One of the few good things about being ill is when the weather is wild you are not missing much on the hill. Yet a low level walk into a wind is invigorating. I felt the bitter wind yesterday as I moved my old car away from the main Street in Burghead as it was the Annual Clavie Night “The Pictish New Year”.
The burning barrel of pitch carried through the village can do wonders for your old car paintwork, so I move it away. Everyone despite the wild night had a great night the parties in the village went on to the wee small hours. I think there was a piper and wild dancing late on into the night in the main Street. This year I never even went up to the Clavie finale as I was still feeling pretty ill and worn out. Hopefully next Year!
I had a look at the Scottish Avalanche Information Service Blog on the Cairngorms to me this is a daily treat and saw Kathy and Dog in their arctic environment. They are all hardy souls and what a job they do daily to give us information on what is happening in the hills all over Scotland . The hills looked wild and storm lashed by high winds and I was glad I was inside for once at the weekend. I had already heard the BBC Radio Scotland Program the Out of doors that is one every Saturday at 0630. It is a wonderful produced program with so many interesting features. Yesterdays is repeated on Iplayer today was a great piece about Glenmore Lodge. It gave a great insight into the work by the Lodge and Mark Steven’s was taken for a winter wander in the Cairngorms with one of the top Instructors Al Gilmour. It was radio at its best interesting and entertaining and so many great pieces of advice on winter mountaineering, well worth a listen to again. Later on the new principal Shaun Roberts spoke about the Lodge and what it does in today’s modern mountain world. I visited recently and the facility is amazing. I was so impressed by the improvements in accommodation and facilities especially where the groups meet for a briefing prior to their hill day. The weather forecast and Avalanche information can now be seen so dramatically it is well worth a visit on its own. Planning is so vital for a good day in the hills! I have been visiting the Lodge since 1971 and have seen huge changes, I was lucky enough to meet many of Scotland’s finest mountaineers here on Rescues and the odd course. It was always a great place to return to after a wild call -out as there was always a cup of tea and cake after a Rescue and the Catering Staff always looked after us, especially the RAF Rescue and of course the Helicopter heroes! Many rescues were run from here until Cairngorm Mountain Rescue moved their Base nearer the hills and we had some wild times. In my youth I even got a few sound pieces of advice from the Principal Fred Harper and other instructors. Later on we had many Scottish Mountain Rescue Meetings at the Lodge many that went on to the wee small hours as Mountain Rescue could be very political. It must never be forgotten that Glenmore Lodge has its own Mountain Rescue Team that has worked in tandem with Cairngorm MRT.
It was great to hear from Shaun the plans for the future and the part Glenmore Lodge plays in many other Sports and how though their jobs and though at times a very hard physical work it is the job of a lifetime for many of the instructors and staff.
Glenmore now is base to the Scottish Avalanche Information Service, Scottish Mountain Leadership and houses the Scottish Mountain Rescue Project Manager and a few others.
It was great also to see some of the old photos and their gear out on display boards that despite the huge changes that Glenmore Lodge will never forget its historic place in Scottish mountaineering.
In the display cabinets at Glenmore Lodge is the hammer above
The Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection – THE TERRORDACTYL
The ” Ice Revolution” started at the end of the 1960’s. Mountaineers had been seeking a better way of remaining in contact with steep and overhanging ice. The technique at the time was to hang on to ice pitons, driven into the ice above the leaders head, which was both dangerous and insecure.
Various ideas were tried and rejected and Yvon Chouinard, a Californian and an outstanding mountaineer developed a short, wooden shafted ice hammer with a curved pick serrated on its bottom edge (the Climax). Though the earlier Maclnnes All Metal Ice axes and ice hammers had a straight, slightly declined pick these were not sufficiently “dropped” for direct aid on vertical ice.
Hamish Maclnnes developed the “Terrordactyl” in 1970, which was a short, all metal ice tool with an aluminium alloy shaft and a high quality pressed steel head in two sections with an adze and steeply inclined serrated pick, for climbing on neve or hard snow.
For several years both the Chouinard ice hammer and the Maclnnes “Terror” dominated the forefront of international ice Climbing.
Eventually the accepted worldwide design for modern ice tools evolved as a combination of these two basic designs with the pick, steeply dropped like the “Terror” but curved upwards at the tip like a reversed Chouinard “Climax” hammer and known as the “Banana” pick It also has a medical injury associated with it “Terror Knuckle2 by people ike me who battered them into the ice causing a battered and bruised knuckles and in later years arthritis but what a great piece of engineering!