Glas, a wild old day!

Today Andy and Mike took a group up a hill close to Oban, Ben Glas above Glen lonan.
The winter felt very different today with cold blasting winds from the east , maybe gusting 50 mph and the drifting snow and deep banks made walking interesting.
The views to Loch Etive and Ben Starav were impressive but, the snow line has risen very quickly on Mull and Cruachan.

Night climb above Loch Awe.

Pitch one.
Gill and Graeme on second ice bulge.

Gill on the middle pitch.

The gang at the summit of the Beinn Brander.

Andy. Gill, Graeme and Andy went ice climbing on the lovely ice runnels above the road of the Pass of Brander.
The temp soared to 6 degrees, but the ice hangs in there!
The route gave a good grade 2, 200m long, the weather spread in some sleet from the east, but stayed relatively warmer than of late.
The ice was chewy and the turf still toffee like.
A fantastic evening out on sweet terrain and believe its a new route?.

Monday, 11 January 2010

New routes on Loch Awe side

Looking down to the Brander Pass from route 2.
Starting Sheep Creep, you can see the falls abaove.

Route 1. lovely easy ice!

looking up sheep creep.

Today Andy was out exploring the slowly melting ice on Loch Aweside by the Beinn Brander near Oban.
He found three nice easy ice routes. These burns are followed for approx 200m to 300m in length, are easy to escape but fat with good toffee ice.
The best of the 3 was 'sheep creep' grade 2/3 giving interesting steeper ice running through the steeper crags of the Beinn Brander.

A great wee morning playing outside!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

A winter weekend in Glasgow!

Argyll style Polk!
'Lumber jack' is in!

The West end or Berlin?

needing a first ascent?

Glasgow or Moscow? Dave, Harris and Ben.................

This weekend i took Ben to Glasgow and the frozen Clyde!
It can't all be mountains, but Glasgow felt like Berlin , the snow cover making it so beautiful, it looked as it should, the contrast of red sandstone and snow seemed so appropriate!
Friends were out exploring the tracks of Argyll and Gill went ski touring high above Barcaldine.
Graeme and Gemma took Rebbecca out in her pram Sutherlands Grove!
Lumber jack falls is complete above Loch AWE, worth the effort to get to it!
Tomorrow i am planning a night time ascent of some local falls more of that later on Monday!.