Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca
Showing posts with label Grahams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grahams. Show all posts

Friday, 12 August 2016

Borrodale House, Arisaig, July 30 to August 7 2016


This posting is by way of an index to my daily missives from Borrodale House, Arisaig, with a .

The map below shows the scene of each day’s stroll, and links to the daily entries are below that.


Day 1 - Not Wythenshawe parkrun, Not the Lake District (x3) and Not a Bothy

Day 2 - Beinn Resipol

Day 3 - High Summer on Braigh nan Uamhachan (Slope of the Caves)

Day 4 - Fuar Beinn and Creach Beinn - a classic round

Day 5 - Ben Hiant (Ardnamurchan) on a Driech Day

Day 6 - Stob Coire a'Chearcaill

Day 7 -

As also mentioned above, a slideshow covering the whole trip is .

The small images in these mobile postings can be enlarged by clicking on them, producing a small slideshow for each day.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Meall a'Phubuill and Meall Onfhaidh

Margriet joined me and Iain for this final stroll of the trip on an overcast day with the local cloud base around 1200 metres.

It was an easy walk in from Fassfern along Gleann Saileag, then a steepish ascent to the summit, with good views to Gulvain and beyond. (Pictured, top.)

The steep descent to a 380 metre col was slowly accomplished. Many frogs and spiders were in evidence, with lizards scurrying to avoid our Scarpas. Yellow mountain saxifrage (pictured) graced the waterways.

Meall Onfhaidh presented no difficulties other than for Margriet, who found it necessary to don a bee keeper's outfit to combat the midges.

We enjoyed fine views into Ardgour from the summit (third picture).

It was clouding in. The descent past wheatears back to the path above Gleann Saileag was easy. It started to rain. An industrial scene lay below us, near a small bothy. A relic of this industry is pictured (the last picture).

The rain continued as we strolled back to the car after walking 20 km with 1100 metres ascent in 7.5 hours. (Yesterday was 11 km, 800 metres, and 5.75 hours.)

Another fine meal was served by two more volunteers back at Borrodale House, where the lack of 'phone signal and sporadic wifi may delay this posting.

Tomorrow, it's 'back to Timperley'.

Today's route:


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Fuar Beinn and Creach Beinn - a classic round

Iain and I drove round to Strontian and beyond on a fine morning, parking near the bridge over the Galmadale River. The ascent of Beinn na Cille started steeply via the edge of a forest then some uncomfortably steep rock bands.

There were lots of orchids again and during the day we observed the following flowers in addition to most of those mentioned in the last two entries:

Cross-leaved heath
Red clover
Pyramidal bugle
Northern knotgrass
Various berries (fruits not flowers)
Devil's bit scabious
Yellow mountain saxifrage
English stonecrop
Cotton grasses, sedges and mosses

Around 1pm a short shower confirmed that the steady increase in cloud wasn't an illusion, but the day remained largely dry and the local summits stayed free of cloud.

Lunch was taken on Fuar Beinn, sheltering from a cool breeze behind the summit cairn. Ptarmigan in winter plumage were seen at the broad col before the long ascent of Creach Beinn, on which summit we lingered before diminishing views before heading on to Maol Odhar and a flock of at least twenty golden plover.

After the lumpy ascent, the undulating descent over Meall nan Each on cropped grass (there were a few sheep here) was a delight. We made good speed and got back to the car in light rain at 5.30 after 17 km with 1500 metres ascent in 7 hours.

It was an easy drive back along some interesting single track roads to another convivial evening with fine food at Borrodale House.

Today's route:


Friday, 5 February 2016

29 to 31 January 2016 – A Weekend in Newtonmore


Thursday 28 January saw me and Sue tripping up to Newtonmore in atrocious rainy weather after Sue got home from work. Cary, Graham and John B had travelled up earlier and happily greeted us when we arrived at 11 pm.

Friday 29 January – the weather high up was dreadful, so a low level circuit for the five of us was in order. We drove past Ruthven Barracks before parking up and setting off from the car park at Torcroy (Insh).

The Badenoch Way was followed through woodland near the River Tromie to Tromie Bridge.


The marshes around Kingussie have morphed into lakes after recent deluges.


Today there was however some blue sky, which we glimpsed as we headed past lichen covered trees towards the Tromie, which was high, but well contained within its banks.


There are various measuring devices in the vicinity of Tromie Bridge, the one below was fenced in, whereas another one next to the river looks like a small bird hide but actually contains devices that monitor the height of the river.


Tromie Bridge is nearby, with this fine view of the frothing river as it rushes down to the Spey.


Beyond Tromie Bridge, we soon left the Badenoch Way and headed east towards Baileguish. Here's our view east from the forestry track, looking towards the Cairngorm summits beyond Glen Feshie.


We ignored a threatening sign informing us that there was no access to this area due to felling activity (we saw no evidence of current work), and continued on to the bridge across Allt Fhearnasdail at Baileguish, erected by an army working group in 2001.


We crossed the bridge and elevensed outside the farm buildings that Graham could cast his mind back to when they were occupied. Graham (in his TGO Challenge vetter capacity) then went to inspect a further bridge across Allt Mor that Challengers heading to Glen Feshie will be keen to cross. Whilst the bridge remains intact, the recent weather has created a deep channel that needs to be crossed before the bridge is reached. Challengers will need to hope that the river isn’t in spate and that they can wade across at the site of a ford a few hundred metres to the south.

We returned across the Allt Fhearnasdail bridge, noticing that lots of felling has taken place beyond Baileguish, where we stayed to the west of the Feshie. The sun shone brightly in between wintry showers.


I half expected one of a number of bothy smitten bloggers to come striding out of this building...


Graham confirmed our thoughts that this large wheel was from an aircraft undercarriage. There was no sign of the rest of the plane.


A quiet lane took us back to the Badenoch Way and past some smart houses with fine views in the hamlet of Inveruglas.

A couple of caravans had me wondering about their suitability as props in a dramatisation of Magnus Mills’ 'The Restraint of Beasts’.

Overhead, a flock of Greylag Geese seemed uncertain about where they wanted to go. Twisting and turning as if to keep within the boundary of a bird reserve, their leaders appeared to be masters of indecision.

Eventually we returned to Tromie Bridge and took the tarmac option back to the car as Graham felt he may have misplaced his voice in a roadside puddle.

Here's the day’s route - 23 km with 500 metres ascent, taking us a shade under 6 hours. An excellent day out.


Jon and Margriet arrived to join us at the bunkhouse, and we soon set about gorging ourselves on smoked salmon, coq au vin, and a selection of vegetable curries. Not to mention Graham’s excellent crumble and custard.

Saturday 30 January – others started from a lay-by at the far end of Loch Laggan. I drove there but decided to come straight back as it was snowing in a rather determined fashion. The others – apart from Jon, who lounged in the hostel with his tax return – managed to scale the dramatic heights of Meall Luidh Mor - 514 metres, although I don’t think they saw very much. Margriet’s all wheel drive car got them all safely back to Newtonmore through the snow.

Meanwhile, I joined Sue, Molly and Harvey for a stroll up Glen Banchor.


It snowed.

Harvey was anxious to get back home.


You wouldn't have wanted to fall into the River Calder today!


Another good nosh was enjoyed once everyone had returned to the hostel. The delights of ‘Boggle’ were also discovered, to the detriment of certain brains.

Sunday 31 January – Jon went up a small hill, Margriet (a little tired after the previous day’s exertions) went home to Aberdeen, and the ‘Manchester Five’ were joined by Sue O for a stroll up Glen Banchor. Here’s today's team: Martin, Sue B, John, Sue O, Graham, and Cary.


We crossed Allt a Chaorainn (luckily there's a bridge) and rose slowly up an unseen path that rises gently beside the River Calder.


There were some large herds of red deer low in the valleys and it was slow going through soft fresh snow beside Allt Fionndrigh. Care was taken to avoid dunkings in places like this…


At the far point of our walk we crossed a slippery footbridge. Care was needed to avoid sliding into the river!


Elevenses, with cake, were welcome at this point. Three people caught us up here and headed on in an attempt to climb Carn Dearg. It was slow going and they soon gave up. An early start would be needed to succeed in getting to that Munro summit in these soft conditions.

The six of us eventually reached the 743 metre summit of Creag Liath on the pleasantly calm but annoyingly cloudy day.


A fairly direct descent route saw us all pausing for lunch before taking our own individual routes towards the bridge at Glenballoch, another farmstead that was occupied until fairly recently.

I waited for a while on the bridge, admiring the fine view up Allt Fionndrigh.


Then it was a pleasant stroll back to Newtonmore, past a couple of skiers who were struggling lower down to find sufficient snow to justify their mode of transport.

Here's our route - 17 km with 650 metres ascent, taking a little over 6 hours.


Later, the five of us scrapped plans to eat out and sat down to a dinner of leftovers in Newtonmore Hostel. There were enough such ‘scraps’ to feed Sue and Neil, and Ali, Adrian and Ellen, as well as the Manchester Five.

Monday 1 February – we awoke to more lashings of rain and decided to go straight home, arriving by 4 pm, well in time for Sue’s yoga class.

Here’s a parting shot of the exceedingly hospitable Newtonmore Hostel.


As well as clicking on any of the images above to see a larger version, there’s a link to a slideshow (56 images) here. Click on the first image then click on ‘slideshow’ if you feel like a quick browse.

An excellent weekend despite the imperfect weather. Thanks to everyone for turning up and it’s a shame that Julie had to pull out at the last minute and that Roger B was foiled by an unexpected commitment.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Day 12 - TGO Challenge 2015 - Broom Hill to Tarfside

Date: Tuesday 19 May

Route: as planned except:
1) we walked beside Water of Unich from Wester Balloch, rather than go between the two Watery Knowles, and
2) we omitted the final hill, Hill of Rowan, (tut-tut) as Sue was desperate for a cuppa at Tarfside

Distance: 31 km (Cum: 281)

Ascent: 800 metres (Cum: 10500)

Time taken: 10.1 hrs including 1.5 hrs breaks - (Cum: 95.9 hours including 18.8 hours breaks)

Weather: sunshine and occasional showers; cool

Click on the link below (Day 12) for details of our planned route:

A tough day, on which the first seven hours to Hunt Hill were pathless with frequent peat haggs, groughs and grikes. The final three hours were a little easier despite our being followed at times by spitting rain through a weak sun, but after an 8pm sitting for dinner at St Droston's it was midnight before we left the sociable gathering at the Masons.

So this entry is written hurriedly. Tomorrow.

We didn't see anyone until we passed Freddie and Darren, then Mr Grumpy geocaching and complaining he was "past it", a hundred metres from St Droston's.

But we did see two grouse nests, one with eggs, the other with chicks, lots of hares, lizards, a ring ouzel, grey plovers, lapwings and oystercatchers, skylarks and meadow pipits, lots of lbjs, clumps of milkwort, bog asphodel and a buttercup like flower that I'll call 'bog buttercup'. Great crested grebes were seen on a high lochan, with tufted ducks on Loch Lee. After a brief respite, cuckoos are back with us in Glen Esk (the home of Tarfside).

A highlight was the remote summit of Wester Balloch, where a visitors book had been placed in October 2014. We were the first to sign it.

Otherwise it was seven hours of hard going over scenic terrain, including the delightful but pathless Water of Unich valley, followed by three hours of easy going, also over scenic terrain.

A great day, and great to meet up with friends old and new at Tarfside, where there are about 50 Challengers' tents pitched on the village green.

Today's pictures:
Top - our final 'wild' campsite of this trip, near the top of Broom Hill
Middle - descending beside the Water of Unich
Bottom - the Water of Lee from Hunt Hill

Fine views, all of them.

There's a slideshow for the day (31 images) - here. Click on the first image, then click 'slideshow'.

Next Day - Day 13

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Day 4 - TGO Challenge 2015 - Kerrow House B&B to Loch nam Meur (north)

Date: Monday 11 May

Route: as planned, plus a faux pas in Tomich, where we set off from the hotel in the wrong direction, and an extension to point 7 on tomorrow's itinerary - NH 390 245 at 530 metres

Distance: 23 km (Cum: 89)

Ascent: 900 metres (Cum: 4500)

Time taken: 8.0 hrs including 1.4 hrs breaks - (Cum: 33.2 hours including 6.3 hours breaks)

Weather: after brief sunshine, morning rain turning to afternoon sunshine interspersed with violent showers with a blustery SW wind

Click on the link below (Day 4) for details of our planned route:

Apologies for the possible puerile nature of some of this text, composed during a self imposed fourteen hour exile in a Rab 400 cocoon. Then lost and recompiled.

Knickers. Jeremy's choice of underwear (ladies cotton) and his river crossing technique have been observed and commented upon. Having met Jeremy only briefly and for the first time on this trip, I can only pass on the observations of others, with one exception. He was talking through his *** when it came to concerns about the condition of the north Mullardoch ridge, which contrary to his opinion was in excellent condition for walking. Perhaps he should reconsider his choice of knickers!

Anyway, it seems that whilst folk like John and Norma cross streams by boulder hopping fully clothed but with the risk of total immersion, Jeremy prefers to strip to his knickers and wade. Discussion earlier today with Alan and Phil brought the revelation from Alan that he was "with Jeremy on that".... Does that mean that Alan also wears ladies underwear? Phil remained discreetly silent.

I'm writing this from the comfort of our little Nallo tent in a howling gale next to a stream that we need to cross but aren't inclined to due to the volume of water in it. So we camped next to it. My chef is having a few problems - that is unless she is trying to warm up my wet boots for tomorrow by pouring tonight's dinner into them. They were stolen by a dog in the Slaters Arms last night so they'll be at even greater risk of dog theft tomorrow. Our supply of loo roll is rapidly diminishing as Sue is multi-tasking, all of which tasks require either loo roll or baby wipes. And we have no babies with us!

It's serious fun in here! I've just been attacked by a wet sock on our dancing in house washing line. It's windy.

We started from Kerrow House B&B after a fine breakfast in freshly dried kit. Liz had somehow managed to dry both our boots and our (washed) waterproof socks as well as a load of other stuff. Wonderful.

Sue is pictured on the sunny driveway moments before the rain started.

We soon met Alan and Phil, walking along the road from Tomich. In a conversation that ranged from missing tent poles to ladies knickers it became apparent that they had been unable to camp at Cannich last night as Alan had left his tent poles in Tomich. Phil had then found accommodation for them in Drumnadrochit and a taxi. The taxi driver had a few problems understanding their itinerary.... "so you want me to take you to Drum then in the morning I'm taking you back to Tomich, with all your gear, so that you can walk back to the same B&B in Drum. Duh!"

Yes, most folk would conclude that they are a little crazy.

We saw one other person all day, once we'd said goodbye to a distressed Scotsman who likened Ms Sturgeon to Hitler (a bit harsh?) and the young lady from Georgia who served us elevenses in the Tomich Hotel. Amanda hadn't take the 'lift to Cannich to get gas' bait, so we decided to restrict brew stops and manage with what we'd got. The weather didn't look suitable for brewing anyway. And it wasn't.

That one person was a cyclist on the track near Loch ma Stac, approaching a boggy section crossed by several streams in spate and negotiable by the acquired art of 'tussock jumping'. We have that art (our wet feet are due simply to several hours of squelching through bog) but we wouldn't want to do it with a bicycle. Moreover this cyclist was frantically pushing his bike down a track that was good for cycling. He was in a hurry, with no time to chat to us.

Before that we had lunched in a rainy larch forest, exiting to discover that the sun was shining. Then we passed five massive wind turbines before reverting from their ghastly access road to a narrow track with bogs.

We passed our planned camping spot at about 2.30, and rather than spend the afternoon being buffeted in our tent we decided to be buffeted in our waterproofs, which were worn all day, albeit they dried out between showers.

So we passed the strange three storey building on Loch ma Stac and headed up to the trig pointed 679 metre summit of Meall a'Chrathaigh. Then on to two more lesser summits before descending and making our way to this rather exposed camping spot that I'd noted from a previous visit in calm sunny weather when the rivers weren't in spate. If we can't cross tomorrow we'll have to retrace our steps until we can. We can afford to do that as it's not far to Drumnadrochit from here.

Today's pictures show Sue in the sun, a rainbow from Meall nan Oighreagan (after the best of it had faded - the slideshow will have a much better version), and our sunny but rather exposed campsite.

The Balmacaan Forest is a lovely spot of wilderness, even in iffy weather -  highly commended. Must go - dinner is served, surprisingly not out of my boots!

There's a slideshow for the day (39 images) - . Click on the first image, then click 'slideshow'.

Next Day - Day 5

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Day 1 - TGO Challenge 2015 - Dornie to Coire na Breabaig

Date: Friday 8 May

Route: as planned to beyond Iron Lodge, then directly up Carn na Breabaig before dropping to the col to camp at NH 072 308

Distance: 24 km (Cum: 24)

Ascent: 1300 metres (Cum: 1300)

Time taken: 8.1 hrs including 1.6 hrs breaks (Cum: 8.1 hours including breaks)

Weather: A blue sky day with gradually increasing cloud

Click on the link below (Day 1) for details of our planned route:

A perfect start (apart from the fact that I drafted a long entry that then disappeared overnight, so this is a second attempt, written at the end of Day 2).

The seven of us who stayed at Dornie Hotel enjoyed breakfast together before lining up for a series of photos. Mine shows Colin, Robin, Sue, Emma, Jeremy and Greg (top image).

Colin disappeared but the rest of us walked together for a while, admiring superb views over Loch Long. My best effort of describing the view is by way of the middle image. Others will have done better.

We soon aborted the narrow strip of tarmac in favour of the good path beside the River Glennan. A lovely route during which our group of six gradually dissipated leaving Sue and me to enjoy the views from the watershed on our own. The vistas towards the Cuillin Hills on Skye were magnificent.

Our first brew stop was enjoyed above Camas-luinie. We were joined by Robin and Emma, and by John and Norma, who had also started from Dornie. Jeremy and Greg stormed past and then entertained us with their cack-handed approach to getting through a deer fence.

Greg should be excused, as he had just flown in from Massachusetts with nine days' food. Incredibly, his rucksack is hardly any heavier than mine!

Beyond Camas-luinie a good track leads all the way to Iron Lodge. Sue and I stopped for lunch at the turn off to the Falls of Glomach, as we knew most of the 'Dornies' were heading up there. Nobody appeared - they were in no hurry.

A further stroll past numerous cuckoos along the lane lined with gorse and primroses interspersed with lesser celandine, wood anemone and dog violets, took us to the bothy at Iron Lodge. Chaffinches hopped hopefully ahead of us for some of the way. Craig and Vicky, two more Americans, were installed in the lodge. Uncertain about the efficacy of the carpet, they had set up camp in the living room. Craig came out to admire his new home whilst munching through a giant packet of crisps, whilst Vicky had donned her pyjamas and was washing their smalls.

The haul to the summit of Carn na Breabaig was up a steep grassy slope. Great views from the summit were enjoyed before we ambled down to the col and pitched camp in a fine spot (shown above).

My chef performed miracles with a few packets of dried stuff and some tuna twists.

(So that's a version of what I wrote whilst Sue was busy cooking. I'll take precautions against losing it this time, precautions that have been needed! as the signal that brought in 32 emails earlier has done a bunk.)

There's a short slideshow for the day (35 images) -. Click on the first image, then click 'slideshow'.

Next Day - Day 2

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Martin’s Grand Scottish Tour – April 2015


This posting fleshes out those made over the past few days and provides maps of my walking routes. There’s also a slideshow of 64 images, .

Anyway, after straining something at the early on , I was a sorry sight limping up Hill of Persie before heading on to Braemar.

It was a very rough 5km, with 240 metres ascent, taking an hour and three quarters.


– here I am on top of Blath Bhalg.


This was a good circuit, much better than the ‘guidebook’ there and back route. There were good views between the snow showers.

It’s 9 km with 390 metres ascent, taking two and a half hours.


– from Bridge of Gaur I set off alongside Loch Rannoch before heading to Dalwhinnie.


Today’s walk was an easy ascent of Creag Ruadh – 12 km, with 400 metres ascent, in about 3 hours, before heading on to Newtonmore Hostel.


– a driving day, with lots of deliveries and no time for a walk, but with good views of the Cairngorms across Loch Morlich.


– from Ford, I went home via the Rest and be Thankful Pass, before which is this fine bridge at the end of Glen Fyne.


There was time to pop up Hods Hill, on the Southern Upland Way near Moffat. Here’s a view towards Daer Reservoir from near the summit.


It’s an easy route – 8 km with 300 metres ascent, in about two hours. I didn’t realise you could walk up the road to the end of the reservoir to join the SUW, which goes across the dam.


So that’s it, a successful trip with some good walks in between deliveries and 1100 miles of driving.

The slideshow is .