Farewell 2013 – Accidents, the Media, Hill days , Assynt, An Teallach, Skye

It has been a busy year and at times a tragic one, this years avalanche deaths 8 in total brought home to many the serious of the Scottish winter. The media were at times voracious  in there dealing with tragedy. I was asked along with  others spoke to the Media to try to give a better balanced view of the tragedies and in defense of the sport we love. An article I wrote on the UKC (climbing forum) was read by over 26,000 and I received many comments on the article. Dealing with the Media is never easy and once you give your soul to them, they are always back for more and it is hard to pick and chose what you comment on? In the end things did calm down a bit in the media but not for the families who lost loved ones and the grief will be with them forever. Hopefully any lessons learned from the winter will be looked at and passed on for the future. I will continue to do my small bit for mountain  safety any way I can through the Blog and my lectures and that at times means at times working with Media to try to get a message through?

Roadside climbing Applecross

Roadside climbing Applecross

I still managed to get out an about and have a few adventures some great days with friends in the winter two fun roadside ice days in the sun at Applecross. The weather for most of the winter was incredible with clear skies and so much ice everwhere. It was more like arctic Canada than Scotland! I also managed a two-day winter trip to Sheneval a bothy in the remote North West with a friend Pete from Cornwall and we just got out before the big storm. It was am incredible place to be in the bothy awaiting for Pete who was doing a huge day in winter alone. The fire was on and no one about, I went outside and the skies were clear and I could watch Pete’s head torch so tiny on the ridge. At the fire we shared a dram and it was a great night.  Next day we had a magnificent day in the wild with these great peaks and complete silence of the winter snow. Then the big storm came we saw it coming in and had a wild walk out after a long day on the hill. The drive back along the “road of destitution” with the huge stags down on the deeply snow-covered road made it an incredible journey home. Pete was fast asleep within minutes, these surfers are pretty hopeless and missed all the action. We made it home just that was the storm that caused all the problems and the day after was the big avalanche in the Cairngorms.

Sheneval Bothy a place of wonderful memories!

Sheneval Bothy a place of wonderful memories!

The winter stayed with us for a long time and I had some superb days,  Beinn Dearg and An Teallach and its great Corries all to myself in full winter conditions, early starts and great fun. I was also heavily involved in the new Memorial for the Assynt Aircraft Crash and did 4 trips this year one in winter. That one involved a 0100 start and a wee sleep in the car park below Ben Mor Assynt till first light and then the most incredible day on the hill, another great few days followed and by the end of the summer we had a new Memorial to commemorate the 6 lives lost in the wilds of Assynt.

Simon and Stu At the Memorial - a poignant place in the wilds, nothing moved in the artic air

Simon and Stu At the Memorial – Mid winter a poignant place in the wilds, nothing moved in the arctic air.

I managed a few great days in the summer my trip to St Kilda failed due the weather but I had a great few days in the boat and will be back next year. Then there was a great trip to Skye which nearly ended in tragedy when a loose rock hit a friend on the Dubhs ridge. The God’s were with us that day and we got away with it but the lessons of  wearing a helmet were reinforced. It was the best weather I have ever seen Skye in 40 years and we sat in the river for hours to cool down, with no midges.   The amazing Loch Coruisk with its huge slabs encircled by black cliffs and clear water flowing down the short river to the sea is a place to be. We had some glorious weather after a long winter and the summer was incredible.  The sun has an amazing way of making you and the world feel better. We sailed in on the Bella Jane from Egol  to Coruisk it was one of the best trips ever and one I will never tire off.

Cooling Off

Cooling Off in Skye!

The weather was magnificent and the views Skye, the mountains, the sea and the wild life incredible , we saw seals so many birds and the amazing sea eagles. This was Scotland at its finest and I will never forget “fluming down” the river like a big kid with the views of the island of  Rum it was very special.

Skye - The great views down the ridge.

Skye – The great views down the Dubhs ridge. Magic acres of hot rock.

In between I had a few great visits to see my Grand daughter Lexi in Henley we had some fun and real bonding looking after a 3-year-old keeps you young. I also had some great golf all over Scotland meeting so many new characters and new friends.

The end of the summer ended in Cornwall for a long August holiday with Lexi and family. It was worth the long drive nearly 600 miles each way and the car got me there and back . I even managed a climb on my to do list   ——— to be continued.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Aircraft incidents, Articles, Avalanche info, Books, Bothies, Corbetts, Enviroment, Family, Friends, Hill running and huge days!, Lockerbie, medical, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Munros, Poems, Rock Climbing, SAR, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Views Political?, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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