Hill Food ? Any ideas?

It is bitter outside and a bit of snow not the day for a drive to Aberdeen but needs must.  In winter it is important you eat well and on the hill recently I was asked about food for the hill. In winter with the effect of the weather, the wind and a bit bigger bag, maybe deep snow the old saying ” I mile in winter = 2″ so lots more energy is expended.  Add deep snow and a head wind and few places to stop, at times you eat on the move. To those who have never experienced the winter proper here is a few tips.

A great part of a hill day is stopping for a break and having a drink and some food! This is especially true in winter when often it is difficult to have a break and replenish the energy reserves. A little and often is the answer and in winter I on a wild winters day I carry some food handy in the pockets, like jelly babies or a cereal bar. I find that the modern gels and power bars are costly and awful but understand they work for some.

The most important meal of the day – Breakfast porridge?

If I can the day before I go out I try to eat a pasta based meal the night before.Many forget that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I enjoy my porridge what a great starter slow burning food with a banana and honey.   I always carry a hot flask in winter this year its Mint tea and honey, superb and well worth the weight. It is also hard to get the liquid in winter and many carry various high tech drinks and gels but I am old school and drink water or a bottle of hot juice. I also ensure I replenish my fluid loss in the car on the way home and before I go out drink  like a camel?

On the hill I will have a few sandwiches, jam or honey, oatcakes and cheese, sweets like jelly babies, cereal bars and fruit. The other day we had home made cake and it was crazy that on our Big Walks in the 70’s one man “Big Jim” could eat so much chocolate on a big hill day of 11 Munros it makes me ill to think how many bars he could eat? See if you can guess?

The famous Eric Langmuir book Mountain Leadership had a piece on calories used on the hill. Someone has my copy do you have an idea how many calories a hill day can use?

Jelly babies

“The number of calories burned hiking depends in part on your body weight. In general, a 160-lb person burns between 430 and 440 calories per hour of hiking. A 200-lb person burns approximately 550 calories per hour of hiking. The more you weigh, the more calories you burn in an hour of hiking.

Backpacker Magazine suggests a calorie estimate based on body weight and the general intensity of the day’s activity. For a strenuous day of backpacking with a “heavy” pack (no weight range specified), they suggest 25 to 30 calories per pound of body weight. Using my 185-pound self as a proxy, that’s 4,625 to 5,550 calories.

As you’ll notice, estimates vary pretty markedly. For the criteria I used (185-pound person backpacking for eight hours with a moderate to heavy load), estimates  range from roughly 4,600 calories to more than 6,300 calories.”

Anyway over the years I have got far more interested in hill food and most of the expeditions I was lucky to be on I planned the food like on Everest in 2001 in Tibet. A three month trip where the food was vital part of a successful expedition. After all few know that was in the RAF as a Caterer for 37 years!

I wrote a longer piece on my Blog on 2 Feb 2017 it may be worth a read?


Food for thought?

The joy of winter Terry Moore photo

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Captain Rick Jolly RIP – Surgeon in the Falklands conflict awarded medals by both sides for his work with the injured

The news broke yesterday that a hero of mine had passed away at times you meet a special person Captain – Surgeon Rick Jolly was one. He was an unsung hero of the Falklands and as a surgeon in the Royal Marines and he was awarded medals by both sides. I met him when he spoke to  Scottish Mountain Rescue at a Conference many years ago in Aviemore a few years after the Falklands War. His talk was riveting and  outstanding and his teams”can do attitude” was incredible considering they were operating in a old refrigerator plant next to the ammunition dump in Ajax Bay in awful conditions. He and his team treated 1000 casualties and saved so many lives.  His chat was an eye opener   and full of information he spoke honestly of a terrible war where the fighting was brutal as were the injuries. Late on we had a drink and he spoke into the small hours and always praised his team who worked with him. His views on leadership and the military were an eye opener to me and we got on great, I could have listened to him all night, it was a specail  few hours.

Mount Tumbledown, near Stanley in the Falkland Islands

He was loved by the troops especially by his Marines that incredible group of men. He spoke so honestly in his book about the fear of being under attack and the story of his war as a medic.  The facilities at Ajax Bay were set up in an old refrigeration plant which was situated next to an ammunition dump, as those were the only roofed buildings available of any size fit for purpose.

“The conditions in the field hospital were poor and despite the dirt, poor lighting, air attacks and the presence of two unexploded bombs, only three of the 580 British soldiers and marines wounded in action were to die of their wounds and none while under the care of Dr Jolly.”

After the war, Jolly wrote a book about his experiences called The Red and Green Life Machine. He was appointed an OBE by the Queen, and awarded the Orden de Mayo (Order of May) by Argentina for his service during the war. He accepted these honours on behalf of his team.

He said “Our attitude was simple…to treat the injured Argentinians in a way we would like to be treated,” says Dr Jolly, who insists he was only doing his duty.

“We realised the bombs in the roof were on timers and could go off at any moment. We worked out the maximum timer was 37 hours, so I said let’s withdraw, sandbag the bombs and get on with our jobs.

“Then the casualties from Goose Green started streaming in. We treated 47 casualties, some with terrible injuries, but they all survived. After most had been treated I said, ‘By the way, we’ve got two unexploded bombs in the back. They could be on 37-hour timers, but we’re on 46 hours now so we’re all right’. Everybody roared with laughter.”

“Anyone who says they weren’t scared was lying, but we were needed and there was no way we were going to let anyone down.

“I said to the boys at the start that we are here for one thing only, to make sure anyone who comes to us with an injury leaves us alive. The rest is irrelevant. We certainly achieved that.”

I would  recommend his book and read as much as you can about this great man who did so much in a time of need. I met a few of those who fought in the Falklands and most doing the fighting most had a story of this great man.

He was a man of the time a true leader who got things done and worked miracles during these dark days. There will be many who will speak about Rick Jolly and write about him in obituaries . I would advise you to read about this man of his time and read the book about the Falklands and “the Red and Green Life machine.”

Every generartion produces a man of the time Rick Jolly was it.

His book is well worth a read

Rest in peace Sir.

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A winter walk about Ben Rinnes – The Right to roam well worth listening to the BBC Radio Scotland Outofdoors program.

Yesterday was a winter wander up my local hill the Corbett Ben Rinnes, I had two friends with me Kalie, Dianne and Isla the collie. The weather was for wind and a bitter cold on the tops and the short drive about one hour was easy the roads were clear. There was a bit of wind on the way and the small car park below the hill  there was only one car. We headed up and the path it is excellent and well maintained by the ” Friends of Rinnes” and they so some great work. The wind was as forecast bitter  30 – 40 MPH and as always Dianne was charging ahead and Isla finding wood to carry while myself and Kalie headed up.

On the way up, the light was impressive..

There was plenty of work on path road looked by the estate as this is prime grouse shooting country and new parking for vehicles has been cut near the track. The ground is pretty chopped up near by but luckily it was frozen it will be interesting to see what its like after the thaw.

It was not a day to hang about and higher up there was plenty of ice about and on the last pull up the wind got fairly strong. It was definitely winter from about 2000 feet and I was still coughing well trying to get rid of the cold still.

The lonely tree at 2000 feet

You had to take care on the ice and added with the wind crampons may have been worthwhile and the final 500 metres to the summit was pretty barren and plaster with ice. The summit tors were soon in view and they were plastered with snow and on reaching them we got some shelter.

2018 Summit view

The last few steps to summit trig point were icy and the views in the grey sky wonderful giving a grey window on the Cairngorms and at least we were missing the snow showers. The darker clouds were over the Cairngorms and on the higher hills the winds would be wild. 

Kalie and Dianne at the top.

We had a break out of the wind met a hardy pair of lassies and enjoyed a few minutes, it was not the day to hang about. Kalie put on her crampons and we headed down into the wind and even on this little winter hill it was hard work and you had to take care on the ice.

We met a lot of folk coming up and a few deciding the winter wind and conditions were not for them good decision we were soon down off the snow.

2018 Heading down

About 300 metres down the weather was better and we were soon heading back to the car and the car park was now full. It was a quick sort out then head for some home made soup and tea in the cafe and then home.

Ben Rinnes is only a short wander but I was feeling tired the cough is still with me but it was worth it for a few hours out. I am sure the girls enjoyed the short day but the wind even for a short time was brutal and its a hard winter just now. It was back home for a bath then an early night watching the football and an early night after a great walk on a magic mountain.

Thanks for the walk girls and the company.

Right to Roam

On Saturday morning the BBC Radio program Outofdoors did a piece on the “Right to Roam” legislation that was celebrating its 15 th birthday. The access we have as a right IN Scotland comes with responsibly and this great program discussed the Act and the work that gave Scotland such great access. It was due to so many from all political parties that put this Act through the Scottish Parliament after great work by so many environmentalists.

It is so important that this right is maintained and the younger generations appreciate the effort and fight that made the “Right to Roam” Law.  Please when out and about in the wild places explain to the young folk  and those who have limited knowledge of Land Access how we have this great freedom and why we have to respect all parties involved who use the land.  It is one of the finest achievements of the Scottish Parliament and this is what makes Scotland so specail  A great program and you can get it on the IPlayer.

This “Right to Roam” law leaves unlimited potential for outdoor enthusiasts in Scotland the environmentally friendly company Patagonia follows two of its athletes on a mission to find great snowboarding terrain throughout the Scottish back country. At the beginning of the film, the two athletes meet a local with a shared interest in snowboarding, … They make a film its superb, please watch it. The piece in the bothy near the end were Laura a young Scots lass explains so passionately about our “Access to Roam”and what it means to her. This is powerful stuff please see the link below and share it please.

Thank you Patagonia, what a company, what an ethos.

https://vimeo.com › Patagonia › Videos

Posted in Aircraft incidents, Corbetts and other hills, Enviroment, Local area and events to see, Mountain Biking, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife | 5 Comments

Off to my local Corbett – Ben Rinnes for a short winter wander.

Yesterday I was pretty tired after the annual Clavie (the Pictish New Year) celebrations but managed to great walks along the beach with my pals dogs. The weather was superb with the sun out and the views and beach incredible. There are a lot of visitors in the village and my visitors Kenny and Elaine left after a walk and breakfast in the bothy. I had a few things to do and tried to cash a cheque drove to Forres about 8 miles away and found that the Bank is shut since October gone so it was away to Elgin to find a bank, sadly the effect of internet banking. It was then a wee sleep in the afternoon as the bust few days had caught up. I had my first OAP Fish and chips last night from the Chippy van in the village great value and one of the privileges of being old.

Spar sections and geodetics with steel plates and bomb bay floor area. J Ritchie photo

Today I am off to my wee local Corbett Ben Rinnes near Dufftown – It is grand to have a wee Corbett on the doorstep and Ben Rinnes at 814 metres is the nearest hill to my house in Burghead about an hour away it is also the North East most Northerly Corbett. An isolated hill near Dufftown whisky country it has great views of the Moray Firth and the Cairngorms which on a great day always look stunning. The views and the weather should be okay and the  hill though a short walk it will be a fun few hours out. The Friends of Ben Rinnes help look after this hill and the path at the top it steeper and to me there is always a wind near the summit tors. It should be winter on the tops. The views would bee good but looking over to the Moray Firth there are now a fair few wind – farms with more to come. A sign of the times.

some of the wreckage

There is an aircraft crash on this hill of a Wellington HF746 -B  that crashed on the 14 Nov 1943. The Wellington was from nearby Lossiemouth and it crashed  killing both of the two crew a Sgt Grove who is buried in Evesham cemetery. The other Sgt Rennie was taken to Glasgow.  The aircraft got caught in a violent snowstorm and crashed whilst on a night Exercise from RAF Lossiemouth.

There had been a few tales on this aircraft but that is what I could find through my contacts as information was very scant. Thanks to Ray Sefton for the updated information on this aircraft crash.

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A great night at the Clavie

Last night was the Annual Clavie night in my village of Burghead it was a superb evening. The village was packed and folk from far and wide came to see this incredible night! I had pals from Applecross, Beaully and local folk who came over to share the night. We we not disappointed. The weather was superb and the action kicked off at 1800 next door to me and then the Clavie was lit and carried round the town by the Clavie crew. Throngs of visitors and locals enjoyed the fire festival it ends up on Clavie hill where it is burnt and becomes an incredible evening!

Why 11th January? This is the date of the Burning of the Clavie, a fire festival unique to Burghead, which greets the New Year. The significance of the 11th January dates back to the 1750’s, when the Julian calendar was reformed in Britain. The new Gregorian calendar was introduced. People rioted, demanding back their 11 days – but not in Burghead. Brochers decided to have the best of both worlds, by celebrating New Year twice – on 1st January and the 11th January.

Therefore, every 11th January the flaming Clavie (a barrel full of staves) is carried round the town followed by a large crowd. The final destination of the Clavie is on the Doorie Hill on the ramparts of the ancient fort, where it is firmly wedged and after refuelling is allowed to burn out and fall down the hill when still smouldering embers are eagerly gathered. Possession of a piece of the Clavie is said to bring good luck for the coming year and pieces are sent around the world to exiled ‘Brochers’.

The Burning of the Clavie dates much further back than the 1750s, of course. Like many other fire festivals, its origins are lost in the mists of time.

Photos the Swadel family collection

Two of my pals had not seen the event before and it was a scene from a film as the Clavie crew throw buckets of pitch etc at the burning barrel light up in the winters sky what a night. It is good luck to get a bit of the burnt staves and many are taken and given to the locals. The town was mobbed and the pubs and houses busy.

We had a great night superb company in my wee house with pals and two collies celebrating the Pictish New Year with all that goes with it. It was great to see everyone and have some fun company and lots if memories of a great night!

Today we all had breakfast in the now famous Bothy across the road and the Clavie King Dan Ralph and his family were there. It was a great meal and superb crack! Then two big walks down the beach and forestry with the dogs and a chilled afternoon.

Last night was special thanks to all especially the Clavie crew who made it all possible along with the Police, Firemen, Stewards,locals and visitors who made this night special.

I would put in your diary the Pictish New Year 11 Jan 2019 for a great night see you next year!

Thanks to The Swaddel family for the photos of a magical night ad for all those who came over and sorry to those we missed>

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Lost Rucksac on Tower Ridge off the Great Tower. Reward if found!


I have a pal who lost a rucksack from the Great Tower on Tower Ridge on Monday. it has his wallet and other items in it!

He has reported it to the Police – if you find it could you hand it in there is a reward.

“It was the east side that it fell, we were on the very top so it might be stuck on a ledge or something, hopefully it’ll turn up in spring if not before. It was a black Diamond axiom bag in green.”

Please share if you can – he is contacting Lochaber MRT.

Many thanks

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Any advice for a road bike ? Clavie night in Burghead tomorrow well worth a visit.

I am maybe toying with the thought of getting  a road bike I would appreciate any advice on what to buy? I am enjoying a wander on my mountain bike and try to get out when I can. It may be I will be on a cycle trip in late summer for about 7- 8   days. I can say little about this as yet but the plan is to cycle up 100 miles a day.

2001 Tibet – looking for a bike?

I supported my stepdaughter Yvette last year on her #RideforReuben  Oxford – John O’ Groats so I have an idea of the effort and  pain involved.

What I would like to know is the cost of a reasonable bike etc?

Any advice advice would be appreciated. No laughing please I am trying?

I am using the app Ride for GPS.

Clavie 11 Jan 2018.

Tomorrow  is Clavie night in Burghead (The Broch)and the town will be busy as many come and see this annual fire festival to celebrate the Pictish New Year! The village doubles to twice the size in this small coastal town and many come from far and wide to see the spectacle. I have a few friends coming for the night and we may have a small party. It will be good fun as the lighted barrel is displayed through the town! The weather looks good so it will be a great night maybe I will take my Christmas decorations down after tonight!

The local folk get ready to celebrate the Pictish New Year with the traditional burning of the Clavie. Thousands are attracted to the Broch for the annual event, which sees a tar-soaked barrel set alight and paraded around the streets to ward off evil spirits for the year ahead. The flaming spectacle of January 11 is led by Clavie King Dan Ralph and the local men who make up the Clavie Crew.At exactly 6pm on Saturday, a burning peat will be used to light the Clavie before it is heaved onto the shoulders of crew members and marched around the town. It ends in spectacular fashion and is worth a visit but come early and then the village celebrates.



Posted in Cycling, Equipment, Friends, Mountain Biking | 8 Comments