Monthly Archives: January 2011

Beschäftigte Woche

The lethargy of being back from holiday and back at work has been broken finally !

After the day in the Mamores it was evident my hill fitness had got up and gone elsewhere, so it was time to take action and start training early in the year so that hill days would be more enjoyable.

The other Sunday found PTC and I on the Kilpatricks pitching tents.

We towed them up in the wheelie and when I took my spell at pulling I could feel the weight straight away.

There were some interesting tents in that bunch including a Gelert 1 man.

There was high hopes for it in its little bag, but that was to be short-lived in pitching.

After many brews later we were back at the truck and loaded up just as it got dark.

Tuesday night I needed to have a look at a route on the Muirsheil Hills, so left work a bit early (it was for work any way!) and headed down the 737 to Lochwinnoch.

I parked the car just below Mid Lint Hills and headed to the end of the road and onto the shooters track.

The rain soon started which then changed to sleet, I had to stick my buff on to protect my Frankie forehead from an icy beating as I pushed on in a walk and run towards Misty Law.

In between showers the views were great, the track splitting occasionally giving a route choice not shown on the map.

I paused on the top of Misty Law for about 15 minutes and during that time I had to put every layer on in my possession just to survive.

I did leave it too long to put my gloves on, the pain of my frozen thumbs served as a lesson not to be forgotten.

A steady run back to the car just about got me warm, luckily I popped into my mums in the village to get changed and a warm brew.

With the Basic Expedition Leaders course coming up next month I need to get a few routes for the course.

One day will be spent in the Kilpatricks doing basic navigation skills, so I dragged PTC from tent review doom and we struck out on the familiar path from Overtoun House.

The mist was sitting at a perfect inversion height so we wasted no time getting up onto the top of the crags.

The mist moving up the crags gave a real earie feel to the place.

We cut through a few tracks that I have not been on before, the ground was still frozen so underfoot conditions were favourable and not the boggy mess it would normally be.

Climbing out through the mist and cloud we were assaulted by amazing colours as the sun projected through the shadows of the trees.

It was too good to miss so we stopped for a brew to take it all in.

Photo courtesy of PTC*

The temperature was dropping fast, so for the second time that week I emptied my rucksack of warm layers.

Photo Courtesy of PTC*

My camera battery gave up the ghost, a mixture of the cold and the lack of charging.

After much banter we started moving again still with most layers on as the sun set rapidly over the Muirsheil Hills.

Sunday was mild and plans were made for a wee club training session.

The plan was to go for a run round a loop from Clachan of Campsie up to Cort Ma Law and then back down the road and the go for a spin on the Mountain Bikes.

Rob, Smithy and me

The climb up to the road was steep and before long my calf’s were in tatters !

Smithy who has been injured for 4 months was in front of me most of the way !

Coming off the top was good and the bog was mostly frozen as we bounded down to the road and then back to the cars.

We didn’t make it out on the bikes due to everybody having “other duties” to do, including Rob who’s pager went off on the hill as he was on call.

So ! Hopefully this will all pay off and the next time I hit the hills I wont be a soggy, heavy breathing mess !

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First Hill Day in 2011

With the crap weather we had been having in the new year, getting out on the hill was doubtful and to say the least low down on the agenda od things to do !

On the last day of the holidays there was a window not to be missed so alarms were set and plans for an early start made !

Alarms did not go off and early starts drifted off like spindrift in a gale !

With time constraints in mind we stopped off at the Ice Factor for a coffee and to consider options.

Plans made we tried to claw back time by driving the single track road up to the Mamore Lodge.

It was all going great till a steep section and some ice stopped us and the only option was to retreat backwards down the road to a suitable turning or parking spot.

As breaks were applied gravity and friction (or lack off) took over and the only option for traction was the grass verge.

This was short-lived as the verge grew into a ditch, the car decided it did not want to roll along the nice top off the ridge and opted for the deep groove to the side, this reduced the clearance between verge and car to about 1cm !

After a bit of thought and hacking with the ice axe we had clearance and after carefull placements of boulders to raise the car we were out and finally parked in a safe place, PTC’s relief was evident !

Striding up the hill we had just spent the last 45 minutes reversing down we soon broke through the tree line and onto the hill-side.

A thick blanket of powder snow covered everything making the going interesting, even on the track.

In the corrie some of it had slipped leaving very evident avalanche tracks.

With the sun shining it felt really mild as we followed the track further up the hill, I was suffering already feeling the effects of 3 weeks of non activity.

We cut off the path heading further up the hill, the sun was already getting low in the sky, the snow carpeting across the heather made the going tough and picking a route was not easy.

We finally stopped just off the ridge to have a cuppa and some food, the wind had picked up so we ducked behind a large drift of snow for some shelter.

Lots of layers were thrown on and we had a brew as the temp and the sun dropped rapidly.

We moved off again for the last wee bit of the ridge, it would be a shame to come this far and not have a look into the next corrie.

The slope was steep, the air cold and the drifts deep !

By the time the two of us reached the ridge we were breathing hard like we had just negotiated the last step on Everest without oxygen, it’s not supposed to be this hard !

Cutting our losses and both agreeing that where we were standing would be a great spot for pitching tents we started off back down the hill.

It feels so long ago that I camped on a high top !

I guess a lot of people have an issue with being on the hills after the sunset, I think sunrise and sunset can the best times to be on the mountains.

My headtorch is great for descending in the dark so whats the rush ?

Back on the track we plodded on, looking down onto Kinlochleven like it was some alpine village in Norway.

No tops, no big distances just a good time in the hills !

The A82 was a mixture of black ice and drifts of snow as we carefully made our way around crashes and other speedy drivers driving at a crazy pace for the conditions.

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Costa Rica

It feels as if it was already an age away that I was lying in the sun !

Here are a few photos.

Product placement, not me !

Sunset down the beach

An interesting sign at the Nicaraguan/ Costa Rican border

A view over Granada Nicaragua

Volcano's

Everything looks better with a bit of sun !

Monsters on the move

The Hotel

Julie's Monkey photo

Ah well back to normal service in the big Grey Blue !

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2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 7,200 times in 2010. That’s about 17 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 31 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 107 posts. There were 223 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 968mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was August 22nd with 112 views. The most popular post that day was PHD Factory visit.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were petesy.co.uk, hikinginfinland.com, alittlebitaboutnotalot.co.uk, cumbriafellraven.blogspot.com, and waterandearth.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for bobinson, fat and sh1te, haglofs lizard shorts, terra nova laser ultra 1, and haglöfs genius 20.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

PHD Factory visit August 2010
3 comments

2

Stick to the plan ! January 2010
5 comments

3

Its not all bad ! December 2010
3 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

4

Kit up date June 2010
2 comments

5

Midnight Meagaidh Madness February 2010
12 comments

Thanks to you all for visiting !

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