Information and photos of my mountaineering trips in Scotland,England and Wales:
Including hillwalking,scrambling and easy rock climbing.Also via ferrata, skiing and alpine trips in Europe.

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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Rannoch Moor - Inveroran to Kingshouse and back, 27th May 2012.

After a hot and very slow drive to Bridge of Orchy, myself and Lorna pitched camp just past Inveroran and managed to enjoy the afternoon sun. Thankfully it was quieter than I thought, and choosing a spot by the river was easy. Just one other couple on our side of the bridge, a lone walker and a Belgian couple on the other. 
Even though we arrived about 3.30pm , it was still very hot and the occaisional breeze was welcome (as were the cold beers I brought!). My concession to Lorna for her introduction to wild camping was, a) to drive to a camping spot and, b) to bring some folding chairs! I was glad we did so that we could enjoy the good weather!   
We didn't start cooking till about 8pm, and it wasn't long after, once the sun had gone down over the horizon, that the midges appeared. At first they weren't too bad, and the fire and the smoke from the      b-b-q kept them at bay. However I was eventually beaten, even after Skin So Soft and repellent were applied. So at about 11pm I retired to bed.       
We got up at about 7am to swarms of midges outside the front of the tent. Headnets were needed to survive as we prepared breakfast up at the road above the bridge where there was a little more breeze and sun to keep them away. It wasn't long before they started to go away so it wasn't the worst midge experience I've ever had. 
We moved the car up to the car park at Victoria Bridge, and set off across Rannoch Moor, following the West Highland Way. We didn't see that many people on our journey out to Kingshouse, just a small group at Ba Bridge and a few guys heading back to Victoria Bridge. The views across Loch Tulla to our right were amazing, and as we went along, Blackmount came into view over our left shoulders. Soon we were at Ba Bridge, the halfway point before the second long drag up the the high point above the Kingshouse, and the long descent past the Ski Centre to the Kingshouse Hotel itself.
There was a young Stag, hind and calves wandering amongst the gardens of the few houses that are at Kingshouse, seemingly at ease with the passing of hordes of tourists and walkers.        
Young stag wandering around happily outside the Kingshouse Hotel.
After a hot sweaty walk over the moor, it was time for a pint and lunch. However I went into the walkers bar and ordered my drinks at 1220 and it turns out they're not licensed till 1230! So I had a long 10 minute wait for my well earned pint. Whilst waiting we got chatting to a guy doing the "way", and it turned out he was a tanker driver working out of Grangemouth and had some interesting and enlightening stuff to say about their fight to retain their terms and conditions and how unlicenced and unregulated rigs wait outside the plant for loads to be brought out to them, I'll leave you to decide. 
After bidding farewell to the tanker driver, we went outside so Lorna could dip her bad ankle in the cold water. As we did we got talking to a couple on their honeymoon - camping at the back of the hotel  - and had just spent a week in Aviemore. It turned out the guy was ex SAS, so we had a short ex army blether and bid them farwell as we set off back for Rannoch Moor.
No trip to the Kingshouse is complete without another obligatory shot of Buichaille etive Mor at the head of Glencoe. It always looks impressive, no matter how many times you see it.
Walking back to Victoria Bridge, it was evident that the vast majority of people we saw heading north along the track towards Glencoe, were either foriegn or of an older generation. That's not to say we didn't see any Brits, or young Brits at that, but they were the minority, at least today.
At the halfway point, Ba Bridge, we really need some extra water. The bar staff at the Kinsghouse kindly fill peoples bottles for them, but we drank it all in the heat, so I scrambled down amongst the rocks beneath the old bridge to get some fresh water. It was tempting to jump into the natural pools that form there and I reckon it would make a great wild camp (despite the midges) with your own pool thrown in!
From here we battered on till we got back to Victoria Bridge, where we jumped in the car and went back to our original camping spot where we cooled down in the river before getting changed for the drive home.    

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Stob Binnien, 20th May 2012.

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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Catbells-High Spy-Dalehead Tarn, 12th May 2012.

As Lorna was looking for an "easier" type of walk to continue her very slow rehabilitation back in to hill walking and more, we opted for a route I've often seen on the way to Borrowdale and Scafell. Catbells can be seen as you drive out of Keswick and out to Borrowdale and although not very high, always looked like it would be a walk with some great views. 
We drove out to Portinscale and on to the very small car park at the start of the Catbells route near Skelgill. The long undulating ridge gives you great views over Derwent Water, Keswick and beyond. In fact skiddaw and Blencathra were also visible the day we were there.  
A minor challenge for Lorna was the scrambly section on Maiden Moor, easy for the rest of us, but tricky when you still have a stiff and still painfull ankle.   
Looking back to Skiddaw in the distance.
As we made the top of High Spy, we could see the crags below Dalehead with Hindscarth beyond. From here we descended through Eel Crags to cross the stream and over to Dalehead Tarn.
Looking back to Eel Crags before crossing over to Dalehead.
At Dalehead Tarn there are several walled shelters which seem suitable for a spot of wild camping. Sadly there was some rubbish stuffed into the walls and a recently left arrangement of two fresh banana skins!
After lunch, we headed north, descending along the path following Newlands Beck, which itself has loads of tempting picnic spots next to several waterfalls en route.
Looking back up Newlands Beck with Dalehead Crags on the right and High Spy and Eel Crags on the left. From here, it is a straightforward walk back through Little Town and back to the car park at Skelgill.