Stocking Filler – The Corbett Round



In my life I have been so lucky to meet some amazing people and Manny Gorman is one of them. I   went to a lecture in Boat of Garten near Aviemore and I met Manny he was talking about his incredible trip “The Corbett’s in 70 days.  I had met him before on the hill and as hill runner and he is one of its celebrities, they are unassuming men and women with no egos. Today’s sports superstars could learn from these people.  “Manny “is of a breed of these unknown athletes, he is a passionate hill runner and he is one of the finest amongst this unique band of people. They are very private people, they are a “family” and this book gives an insight into this incredible sport, their life, the pain, the suffering but the joy of moving fast through wild land.

His talk took you on an incredible journey through Scotland Corbett’s and was a magic tale. It was not just a list of mountains but a journey through Scotland’s wonderful wild land. He told a great story of the highs and lows of the trip, the pressures, support of family, friends and work but he also incredibly took some fantastic photos of the mountains and the wildlife.  I was riveted by the story as were the audience that night in Boat of Garten. He said after the lecture he would try to write a book about this and share an incredible trip with the public. This is now complete.

This book will take you on a journey through a Scotland away from the “honey pot hills” and is a book with a wonderful insight into this amazing sport and its incredible people.  Manny is such a man this was a special trip and when you read this book you will be taken into the world of marathon hill days but also a connection with the people and the wild places which are very special.  His family support was incredible, this is a man blessed by great fitness and an incredible drive.  I am sure all lovers of the mountains and the wild will love this book as I did; it keeps going right to the end, there is a sting in the tale enjoy!

Posted in Book, Friends, Hill running and huge days!, Wild life | 2 Comments

Coire An Lochan in the Cairngorms a Moray Mountaineering Club haunt in the past!

Moray Club in Lochan!

Moray Club in Lochan!

As the snows leave us for a brief spell I was looking through some of my lectures and this was from the Moray Mountaineering Club Dinner about the superb Coire an Lochan in the Cairngorms a place I love. With the lochans it a place of wild beauty at the end of a winter and soon it will be filled with climbers enjoying the mixed adventures on these cliffs in winter. It is now very busy when climbing conditions are in and you can have a great wander round the Northern Corries and watch the ice climbers in action.

The great slab just showing through.

The great slab just showing through.

From the UKC Climbing forum

The Lochan Cliffs – ” slightly longer approach than its neighbour, Corrie an t’Sneachda, makes this corrie a lot quieter.

Again – some excellent, reliable winter climbing – the steeper nature of this corrie yields some excellent technical mixed climbing and also very good rock-climbing.”

Must Dos :

The Vent (II/III)

Y Gully Left Branch (III)

Centre Crack Route (IV,5)

Savage Slit (V,6, Severe)

¨1935 April 13 th  -¨The Vent -First Ascent E.M Davidson, R.E Stoddart, M. Mc Bain. J. Geddes . H. Harrison. Moray Mountaineering Club

¨Climb started at 1400 hours due to heavy snow.

¨Reached plateau at 2000 hours

¨Back at Lodge at 2400 hours.

Dinner was still provided but unfortunately the pudding was burnt!

The Vent in Lochan

The Vent in Lochan an adventure!

Ewan Buttress named after John Clifford Spence Ewan. MMC killed on Mont Brevent 21 July 1935


Coire an Lochan

1939/45 ? Savage Slit 80 metre *** 3 Star Severe

“A  Cairngorm classic taking an impeccable line up the wide crack in the big right angled corner in the centre of the buttress

¨First ascent 1939 RB Frere. K.A.Robertson. MMC.

¨Classic Rock says First ascent July 1945 R.B. Frere & J.D.Walker?

Savage Slit

Savage Slit in winter another proposition!


Rock and ice Climbers’ Guidebook to The Cairngorms area of Scotland” – a definitive climbing guidebook from the Scottish Mountaineering Council. “The Cairngorms” all in one volume.This, the next in the SMC’s brand new series of “Climbers’ Guides”, covers all the summer and winter climbing in the northern and southern Cairngorms area.This title includes a number of the most popular and well-known climbing areas in the country. It is fully comprehensive and up to date, covering both summer and winter climbs. It contains much new and updated information. It features full colour throughout with photo-diagrams and action pictures.It is written by climbers with an in-depth knowledge of the area. It is user friendly in a successful and well presented format. It contains a page marker ribbon to ease the location of climbs. It covers the massive Cairngorms area in one guidebook.This title is written by a number of authors and previous guidebook writers who are mountain guides and leading activists sharing their expert knowledge of the area.

The Cairngorms Guide

The Cairngorms Guide

In the other Corrie  of the people

Note ” Coire of the snows – 1935 March  Alladins Couloir.

¨First ascent A. Henderson & E.M.Davidson. MMC¨

The obvious dog leg Gully in the Corrie

Posted in Enviroment, Friends, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering | Leave a comment

The Scottish Avalanche Information Service starts today. Lancet Edge Avalanche – I learnt about avalanches from that!

In days of yore there were no such things as an Avalanche Service in Scotland  nowadays we have The Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) said the reporting would start on 17 December.

sais logo 2015 Dec


SAIS has been providing the service for several years.

It assesses avalanche hazard in six areas – Lochaber, Glencoe, Creag Meagaidh, Southern Cairngorms , Northern Cairngorms and Torridon.

The reports are usually issued until mid-April.

Members of the service also regularly blog on conditions in the hills and mountains in these areas.

Heavy first Avalanche – yes there is more!

February 1972  – This was the final weekend of my  Mountain Rescue Trial at RAF Kinloss in Feb 1972! The weekend was based at Ben Alder Lodge a wonderful remote area just of the A9. The team went to different areas every weekend and I had my new Munro s book out, seeing what hills I may be able to climb! The team used the garage and sheds at the Ben Alder Lodge a 5 mile drive up a rough estate track near the A9 near Dalwhinnie. This was an amazing place of remoteness, deep snow stags and hinds were right down to the road, there were hundreds of them. As a very young team member I was spell bound by the area, it was like the eyes could not take in the views and sights. The keeper at the Lodge Ben Alder Estate was  Mr Oswald was a long-time friend of the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team and our Team leader George Bruce. We had the use of the estate tracks to those huge remote hills a great privilege and fantastic assistance to great days in these mountains. George took great time to build up relationship with every estate in Scotland as this was invaluable for future call outs and building up the team’s area knowledge to assist us on call outs.  This was way before the Freedom of Access  was granted that many take for granted.  Even in this early period of my mountaineering life I was learning from the way he spoke to people he had a magic touch, which I was to see on many occasions. The team took a couple of barrels of beer out which we had in the garage when we got there and it was amazing as the team members all sang folk songs round a fire that night, I loved it. The garage was where we cooked as well and most of the team were in tents. It was amazingly cold all night and next morning when we got up I could not believe the view; Loch Ericht was frozen solid as was all our water. One of the tasks is that the team members all take times to cook and as a trialist I had to get up and help the cook with breakfast at 0600 and make the traditional bed –tea, round all the team. The numbers out this weekend were again very high nearly 25 people, a busy time for the cook, I was trying to pick up all the skills as if you did a bad cook you were in the river, that was the tradition. Luckily I was very glad as my Mum had brought me up to be able to cook basics including breakfast, soup and basic meals like mince and tatties they gave me great life skills for the future. Thanks Mum!

The wonderful Lance Edge

The wonderful Lance Edge

This was the last weekend of the trial to be a member of the RAF Kinloss Team and I was to go out with George Bruce the Team leader and 2 other team members, for an assessment. George had planned a winter scramble or climb up a magnificent ridge called Lancet Edge near Culra bothy right in the heart of the Alder Estate. It was a wonderful drive across the moor on the estate track, full of snow and a drive across the icy river Pattock by land rover. There were stags and hinds everywhere, many following the wagon thinking that they may have been getting fed. I thought to myself people would pay a fortune to be in especially in a hard winter and this was one? We passed the Garrons (Highland ponies) that live out in the open only using the trees for shelter when the weather gets bad. These ponies are the Estate transport for bringing down the stags and Hinds from the hill after a cull. The views of the mountains is incredible, snow everywhere and blue sky, these are huge mountains with the magnificent Ben Alder dwarfing its lofty neighbour’s with its sprawling ridges and huge corries. We stopped at the Culra bothy an open shelter used by climbers and left the wagon there. It is a very basic building with a fire, stone floor, sleeping space and freezing cold.  I had spent many a night in bothies like these in Galloway whilst training for the Duke of Edinburgh award but this was a different league.

Alpine Mountains

Alpine Mountains

This bothy takes you right to our objective was Lancet Edge which was opposite Ben Alder this was a ridge on the huge 1028 metres  Sgur Lurtharn, it looked so Alpine and impressive. A thin icy ridge running up to a snowy plateau to my inexperienced mountaineering mind I wondered how we would get up that ridge. It was an incredible place to be a fin of a ridge plastered with snow in this remote area what a place to be. We had with us a very experienced climber who had worked at Glenmore Lodge as a civilian Instructor who was one of George’s friends Davy Sharp. Davy I found out on the walk up across the moor was just recovering from a serious avalanche accident in the Lake District the previous winter. George was great form in walk in telling stories, talking about the area and setting an enjoyable pace, not the usual rush to the top. He was teaching and laughing all the time and in the hour on the walk in we learned many new skills. I was shown again how to use my axe and crampons on some ice on a small buttress and how to ice axe brake properly on some steep snow, we then set of kicking steps up the slope leading to ridge. As is the normal procedure we all took our place in front kicking in the snow was hard work. As we got higher, the snow became deeper and was lying in places in drifts on top of steep frozen grass. I know now that this is not a good combination. We traversed round some steep buttress and marvelled at the views which opened out as we got higher. Just below the top of the ridge I was just behind George when I heard a crack and then we were tumbling down the hill, I remember going over a crag and falling getting battered and shaken. I came too half buried in the snow about 600 feet below where we were.  I was shaken up and George was soon at my side he was completely in control and explained that we had been avalanched and in his usual sense of humour said this was very rare in Scotland and a great honour to be avalanched in such experienced company! What a man he was, his humour was just what we needed and I was to learn so much from this great man, throughout my Mountain Rescue Career and throughout life.  We were very lucky Dave was buried as was Rick and it was not easy getting Dave out he was very shaken.  We managed to get back to Culra Bothy and then to the wagon by now Dave could hardly walk and was taken to hospital for a check-up. George reckoned that we had fallen over 600 feet some of it over a steep cliff, we were very lucky that no one was killed. I had used up one of my mountaineering lives!

A long way down

A long way down

When we got back to the Base Camp at Ben Alder we spoke to the keeper George who in his own measured way said “aye I thought the hill was pretty dangerous after the heavy snow and that wind” You were very lucky and offered us a dram. Later I stiffened up and  bruising came out on my back and legs but next day I was back on the hill. I was the only one out of the avalanche who went out next day.  As George said when you fall of you have to get back on straight away. I had a wonderful day on Ben Alder climbing it by an amazing ridge the Short Leachas a great winter scramble, what a day.  The plateau to the summit was incredible with huge cornices by now the weather had changed and it was difficult navigation to the summit. I marvelled at the team navigating in a full white out, over this complex plateau, with its huge cornices overhanging the cliffs. Near the summit we heard a huge crack and a crash as a cornice tumbled down into the corrie. I was really tired on the way off but they dragged me up Beinn Bheoil as well which was complex as the wind was in our faces and the slopes very steep, this was serious mountaineering. Getting back to the land rover I was exhausted but again happy and the river crossing in the wagon was serious as there was a big thaw on. When we arrived back at the Lodge Mr Oswald the keeper said that we were lucky to get the land rover over the river as it could have been there for the whole winter!  George had a wee word as we packed up he said, you have passed your trial wee man, you are now a Novice team member. He said that you showed them but do not let it go to your head, it is a long way to go and you are just starting, take no hassle from anyone, stand up for yourself and learn every time you go on the hill.

Culra Bothy

Culra Bothy

My mountaineering apprenticeship had started.What adventures already? I had so much to learn, I could not wait for the next weekend. It was not to be my only avalanche!

Nowadays we have the  Scottish Avalanche forecast and so much information I would make it a daily read



Posted in Articles, Bothies, Enviroment, Friends, Gear, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wild life | 2 Comments

Inspirational night with Daedalus Explorer Scouts at Kinloss.

These last few months I have done a fair amount of lectures to various National Organisations from Scottish Mountain Rescue on their 50 th Anniversary,  Braemar MRT on their 50 Th Anniversary, The Mountain Bothies Association on theirs as well plus a few others.  Last night was a small chat with my local Explorer Scouts at Kinloss to end the year for me. Kinloss is where I started my RAF career in Catering and with the Mountain Rescue Team in 1972, the building I spoke in was part of the NAFFI  where as a young lad I loaded the rations for a busy station of over 3000 people. It was hard back-breaking work, no health and Safety in these days and for a skinny lad it was so physical, but what training for the mountains! My pals were going to gym after work I had done it all during the day and just needed to rest!

The presentation

The presentation

I arrived  last night for the chat to the Daedalus Explorer Scouts at Kinloss and a group of youngsters had just completed the Bronze Duke Of Edinburgh Award. The Bronze team  from the Explorers consisted of Cameron Fullerton, George Cannard, James Burnel, Fraser Haig and Nathan MacRae. They gave an illustrated chat on their adventure that was an eye opener to me. They chose the Cairngorms for their adventure from Glenmore Lodge past the Green Loch and along Strath Nethy to Loch Avon on a 3 day wander with 2 nights under canvas. They all took turns to speak and revelled in their experience in these big mountains and the grandeur of such a place.

The magical Green Loch at Glenmore.

The magical Green Loch at Glenmore.

It was a magic Green Loch and a very muddy Stath Nethy in places and the wild Loch Avon and the huge cliffs that are about that they spoke about. There were some great tales of the meals, pitching tents,weather, being tired, the big bags and as always for youngsters the need for more food. Their chat was exciting and those who take these places for granted want to listen to these youngster, they were so visual in their love of this place and what they had experienced. They spoke about working as a team not at first but by day two the were a well oiled machine according to the Assessor and they answered about 10 questions from the audience of proud parents and friends. What a presentation I had to follow and one of the best I have ever seen by youngsters.

The Wild Loch Avon

The Wild Loch Avon

One of the lads was as small as me when I was his age and the photos of him and his huge bag took me back to my early days with the Boys Brigade and my DOE awards as a young lad. These early days in Galloway for me were so similar as the adventure the boys described. I had a few slides by chance of the area of the Cairngorms they were in and showed them some climbs on the Loch Avon basin where they camped. They were enthralled by the names of the Cliffs like Hells Lum and the parents looked amazed and the boys wanting more and bigger adventures.

My great pal Al McLeod on Hells Lum crag - Photo Bill Batson.

My great pal Al McLeod on Hells Lum crag – Photo Bill Batson.

We talked about the love of the wild and the experiences that make your life by going into the mountains and wild places and the pals you meet on your travels. I showed them some gear and we had a laugh and  a few of the adventures/ mishaps I have had and a few Rescues one of the Scout we found alive after 3 days on Ben Nevis many years ago. We ended with where and what can they do next for their Silver Expedition and I gave them a few ideas and maybe able to help them. I spoke about the need to look after the wild places and the environment and they were well versed in this, these youngsters were well-trained indeed and a credit to their families and leaders.

An Lurg Aug 2014

An Lurg  Wellington Crash site Aug 2014 – Maybe a visit some day next summer?


After this we had a drink and festive food and I spoke to the proud parents so happy that they had been to see the journey their kids had travelled. A few were worried about the trip when it was being planned but the safety systems were in place and the band of assessors and leaders are to be congratulated on their efforts. In these days of a risk averse world their reward was like mine in the faces of these young people speaking about their great adventure.


I left them sorting out the hall all helping as a team and one lad asking me about the Alps and other places and what can they do to get more adventure? Morayshire has so much on its doorstep and they are lucky that they live here and what a start they have towards their future. I hope to get together this Summer and maybe take them to a high crash site and feed the adventure within their souls.

Never take these places for granted - Strath Nethy a wild place.

Never take these places for granted – Strath Nethy a wild place.

Thanks to Kinloss Explorer Scouts for a rewarding and entertaining night, enjoy the mountains and wild places and keep that unbounded enthusiasm it is infectious even to an old man like me.

These organisations are always looking for help can you, it can really make a difference.

John Muir got it right again!

John Muir Quote

The first comment thanks!

“Fantastic the DofE is still inspiring the young to put down their Xbox or Playstation’s an explore the real world.”

Posted in Aircraft incidents, Bothies, Charity, Enviroment, Family, Friends, Gear, Himalayas/ Everest, Lectures, Local area and events to see, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Views Mountaineering, Views political, Weather, Wild life | 2 Comments

Duke Of Edinburgh Award any thoughts? Some great comments well done to all who help!

I am preparing a wee chat to the Explorer Scouts at Kinloss tonight and it will be interesting to see how they find it. I started my walking with my family at a very young age and joined the Boys Brigade and enjoyed the Duke of Edinburgh (DOE) Award the expedition part was great fun. When I look back I was very young thrown in to make up the numbers of the Gold Award in the wilds of Galloway (You needed 4 to take part and I offered, I doubt if you could do that nowadays? The others were 15 !) I remember the huge bags and the weather was wintry and getting flooded out camping, we stayed near my first bothy Back Hill Bush in Galloway. Yet that memory stayed with me for the rest of my life and was a big part of what I came to love. I still do not understand why the need for such gear carried by kids and I did some training for DOE a few years ago and was amazed how much they have still have to carry? How many young people find this a huge turn off or is it just me. To most this will be the first foray into the wilds and does it need to change or am I way out of touch ?   (Some great answers below on my lack of knowledge thanks that is what it is all about)  I do understand that the process and training is a slow build up of skills and experience by all involved and is huge team building and character making attributes for all involved .  Any comments?

1973 Back at Backhill bothy in Galloway

1973 Back at Backhill bothy in Galloway

Looking back I found it great to get away on the hills and even with a group of 4 look after myself,I was lucky that my Mum had taught me to cook the basics and that stood me in good stead. To get a stove or a fire going with no adults was a great experience and to learn the basics of navigation and map reading great fun. The big bag and the wet gear and total exhaustion at times were hard going but to make a cup of tea and the beans and sausages eaten with relish.   I loved sorting out the basic gear and always took to much and then coming back and sorting it out for the next trip?  I was hooked on the outdoors and hope some of that rubs of the Explorer Scouts I speak to tonight?

You never know where you may end up with an early love of the wild places.

You never know where you may end up with an early love of the wild places.

It is not just about the mountains but the wild places and the great opportunities we have in Scotland, from Mountain Biking, Skiing, Kayaking, surfing and many others. It is magic to see the young people involved and getting out in the wild places and hopefully finding a love of these wild places.

Some great comments below:

Al Barnard

Mountain bike with trailer or open canoe is the way to carry your kit. smile emoticon We’re lucky enough to have a great gang of volunteers; helpers, assistants, adminers and supervisors and a good relationship with neighbouring (Moray DofE) assessors who have helped us out in our first year of operations. Also highlife Highland have been fantastic in helping and giving guidance/advice. Lots of positive energy enabled us to have 4 successful bronze groups and 2 silver groups this year. More happening this year…….

Davy Gunn

I think its a great thing for kids and mine have been involved. The last one at school ,She is our third, and I would say that the study burden on 5/6th year kids wanting to go to uni is now so much higher to the point of being ridiculous and there isn’t a lot of time for these other personal development things like DOE. 6th years or doing advanced highers is like Uni year 1 so would make the gold harder to achieve. As I say I am big fan of the scheme as although my kids have had a lot of outdoor stuff, many dont and its where the learn best to work together and learn some good life skills. Anyone involved with DOE deserves a pat on the back.

Angus Jack

Stll involved, mainly assessing and supervising but concerned at the drop out rate from bronze to silver to gold which needs to be addressed. I realise there are many conflicting pressures on young folk, but some seem to manage it. Also concerned at the growth in ‘Activity providers’, these professionals are churning kids through the system like a sausage machine with many providing their own so called independent assessors. I spoke to an assesor from south of the border who was going to be assessing 200 bronze one weekend! Assessors should be completely independent and resident or very experienced in the area of the expedition. Thats my moan!

I don’t think so. They can lighten the weight by not taking GPS units, mobile phones, chargers etc, they just need to share. Pack bags weeks before going, get together with an expert one night and go through your load to see what you can do without, share or definitely need to take. Regardless of your rucksack line it with a waterproof liner or bag, outdoor shops sell these, or you can use black plastic bags or rubble bags.
Good luck on tonight’s talk, I’m sure you’ll inspire the next generation. My Mum ran DofE for around 20 years, she’s got plenty of tips, advice and suitable routes for walking, pop up past her new house for a coffee anytime!


Posted in Bothies, Charity, Enviroment, Equipment, Family, Gear, Himalayas/ Everest, Lectures, Mountaineering, Weather | 7 Comments

Canada Ice Memories – great days and basic gear?

The Terror and the gully axe

The Terror and the gully axe

The ice axe above on the left is the famous Hamish Mc Innes Terrordactyl known as the “Terror” by a generation of winter climbers. The other was a cut down Gully axe that climbed many famous routes. The Terror was a a great invention and it was nowhere used more proficiently than in Canada where Bugs Mc Keith used them to the their full potential on vertical ice, using them for direct aid, very brave! This was the late 70’s

He writes “On two previous occasions faced by pillars of vertical ice and lacking the guts to front-point up them. I had attached old slings to my the shafts and found I could relax even on vertical ice and spend as much time as I wished clearing the rotten ice and placing each axe alternately to my complete satisfaction.”


I went to Canada in 1982 one of the first trips ever by Scottish climbers. It was a trip into the unknown and there were less than 100 winter climbs at that time in the area.  We took some other axes with us and used the Chounaird Zeros a wonderful axe and hammer see below. The “hummingbird was another it was awful and nearly wiped me out on Guinness Stout! I left my axes at the top of Guinness gully the local guide brought them back to the Alpine Club when he found them, what a great guy. The picture below is a pair of bamboo shafted Zeros, worth a few pounds now, the thud and the judder of them on good ice was so reassuring. Nowadays they look so primitive and when I climbed with a pair with a pal a few years ago a young gun asked if I had made them myself!

The Classic Zeros !

The Classic Zeros !

Nowadays you hire a 4×4 we had a normal car not much room with 6 of us. It took 2 trips from Calgary to Canmore to get us all to the Alpine Club hut where we stayed. I said it was long walk back from climbing each day, we all climbed in different areas to get as many routes as possible, it was wonderful. We climbed in very cold temperatures and the locals could not believe it as after minus 30 few ventured out. Not only was it very cold but the ice became so brittle, we just climbed. Protection was basic and as we had little cash we used old screw in and drive in ice screws, not the state of the art “snargs” ice screws of the day! Getting them in and out was wild! Six plus kit in that car!

Pete Kay looking at Mt Kid Falls - Binos are great in looking at the routes.

Pete Kay looking at Mt Kid Falls – Binos are great in looking at the routes. That car held 6 of us!!!

Pete Kay looking at the route big avalanche bowl above Mount Kidd Falls, care needed.

Mount Kidd Falls - look at the break below Mark the belyer.

Mount Kidd Falls – look at the break below Mark the belyer.

We abseiled off most routes from bent aluminium tubing, bought locally. I was sent first as the lightest,no chance now, there were few abseil points set up, now its all there bolts etc.  We had some parties with the top men, Bill March Rusty Bale, Guy Lacelle and Chic Scott who is still a great friend today. Bill and Guy are no longer with us, nor is Mark or Big Al. Guy used to solo beside me putting in my gear, he thought all  Scots were great ice climbers till he met me! He enjoyed the wildness of us all, looked after me and the parties we had at the weekends were legend at the time!

We also had our Bear story but that better be saved for the book!


Plastic boots  and quick release crampons made a huge difference and I spent my limited money on them a huge investment them. Boots – They came upon the mountaineering world like a rash in the late 1970’s and within a couple of years just about everybody had a pair. Scottish bog trotters said it was the first time they’d had dry feet for a hundred years, Himalayan climbers didn’t get frostbite and boot polish dried up in the tin – redundant. Unfortunately, there was a down side – condensation made your feet look like wrinkled prunes with blisters popping up on each wrinkle! Blisters appeared round the ankle where the boot top rubbed and if water did get in, it couldn’t get out. Some folk loved them, others hated them, but as if by magic, they almost totally disappeared from the scene sometime in the late 1990’s.
Koflach were one of the main producers back in the 70’s, using technology gleaned from making ski boots and we’ve got a prime example of their ‘Ultras’ here in the collection. They were probably the most prolific boot on the market at the time.

Crampons –  Footfangs

Footfangs - A stable platform for waterfall ice climbing,

Footfangs – A stable platform for waterfall ice climbing,

Some Routes Climbed by our wee trip. : Professor Falls, Cascade,

Whiteman Falls, Mt Kidd Falls, A bridge to Far,  Bow Falls, Grotto Falls, Silk Tassle,  Massey,s, Bourgeau

Lousie Falls, Guiness Gully, Pilsners Piller,   Weeping Wall – Left/ Central/ Right, Polar Circus, Sacre Blue. Not bad plus another 15 routes.

Posted in Articles, Enviroment, Equipment, Expeditions - Alaska - Himalayas etc, Ice climbing Canada, Mountaineering, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather, Wild life | Leave a comment

Winter Mountaineers and users be aware? Scottish Government gives £1 .81 million to Mountain Safety.

The hills are looking great and I was out on Friday enjoying a wild winter day in the Cairngorms and though it was a short day it was hard work at times.  The 5 hours in the hills in the wind and snow takes it out of you and with the shortness of daylight you have to be away early to get the full benefit. The cliffs were looking great with a build up of snow long awaited and I knew that the hills would be busy this weekend.  The climbers have been out on such remote cliffs like Ben A Bhuird where a team from North Wales after a 5 hour drive and  a huge walk/cycle into the cliff  climbed the Cumming Crofton Route  an Alpine route on a remote face what a great effort at this time of year. Nearer home that man Andy Nisbet and pals have been new routing in the local Lurchers crag in the Cairngorms. I would imagine the Northern Corries were busy with the stick people ( ice climbers) So many were out enjoying the hills so its worth checking out the advice via the BBC I have added where I felt I could!



“It is in winter that the Scottish Mountains Excel No one who has seen the skyward thrust of a snow peak, girdled by its early morning cloud and flushed with the low sun, will dispute with me.Follow a long ridge of encrusted snow to its sunset tower and tread the summit at moonrise.

This is Scottish winter climbing!”

W.H. Murray

Winter Mountaineering

Winter Mountaineering

The BBC have produced a Aware Notice

“Walkers and climbers heading to Scotland’s mountains this winter have been urged to take simple precautions and use basic common sense.

Mountain rescue teams helped 608 people who got into difficulties in 2014, with 12 fatalities.

Safety experts have issued life-saving advice in a bid to avoid further tragedies.

The Scottish government said it will provide a total of £1.81m towards mountain safety this year. (I would like to see the breakdown of this cash?)  The Scottish government funding includes a £312,000 annual grant for mountain rescue teams and £1,041,000 for the Sportscotland national outdoor training centre at Glenmore Lodge, near Aviemore.

(In this figure I would add the Avalanche Service costings, the Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS) and the Mountaineering Council Of Scotland ? ) Value for money I am sure that will be an interesting discussion?)

The tips for winter safety include:

  • Check the weather forecast and avalanche information service
  • Carry a compass and map and know how to use it. Don’t rely on GPS or smartphone
  • Have an alternative plan in case weather conditions worsen
  • Attend a winter mountaineering course (and learn to use the winter tools)
  • Have all the appropriate equipment,(head torch)  including ice axe and crampons
  • Leave a note with details of your route and when you expect to return
  • Read up about the risk of avalanche. I would advise everyone to do an Avalanche Course!
  • Get away early it is winter

Mark Diggins, from Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service, said: “Many thousands of enthusiasts enjoy the Scottish mountains every winter.

“However, the fast changing weather, with its snowfall, avalanche hazard, strong winds and poor visibility, requires us to be much more prepared when going into the mountains in the winter.

“Good clothing, navigational ability, appropriate equipment, movement skills on steep terrain, and use of ice axe and crampons are a necessary requirement for our enjoyment and safety.”

Sport Minister Jamie Hepburn added: “Scotland’s wild places can be at their most beautiful during the winter months, and we want people to be able to enjoy them right through the year.

“There’s no doubt that the weather conditions make this more challenging, and while this challenge is part of the appeal for many, it must be treated with the utmost respect.

“Simple precautions and basic common sense can greatly reduce the risk of getting into trouble.”

The Scottish government funding includes a £312,000 annual grant for mountain rescue teams and £1,041,000 for the Sportscotland national outdoor training centre at Glenmore Lodge, near Aviemore. ”

Enjoy and be safe!

Posted in Avalanche info, Enviroment, Equipment, Gear, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather | Leave a comment