A big day in November short day light, wild weather Lochnagar and three big Munros in winter. The Mountaineering Council Of Scotland winter lecture dates/ locations and they are free!

Winter is with us and I was out for a wander at Braemar at the weekend,there was plenty of snow about and this is a good time to check your gear and be ready for these winter days. I had a look on the UKC (Climbing website) and there was already plenty of winter climbs being done at the weekend as soon as the snow comes the climbers are out! No matter how experienced you are it is still worth looking at your gear and making sure you can cope with winter? The Mountaineering Council Of Scotland has a great web site with lots of information and advice and it is free.  Why not have a look and you may find a few ideas or ways to make your winter safer? It is great to see that these talks have been sponsored by various organisations and this means entry is free, what more can you want?

It is winter are you ready?

It is winter are you ready? These lectures all over Scotland are free, no excuse now.

Diary of a wild walk West to East Of Scotland 1977

The idea of a walk across Scotland from West to East in October/ November in 1977 with hindsight was crazy, with no support pretty serious.  Jim Morning and me we had just completed a huge North to South Of Scotland Walk in 1976 and pushed the boat out in the way of hills done. We thought we were ready for a winter traverse and after speaking to a few people most said go in April in long daylight and reasonable conditions. I never for a moment thought we would plan it for November. This is usually a wild month with various problems. The daylight is very short and the weather can be very unsettled and on this trip it was wild nearly every day. This is the story of “A walk nearly a walk to die for.”

I was a member of the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team a young party leader who had just completed his Munros in 1976. The Team was: Heavy Whalley, Jim Morning (JM) and Terry Moore (TM) this was the first expedition in to attempt a Traverse of Scotland mountains West to East in November. Jim and Terry were just posted in from Stafford and Valley in North Wales, both were incredibly fit and extremely strong mountaineers. This walk was the based on an idea by the late John Hinde, one of the founder fathers of the Big Walks. At the time we were cocky young lads invincible or so we thought and I think John had the last laugh. He said do “you think you are that good try a walk in early winter that will test you, how right he was so right.”

A quote “Few civilians had the time or the organisational support to try it [a long walk]”…  Hamish Brown.

This is from one day in the walk on the second last day

lOCHNAGAR MAP

Day 21 November 18 – Breamar from the Fife Arms.  The planned route: Carn an t-Sagairt Mor :   ‘big hill of the priest’,
Cac Carn Beag :   ‘pass of the small cairn’
Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach :   ‘hill of the beautiful corrie, Lochnagar :   ‘little hill of laughter or noise –Spital of Glen Muick. The weather: winds Easterly 40 – 60 cloud base 600 metres, with white outs forecast and heavy driving snow.  Our pal Sid had been diverted by closed roads when trying to get to RAF Kinloss from down South in wild weather and was amazed we were up and gone by 0700 just as the light was arriving. We wandered up the road to Auchallater and up to Loch Callater Lodge on Jock’s Road and met many deer sheltering by the Lodge. Then it was up the windswept ridge the hills plastered with deep snow and on to Carn an Sagairt Mor at 1047 meters. It was then onto the open plateau it was wild but by taking it in turns to break snow we were now pretty slick with our navigation after 17 days on the hill and onto White Mounth and Lochnagar not easy navigation today.

1977 wild weather on Lochnagar wrapped up for the bitter cold. See the ice axe can you name it? The jacket is a modified Henry Lyodd with map pocket

1977 wild weather on Lochnagar wrapped up for the bitter cold. See the ice axe can you name it? The jacket is a modified Henry Lyodd with map pocket – state of the art?

The weather was brutal and with an Easterly wind it bit into the core of your body. It was the coldest that I felt on the whole walk it was bitter. We still had to watch the navigation it was tricky and were glad to meet Sid he was frozen it was a quick snack and then get off the hill. On the summit it cleared and we got views and the icy balaclavas off and could see for miles and the huge journey we had undertaken. Then in it came again and Lochnagar in a blizzard is not easy to navigate off you hug the huge cliffs and have to take care. It is is not simple but Sid was happy to give us a break as we tried to head down out of the weather, he navigated we followed yet there was no switching off  but still checking all the time.  The strain of navigating every day in wild weather was taking its toll. These were the days of map and compass navigation, basic weather reports, no mobile phones and quiet winter mountains. Hard days but great memories and huge learning.

1977 Coming out of the storm before darkness on Lochnagar a wild day and short day light.

1977 Coming out of the storm before darkness on Lochnagar a wild day and  with short day light not a place to linger. This mountain was to play a huge part in my life in later years.

We were soon down in the Glen as darkness came timing it right and then along the track to Spittal Of Glen Muick in very deep snow.. It was planned that we were staying with Mr Robertson the keeper and legend in these parts he was another old friend of the team.  He looked after us royally and Sid headed back to RAF Kinloss and said he would be back tomorrow what ever happened and meet us on Mount Keen the end of the trip.

A true big pal Sid Green RIP who was to die tragically of cancer just over a year later. We had some great days and there was a man who loved baiting us Scots at the rugby and football. What a big gentle giant sadly missed. What camera is that / is that a hipflask out?

A true big pal Sid Green RIP with Jim Morning who was to die tragically of cancer just over a year later. We had some great days and their was a man who loved baiting us Scots at the rugby and football. What a big gentle giant sadly missed. What camera is that / is that a hip flask out?

(Sid was to die of cancer within a year this great big strong man and a real pal) I will never forget his kindness meeting us on that second last day.) We were upset that the team would not be there at the end but it was not to be but they were still involved in War Games at RAF Kinloss this was the days of the Cold War poor souls. Mr Robertson had a good chat and we stayed in the Mountain Rescue bothy for the night, we had a dram and a meal with him and could not believe we only had one day left. We had definitely aged and lost lots of weight but were extremely fit. We slept well and were as usual away early it still was a bit of a walk to go much on our favourite ground peat and bog!   It was another steady day of 24 k and 1219 metres in the wild weather again all day but only 1 day to go.

It was get the wet kit of and get it dried for tomorrow. The last day of the walk was tomorrow.( see blog for more)

Mountain Safety Lectures :From the Mountaineering Council Of Scotland website.

http://www.mcofs.org.uk/winter-safety.asp

Mountaineering Council Of Scotland

Mountaineering Council Of Scotland

“The MCofS has teamed up with Cotswold Outdoor, Tiso, The Mountain Cafe, Aviemore, Scottish Walks magazine and The Munro Society to offer you a fascinating insight into Scotland’s mountains in winter and some essential safety advice for heading into the hills at this time of year.


In this free lecture, Heather Morning, our Mountain Safety Advisor will share her beautiful photography, videos, personal anecdotes and adventures, while equipping you with some essential skills for winter navigation, avalanche awareness, route choice, equipment, mountain weather and much more.

With a lifetime’s experience in the mountains, Heather has been a professional mountaineer for 25 years and for the last 12 years has been an active member of the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team.
Places are free but limited, so to avoid disappointment, please book your seat by popping in the relevant store or calling them on the numbers given below.

  • Monday 23 November, 7pm – Aberdeen
    Cotswold Outdoor Store, 9 The Atrium, Guild Square, Aberdeen AB11 5PS
    Book now on 01224 593639
  • Tuesday 1 December, 7.30pm – Dundee
    Tiso, 22 Whitehall St, Dundee DD1 4AF
    Book now on 01382 221153
  • Wednesday 2 December, 7.30pm – Perth
    Tiso, Highland Gateway, Inveralmond roundabout, Perth PH1 3EE
    Book now on 01738 634464
  • Thursday 3 December, 7.30pm – Inverness
    Tiso, Longman Industrial Estate, Inverness IV1 1SN
    Book now on 01463 729171
  • Tuesday 8 December, 7.30pm – Edinburgh
    Tiso, Edinburgh Outdoor Experience, 41 Commerical Street, Leith EH6 6JD
    Book now on 0131 554 0804
  • Wednesday 9 December, 7.30pm – Glasgow
    Tiso, Glasgow Outdoor Experience, 50 Coupar Street, Glasgow G4 0DL
    Book now on 0141 559 5450
  • Thurs 10 December, 7pm – Stirling
    Cotswold Outdoor store, Dobbies Garden Centre, Drip Road, Craigforth, Stirling FK9 4UF
    Book now on 01786 241200
  • Tuesday 5 January, 7pm – Glasgow
    Cotswold Outdoor Store, 30 West End Retail Park, 60 Crow Road, Partick Glasgow G11 7RY
    Book now on 0141 357 5353
  • Wednesday 6 January, 7pm – Edinburgh
    Cotswold Outdoor Store, 72 Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 2NN
    Book now on 0131 464 9991
  • Wednesday 10 February, 8pm – Aviemore (speaker: mountain rescue legend, Heavy Whalley)
    Mountain Cafe, 111 Grampian Road, Aviemore
    Booking essential on 01479 812473 – pre-lecture meals available (£12), meals will be served at 7pm.
  • Wednesday 17 February, 8pm – Aviemore
    Mountain Cafe, 111 Grampian Road, Aviemore
    Booking essential on 01479 812473 – pre-lecture meals available (£12), meals will be served at 7pm.

The MCofS Winter Mountain Safety Lecture is kindly supported by Cotswold Outdoor, Tiso, the Mountain Cafe, Summit Financial Services, The Munro Society, Scottish Walks magazine and the Herald & Times Group.”
          

About heavywhalley.MBE

Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist
This entry was posted in Enviroment, Equipment, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

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