It has been a while since my last post and it would appear that I have been caught up in what I can only describe as the working night-shift time warp.
As some of you may recall I visited the Island of Tenerife last year and made the most of the fabulous trails the island has to offer. This post is all about Pico del Teide the highest peak in Spain at 3718m, a live volcano and a throwback to happier times, 16th November 2019.
I made my ascent from Parador within the national park, I left the car park beneath a crystal clear sky line. The moon was shining so bright a head torch was not required and the stars were so clear you could see just about every constellation imaginable.
Passing the Roques de Garcia was incredibly atmospheric, standing so tall and lit up perfectly by the moon. I continued up the rugged volcanic trail to Pico Viejo 3102m a minor top compared with Pico del Teide, but what an experience looking down into the huge crater of this top under the light of my head torch and the smell of sulphur dioxide really brings home the fact you are standing on a live volcano.
I continued to the summit of Pico del Teide 3718m, found myself a nice ledge perfect for a bivi and after a quick munch settled down underneath the stars, the smell of sulphur dioxide and a fine mist as the steam from volcanic vents cooled on the summit of Pico del Teide awaiting sunrise.
The morning was cold and finding the motivation to leave the warmth of my sleeping bag and bivi was hard. But it had to be done. It was still dark and I found a spot out of the cold wind and waited for sunrise. It seem to take an age for the sky line to change, but when it did, my word it was spectacular. The view over the clouds lit up by the sun was out of this world, the warmth of the sun hitting my face was almost instantaneous and most welcomed.
I started my descent down towards Refugio Altavista passing the crowds as they ascended to the summit. The view over the national park as the sun started to burn off the cloud was just incredible. On my descent I summited Montana Blanca 2758m before returning to the road and picking up the long trail back to Parador.
Day 2, 19th September 2020 of Catriona's Fannaich Munro adventure with Aspect Mountaineering and the weather could not have been better.
We walked in from Loch Droma tackling Beinn Liath Mhor Fannaich 1st before moving onto Sgurr Mor, Meall Gorm and ending the day on An Coileachan a fantastic circuit tackling 4 fine Munros and the views were absolutley sublime.
It was a total contrast to the last time I visited these mountains which was new years day 2019. The 1st snows had fallen, it was blowing a hoolie with the occasional white out and standing was difficult never mind walking!
Another fantastic day, a huge achievement and very rewarding to guide Catriona to completing all of the Fannaichs. 🙂
From Ben A'an to another one of my favourite mountainous regions within Scotland, The Fannaichs and on the 18th September 2020 they turned out to be one of the most spectacular walks I have completed so far this year.
My client for the day Catriona wanted to walk the five western munros of the Fannaichs over two days, with a little persuasion this turned out to be the entire nine munros of the Fannaichs over two days.
We started out on a chilly but sunny morning from the A832, passing Loch a' Bhraoin to make a direct ascent to the summit of Meall a' Chrasgaidh. By the time we reached the summit it was sweltering in the blistering sunshine, we were greeted with absolutely spectacular views in all directions and a temperature inversion to boot.
Our adventure continued onto the summit of Sgurr nan Clach Geala, arguably the most spectacular summit of the Fannaichs before continuing to Sgurr nan Each for lunch with a view.
Once rested and refueled we descended to the bealach between Sgurr nan Each and Sgurr Breac before gaining the eastern ridge of Sgurr Breac. We ascended this to its summit where we poised for some time taking in the views over the entire Fannaichs.
We finished the day on A'Chailleach our final munro of the day with spectacular views over the Fisherfield. Our descent was to the north, dropping back down to Loch a' Bhraoin with a gentle trundle along its shores before returning to our starting point for the day.
A truly beautiful day for Catriona and one I hope she will remember for some time to come as I certainly will. Andy, 12th October 2020 🙂
Aspect Mountaineering is taking bookings for the 2021 summer season, if you have an adventure in mind, whatever it maybe...? Get in touch and let Aspect Mountaineering guide you to success! ... See MoreSee Less
seriously beautiful photos..... we are so jealous. Oliver and I only hiked about 6 miles on our local Catoctin Loop.. with grey skies, but always enjoyable. Still dreaming of coming back to hike with you. ....
Ben A'an is possibly one my favourite "mini mountain's" and possibly one of my favourite view points overlooking the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.
On the 17th September 2020 I had a rare morning off and decided to make an early morning ascent of Ben A'an, as always the views did not disappoint, the visibility & clarity was spectacular. Just what I needed to clear the mind and revive the soul.
The last time I guided on Ben Nevis was 3rd October 2019 and I was working for Seren Ventures guiding a lovely couple to the summit of Ben Nevis to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. It was a stunning day with the summit of Ben Nevis covered in snow.
It was nice to be back on Ben Nevis 10th September 2020 and again guiding for Seren Ventures with another couple. This time for entirely different reasons, unfortunately Jade's father had passed away the month previous and rather than be upset or down about it she decided that a guided walk to the summit of Ben Nevis with her boyfriend David was the better way to remember her father and start a new chapter in her life.
As always the weather on Ben Nevis can be a fickle thing, the day started well with clear views and a nice cooling breeze, As we gained height the cloud descended and it began to rain. No views on the summit this time, but lots of smiles despite the weather.
A huge well done to both Jade & David and what started out as quite a somber day, turned into a day of laughter and smiles. 🙂
A half day off and a return to Glen Artney, this time to walk another new hill to me Beinn Dearg another Graham.
The summit of Beinn Dearg on this day was hard fought the conditions underfoot, over ankle deep in water in places sapped my energy levels making progress slow and just when momentum was built up, the wind would increase bringing showers of heavy rain with it.
Despite the weather the views were good, the absence of footpaths gives Beinn Dearg a truly rugged & remote feeling with not a sole insight.
An exhausting day, soaked to the skin numerous times and battered by strong winds. One of those character building days you remember! 🙂
Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end, 1st September 2020 and time to leave Glen Strathconon and return to Glasgow.
But, not without a quick stop off in the Cairngorms for a midweek mini adventure to Ben Macdui returning via Cairn Gorm. Helens 1st two Cairngorm Munros.
It was a typical Cairngorm day fantastic views towards anything but the Cairngorms, thankfully it stayed dry, we did enjoy the odd fleeting view and made it back to the car before the cloud rolled in and rain started.
More adventures to follow, Andy 25th September 2020 🙂
In an earlier post this week I linked a munro to a graham and then linked two corbetts together. This post is about linking a graham to a corbett.
31st August 2020 and remaining within the secluded Glen Strathconon we made an ascent of Beinn Mheadhoin from Carnoch a stand alone Graham and fantastic view point of the hills south towards Glen Strathfarrar.
The summit is nothing special and to be honest could easily be missed in bad weather, but the walk over to the west top and then down to the bealach in the direction of Bac an Eich gives excellent views and feels incredibly remote and well away from any footpath.
From the bealach the ascent of Bac an Eich is straight forward there is a stalkers track that leads to the summit although in bad weather you may not find it. Especially higher up.
The views from Bac an Eich on this day were incredible making the effort all the worth while with not a single sole insight adding to feeling of complete remoteness.
The Scottish Mountaineering Club guide to the Grahams & Donalds Donalds
30th August 2020 and my first visit to Glen Strathconon, a secluded and beautiful glen within easy reach of Dingwall.
We spent the day making a circular walk of Meallan nan Uan & Sgurr a' Mhuilinn another two corbetts. Unlike yesterdays efforts these two give a pleasant walk in what feels like an incredibly remote location.
Pleasant wanderings, fantastic views and another day with total solitude, Andy 23rd September 2020 🙂
In my post yesterday I talked about linking a Munro walk with a Graham, this post is all about linking two Corbetts together, if you have walked the Corbetts or you are walking the Corbetts then you will know that this is not as easy as it may sound.
Beinn Tharsuinn is a striking hill that I first noticed some time ago when walking Sgurr Choinnich. The feature that caught my eye was the striking southeast facing ridge and there is no easy way to get to it. Hence it being on my "to do" list for some time now.
On the 29th August 2020 I made an ascent of Beinn Tharsuinn via its southeast facing ridge with Helen. The approach was long and involved contouring around the mountain itself over very rough ground.
Once we gained the ridge the walking was pleasant we were treated to fantastic views of the surrounding hills and Loch Monar and in complete isolation. Not a sole insight. This summit was surrounded in mist, but we did get the odd the fleeting view.
We descended towards Sgurr na Feartaig to the bealach, rested briefly before ascending a monumentally steep slope to gain the summit of Sgurr na Feartaig. Our efforts were rewarded with fantastic views of the surrounding hills and views towards the north.
Out intentions were to descend straight back to Gerry's Lodge but the views were to good to give up and we made a traverse of the entire of Sgurr na Feartaig before returning to our starting point.
A long day, great views, tired legs and well worth the effort, Andy 22nd September 2020 🙂
25th August 2020 and another day in the Yorkshire Dales whilst Helen went to visit family I went for a walk through Wharfedale.
I started my day in Kettlewell and as the lady in the car park said to me whilst I was putting my boots on it was certainly looking "moody broody".
Leaving Kettlewell I walked along Old Cote Moor Top to a trig point at 607m , I was expecting a thorough soaking but it remained mostly dry with the occasional light shower blowing through and views towards Pen-y-ghent, Whernside & Buckden Pike.
I descended into Buckden and then made an ascent of Buckden Pike and continued my journey with ever improving weather over all the tops back to Kettlewell.
To finish my day I went to Pateley Bridge a small town famous for local produce and I could not resist stopping off at the butchers for a Yorkshire Pork Pie, it was earned or at least that is my excuse. 🙂
Another day of pleasant wanderings and pleasant views, Andy 20th September 2020.
I have visited Yorkshire many times over the years, usually for the rock climbing & abundance of bouldering, more recently for the purposes of working as a Rock Climbing Instructor or Mountain Leader on the Yorkshire Three Peaks.
On this occasion, 24th August 2020 I was in the Northeast visiting family & friends and made the most of a good weather opportunity and popped down to Reeth a small village within The Yorkshire Dales with Helen.
We completed a circular walk from Reeth through Swaledale to the summit of Great Pinseat a hill covered in old mine workings and worth taking the time to explore. We then dropped down into Arkengarthdale and returned to Reeth via Arkle Beck.
Pleasant wanderings with pleasant views, Andy 18th September 2020
Wishing The Flavour bomb Kitchen at the Balcony all the best...! 😀😀😀Our fab The Balcony Cafe will open from tomorrow for lunch and will open for the full weekend. The team will be offering delicious cakes, gourmet toasties and top coffee. The full menu will land on the 5th Oct. We are really excited to see Liam, his family, and the rest of his great team back to GCC, now operating independantly! ... See MoreSee Less
Day 1, the team looked at maps, the differences in maps and how to set the map or orientate the map using linear features, land masses or the compass. How to check your direction of travel using the compass and basic contour interpretation using ropes.
Day 2, was spent in Mugdock Country Park putting this new found knowledge to good use, using the official orienteering map of the park to navigate a very random route through the park. No photographs due to the torrential rain!
A very strong performance from all team members, that overcame a challenging second day to successfully pass there NNAS Bronze Navigator Award.
I've walked many times in the Luss Hills to the west of Loch Lomond and found them to offer great hill walking within easy reach of Glasgow and very rarely have I ever bumped into anybody else.
18th August 2020 I walked a circuit of Auchengaich Hill, Beinn Tharsuinn, Beinn Chaorach & Beinn a' Mhanaich from the A817 military road. They made for a thoroughly enjoyable walk, with the odd fleeting glimpses of the surrounding hills and towards the hills of Arrochar.
Pleasant wanders in the mist, Andy 14th September 2020.
My final day in the far north of Scotland and I felt the need for speed...!
On the 10th August 2020 I cycled into Maoile Lunndaidh a stand alone munro that makes up part of the Loch Monor Hills from Glen Carron.
It was a slow and steady approach to the hill in blistering heat, it seemed to take an age to cycle in and I am not going to lie. Cycling uphill on a 4x4 track certainly gave the legs a good work out after such a long period away from the hills.
I made a direct ascent straight up to Carn nam Fiaclan a munro top and then onto the summit of Maoile Lunndaidh before descending straight back to the 4x4 track. It is possible to make this a more interesting circuit by walking the whole ridge line of Maoile Lunndie or combine it with its neighbours Sgurr Choinnich & Sgurr a' Chaorachain.
Once back at the 4x4 track I picked my bike up from where I left it at Glenuig Lodge and hurtled back to towards Glen Carron at great speed enjoying just over 10km of fast down hill cycling. It felt awesome and I was back at the car in no time!
Another incredible day enjoyed in solitude, Andy 9th September 2020. 🙂
Following on from my last post the glorious weather I enjoyed whilst up north back in August continued...
As I have mentioned before I have been making good use of the Scottish Mountaineering Club - Guidebooks guide to The Grahams & The Donalds. So far it continues to give excellent walking with good combinations of hills if you use a little imagination and have the SMC guidebooks to The Corbetts & Munros.
On the 9th August 2020 I made an ascent of Meall Doire Faid a Graham that sits in front of Beinn Dearg in the mountains just north of Braemar Junction. I would imagine most folk would dismiss it and go for the higher mountains in the region.
I would have to say that is what I have done in the past, but to my surprise what a wonderful view point Meall Doire Faid (a graham) turned out to be. The views were just exceptional. 🙂
I continued my journey by descending very steeply into Bealach nam Buthan and then ascended steep slopes directly to the summit of Beinn Enaiglair (a corbett), hard going but worth it. Another fabulous view point of the higher mountains in the region.
The walk out is to the east following an old stalkers path, I made the detour and included two minor tops, Meallan Mhurchaidh & Meall nan Leacachain before returning to the roadside.
Fantastic hillwalking and not a single sole insight, Andy 7th Septemeber 2020. 🙂
The last time I walked in the hills to the north of Braemore Junction was during the winter of 2017, the winter that never really kicked in.
My intention was to snowshoe out to Seana Bhraigh, but the weather had other ideas. I had arrived the night before with snow right down to the roadside, things were looking promising. But when I woke the following morning it was a different tale altogether.
The snow had completely stripped overnight, only remaining on the higher tops as snow patches. I set out regardless and I would have to say its not often I have a sense of humour failure, but this day was grim. Low cloud, zero views, constant drizzle, high wind speeds all endured whilst walking through what I can only describe as rivers of slush anywhere from ankle to shin deep. 🙁
I returned to Seana Bhraigh on the 8th August 2020 to a totally different experience. Dry ground underfoot, a moderate wind speed, just enough to keep you cool, the midge at bay and spectacular views in all directions. 🙂
On the return from the summit of Seana Bhraigh I decided to make a traverse of Eididh nan Clach Geala and to my surprise the ground was dry and the walking pretty straight forward.
A truly memorable day with 1563m of ascent and a little over 30km covered. 🙂 Andy, 5th September 2020