Thursday, 31 March 2011

4 star open boat training course at Beyond Adventure.

The River Tummel shingle bank lunch stop.
Tracking up stream.
The River Tay.
Graeme making it look easy whilst looking to make the eddy.
Tools for the job!

The last few days have been a brilliant experience. I have been doing a four star leader open boat training course and what an amazing learning curve its been.Thanks to Stuart Bell [ob1] for his individualised coaching and demonstration of skills in his boat. Although I have level 2 coach award in this discipline I don't and didn't have much experience on rivers and certainly not much at all in Canadian canoes on fast moving water, so it has been an eye opener to a new range of skills and canoe techniques. My apprenticeship starts here and the building of my experience should be a fun and challenging one! Thanks to Beyond Adventure for the course.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Surf Kayak Coaching For Oban Kayak Club Today.

Barry and the close out.
The paddle out.

Jill trying out a surf kayak for the first time and doing great.

Lovely wave!

Today I was coaching Surf Kayaking at Machrihanish Bay. We were so lucky with fabulous condition's, ideal for all levels of surfing. The sun shone all day and I am amazed how warm the water is, bare foot day! The wave sized ranged from waist to chest high and was clean most of the day. Most of the guys today had never been surf kayaking before, but have done allot of sea kayaking and river running, so they were keen to get to grips with the specifics of this exciting sport and transfer some of the skills learnt today. It was great to be back out in the surf today, I just love that feeling of speed of the bottom turn.

Friday, 25 March 2011

A Great fun Canyoning Trip and Instruction day, today.

I was expecting a really icy start to the canyoning season today, but it was a pleasant surprise how warm it was in the water! Tom, Gordon and I went to Sutherland's Grove Canyon near Oban to look at all things 'canyoning'. It is a great trip with interesting rock scenery and exciting short slides and jumps and a few abseils thrown in. A fantastic spring feeling in the burns, what a contrast to just a week ago on the hills. Surf Kayaking Coaching tomorrow, so another day in the sea, can't wait!

HPL offer Canyoning courses through the spring and summer months. We can organise and guide a wide selection of canyons for all abilities. You have to try it!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

First Coasteering Course of the year! And it's warm in the water!

Tom loving it in the zawn.
Gordon on the traverse.

Jumps can big big or small!

The gully flush through.

Sea level traversing and a soft landing!

Today was an absolutely beautiful spring day in Oban! I was instructing outdoor instructors in Coasteering today at a brilliant venue south of Oban. Gordon and Tom were looking for technical and specific site training in this exciting and varied adventure sport.
The sea is remarkably warm and with no wind at all the whole day felt so much like summer!
We spent the sessions concentrating on Jumping, swimming, rock climbing, sea level traversing and play spots in the small but powerful swell. Great fun!
HPL have started the coasteering season and we are taking bookings for trips already. If you are heading to Oban on Holiday it's a great way of experiencing the marine environment and spending a day with the family!
HPL will provide highly experienced, licenced and qualified guides and all the equipment you need for a great adventure and each trip is designed around your ambitions..

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Ski Touring in Glen Feshie.

The last couple of days I have been over in the east with Gill, ski mountaineering. On Monday we ski toured above Glen Feshie and after a 1000m climb to Carn Ban Mor, we were rewarded with a great 2 k descent on soft forgiving snow. Today We headed to the piste to concentrate on techniques. The soft thawing cloggy snow made life difficult, but it is hanging in there and a drop in temp would consolidate the platuea's good cover. Folk were heading into the coires to climb, but haven't heard what they were getting done.
Spring has sprung! The rest of the week I will be running HPL courses. Coasteering, Canyoning and surf kayak coaching. Back into the water, exciting!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Loads of snow on Curved Ridge Today.

Crowberry Tower Gap with cornice.
Deep and Deeper!

Amazing snow formations.

Adrian leading the short but steep corner pitch.

Today Adrian and I spent two and a half hours ploughing a 3 foot trench to the bottom of Curved Ridge and then having an excellent day climbing it. Adrian was really keen to do this classic route in winter and He was also wanting to lead the harder top pitches, which He did with style and skill. Conditions out there are 'deep'. The cloud cleared for a while and then set in again giving interesting navigation down the North Ridge [alternative descent turn everything on the left as you descend] as the gullies are just primed to avalanche at present. The snow pack is still moist and really heavy. If we get a freeze over a few nights it is going to be a belter of a Mid March.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Duke Of Edinburgh Expedition Group Winter Skills Weekend

Saturday hard going in the new snow.
Sunday a little better but still very windy.

Great views!

Spin drift city!

This weekend I have been working with a really great bunch of young people who are heading off to Morocco to do their Gold Expedition in the Atlas Mountains.
I will be heading out with the young people and the 'ACE Centres' staff in early June. After their Gold Assessment 4 days i will be guiding them onto the highest peaks of Toubkal and its neighbouring 4000m peaks. This weekend was a challenge for all, high winds, blizzards and the constant snow fall gave everyone food for thought! On Saturday We concentrated on winter skills high up on Stob Coire Raineach in some pretty rough conditions. On Sunday we were looking at Navigation on Beinn na Caillich and some fantastic drift ploughing!
Winter is not over! HPL has winter courses running until the snow goes!

Wild Weather and Heavy Snow fall in Glencoe on Friday.

'The Little Shepard'

' The big shepard'

Friday was a full on winters day in Glencoe. I was out with Hamish on Buachaille Etive Beag for a short day ascending the smaller but no less impressively shaped Small Buachaille. High winds and new drifting snow made walking slightly more difficult than of late. Atmospheric would sum up the afternoon. The weather is to progressively deteriorate so it will be an interesting weekends work on the hill!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Curved Ridge Today.

I was back out with Dick today. He had expressed an ambition to do Curved Ridge on the Iconic Mountain, Buachaille Etive Mor. This fine mountaineering ridge weaves it's way up through some breathtaking scenery. The trouble was the cloud enveloped us just as we got to the water slide and the start of the walking route to the ridge start. A Pea Souper! Only once the whole day did it lift and give us a fantastic view over the cloud. The spring like conditions continue, but plenty of firm old snow remained on the ledges and in grove lines. Easy Gully remains intact but it will need a cold snap to make it pleasant to ascend. The snow on the exit slopes was damp, with a layer of older snow ice under making life without crampons interesting, good old fashioned step cutting came into play! The descent off the summit was done in the mist and an easy romp down Coire na Tulaich on the snow made for a quick way off.

A fantastic day of real adventure and contrasts. And We had Curved Ridge all to ourselves!

HPL are running winter courses until the winter really is over and summer mountain guiding all year round. The winter is not over yet, so please check out our remaining dates on the website.

HPL also have space available at 'Tavool House' on the Isle of Mull, it is

Ideal for large groups, parties and stag doo's, self catered or catered and plenty of adventure activity options if required!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Fine day high up in Glencoe

Descending into Lost Valley, steep snow fields all the way down to the glen.

Richard heading for the summit on some great old snow. Crampons on!

Another fine day in Glencoe.

On the Zig Zags, a fine start to our day and a great way into the Coire.

Today I was out with Richard, who was keen to have adventures and refresh his skills after recovering from injuries. We had a fantastic mini adventure scrambling, snow climbing, ridge walking and peak bagging.

We started on the Zig Zags scramble, where we looked at short roping. Then headed into Stob Coire nan Lochan to concentrate on refreshing Richards fundenmentals of ice axe and crampon use. From there we headed up over Lochan's lofty peak and at 1115m following some fine old snow and newly reformed softer pack with a wind crust. We followed the snow covered and still impressively corniced sw ridge and from there ascended the imposing Bidean nan Bian 1150m. Cloud came and went but generally a calm day, although some what mild! We descended the long snow slopes into Lost Valley and so back to the Glen. A fine days mountaineering.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Very mild on Dinner- Time Buttress Today

Ben and I had a great fun morning following the slowly drying rock up the various steeper bits of Dinner-Time Buttress. A little snow remains in the gullies at the top of Aonach Dubh, but the day just got milder and milder!
Misty conditions meant we couldn't see allot of Stob Coire nan Lochan as we traversed around and descended into the coire below Bidean, but what we could see suggests, wet snow on wet rock and wet turf with wet seepage, generally wet! Stob Coire Nam Beith is holding snow in the deeper gullies, but evidence of stone fall and broken sections don't encourage investigation at present. Having said all that the Glissading was amazing on the large patches of old snow, just perfect conditions for a bit of foot skiing!