Friday, 26 February 2016

Winter on the Mainland

Followers of my Twitter and Instagram accounts will have seen a lot of activity from the Mainland in recent weeks.  Wally and I have shifted our base until the beginning of March and have been getting out most days, for work or play, depsite some mixed weather and avalanche conditions. Lack of wifi connectivity has meant that the blog has been neglected of late, but I'm in Aviemore today with some  broadband at last.  This week I've been at the Arran Mountain Rescue training meet up in the Cairngorms. A few of us have gathered for some climbing and snow skills- a boost for our training to enjoy reliable winter conditions in a mountain arena that is a bit more wintery than ours normally is.

Yesterday Wally, Matt and I climbed The Runnel in Coire an t Sneachda.  We found it well banked out with reasonable snow (a bit sugary but firm enough for kicking in).  Some kind soul had already cut a slot in the cornice.

A happy Matt heading in to the final chimney of The Runnel
The previous day Wally and I climbed Hidden Chimney and found it in superb condition with plenty of gear and friendly snow.

Wally striding his way up Hidden Chimney.
There are some interesting and complicated conditions underfoot with considerable avalanche hazard on many aspects.  Careful route choice is important on approach and exit from climbs but plenty of good sport to be had in the great weather we are having.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

New base in Lochaber for February

This winter has been anything but settled, in fact here on Arran it's felt at times that its not really got going.  Just as the engine starts to rev, it stalls.

Wally and I are shifting our base up to Lochaber for February.  This doesn't mean that we are not available to lead winter walking days out on Arran, but as winter is a bit transient down here we've got a better chance of seeing some good conditions further north.

Last Tuesday we headed up to our new base on the shores of Loch Eil, and on Wednesday enjoyed a superb day out on Mullach nan Coirean, an often overlooked munro on the Mamores ridge.

It was a belter of a day, after weeks of gales the brisk wind felt like a summer breeze- and the sun even shone for some of the time.

I'm back on Arran this weekend for a mountain rescue exercise but will be heading northwards again to enjoy what looks like is going to be a cold settle spell.