The Police offer some advice and a few comments from yesterday’s blog on Mountain Tragedies.

Yesterday was a busy day as my grand kids arrived and we had some fun as the sun shone in the bitter wind. It was just what you need after a sad weekend with so much happening. The joy of two young girls bring life back a bit from the dark and two huge cuddles are just what you need.

This week many of the Mountain Rescue Teams have been busy and a climber is missing on Ben a’ Choarainn near Roybridge a hill I know well from past accidents. Cairngorm and Lochaber Teams have been busy as have the teams in West, lives have been saved and most have had a good outcome. More snow is forecast and the Police and Mountaineering Scotland have issued advice for winter mountaineers and skiers.  Yet so many are out having fun and enjoying the wild places safely it is easy to get into a negative attitude about the mountains if you read the doom and gloom in some of the media.

Torridon winter! This is winter mountaineering Not hill walking!

Police Scotland has issued a warning to hillwalkers and people pursuing outdoor activities in the mountains of the dangers that inclement weather and the terrain can present.

In the last week Mountain Rescue teams have been called out over 13 times and police are reminding people to bear in mind that the weather can change very quickly.

Chief Inspector Neil Anderson, Operational Support Division and Land based Search and Rescue lead for Police Scotland, said: “Unless you are an experienced hillwalker or mountaineer I would advise against venturing into the hills if there is any likelihood of the conditions becoming adverse. Stay up to date with weather and Avalanche forecasts and be prepared to change your plans if the weather is expected to change. If you are not experienced it is a good idea to stick to the lower or less challenging areas.

“If you are enjoying outdoor pursuits please ensure you are properly dressed for the conditions. Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.

“A fully charged mobile phone is highly recommended, but remember that sub-zero conditions will take their toll on your battery life. Remember also that the mapping app on your phone is no substitute for a proper map, and that when your battery dies, your map is gone. Make sure you have a map and compass and you know how to use it.

“Take some emergency rations with you, just in case and make sure you know what time the sun sets and allow yourself plenty of time to get off the hill before darkness falls.”

It is good to see the Police reminding us all of a few key facts, keep watching the weather and avalanche forecasts that are nowadays so easy to access.

This was written in 1994 by Bob Reid who was then Chair of Mountaineering Scotland – it is all so relevant today.

1) “There is no such thing as winter hillwalking. Hillwalking is a summer pursuit
(and in most Scottish summers, you need to be prepared for winter) IN
WINTER THERE IS ONLY MOUNTAINEERING.

2) Know your limitations, and don’t be afraid to say no. It ain’t chicken, it is just
being realistic.

3) Turning back (indeed, not even getting out of the car) isn’t an admission of
defeat. Its wisdom and sound judgement coming to the fore. There’s always
another day.

4) Errors of judgement are the main apparent cause of accidents – knowledge,
experience, and an ability to use both could be critical. The time to relax is in
the pub, not at the top of the climb.

Winter Mountaineering is wonderful get out and enjoy safely.

5) Individual responsibility is the name of the game. It is your life, your risk.
Never pass that responsibility to others. Participate in the decisions, even if you
feel like the dampener on enthusiasm. What you perceive as enthusiasm could
be rashness. You could also spot someone else’s mistake.

6) And finally, a message for the experienced. Always keep on teaching.
If you’re off climbing this weekend …. look well to every step.

These words are still so relevant today – Thanks Bob.

Posted in Avalanche info, Enviroment, Equipment, Friends, Hill running and huge days!, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, SAR, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife | 2 Comments

Thoughts on a personal Mountain Tragedy and a huge thanks to all who risk their lives for us.

These words from my nephew on the search for his Uncles.

“God bless all those in the search, human and canine alike.”

After over 40 years involved in Mountain Rescue every mountain accident is a tragedy. Over the years my involvement has led to the loss of 10 friends over the years. No one knows more than me the work of all the Agencies who work so hard on every incident in the mountains. The Police, Mountain Rescue Teams, SARDA the helicopters and the local support they receive from Estates and local folk. The ethos of giving your time to search for people you have never met in the depth of the winter is hard for many to accept. In this world that few do anything for nothing I am always amazed by these good folk who are rarely in the news or media for their unselfish actions. Most teams train monthly and the ongoing training involves so much time and effort, all unpaid and voluntary.  

I left Mountain Rescue in 2011 but still get involved speaking and having the honour of working with the Teams. Mountain Rescue is unique family and I have huge respect for all the Teams how hard they work to raise funds. This is especially in the Far North and West away from the honey pot areas. These are wild areas where without helicopter assistance you rely on the Estates for the use of tracks to get to the hills. Most hills are at least 6-8 hour days and in winter the paths are snow-covered. In deep snow in the heart of winter I mile can be 2 in heavy snow  and the hills and ridges have big cornices that require constant navigation awareness. This in winter is winter mountaineering  gone is the 6 hour walk in summer along a well made path to a Munro summit it can become an expedition that can take all day. Navigation in winter is critical crampons and ice axe and the skill to use them are always needed. This winter will be a long one and a  winter summit can be hard-won. One day out each winter bagging a Munro does not make you an experienced winter mountaineer this comes with many years of winter Mountaineering. Even then you learn every time you go out.

Early yesterday I left at 0430 to meet the Mountain Rescue Teams and Search Dogs involved in the search for the missing brother Neil  Gibson in Wester Ross. I was going up to thank the Teams before they started their searches for Neil  who is still missing with his dog since Thursday night. His brother Alan was located yesterday by the Teams they had been out winter Mountaineering and had not returned from a Munro in Torridon area. I was unaware of their names until my sister called and Neil and Allan are her nephews and Uncles to her children.

It was a difficult call as it came when was out walking locally with friends it was made worse when it is a family member my sister and she would want to know my opinion of what was happening. I had to explain what the teams would be doing, the weather influences and how hard an area this is to search. This year is a big winter and the area where Neil and Allan went missing is some of the remotest mountains in Scotland yet to many the most rewarding to climb in winter. I have been on these mountains 3 times in last two years always in winter it is a place I love for it wildness and unexplored cliffs.

All Photos Ryan MacLean Torridon MRT

After Alan was found my sister and the family wanted me to thank the Teams so I left early yesterday  for the 2 and a half hour trip to Torridon. After Inverness the weather was full on winter with snow most of the way just before Achnasheen. It was still pitch dark and as I headed down to Kinlochewe the light was breaking and in between snow showers showed the hills pretty plastered and the roads needed great care.

I stopped near where the Search was starting at Coulin Estate and the Teams started to arrive at 0730. The forecast was a wild day with heavy snow showers considerable avalanche risk and at times clear weather but windy high up. I met the Torridon Team and the RAF Mountain Rescue team as they set out up the Estate road and thanked them for all their efforts and for finding Allan yesterday a hard heartbreaking task. This was the 3 rd day of searching for some of them, they would be tired  but they still came out to search again. It is incredible to see how hard they work in full on winter conditions, that take a relentless toll on the body.

Soon the car park was quiet they were off, the TV camera was and I was glad  I said a few words to thank everyone for their efforts. I met Dundonnell MRT as well they were going to search another area and thanked them from all the family. SARDA were just behind them they had several dogs out searching and I had a few words with them. They had come from a training  weekend at Roybridge and had come in to help, what dedication. Many of the Mountain Rescue  Teams and SARDA I know personally and many take it for granted what they do. It is only when you are personally involved that you see what is the normal to Mountain Rescue is exceptional outside this tight family.

A big snow shower came in as forecast and the views were soon gone everything was covered in a new blanket of snow . The Teams and Search Dogs  would soon be briefed and then out searching the wild moors and cliffs hoping that they can find Neil. The snow plough passed as did a few cars hoping to get a day on the hills life goes on most folk are unaware.  I left them had some time on my own these mountains mean so much to me and I prayed they would all be safe.

Later the hills cleared the huge Torridon giants appeared through the cloud and the wild snow plastered summits came into view. It was bitter cold and silent as only the mountains can be the stags were down and they darted into the moor and were soon heading off.

Late that night I was told the Teams had a hard day searching in extremely wild conditions. The Search found nothing so the family have to wait till the weather improves. The Teams and SARDA were all of the hill safely and my mate Shane the team Leader of the RAF Lossiemouth team saw my light on in my house and gave me a brief. It was 2230 and he was just getting home, he looked exhausted.

I thanked him again for everyone’s efforts and the update and to pass on my thanks for all their efforts. Few will realise when the Teams and SARDA go back to work today what they have been up to this weekend. Teams all over the UK have been busy and many lives saved by these unassuming folk.

Why do they do it ? It is never easy to understand the pull of the mountains and wild places that can make a day turn into an epic. Despite the best forecasting data, weather remains a potentially lethal wild card for any expedition. “You can mitigate risks, but you can never remove them,” Thousands have been out all over the UK enjoying the winter safely and only sad tragedies make the headlines. 

There will sadly some comments in the media as this is after any mountain accident  accident many “armchair mountaineers”  will have their say.  I always think of the family who will be reading the many comments in the media. The only folk who should comment  is the Police and the Teams but they rarely do. Just think of the effort by all involved by all Agencies in such wild weather and serious commitments of all involved.

Its is humbling to have seen what they do and I thank you all from all the family. Thank you all stay safe. If your Mum , Dad, husband wife relation was involved with the teams, SARDA and helicopter give them a hug from me, they are special folk.

My grand-kids arrive today weather dependant so that is just what I need, life goes on for us all. If your going out in the hills take care and tell folk where and what your plans are.

Thanks to Ryan Torridon MRT for the use of his photos, they show a bit of the weather yesterday and on this incident.
Posted in Enviroment, Equipment, Family, Friends, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife | 6 Comments

Sadly one of the missing brothers has been located in Wester Ross.

As many will know Alan and Neil Gibson had been missing since Thursday

Teams searching for two missing brothers in the hills of Wester Ross have sadly found a body.

Beinn Liath Mhor

In a statement by the Police in Inverness said “the body of Alan Gibson was found by mountain rescue teams on Saturday.”

The 56-year-old reportedly set off with his brother Neil, 63, and their dog Archie, for Achnashellach on Thursday.

One of the brothers was thought to have travelled to the area from County Durham while the other travelled from the Nairn area.

Mountain rescue teams, along with both the Inverness and Stornoway Coastguard helicopters have been flying over the area searching for the pair since they were reported missing on Thursday evening.

‘Very sad time’

In a tweet, Inverness police said: “We can sadly confirm that mountain rescue teams have recovered the body of Alan Gibson, one of two missing brothers and who failed to return from a hillwalk in the #Achnashellach area on Thursday.

“Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.

“Searches are ongoing.” Said BBC news.

The weather forecast is poor and the Avalanche forecast considerable and another search will continue at first light!

From SARDA Scotland

“After the sad discovery of Alan Gibson, one of two missing brothers in the Achnashellach area, eight SARDA Scotland dogs will resume the search tomorrow , along with Torridon, RAF Lossiemouth, and Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Teams, Police Scotland and HM Coastguard Search and Rescue Helicopter, for Alan’s brother Neil. We wish to send our sincere condolences to Alan’s family and friends. Our thoughts are with you at this very sad time.@

All Agencies have worked so hard and this is tragic news! I cannot thank them all for their efforts and pray for a result tomorrow and for the rescuers safety!

My thoughts are with the family who I know personally! They appreciate the efforts of all who are taking part and ask me to pass on their gratitude.

This area of Wester Ross is wild, remote and has many serious winter mountains especially in this big winter. The wild remote Corries,huge cliffs and with the stalking paths it is a place of savage beauty. This year is a big winter and most of the hills are full of snow and ice. The high paths are covered with snow and ice navigation is essential. These hills are not summer walks but full on winter expeditions.

Please be careful if out on the mountains and wild places and ensure someone knows of your plans and route for the day! We all have folk back home who sit and wait.

Safe climbing !

Posted in Avalanche info, Enviroment, Equipment, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Views Mountaineering, Weather | Leave a comment

Missing brothers in the North West – a big search on going in Wester Ross.

As i write this I had planned a night with pals in a snow hole overnight in the Cairngorms but put it off due to windy  weather forecast, Instead I will go for a Coastal walk with pals. The news that 2 walkers and a dog are missing since Thursday night in the Glen Carron Area it is a wild place especially in winter and I know it well. My thoughts are with the helicopter crews and the Mountain Rescue Teams and SARDA involved. If you were climbing in the area and saw the two missing walkers and their dog please contact the Police asap.

Have you seen these two walkers? Photo Police Scotland.

This is mountainous country between Glen Torridon and Strath Carron it tends to be neglected due to being overshadowed by the giant Munros of Torridon. It is a wild area of  mountains, huge Corries cliffs and a network of stalking paths that will be covered in winter with snow and ice. It is a wild remote area and the Munros and Corbetts are hard won in winter.

The Big hills where the teams , Dogs and helicopters may be searching

 

Inverness Coastguard helicopter carried out a search then Stornoway Coastguard helicopter replaced it. Mountain rescue teams from Kintail, Torridon and the RAF and search dogs have also been searching. The weather is not great but the area has a few bothies and is fairly remote in winter and my thoughts are with all those involved in the Search.

 

The Wild Corrie Lair

The Weather for the North West  from the MWIS website “Southerly 50-70mph post dawn. Soon southwesterly, 30-40mph. Through afternoon, progressively dropping to 10 to 25mph – windiest south of Assynt.

EFFECT OF WIND ON YOU?

Mobility very difficult and wind chill severe where exposed on higher areas – although conditions will improve markedly.

 HOW WET? Snow/rain, most persistent morning

Post dawn: Snow, temporarily changing to rain or refrozen rain, perhaps briefly some higher slopes. Soon snow showers – the snow penetrating to progressively lower slopes. More constant snow will return after dark.

 CLOUD ON THE HILLS? Improving: fog may clear off some higher summits afternoon

Fog widely from lower coastal slopes up after dawn. Will improve, still patches near precipitation below 500m, but most cloud confined above 700 to 900m. In the afternoon as wind drops, some higher summits, particularly inland south of Ullapool will clear completely.

 CHANCE OF CLOUD FREE MUNROS? 20%, although for a few hours afternoon 50% south of Ullapool

SUNSHINE AND AIR CLARITY? Patches of sun middle of day and early afternoon, mainly well inland. Widely poor visibility after dawn, intermittently excellent afternoon.

HOW COLD? (AT 900M) Around 0C most of morning (when only slow fall of temperature with height). Then dropping to reach -3C by dusk.

FREEZING LEVEL Reaching 900m for a few hours centred mid morning. Then progressively dropping to 450m by dusk. However, from lower slopes up, terrain frozen or partly frozen.

 

On the way to Fuat Tholl one of my favourite mountains.

From BBC Scotland

“Rescue teams have been searching for two brothers after they failed to return from a hillwalking trip in Wester Ross on Thursday. Alan, 56, and Neil Gibson, 63, had headed for Achnashellach with a black Pointer dog, called Archie.

Inverness Coastguard helicopter carried out a search then Stornoway Coastguard helicopter replaced it. Mountain rescue teams from Kintail, Torridon and the RAF and search dogs have also been searching.

Moal Chean – dearg

The Maritime and Coastguard agency said the search was covering a wide area taking in the peaks of Fuar Tholl, Sgorr Ruadh and Beinn Liath Mhor. Weather conditions have been described as “tricky” with frequent snow showers.

Police Scotland has urged anyone who has seen the two men or their dog to get in touch.

It was previously thought the search effort was focused on Torridon. One of the brothers was thought to have travelled from County Durham.”

This is from SARDA Scotland

SARDA Scotland dogs have been assisting in the search for two missing hillwalker.

“SARDA Scotland dogs have been stood down for the evening. Dogs have been diverted from training in Roybridge this weekend to assist with the search again tomorrow. Nine dogs will be out again in the morning.”

Search & Rescue Dog Association (Scotland)

#ScottishMR

Stay safe all those involved in the search.

Posted in Enviroment, Equipment, Friends, Gear, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife | 2 Comments

Looking back on past Winter Courses – learning every time you go out !

A pal put a photo up of our Annual Winter Course in the Cairngorms and Ben Nevis where we introduced many to a Scottish Winter. As always we were involved in many call outs. The lessons of taking care were always heightened when often on the first two days of winter skills the odd climber would hurtle out of a Gully and land at our feet!

RAF MRT WINTER COURSE 2013

These made a few of the younger folk and us all take even more care when mountaineering in winter. I look back on instructing and running over 30 annual winter Course and we learned so much! They were a hard two weeks with one day off and so physical. It was the constant checking of the weather and avalanche conditions and planning the climbing were always a busy time and day after day it took its toll.

Many times we struggled for good conditions and ended up bothying or intensive navigation training a key winter skill! On the “blue sky@ days I remember getting 6 routes in Corrie an’t Sneachda climbed in a day . The Corries were full of characters and it was always great to be back safe after an adventure.

At night we had lectures many from the top climbers or Avalanche experts enhancing our knowledge.

On the wild days on the Ben or Hell’s ‘Lum it would be a wait at the top of the routes for the new winter leaders on their first big lead, the cold hanging about memories. Then arriving late with exhausted troops to maybe a call out ! Looking back how did we do it!

The troops soon appreciated the skills taught and how a slip in winter can end up in a disaster! The climb is only part it’s getting of the crag in the dark or poor weather and the hanging about in Glencoe, the Ben or the Cairngorms with the heater full up!

My last winter Course 2007

I was glad to leave the responsibility of running the courses and getting the troops all back after a days climbing safely was enough for me!

Giving the young leaders responsibility on a big route on the Ben was interesting to see how they coped and thankfully few let us down over the years!

This year the RAF Mountain Rescue will be up for their annual winter course and things move on. Health and Safety applies now even more but we were doing hill assessments every day and monitoring the routes planned each night taking into the consideration experience, weather, Avalanche report and conditions.

Now it is more formal and things improve as the gear, knowledge, modern technology improves but the danger is still there.

 

Mountaineering is dangerous but with good training simple skills the risks are more manageable and you learn every winter.

So enjoy this big winter but practise the basic skills no matter the improvements in gear and technology it’s your skill that gets you through the winter safely!

Posted in Avalanche info, Friends, Gear, Lectures, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Scottish Mountaineering Club Guidebooks -The new Rockfax mobile app! Old guides a few thoughts ?

One of my first guides.

Guide Books – Over the years if your a climber you collect lots of Climbing guide books since I started climbing I must have about 50 just for Scotland! I love them especially the old guides so simple a  few lines of route description, some basic drawn diagrams some to describe a big long route. Many come with a history of first ascents and some notes on the geology etc. They became great friends and I read them cover to cover. The wonderful names of climbs each with a story and like a work of art are loved by many especially those who first climbed then and have the privileged of naming them. That is an article on it own about climbs names! Some are still controversial! Like at Creag Dubh. I have always written in my guides who I climbed with the weather and the odd note.

Old guide loads of tales!

In the old days information was fairly simple and climbing was an adventure and this was only a “guide”.  Few climbed and grades were interesting to say the least,  I remember writing in them commenting on the climbs I had done with friends and adding a date and who I climbed with.    I got slated for this but too me the Guide book was to be used and taken on trips it became part of the climb. A few were dropped down routes battered by weather and all well used.  A few were lent and never returned but most have been kept and still enjoyed, they lie on my book shelve like me getting old. We used to go through the guides especially in bad weather in a tent or a bothy and our knowledge of that mountain  area grew as did the routes we wanted to climb. The RAF Kinloss Team was renowned for some of the troops sitting reading the guides all night instead of the pub. The bothy at times was like a library as the climbing bug bit!

1954-Ben-Nevis-guide A CLASSIC

Things move on  – From the SMC

“We’re pleased to announce that our first winter package is available through the Rockfax mobile app. This bundle covers two of Scotland’s favourite winter climbing destinations, Coire an t-Sneachda and Coire an Lochain, with an extended selection of the best routes and including new routes climbed since our last guide was published. To get a copy, search for the Northern Corries in the Rockfax app, available on iPhone and soon to come on Android. Let us know what you think!”

New App

So now we have apps on the phone I had already been photocopying the climbs for many years and now to have all this on the phone is great and the way forward well done the SMC.

New App

Guide books changed over the years from  the wonderful Hamish’s  MacInnes guides they were in many places a route description of one line entries” straight on up” and no grades above Very Severe ( VS) given. This guide also had black and white photos a breakthrough at the time to the magic new guides of today with great diagrams. I loved them and they were so good at opening different areas for new climbers. We tried a climb on Fuar Tholl many years ago with a one line for a big route, got lost and scared and it still scares me today.

1954 Ben Nevis Diagram – of the cliffs wonderful art work

Many guides nowadays have so much information but are too big to carry and never see a crag or cliff. Climbers now photocopied the guides for the routes wanted and used as tick list and few get into the history or some of the information on these great cliffs. Some of the old winter guides showed well-known avalanche danger spots and highlighted this in the cliff diagrams which were and still are beautifully crafted.

 

To me these Climbing Guides are a labour of love from the guidebook editors and contributors and a history of this great sport.  Few Guide Book editors make any money out of them and the new technology may mean that things will get harder to publish. Nowadays go on the internet and it is easy to download a climb or a diagram for the day without any thought how long it took to produce.  Progress?

1971 Scottish Climbs Hamish MacInnes – scary

My club The SMC publish Guide books and through the Scottish Mountain Trust put a lot back into the sport with the profits which help with Footpaths and various other Mountain based projects. How many know this? The new Skye Sea Cliffs and outcrops has over 300 pages and this is a separate Guide from the Mountain Routes!

My old friend Paul Williams had a great guide to North Wales many years ago, it was full of great descriptions and was so funny in places a bit like Paul. Again Paul’s intimate knowledge and love of the area shone through and the book has always been very highly regarded and is a classic! In Scotland we are blessed with so many great Guides and people like Andy Nisbet and friends adding new routes, great names and climbs for many to enjoy for future generations.

We are a privileged generation, I bet you go and look at your old guides now and give them some love and care. Grab a dram and maybe you may have a tear in your eye of thinking of these past routes. Now when is Dan back to get me climbing again?

Great days! Comments as always welcome

Peter White Chalky my old mate and who looked after me on many a route.

From Neil Reid –  “Aye, always kept a note of dates and partners. And collect old guide books too – though for sanity’s sake (and that of my wallet) I’ve restricted it to the Cairngorms.”

Posted in Articles, Avalanche info, Enviroment, Equipment, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Weather | Leave a comment

Enjoyable chat at Hopeman then a visit a local charity Outfitmoray and a few thoughts on my struggle to write my book! 

A chat at Hopeman lovely group / a local charity Outfitmoray and a few thoughts on my struggle to write my book!

I had a lovely morning yesterday talking to the ladies of the Hopeman Be Active Live Longer (BALL) Group. I lived in Hopeman for many years and loved it! It is a small fishing village only 3 miles from where I live  with a lovely harbour and great beaches.
I play golf (badly) at Hopeman with many of the local characters many who earned their living fishing a hard way of life. They have always been good to me and it was great to meet a few of the wives.

These wee chats are fun and I had a chat about my early years as a ministers son and my love of the mountains I got from Mum and Dad. Sadly they are no longer around but it is a great way to start the talk. Later on I speak about my life in Mountains in the Rescue and so many expeditions of the great folk I have worked with and the many call outs over the years. The local characters the different places visited every weekend and the great contacts made many that 40 years later are still there!

I try to show another side of Mountain Rescue that few speak about the loss of a loved one and the joy of finding someone alive! How every incident relied on team work and how well the Agencies work together.  How we trained in different areas each week all over Scotland to get to know the mountains we could be called to search in! How we lived in the village halls and bunkhouses and got to know the locals essential to know if a big incident occurs.The families who suffer as there loved ones become involved in Mountain Rescue sometimes to the missing of birthdays and anniversary’s for kids and loved ones. I also explained how the RAF Mountain Rescue team at Lossiemouth is still out helping the local teams and was just back from a big call out on Lochnagar last weekend. All these years on and the team is still helping the civilian Mountain Rescue Teams.

I also speak about how Mountain accidents effect the families especially fatalities and many take years to come to terms with a loss, some never recover. I still get letters and emails every year from relatives .  The RAF Mountain Rescue Teams main is task dealing with Aircraft incidents and crashes in the mountains.

It is always worth explaining  why I love the hills for the beauty the wildness solitude and companionship of others in the same mould. How good it is to see young folk enjoying the wild places in safety and them becoming competent mountaineers in all weathers. The Health and healing powers of walking in the wild places and how it is good for you mentally. To see the power of nature in a wild day when the snow and spin drift is blasting you, to the fine blue sky winter days when all you can see is mountain after mountain. Hopefully a bit of why we do it got through to those lovely folk.

I spoke about my work in the past with the local Charity Outfitmoray that is struggling for cash that lets so many young folk get an insight to the outdoors. This is not just walking, climbing, mountain biking, Coasteering, archery and many other ways to introduce the young to the Outdoors. I saw many great changes in the kids on the Respite weeks that I worked. So many life’s were changed and so many enjoyed the activities and had fun. Some sadly for the first time in a while! It depends on volunteers and a few permanent staff who work so hard for others and how many local folk are involved.

My chat ended with the B.A.L.L group giving me a donation for Outfitmoray / many thanks ladies.

Outdoor Learning and Adventure with Outfit Moray

Outfit Moray is changing lives of young people in Moray through outdoor learning and adventure activities, using the local breathtaking environment as our classroom and playground.

With outdoor adventure activities such as rock climbing, surfing, kayaking, abseiling, mountain biking and much more we are also able to provide holiday and respite weeks for local vulnerable groups.

We can provide you, your school, group or family with a life enhancing outdoor experience, both through our commercial adventure days and our fully funded charity work with local schools and groups for vulnerable young people.

Working with Moray Council, we support vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, actively developing potential and helping shape their future lives.

Outfitmoray are looking for old bikes so if you have a bike that would like a good home please get in touch with Outfitmoray at Lossiemouth. They also have a lot of fundraising ongoing raffles etc why not have look and help them carry out there great work in Moray? Can you help have a look on their website. I always believe Charity begins at home!  https://outfitmoray.com/

My Book ? I was asked as always when is this book going to get finished! I think despite all the work I have done I may need a “ghost writer” So many of the stories had a huge effect on me and others and I find it hard to write and then continue writing as it’s so hard mentally !

These stories I feel need told. In this mad world there are so many good and kind folk whose stories never get told and I feel I could do some of them justice! Many of us get nothing but bad news yet there are so many unsung helpers out there doing what they can  for others and never get the attention of the public.

Any thoughts ?

Comments as always welcome!

Posted in Aircraft incidents, Book, Charity, Cycling, Enviroment, Equipment, Friends, Views Mountaineering, Views Political?, Weather, Wildlife | Leave a comment