Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Surf Kayak Coaching Today.

The run in...
Neil Paddling out to a lovely wee wave.
Proud owner of a Mega Bullit....
Today I was back down at West Port surf kayak coaching.
It was just perfect today. Clean, no wind and so so sunny!
I was coaching Neil who came with us last year on a course to St.Andrews. Neil returned with a new surf kayak and did really well in it. They are not easy to master!
Hebridean Pursuits Ltd run surf and sea kayaking courses all year round.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Sea Kayak Coaching off Oban today.

Another stunningly sunny and very hot day in Oban. I was working with Neil who has returned for some sea kayaking instruction, surf kayak coaching and to sit his SCA 2 star award over the next three days .
So today we headed out around the Island of Kerarra in what can only be described as tropical weather!
Tomorrow we are heading to Machrahanish to search out a small surf wave so Neil can try his new surf kayak out! The sun is due to shine again! For Kayaking courses check out

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Beautiful Spring day in Glencoe Today

Today I was working in Glencoe and it was glorious. Snow is still clinging on in the White Mount.
There is enough left to run a down hill free ride comp this weekend, should be a fun event.
I saw one person skinning up the spring run today and a brisk slide down!
There is snow left high in lost valley and broad gully remains in tact.
I am having a weekend off so heading for the first surf of the spring, just need to find a wave now.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Kayak Coaching on Loch Creran today.

Today I was working with the young carers adventure project from Oban. It was kayaking on the menu and the goal was their one star award. A warm and calm day and allot of fun. Everyone did really well passing all the elements. It was pleasing to see these young people enjoying learning and achieving in the best class room, the outdoors!
Hebridean Pursuits are currently gearing up for a busy spring and summer season on the mainland and on Mull. We have a few weeks of residential available at Tavool House on Mull and we also have some funding available for Young Carers to participate, we would be happy to hear from anyone out there who works with Young Carers.

Winter inside on Monday.

I woke to pouring rain and high winds on Monday, this seemed to be the nail in the coffin for winter in Glencoe, but perhaps not on the Ben?
I was to head out with Tom and Graham to ascend a snow gully. Tom had bought the day for his dad in a charity raffle for the Linda Norgrove Foundation, but for the first time this season I considered inside, we opted for an indoor day at the ice wall and on the rock wall. This turned out to be a brilliant move as we had an awesome day looking at movement, belaying, anchor set ups and ice climbing.

Monday, 19 March 2012

George Heriots School Pupils come Winter Mountaineering.

After the technical sections of The Dragon's Tooth. Fresh snow showers inbetween bright sunshine.
Nearly at the top of Broad Gully.
Pitch one of Broad Gully for Heriots School Pupils and teacher. Dorsal Arete above.
Winter Mountaineering for University Students and School Pupils.
On Saturday and Sunday we had the pleasure to work with pupils and teachers from Heriots School in Edinburgh. What a fantastic chance for them to experience the adventures of winter climbing and mountaineering. At only fifteen years old it's brilliant to think the pupils can have these opportunities. In these risk averse days and the dumbing down of outdoor education the ability to experience 'real' adventures is crucial to understanding personal development.
On Friday I was working with the students on the degree course form UHI. Looking at winter belaying performance these students had chosen to take part on these specific and specialised days. They are heading for a variety of carer opportunities in Adventure Tourism and I hope some of the Heriots Pupils may go onto consider a carer in Adventure Tourism or Outdoor Education.
The pupils from Heriots had been with us on a winter walking skills course and wished to extend their experience to something a little steeper and more technical.
Saturday saw us in the thankfully reliable Broad Gully in Stob Coire nan Lochan and Sunday on The Dragons Tooth, a fabulous scramble and ridge walk.
We were really lucky with the weather as both days were essentially cold and dry. Frosty nights and clear skies helped consolidate the remaining snow pack. Conditions are thin in Glencoe it has to be said but some grade 1 gullies remain full and in tact. Seek and you shall find.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Coasteering Skills and Rescue Course on Isle of Man.

Over the last couple of days I have been on the Isle of Man running a Coasteering Skills Training Course.
I have been working with a variety of outdoor providers from the island. Adventurous Experiences offer high quality coasteering and sea kayaking adventures on and along the fantastic cliffs on the island. I am staying at The Venture Centre, a family run residential centre with real character.
The island is a real surprise, I hadn't realised just how picturesque Island would be. The quality of the coasteering is also fabulous.
Today we coasteered along the Chasm's sea cliffs. A committing journey with wonderful cave swim through's and sea stacks to jump off. The scale of the cliffs is not what I was expecting, it's huge. The conditions have been very kind, with hardly any wind and warm seas it's definitely not winter.
Tomorrow, I will assess the participants for their SLSGB Coasteering Rescue Award, so towing, swimming and evacuations are the order of the day. Should be fun and a little tiring.
HPL run Coasteering courses all year round. We provide Skills training and technical advise and currently are the only organisation able to offer Certificated SLSGB Coasteering Safety and Rescue Awards in Scotland. Call Andy on 07721778821 if you are interested in Coasteering.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Dragon's Tooth Today.

I was out with Scott today. We headed for the Dragon's Tooth. I have never done this ridge route before and it was fantastic!
The weather started ok but as we gained height and the day went on it deteriorated somewhat from light drizzle to down pours and the winds increased. There was a light snow cover in the normally grade 1 gully which takes you onto the ridge and some evidence of ice forming above 700m. The ridge itself was covered in snow and the summit of Sgorr Dhonuill 1001m was pretty wintry from what we could see as the visibility was down to only approx 20m at times. The route is a very enjoyable mountaineering experience, sharp exposed rock scrambling, and even an abseil of about 15m and you end on a fine Munro. Winter is hanging in there and there is plenty to do if you use your imagination. HPL are running another Mountaineering course next weekend and the forecast is looking better and brighter!
Before that I am heading off to the Isle of Man to run a Coasteering course for three days, never been there either so more adventures to be had.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Oban Adventure Activities.The season is about to begin.

Oban adventure Activities are up and running. We are starting our season on the 17th March with a Hen Party. Coasteering has been booked so should be quite an adventure for the girls!
Oban has been beautiful today, sunny, warm and we can see for miles from the house. New snow on Mull and Ben Cruachan gives a glimmer of hope for more winter action high up.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Winter Skills Day in Glencoe and Fine Art Performance at Glencoe Ski Centre.

Today I was working with John.
Unfortunately his pal Hugh was ill so had to pull out of the day. John and I headed into the cloud to hunt for snow and we found it! We headed up to the Glencoe Ski slopes and we were very kindly were offered up lift. This helped immensely as the weather forecast seemed to suggest the weather was to deteriorate by late afternoon. It was correct, sheltered form the southerlies and dry most of the day it was very pleasant up at 850m and the summit of Meall a Bhuiridh at 1108m was very atmospheric. With a dusting of new snow the Black Mount looked very dramatic. By 3.30pm the weather had become somewhat nastier and a retreat was called for.
The snow that remains is good and very usable for skills courses. We reached the large snow patches at about 800m and concentrated on cramponing, step cutting, axe arrest and reached the summit for a late lunch. John was pleased with a new tick of a Munro. On the descent we found a very deep area of snow and built some shelters of a variety of styles. Throughout the day we also looked at navigation, including, taking bearings, timing and pacing.
The area over by the Fly Paper run and The Spring run are all complete and pretty firm. The Happy Valley run has continuous snow to the bottom of the Wall Tow. I reckon with a little imagination and graft if you skin up you can ski form the summit to the wall chair on continuous snow!
A really great days work and a very pleasant day with John. Made even better because this morning I thought we would struggle to find snow as good as we did!
We do need a big dump of snow as another few days of these high temperatures and it will all go rapidly. It is forecast, so we live in hope.
Check out Glencoe Mountain's website, they have got allot going on. Tonight there was a really interesting Live Gig by Barry Reid and Fine Art photographic show by happening there. It is brilliant to see thinking out of the box in these environments! A perfect mix of fine art and the mountains!