There was a Kindle eBook offer going on Twitter today which prompted me to head over to Amazon and get a copy (more anon) and after I’d bought it for the knockdown price of 79p Amazon suggested I might also like The Chomolungma Diaries by Mark Horrell for an even cheaper 62p. I was intrigued by the title and assumed it was a temporary price, along the same lines as the 79p offer I’d just snapped up so I bought it, boiled up a cuppa and fired up the iPad. Boy was I in for a treat!
It seems the north west has inherited the weather from the Caribbean as we’ve had about a month of wall to wall sunshine and barely any precipitation, although it’s been tempered by a bitingly cold east wind that’s kept the Cuillin white. It was in these conditions that Penguin and I headed across the Bealach na Ba road which goes up to about 2000 feet and is a great candidate for a Matt Munro job. Not quite the same number of hairpins but you get the idea.
Our destination was Applecross and a fantastic romp cross country on manageable singletrack to Kenmore on the old coffin road and back by the coast road. So we parked just before the bridge across the River Applecross and cycled up Srath Maolchaluim on the landrover track. The Gaelic name for Applecross is A’Chomraich (ih-chom-a-reech) and means The Sanctuary, from the days when St. Maelrubha founded a monastery in 673 and had links with Ashaig on Skye.
A wee while ago I decided to go back to meths stoving, having used a JetBoil for a few years and accumulating a pile of nearly empty gas cannisters. Heading off on a trip would mean ‘playing the cans’, shaking each in turn to see how few I needed to carry to use them up as each one didn’t have enough for a weekend away. So hankering after my Trangia days, I foraged on the ‘net for what was available these days. I’d almost decided on the Pocket Stove but after a recommendation from Grahame Boath, plumped for the Clikstand, stove, sort of.
With the date announced for the indpendence referendum and rising concern that if the Scottish government does break away from the UK and armed with vastly increased coffers of oil revenue, it will embark on a landscape destructive industrialisation of the highlands, I thought I’d take a look at the Public Perception Survey of Wildness in Scotland (2012).
As Google Reader is heading off into the ether, I don’t particularly want to deal with FeedBurner any more as it could disappear too. So I’ve decided to revert to the normal RSS channels for the blog. For the handful of sturdy folk who subscribe to my pokey blog, please do update your RSS subscriptions using the following ‘normal’ URLs:
I’ll keep the FeedBurner feed active until the end of April but it won’t be showing any new entries after the end of March. To keep up to date with my haverings you’ll need to subscribe on one of the above URLs. I’m off to find a new feed reader now.
With the old knee back to normal I was champing at the bit for some adventure so with an OK forecast for Saturday (when I saw it on Friday) I decided on Blaven, my old pal. Well Saturday dawned bleak, with cloud at sea level and a fast disappearing snowpack. Light rain at 300m and rather mild didn’t bode well for my plans for Great Gully, a 300m Grade I winter route. I’ve been wanting to climb this for years but never got round to it and today didn’t look the day either. At the big boulder in the coire visibility was about 10 feet and it was drizzling. Mike Lates, the very friendly chap who runs Skye Guides was there with some clients but I didn’t want to tag along and instead headed off into the murk. Whenever I’m up in the coire I usually get the bins out and have a look at the gully to see how to get into it as the foot is rather complicated with lots of cliffs and smaller gullies so I had a vague idea of the ramp that curves round under the cliffs of the east ridge but I wasn’t sure how to get onto it.
I’ve been wanting to get back to a meths stove for ages. Gas is of course the ultimate in user friendliness but I always end up with a load of almost empty or could actually be empty little cannisters so end up carrying two. I used a Trangia for years and even lugged it up the hills as a youf as I liked a brew on the summits. I’ve even used it inside the tent in winter with the simmer ring on and the door open a little to let fresh air in. The pans eventually started to have a sort of ‘bloom’ grow on them and after the Pyrenees I moved to a remote cannister gas stove. These are pretty much essential in winter as you can invert the cannister to get at the denser liquid plus being very careful, I could pop the cannister on top of the pan for a bit to get it going. But I’ve been hankering for the simplicity of meths and the market has expanded exponentially in the last few years, so a heavy Trangia isn’t the only option these days. (more…)
The old club were staying over at Invercroft by Achansheen but I wasn’t able to join them for the weekend but managed to meet up with Graeme at Achnashellach for a stravaig up Sgor Ruadh, the red mountain, an impressively steep Torridonian sandstone peak forming the west wall of Coire Lair, where you can see the sandstone and Cambrian Quartzite folded over each other in a sensuous geological embrace.
A break in the awful forecast got me out early yesterday and driving up to Glen Elchaig. Ditching the car and jumping on the mountain bike I headed up what is one of the most beautiful glens in Scotland towards Iron Lodge. Lots of deer down on the road as I think they feed them here but strangely no roaring from the steep surrounding hillsides.