Posts Tagged ‘midges’

Muir Cottage – Braemar

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Eight members made it the August Bank Holiday meet in Braemar. The forecast improved as time went on and the weather was not as bad as expected – apart from Monday.

Saturday morning saw some of the bikers up early tinkering with their bikes (Andrew) for what seemed like hours. Then Andrew and Peter drove for what seemed like (because it was) hours to dump a vehicle at Blair Atholl. Meanwhile Annie and Karen headed to the cafe – for a quick coffee and bite to eat. They needn't have rushed as the drivers/bikers did not return until 1pm. Then it was time for lunch of course. So after an early start at 2pm! they set off on their ride down Glen Tilt – again.

Meanwhile the walkers Richard and Dave D went off to bag Carn Bhac – in the rain. Dave D had been keen to tag on another Munro but fortunately for Richard the clag removed interest in this option.

Having done all the local Munros and with a big day planned for Sunday and dinner to finish cooking, Simon and I settled for a nearby Corbett (Sgor Mor) which could be done from the hut. We waited until it stopped raining before setting off – looking out for the bikers throughout our walk-in – little did we know they were still hours behind. It was a pretty walk with all the heather in bloom – we never normally see Scotland at this time of year due to a certain small insect. The cloud was down on the surrounding hills, but we remained cloud-free throughout. The descent off the hill was slow progress as we trudged through heather, down past the bee hives and back to the forest and river. As soon as we stopped to remove waterproofs we were surrounded by midges which encouraged a quick retreat back to the hut arriving shortly before 4pm! Arriving just behind us was Karen who had been out for a local cycle.

Around 8:30pm the bikers finally returned, slightly subdued, the ride having been harder work and less cyclable than they had remembered from last time. However, they soon perked up with curry and beer, followed by rhubarb crumble.

Sunday had the best forecast and Simon and I had big plans – so we left the hut before anyone else was up. We cycled in to Glen Slugain – me moaning somewhat as the track was worse than I had imagined (didn't help that it was first time on a bike since last year). We then went on a long walk over Ben Avon and Beinn a'Bhuird, made somewhat longer by taking in all the tops (Simon is slowly turning into Charles). It was a good day for it though with cloud-free tops and mainly blue skies. Cold wind throughout – which would have made standing around climbing unpleasant, so a good decision to go for the walking option.

The rest of the club headed for Derry lodge where they split– Andrew, Karen and Richard R went up Derry Cairngorm. Meanwhile, Annie, Pete and Dave D went up Beinn Mheadhoin, followed by Derry Cairngorm. Both groups had a mix of people on foot and bikes and so there was a bit of a wait at the cars afterwards.

Unsurprisingly Simon and I were back to the hut last – but at a reasonable time 8pm. 11hrs 15 mins for our cycle/walk. Midges were only an issue when we collected the bikes. It is amazing how it can go from no midges to being absolutely covered in midges in the space of 2 seconds! Thanks go to Dave D for shopping for the communal meal which Karen cooked whilst Dave D opted for a longer walk – so many thanks to Karen as well. Annie had remembered it was my birthday – so dessert was replaced with a large chocolate cake – many thanks to all.

Monday – rain, rain, rain. A good day for most to be heading home. A blistered toe and wet weather saw Dave D and Richard heading straight home, as did Pete. Andrew & Karen were heading up north to stay in a lighthouse. Forecast was for it to get wetter with gale force winds – so Annie, myself and Simon headed Ballater way. We went for a short walk to 'The Vat', a product of glacial erosion, and followed the river through woodland for a couple of miles before heading back through woods and moorland. The trees were festooned with lichen which was all very pretty. We stopped at a very nice cafe in Ballater for coffee and cake before heading back to the hut for tea and cake.

Tuesday morning – sunshine and showers and even more squirrels. Simon had been feeding the birds/squirrels over the weekend. We had only ever spotted 2 red squirrels at the same time but today there were three – chasing each other from the feeder, plus a woodpecker which went on the nuts whilst the squirrels out of the way. Not a bad breakfast view.

After tidying the hut – Simon and I headed south to Craig a Barns near Dunkeld. We didn't hold out much hope of climbing given the recent rain and strong cold winds. However, we arrived at the crag in the sunshine and sheltered from most of the wind. We were overdressed to start with! However, it gradually clouded over and winds increased – but we managed to get 2 single pitch routes and a two-pitch route in before the rains arrived. Simon retreated off his last route of the day as the heavens opened. Good little crag for a stop off on the drive back south as just off the A9 and with a 5 min walk in. Some of the routes suffer with drainage more than others – but not bad considering the persistent rain on Monday. Annie was last seen heading south possibly via a friend’s house in Edinburgh.

All in all in a good trip to a lovely hut. Certainly wouldn't have wanted to be camping!

Red squirrel movies – can be seen on following links

Photos from Carmen and Simon and David

Curbar and the Midges of Doom

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

mass midge attack on PMC1!

Another week, another washout weekend forecast. Bah humbug. Me and Rob decided it was time to use some midweek holiday time before the next typhoon hit, so off we went to Curbar.
After a quick and pleasant warm up on PMC1, we headed for Avalanche Wall. For some reason I had got into my head that this was a delicate slab, must do my research better. Anyway, it looked amenable enough, and fairly geartastic, so on we got. From below it looked as if the crux was reaching the niche, in practice both of us found getting into it wasnt so bad, it was the getting out again that caused cursing, and it was hard to avoid getting sucked in both to place gear and for the welcome moment of rest (I'm sure someone comes and tilts the angle of routes a little steeper once you're on them, it definately got steeper once I was on it). Anyway, we got out full value out of it, first I led, then abbed off and stripped the gear, then Rob led, then I did it again on second.
After this we were both sweating buckets so looked for something a little less full on. Owls Arete, fitted the bill, this was the only non-crack of the day. Some nice moves, if only the route was more independent I think it would deserve a couple of stars. Argosy Crack looked like fun too, but by this time the midge equivalent of a facebook party was in full swing, not even slatherings of smidge would deter the little fiends, so we noted it down for another day and legged it in search of a midge free zone.
Stop 2 offered up a couple more interesting looking cracks, short but steep looking. Inch Crack was good offwidthing fun, not nearly as much of a thrutch as the guidebook made it sound, and provided an outing for the Monster Cams of Doom. Little Innominate just to the right looked interesting…
Little Innominate turned out to be the sandbag of the day. You have never heard so much swearage as me and Rob tried our best to make upward progress, even the midges (who had returned with extra mates) were complaining . Turns out our jamming needs a bit more work, neither of us managed the thing cleanly, will have to get back to Curbar soon – preferably accompanied by a squadron of extremely hungry bats with an appetite for Midge on Toast.

Slippery as a Slippery Thing

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Despite being in the middle of a long dry spell, once again the weather failed co-operate on the club's latest camping trip to the Lakes. It rained on the Friday morning, so our planned sunny evening climbing on the way over turned into a hurried ascent of Quayfoot Buttress (possibly the dirtiest 2-star VDiff in the country) before the rain resumed.

On Saturday everything was wet, and the hills were in cloud, so climbing was off the agenda, and a surprisingly large band of 4 (Debra, Peter, Carmen, and me) opted for my plan of doing Lorton Gully on Grasmoor. A 3 star grade 3 scramble when dry, or a way for climbers to scare themselves when wet. We all expected it to be a bit slippery, but we were all taken by surprise by the complete lack of friction on most of the route. We should probably have been warned off when I started skating on the horizontal slabs at the start, but made of sterner stuff we continued.

I took the first section direct, while the others sensibly went round. I was still just about alive at the end of that bit so they threw caution to the wind and followed up the rest of the gully. We roped up for much of it, which was just as well as there were several falls (though no submissions). The worst bit was when my inadequate belay was shown for what it was, and I was pulled bodily through a juniper bush when Peter came off, luckily the main sling round the sturdy trunk stopped me (and him) before disaster.

Eventually, after some 4 or 5 hours, we reached the end of the gully (only 300 metres or so above the start!), and the route changed to more conventional scrambling up dry and grippy rock on the NW ridge. A series of false summits eventually led to the top, before a fine descent back to Buttermere via Whiteless Pike.

Meanwhile, the others (Margaret, Annie, and Dave D) did a walk from Fleetwith Pike along the High Stile ridge, which sounded like the sort of thing that's enjoyable at the time rather than with a couple of weeks' hindsight.

The next day we reverted to more conventional fare, with a trip to Gillercombe Buttress. Carmen and I managed the eponymous Severe, which was excellent (and much, much easier than Lorton Gully!) until the midges arrived on the last pitch. Debra and Dave retreated after the first pitch of a slippery Diff and went to Bowderstone Crag instead (where they were duly rained off). An Peter went up Grasmoor again with the others, this time by a more conventional route!

More photos can be found here and here.

busy buzzing brimham

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

A good turn out braved the forecast and physical evidence and made to to Brimham last night. Peri, Donal,Clare, Luke and I arrived just as Crofty (Jim) was leaving after hosting an antipodean raiding party. Simon & Carmen arrived soon and we were later to find Guido and a few other YorkClimbers about.

Hobbling from the LAMM, Simon, Carmen and I were after a gentle session so Peri and Donal were led to Bilberry Grove [HS] (it's a groove with bilberries in it!) and Clare was to lead Luke up Castle Corner [D] while I hovered about talking through belay set-up. We headed off to Black Tower as S&C had finished and found Guido and crew bouldering some tough routes on Kangeroo Wall. Clare made a fine lead of NW Arete [VD] which is an ok route with ok gear, poor description and a very entertaining ab descent.

We then hobbled over to, and I led, a midgy Lancet Crack [VS] a short powerful well protected climb with a very interesting descent – by the end of which it was time to leave. We now met Gordon T and Dave D who had shunned all this new fangled stuff and gone to Cracked Buttress to find old friends.

In the car park we met S&C back from exploring various short esoterica [VDs] and Yorkies John Byne and Pete Crosby who had heard but not seen Peri …. speaking of which it was now 10.25 and the warden was locking up so we drove the car out and waited. Peri and Donal had managed Maloja [VS], Acme End [VS] and Cubic Corner [HS] since their start – pretty good evening.

Quick pint in New Inn and I fell asleep as a defence mechanism on the journey home.

f*****g fighting frightening frensis for fun

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Picking Guido at Skipwith bridge (A59) and heading for Brimham had only the usual number of 'events'. Changing a wheel in Knarasboro' car park added to them. Guido a little stiff after 2 days yomping in the Lakes took photos while I held the ropes on Peri's target for the night Frensis (steep well protected cracks followed by awkward mantelshelf VS 4c P1). Dave Shield arrived up and they wandered off to do some funky VS and boulder problems.

Peri in good position on frensis © Guido

Peri in good position on frensis © Guido

Meanwhile Peri had gone through a few dictionaries full of expletives in her fight with Frensis (she lost on points). I climbed Moloja, fine little VS to the top of Cannon rick and brought up Peri and Duschan, and Peri ab'd to strip the gear. Cubic block and Moss wall (another fine VS) beckoned whilst Dave and Guido set up a rope on Jokers Wall Arete E3 6a – Dave managing it (ish) – good effort.

Then midges – worse at Jokers wall area than anywhere else – drove us to the New Inn (no snide comments please) as it was dusk. Another top evening jaunt.