Archive for January, 2013

Littondale Skyline

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

On Sugar LoafWhile the others were climbing in the sun at Scugdale, we decided to take advantage of the good weather and do a long walk in the Dales.

Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas, and after a sunny drive across, the clouds gradually lowered, and we ended up  doing some navigation practice in the clag.

Despite this, it's a fine route and recommended. Starting in Litton, you head north up the side of the valley, then follow the watershed west before cutting back south over Plover Hill and Pen y Ghent. Although quite long (18 miles with around 5000 feet ascent), the going is mostly easy (especially if like today the bogs are frozen!) and it takes around 7-9 hours. The super-fit could start from Arncliffe and include Fountains Fell at the end of the day – maybe one for the summer!

A map of the route is here

and some more photos here

Spiky Scugdale

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

catherine leadingCatherine had missed out on the previous week's leading at scuggy with Karl so was keen to get outside. The sun shone but it remained bitterly cold in the wind, but we had a fun couple of hours setting belays and placing gear. ice spikeBeen much nicer without that freezing breeze along the top but the occasional touch of warm sun was nice.

We did have Catherines Christmas cake (C5!) to keep us warm though.

Eventually it just got too cold on the fingers, so we ran away.

more of peri's pix

Crianlarich Christmas Meet

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

27-31 December 2012, Ochils Mountaineering Club Hut, Crianlarich.

Members present: N Naylor, R Stone, P Stracchino, A Kitchener, S Perry, S Caldwell, C Elphick, A Gostling, P Evans.

The club enjoyed good weather during the previous three visits to this hut and unfortunately this good run came to an end in what was a wet and windy week.

peri-vaneRob and I set off from York very early and met up with Peri around midday at the Loch Lomond Visitor Centre. Our objective was to climb Ben Vane and we set off in reasonable weather with the summit in full view as we walked west up the Glen. per--nigel-vaneAs we approached the summit it started to snow a little and the wind also increased making walking conditions quite difficult. On reaching the summit we decided to return by a different route and Rob, using his Winter ML training skills, led us safely off the mountain.

Very little activity on this day due to the cold and very wet weather. Anne , Peter, Carmen, Alan and Simeon ventured out for low level walks and returned very wet, the rest of us enjoyed the warmth and comfort of the recently built kitchen extension.

cold lunchWeather wise this was one of the best days of the meet and all of us with the exception of Anne and Peter headed of to the Ben Lawers range to climb Meall Corranaich and Meall a’ Choire Leith. Both summits were below cloud level and freezing level making it an enjoyable walk across the ridges between the summits, the strong winds however made it feel very cold. On one of the gentle snow covered slopes we had the added enjoyment of doing some glissading.

Peter and Annie did a MB circuit of the Ardgartan Peninsular. The route takes an anti clockwise circuit of the peninsular following forest tracks to a Coire Lochan, NNW on superb singletrack down into Lochgoilhead. From Lochgoilhead it was road, the B839, for a short distance then 5km plus of uphill in Gleann Mor then a similar distance down Glen Croe back to the car. 24 mile route.

It was raining again in the morning and Rob, Alan, Simeon and me decided to have a short day climbing Meall Ghaordaidh. The rain turned to snow on reaching higher ground and the strength of the wind also increased. We battled our way through the head-on snow and wind to within 150m of the summit where the strength of the wind made it very difficult to progress further. At this point we decided the only option was to turn around and head back to the car and leave the summit for another day.
Peter and Annie did a MB tour of Glen Finglass, near Callandar. The route starts from the village of Brig o Turk. From the village hall take the road up to the reservoir, where the road forks it is important to go right and steeply uphill. The ride follows the east shore of the reservoir until part way along they turned right to follow Allt Gleann Meann on a track which circuits a hill call Moine nan Each. When they reached the snowline it became impossible to cycle, the snow was 6 inches deep in places. As they began a high level traverse a snow storm turned into a blizzard and Annie was drawn to ask Peter several times whether they were being sensible, Peters response, through frozen extremities, was to continue on only allowing Annie a brief moment to have a sandwich. Once at the top and a view, after some initial sliding downhill through snow they were rewarded with an excellent long downhill bumpy track. Once at the bottom of the down it was possible to fight the hot aches and warm up a bit before retracing our steps back to Brig o Turk. 15 mile route.
Simon and Carmen – Strong winds led to the cancellation of their Munro plans and instead they headed for Lochearnhead, intending to climb either or both of the two Corbetts Creag Mac Ranaich and Meall an t-Seallaidh. After a couple of abortive attempts to leave the village (the start of the route is off the edge of the map), we battled up Glen Kendrum through deep snow and strengthening winds, before admitting defeat when we reached the pass (600m). It was hard to stay upright, and cliffs downwind would have made it too dangerous to continue.

Monday (New Year’s Eve)
We awoke to torrential rain again. Alan and Simeon returned home on this day, and Rob and I decided to do so as well.
Peter and Annie did a scenic drive via the spectacular Falls of Dochart and the southern shore of Loch Tay to Aberfeldy. Whilst in the Bookshop in Aberfeldy, Annie found a leaflet about the Birks of Aberfeldy (Waterfalls) so in improving weather they went on a walk to look at them and given the recent rainfall they were spectacular.

Simon and Carmen remained at the hut and the forecast rain overnight took longer than predicted to subside. Trying to stay optimistic they headed for Ben Lawers anyway, and after sitting in the car for 15 minutes watching the rain, it eventually stopped and they set off at 11.15. The stream crossing on the nature trail was a raging torrent (the dam just upstream was overflowing) so they had a lengthy detour up the glen before they could cross. But their optimism paid off for once, and apart from a brief snow shower at the col, it stayed dry all day and they got to the summits of Bheinn Ghlas (twice) and Ben Lawers. Strong winds made going difficult between the two, but nowhere near as bad as the day before. On the return leg between Ben Lawers and Bhein Ghlas, the clouds lifted slightly, and they were treated to an hour of sunshine, the only sight of the sun during the whole trip.

That evening, the three Scots who were also staying helped make up for Simon Fox's absence, by going to bed before 10pm. The rest stayed the course by eating, drinking, and playing cards. Carmen proved to be pathologically incapable of cheating, even when playing Cheat, and Annie did some strange things with fruit.