We headed into the dark wet heart of Knoydart at 10 knots. Bottle-nose dolphins leap and surfed the bow wave. The rain lashed down. Some looked pensive while others dispersed the tension with humorous, if somewhat brittle, banter.
The Steeple Church is raising funds for the Church redevelopment project. Part of the plan is to help raise £10000 by walking and cycling across Scotland from West to East in four days. You can donate through the following JustGiving account.
Friday : Inverie – Roy Bridge : walk 16.5 miles(to west end of Loch Arkaig) and cycle 25 miles
Saturday : Roy Bridge – Glen Feshie Hostel : cycle 52 miles
Sunday : Glen Feshie Hostel – Braemar : walk 19 miles (to Linn of Dee) and cycle 7 miles
Sunday : Braemar – Inverbervie : cycle 58 miles
The actual route taken is more direct than that shown on the map and does a better job of joining the dots (The route shown is approximate). The support vehicles will probably have to travel the route shown in blue.
November has come and gone and this is a late summary of events.
A good walk up Glenisla with Daniel on his bike and Kirsten in the buggy. The Cateran Trail passes the Glenisla Hotel which is a good place to join it and get off the road and into the hills. We walked up to a small fishing loch through some forestry land with Daniel complaining that his legs were tired of going up hills until we got to the top. Then it was non-stop to the bottom where we found a dead hare on the picnic table. The crows had got to the eyes. More interesting was the little jetty sticking out into the water from which one could drop stones in and see things in the tea-brown water. Continue reading November News
I got an exciting (excited?) email yesterday. Kirsten has taken her first three steps. Does she know what she is letting herself in for? At least she will slow down momentarily while she learns to walk properly and then it will all pick up again.
On a weekend when England was beating Bangladesh at Lords, the Bulls were beating the Stormers at the new rugby ground in Soweto, and Andy Murray was progressing through the French Open rounds I was trudging alongside the River Avon and up Glen Builg through the Eastern Cairngorms from Tomintoul to Braemar.
It was the annual church adventure weekend away and Amy, Daniel and I left Dundee at 6:30am to meet the rest of the crowd in Braemar. Continuing on into the bleak wilds of the Cairngorms we arrived in Tomintoul, the highest town in the UK.
I walked (17 miles) and cycled (11 miles) on Saturday and then returned to Dundee in the evening. The rest of the group continued on to Pitlochry and then to Dundee on the Monday. It was good to get out and meet people from the church that I had not yet met. Everyone has an interesting story. Here is a picture of the group at lunch. Can you spot the person with three hands? Two heads? A hand but no arm?
Andrew, Alan, Baxter and Ross went for a walk. The sun was shining in Dundee in the morning.
65 miles further west it was not so sunny.
Baxter had fun though, chasing stones all the way up and down the mountain.
We’ll have to go back again and climb it in good weather to see the views. Still, two Munros ticked – Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin. But it was the second wettest I have ever been on a Scottish mountain.
As you may have read recently I sprained my ankle pretty badly trying to play 5-a-side football at work. I rested, iced, compressed and elevated it for two weeks and then decided to climb Curved Ridge on Bauchaille Etive Mor to test it out. It wasn’t quite ready but the walk was fantastic. Clive, Wilma and Chris came to stay with us in Dundee as part of their “introducing Chris to his Scottish roots” tour. Clive and Chris were eager to get up a hill while they were here and so we organised to meet Clive’s brother, Des, at the top of Glen Coe to climb this superb ridge up to the summit.
We got there in the pouring rain and couldn’t even see the trees on the side of the road let alone the mountain. Perfect weather in the Highlands! It got better when the rain cleared and the clouds lifted and we could see our whole route from bottom to top to bottom. Boots and waterproofs on and off we went. The two old boys set a cracking pace and I stumbled along as best I could behind them. I was trying not to bend my ankle and foot more than a couple of degrees as everything was still a bit tender. It improved once I had warmed up but sent sharp warnings when I forgot.
We stuck our head into the SMC hut and had a look at the lodgings. The UCT MSC could do worse than to take notes on how to build a proper mountain hut that doesn’t lose its roof every other winter. From the hut the path curves up around the base of the mountain. It climbs steadily and the conservation teams have done wonders in shoring up the path with large stones. As the path rounds the corner you get a super view over Rannoch Moor before it heads steeply upwards through the rock bands to the base of the ridge proper. This is where it gets fun. The rock is brilliant – there are hand and foot grips just where you need them. The exposure increases and there are places where the ridge narrows to just a couple of metres wide and the only way up is on the crest. As it meets the base of the Rannoch Wall it eases off and allows you to take in the expanse of pinkish rick stretching overhead. The routes are easier than the wall suggests and I will certainly have to visit again to try some of them out.
There is a short scramble up the ridge and then up and around the base of Crowberry Tower. It’s a nice moderate scramble to the summit of the little pinnacle with a chance to eyeball the last scramble up to the summit cairn. The last time I was on the summit – 19th July 2004 – I proposed marriage to Amy after bringing her up the same Curved Ridge.
Walking down the ridge I let the others head along to the next summit while I rested up my ankle ready for the descent. After much hobbling I managed to soaked my foot in the stream at the bottom to ease the pain and reduce the swelling. It was still cold two hours later as we neared Dundee. I am having second thoughts about taking up kayaking again in these frigid highland waters. But after being in London for so long without real hills it is a joy to be back.