Friday, 29 November 2013

Inside and outside this week.

This week has been mixed for conditions in the hills. I have been working on a variety of skills courses ranging from lead climbing training to summer mountain leader navigation refresher skills. A dusting of fresh snow lies on the tops from Glencoe though to the east. It was really warm yesterday at 600m but the northerly wind has taken a grip and it feels a wee bit cooler again. The word on the street is that it will get colder again next week, a good 50 / 50 bet this time of the year. It would be welcome as HPL winter courses start on the 9th of December so some snow would be very welcome. November has gone very quickly but it has been one of the most beautiful Novembers I can remember in the Scottish landscape.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Outside over the last few days. Not bad for November.

Variety is the spice of life, they say! I think they, are correct. The last week or so has been cold and crisp. Mostly wintry in the hills and dry at sea level. I have been working all over Scotland recently and the landscape has been as varied as the work. Here are a few photos to illustrate the diverse beauty and the ever changing landscape Scotland has to offer. Folk have been out climbing, mixed winter routes on Ben Cruachan, new routes on Ben Alder, exploring the ridges of Ben Nevis and in fact doing lots on lot's of Ben's. Others have been ski touring, rock climbing and sea kayaking. With high pressure dominating the outdoors has been everyone's oyster. It looks like the weather may warm up a little this week but that is normal for this time of the year. Hebridean Pursuits courses and winter work is well under way and we have been so blessed with the perfect conditions. Long may it last.

High pressure days you can't beat in Scotland at this time of the year.

The Mamores today, Monday.

Looking towards Ben Nevis on Monday [ last ].

Mull from Oban on Sunday.

Ben Cruachan on Saturday morning.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Navigation Training for ACOL West Highland College students.

Snow, sun, long distance views down to Jura, Ben Nevis covered in fresh snow and lots of learning. That was Thursday's work on one of the fine Grahams above Fort William. Fantastic conditions to start the mountain module for the students from West Highland College.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Fresh snow in the Galloways, Arran plastered, clear and crisp in the Trossachs.

Over the last couple of days I have been working down in and admiring the often forgotten and underestimated hills of Dumfriesshire and I also enjoyed an early winter high pressure window of warmth in the Trossachs area. It has been really beautiful in both counties. I woke this morning by the side of Loch Ken to an arctic scene of thick frost on the windscreen and sunlight pouring through the trees into my van. Driving back up to Irvine the Galloways were plastered in new snow and Arran looked majestic across the sea with a white cloak of pristine snow. It all tantalizes and teases the winter mountaineer in me. I watch and wait with excitement as the winter develops although it is a predictable battle of weather at the time of the year. If the new snow that was falling above Tyndrum whilst driving home tonight is an indicator it could be excellent.

Above Glen Ample.

The Galloways.

High above Strathyre.

Scruffy Dog Creations hat ready for winter by Loch Ken this morning.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Crystal clear on the West Coast of Scotland this weekend. Coasteering, Climbing, skiing and Sea Kayaking.

What a weekend for being outside in Scotland. Fresh snow glistened high on the islands and in the highlands, the sun shone for hours on the coastline and the sea was really warm to be in. Something for everyone to experience today. When Scotland is as pristine as this there is no where finer to experience the outdoors. I was working for Hebridean Pursuits. We were running an annual adventure weekend for George Heriot's School pupils. Coasteering and climbing were are the agenda. Over the weekend the well attended Storm Gathering Sea kayaking event took place in Oban, but due to the calm conditions not much storm but allot of learning and coaching was on offer! Folk have been out sea kayaking, skiing and ski touring, walking and mountaineering and some have found mixed winter climbs to enjoy, although the turf and ground is still too warm for most mixed routes to not be damaged. Adventures are to be had throughout Scotland in all conditions. Imagination is the only limit to the quest for adventurous experiences. One thing is for sure the weather will change again and another set of skills will be employed to deal with what is thrown at us. But tonight the warm glow and slight sun burn on my face is enough to bring a large smile to my face. Until the next adventure.....

One of our instructors Chris Saunders with Mull in the background whilst Coasteering today.

Mull from Oban.

Morven enjoying some dry rock on Saturday.

The pupils having a blast at Seil Island today in a sweet swell.

Saying hello to some kayakers.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The uniqueness of the light of Scottish Landscapes through the seasons.

The changing light in the Scottish Landscape is the finest in the world. Here are a few images to illustrate why working outside for Hebridean Pursuits Ltd and personal play outside in Scotland is such a privileged.

The storm season begins over Ben Nevis.

The Isle of Mull from Ganavan sands, Oban.

Mid winter on Tower Ridge, Ben Nevis. 

Looking to the Ross of Mull from Tavool House Outdoor Centre. Late summer.

The low autumn sun.

The warmth of summer camping.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

A cold yet colorful day in the hills on The Isle of Mull today

Today I was over on the Isle of Mull working out at Tavool House Outdoor Centre. It was a really beautiful day on Mull. The fresh snow contrasted with the low angle of sunlight and dominant cloud formations which carried heavy and aggressive hail showers. Hebridean Pursuits season is coming to an end on Mull and their 25th winter instructional season is about to begin. Patience is required for the winter to really kick in but the early snow always creates an expectation of excitement and work in the mountains and for the adventures to come. A few folk have been out scratching around on climbs over in the Cairngorms and deep accumulations of snow are lying above 700 m on allot of the west coast hills. I could see snow on Ben Nevis from the tops of Mull today, so time to sharpen ice axes, break out the big boots and dust off the skis.

Early morning in the Glen Forsa hills.

Ben More with a dusting of fresh snow.

Ben More and A'Chioch from Loch Scridain.

The Sound of Mull and Morven behind. 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Hebridean Pursuits 25 Years of Winter Mountain Courses and Guiding in Scotland.

Fresh snow has been falling over the last few days above 600 m on the West Coast of Scotland and the air temperatures have remained reasonably low. Ben Cruachan is looking wintry and the forecast suggests more snow is likely over the next few days. Hebridean Pursuits are offering a range of winter courses again this winter. It is Hebridean Pursuit's 25th year of running winter mountaineering, climbing and walking courses in Scotland. We have a wide range of activities for all abilities and ambitions, so please have a look a our website and Face Book page for what we offer and regular condition throughout the winter season.

Coasteering Skills Training Course and SLSGB Coasteering Safety and Rescue Award course.

Over the last three days Hebridean Pursuits Ltd have been hosting a British Rock and Water Association Coasteering Skills Course and a Surf Lifesaving GB Coasteering Safety and Rescue Award. The course was based out of Oban. Steve Bowens of H20 Training worked alongside Andy Spink to facilitate a varied and exciting program of skills required to work with coasteering clients and manage and implement rescues.  The water was warm which complimented the fresh snow on the hills nicely. Everyone passed the robust yet realistic SLSGB Certificated Award assessment and with much swimming, towing, rescuing under their belts all were happy to have passed. Well done one and all!
The next open course will be in Oban in spring and again on November 1st and 2nd 2014. Contact or call us on 01631720002 for more details and booking.  Hebridean Pursuits also offer site specific training and Technical Advice for companies and organisations who work or are considering working in this fun, educational and exciting environment of coasteering.