Went local today with a quick ascent of this Corbett. My route went from Kingshouse (Balquhidder) -> cycle route 7-> Glen Kendrum ->col nw of summit -> top. Return by same route.
As many of you will know, Mhairi has been abroad for a month.During that time I've had the opportunity to go to The Peak Climbing Wall in Stirling three times per week. So what are the results of this extra mileage on my climbing?
The picture says it all.
Last weekend, I took Argie to the OMC meet at the Smiddy, Glen Etive. I eventually got him parked right in front of the hut. Soon I was asleep...
I awoke to the alarm at 7.10 on Saturday. It was pitch black and pouring with rain.
I went back to sleep.
Two and a bit hours later Nigel banged on the door- the weather was fine and almost everyone was going up Beinn Trilleachain. I considered jumping into my hill gear and going with them, but decided breakfast was a better idea, and I'd catch them up. I had breakfast, made pieces, filled a flask, got on my boots... and it started pouring again.
I went back to bed.
An hour later, the rain went off. I got up. I decided to go for a low-level walk down Loch Etive taking pictures. I got ready, went out and took a couple of snaps.... and the rain came on.
Yes, I went back to bed.
I finally rose some time later. The keenest of the ascenscionists of Beinn Trilleachain, Colin and Sara, had returned. Unfortunately, Simon W had slipped and taken a tumble on the descent. There was concern as blood was coming out of his ear, so Scott and Chris W driven up to the Bellfield in Fort William with him.
Luckily he returned a few hours later with a few manly scrapes and scars, but no serious damage: the bleeding was from the ear, not internal.He could not recall what had happened, but later in the evening it came back to him. He had slipped, slithered on his backside down a granite waterslide and banged his head when he came to a halt.
He may be more upset when he discovers that none of the party had actually topped out on the hill- they'd only reached the subsidiary top above the apex of the slabs. (Unusually, I'd had time to read the Corbett book carefully between naps.)
Several of us went out for a wander down the lochside. The pier has been repaired for use taking out logs from the current tree-felling, with much improved forestry roads serving the pier. We met Davy and Frank who'd gone for a stravaig down the loch, but had not quite made it as far as Cadderlie bothy. We turned back at the woodland below the slabs as night was coming in.
A pleasant evening in the hut followed: it's a really nice "old school" club hut. A But and Ben with mains electricity, so fridges, toaster micowave etc, but a central stove burning wood etc.
Sunday saw an earlier start, and fewer incidents. I went up Ben Starav with Nigel, Lucy, Sharon and Andy M. The river crossing at the base of the hill (what do you mean bridge 250m downstream?) was a bit problematic, but we all managed dryshod. There was quite a lot of snow down to around 600m to enliven the ascent of the north ridge. There were only occasional views, but it was exceptionally pretty during the clear spells. Looking down, it was interesting to see a boat arriving, presumably to load up with timber, at the refurbished pier at the head of Loch Etive on Sunday morning.
We descended by the N ridge without incident, and, using the bridge, made it back to the cars as night was falling.
Bothy stravaigers note: a sign at the bridge informed us that Kinlochetive bothy is now no longer "open"; it's being regularly used by a youth charity, Venture Scotland, "almost every weekend" and for "week long courses".
And so home, dodging loads of deer on the Glen Etive road.
More pictures here.
As Mhairi is abroad, I was at a bit of a loose end last weekend. On the OMC site Jim McKenna advertised a bike and bothy trip he described as "a relatively easy and interesting route and the bothy is excellent with massive amounts of firewood".
So on Saturday, we set off from Inverbeg on Loch Lomondside. The team comprised of several "Old Gits"( the senile delinquent wing of the OMC) Jim, Frank ,Davy, Tony and Stuart, plus Jack from Lochgelly, and Ewan, the MO of the bothy, and myself. We cycled up the road in Glen Douglas. It started to rain. The various nuclear installations (unmarked on the map) cast a gloomy shadow of Armageddon over the proceedings. Or maybe it was just the rain.
We went over the col at the top of Glen Douglas, then by a track/path along and down to Arrochar. Unfortunately, it was very wet. On one of the descents I managed to go over the handlebars. The only damage was a bruised cheekbone, but on landing my ankle became trapped between the handlebars and the frame. As a result I was lying in a stream running down the track, which soon filled every available space inside my clothing with water. What fun! How we all laughed!
We arrived at Arrochar like drowned rats and sought sanctuary in the Community-owned "Three Villages Cafe". The woman in charge was as rough as number 5 sandpaper, but had a heart of gold. She was quite happy to mop up after us, (we were that wet) and gave free refills of tea and coffee to all. Her words "black or white" (in relation to coffee, but uttered in a tone that suggested a wrong answer would result in a good kicking) was an oft repeated catchphrase for the weekend.
Suitably refreshed we cycled round through Arrochar and to the turn-off to Ardgarten campsite. By this point the bearings in one of my pedals were beginning to crunch alarmingly. From there you can access a road which leads to Coilessan, then forestry tracks go on southwest to Mark Cottage bothy. It's a superbly appointed bothy, but in a slightly bizarre situation, directly opposite the oil terminal at Finnart Point. It's like being in the middle of nowhere opposite Grangemouth. With nuclear paraphenalia lurking downwater, we were sceptical as to the value of the advice as to what to do in case of "emergency".
Ewan had arranged loads of split logs and peat briquettes so a very warm clothes-drying evening followed. Scott and Anne biked in from the road-end, followed by Jim's son Iain, a "proper mountainbiker". It was a nice evening, with food,fire, whisky and tall tales. All the world's political and social problems were solved, with the sole exception of Clackmannan's status as an independent socialist republic.
On Sunday morning, the weather was fine and cold and I set off sharp as the reascent to the main forestry track was long and much too steep for my cycling ability. Moisturising cream had been used as an improvised lubricant for my pedal bearings; then Iain (being properly equipped) provided some thick oil. On the main forestry road we turned south west, then, at a lochan, turned off the road and headed northeast over a path towards Lochgoil. My brakes more or less gave up the ghost on the long steep descent. We briefly joined the road, then took a forestry track running up roughly parallel to the tarmac road up to the Rest and be Thankful. We rested thankfully at the top. It had been a sustained bike- shoving session.(We paused within yards of where we had parked up in Argie at Easter when we'd climbed Beinn Donich, the Brack and Beinn an Lochain) We followed the track down through the forest to Arrochar. My lack of both brakes and bottle slowed my progress somewhat. We then stopped for coffees at the Cafe again.
The final section was over to Tarbert (on the pavement) then south along the west bank of Loch Lomond on the cycleway. There were glimpses of lovely views up and down the loch, but I was a bit too puggled to appreciate them fully. When I at last returned to our starting point, Jim was good enough to admit it wasn't really an easy trip for beginners.
In the interests of decency, no further details of bruising will be posted on a public blog.
Aye, they're a hardy bunch these old Gits!
More pictures here
Some further details here.
Ian and Mhairi's Outdoor Blog
Two outdoor enthusiasts and their adventures in Scotland and beyond.
Check these out
The rather marvellous Kev Shields, soloist extraordinaire
Ian and Jen Forrest climbers, walkers an all-round good eggs
"Darling!" hillgoer and now published-author-type-person
The rather lovely JS Outdoors run by James WGS
Skye Basecamp Bunkhouse www.skyebasecamp.co.uk/
The Facebook page of the multi-talented Kevin Woods: