Saturday, 28 September 2013

Cloud walking today on the Aonach Eagach.

Scotland Outside wins again! An atmospheric day in Glencoe today. I was guiding Andy and Kat along the classic Aonach Eagach ridge. Andy and Kat came on a winter walking skills course last winter and after looking across at the notched ridge decided they had to traverse it. They were so lucky with the weather. It has been stable now for a few days and the temperatures are spring like. A glorious experience today with a charming couple. Well done to the guys, it's a big day. For guided traverses of the Aonach Eagach contact Hebridean Pursuits.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Rock Climbing instruction and guiding on the beautiful Island of Erraid.

Yesterday I was working with Jamie on the beautiful Island of Erraid which lies just off Mull.
The day started with a dramatic grey sky enhanced by the low rising sun, gradually as the day developed the sun came out and the beaches began to shimmer against the emerald sea.
The climbing wasn't too bad either! We adventured around a variety of grades of crags. An exploratory journey is always fun. We started down on the middle tier of the main crags with a charming and long route of about Diff in standard. Moving up to the upper tier we did fun severe and onto an awkward 4b route. After this thrutch we headed to some easy but delightful scrambling and onto the uniquely positioned Pink Walls. We ascended a few severes and a Hard Serve to test Jamies hand jamming skills. An active and great fun day with just ourselves on the island and a large seal watching on from the shallows.

Jamie on the middle tier.

Always fantastic to finish a route in style! 

Not a bad place to climb.

Looking south to Islay and Jura.

We do like to be by the sea side.

On the  Pink Walls.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

George Heriot's School pupils come Scrambling in Glencoe.

The last few days Hebridean Pursuits have been hosting George Heriot's School's first scrambling course. We did the very fine Lagangarbh Buttress and The Zig-Zags and summited Stob Coire nan Lochan 1115 m. The weather was challenging but the young people and their staff just lapped up the experiences. Thanks to instructors Alan Halewood and Adrian Henderson for their enthusiasm and hard work and to the teaching staff Ed and Jenny for making it all happen. It is refreshing that young people are activity encouraged to do adventurous adventures. These experiences remain for life and I am sure there will be some budding mountaineers in the team this weekend.    

The Zig-Zags. 

Three is not a crowd.

Feeling the exposure.

Gearing up. Happy Scramblers.

The team. 

Adrian Henderson where he is most happy! 

Lagangarbh Buttress runs up the obvious left to right ramp on the left hand-side of the picture.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

A colder and colorful day on the hill in Glencoe today with Graham.

Today is was out walking with Graham. It was 1986 when I first climbed with Graham in the Lake District on two ice climbs called Taylor Gill Force and Sour Milk Gill and it was fantastic to be back out on the hill with him. Graham lead the routes with a curver ice axe and wooden shafted Chouinard zero axe and I as an apprentice dutifully seconded in bending boots and with borrowed axes. These routes don't come into condition that much, but 86 was a cold winter! It was an inspiring day and contributed to my passion and career in the outdoors. Thanks Graham you are partly responsible for it all! We ascended onto Sgurr h-n Udlaidh today in a biting NW west wind. Occasional hail and sleet reminded me that the winter season could only be a month away. The hills were coloured deep sage greens and prussian blues giving a depth of landscape towards Mull and Glen Etive. It was fabulous walking off the north ridge which gave a whole new perspective on Bidean Nam Bian and it's huge sw face. Some exploring to be had there I think.

Taylor Gill Force.

Sour Milk Gill.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Canyoning on Mull today with Knox Academy pupils.

Exploring gorges and burns with groups is excellent adventure. After the heavy rain of last night, today was no exception as the burns were full of water which made for a challenging journey for the pupils and teachers.  Non of the group had ever been down a canyon and the smiles summed up their experiences.

Happy Staff.

The canyoneers!

Protecting the top of the in spate main falls.

Before descending a waterfall. 

Exploring the pools.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Three photographs of working on Mull today.

There is no where finer to work than on the west coast of Scotland on a day like today. No pictures of climbing instruction just landscapes.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Checking out new climbing venues on Mull.

We have a school group from East Lothian, Knox Academy in at Tavool House for another week of adventures on a Rose Project course. It has been a wonderfully warm day on Mull and an ideal opportunity to check out a new sport climbing venue. We headed to a recently bolted crag near Duart Castle and enjoyed some good routes in a very picturesque setting. After dinner we had a walk out to 'The Burg' to watch the sunset over the Treshnish Islands and beyond to Tiree and Coll. It's looking settled for a few days so we shall make the most of the dry rock and late summer warmth in the sea. Should be a fun week out here with a really chilled out group of young people.


Thursday, 5 September 2013

A beautiful day on Mull.

After the rain comes the sun again. A warm autumn day on Mull in and out of the water. We were coasteering with a group on the Ross of Mull. The sea was really warm and the rock felt hot to touch when climbing on the cliffs. This is fine time to visit and adventure in the Hebridean islands, it is really quiet now the school holidays have finished and the weather generally calms down towards October. The landscape is so colorful as the seasons change, a fabulous time of year for all outdoor activities.  

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

A varied week of weather and adventures this week on Mull.

It has to be said due to the weather it has been a challenging week working here at Tavool House on Mull . It has been very wet indeed and consequently the young people we are working with have understandably been slightly questioning about going outside. Having said that they have, climbed, canyoned, gorge walked, swum in the sea, caved, walked and been orienteering so far. Once out there has been no stopping them or their leaders and a couple of outdoor enthusiasts have been born! The conditions have created some beautiful colours in the landscapes, the dominant colours being an intense green. Unusually for this time of year, the turning to browns has held off  longer than I thought. A few weeks ago I did spread gloom and doom about summer being over, but pleasingly  the landscape is mocking my predictions. We will be in the sea tomorrow, coasteering. One positive is the sea is really warm at present and the swell has been building so it should be rather good fun. Hebridean Pursuit's season out here at Tavool House will continue into November, fingers crossed for an Indian Summer and late Autumn warmth, but what ever happens we will be outside having adventures.

It dried up for instructing rock climbing on the Ross of Mull. 

Abseil descent into the Canyon. Didn't matter how wet it was!

Waterfall explorations, bring on the soaking.

The beauty of Knockvologan on Tuesday.

Velvet greens enhanced by the rain.