Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label XXL Hillwalking Club. Show all posts
Showing posts with label XXL Hillwalking Club. Show all posts

Friday, 12 August 2016

Borrodale House, Arisaig, July 30 to August 7 2016

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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.

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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:

 

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Stob Coire a'Chearcaill

Iain went off to experiment with an interesting looking ridge* near Lochailort, so today my companion on Stob Coire a'Chearcaill was Jon.

The last of the drizzle cleared as we drove east past Glenfinnan and a short way along the Lochaline road to a cattle grid. This hill is gained by way of a 5 km walk directly south from a gate just beyond the cattle grid, over initially tussocky ground. Tedious but rising only gently. I'd planned to walk alone and take lots of flower pictures, but low on this north facing slope I could only detect heather, bog asphodel and tormentil. So keeping up with Jon wasn't a problem.

Tea and cake fuelled us for the steepening slopes over easier ground. I fell behind here. It's hard to get good pictures of flowers like milkwort and eyebright when they are embedded in deep grass. We saw a few red deer today, but they must be slow munchers. 

Looking back (top and bottom pictures), there were good views towards cloud cloaked Munros to the north. The Fort William to Mallaig steam train puffed its way slowly across the foreground, hauling about eight carriages of sooty tourists.

Ravens argued above us as we reached a fence junction at about 700 metres, with good views into the depths of Coire Chearcaill to the east. Veering right, we soon reached the trig point and massive summit cairn at 770 metres. Lunch occurred in the shelter of this cairn, our heads just poking into the cloud.

A few metres lower down we had good views of both the cloud engulfed summit and the extensive vista below the 760 metre cloud base.

Jon spotted a forest track to the west of our ascent route that wasn't on our map, so we headed for that in order to avoid the awkward tussocks through which we'd ascended. The plan worked, apart from a deep hole that claimed Jon and destroyed his trousers.

The new track led down to a pleasant stroll past dandelion meadows and back to the main (albeit single track) road.

Today's self appointed task of taking pictures of some of the flowers mentioned in earlier postings enjoyed partial success. The images will be included in a slideshow that I'll produce next week.

*Iain's 'ridge' turned out to be a series of hills with very rough going and a tough descent to the coast, and a MBA bothy near a cottage that can only be accessed by sea. A footpath led back to the main road from the bothy, so Iain was pleased not to have to retrace his rather cumbersome steps.



Today's route:

 

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Ben Hiant (Ardnamurchan) on a Driech Day

Six of our fifteen strong group left for a day trip to the island of Canna. Five hours on a small boat in the Minches. My idea of hell. Another seven were missing in inaction, so Iain P and I set off for the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

After a break for coffee and cake and a present for Sue near Glenbeg, we continued to battle our way along the single track road towards Lochaline, finally halting at a 171 metre col below Ben Hiant. 

It was raining. The top picture shows Iain getting ready to depart. There was a path - a novelty by this week's standards. We followed it, taking about 50 minutes over the 400 metre ascent. There were no views; a shame, as the summit of this hill is reputedly a fine viewpoint. We satisfied ourselves by taking a few photos for the record - of dubious quality due to rain on the lens.

Then we returned down the path. The entire walk was 5 km with 400 metres ascent, in an hour and a half. Just right for a driech day.

We descended a mile or so to a lunch spot overlooking a beach, with Ben Hiant in the background in clearing weather (bottom picture).



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
Foxglove
Silvered
Red clover
Pyramidal bugle
Northern knotgrass
Various berries (fruits not flowers)
Devil's bit scabious
Roseroot
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:

 

Monday, 1 August 2016

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

A fine hill on a fine day.

This walking club (XXL) seems to be a bit past its sell by date as not much walking seems to be done. Various excuses have been made, and a few old bikes seem to have been pressed into use. Having said that, Jon and Margriet both enjoyed nine hour days on their respective hills (Beinn an Tuim and Gulvain).

Luckily Iain P only retired a few weeks ago and is still healthy enough to enjoy a longish stroll. Also, he has been up all notable Scottish peaks so is quite relaxed about where he goes. He accompanied me today on a circuit I'd not walked before.

We parked up at the end of Glenn Dubh Ligne and walked up to the bothy. Someone was chopping wood outside. Soon after that we left the track beyond the forest and ascended a steep 400 metre slope to the long Na h'Uamhachan ridge. Milkwort, alpine lady's mantle and harebells were added to our flower list as we ploughed through high wet grass and bracken mingled with orchids.

After a lengthy traverse, lunch on the summit gave rise to Iain's 'High Summer' comment. Not quite true as there were no midges. Lots of spiders and frogs. Long grass, no deer or sheep.

After a lengthy break we descended to Gleann Fionnlighe, meeting the only other person we saw today, a runner/cyclist on his way up Gulvain, where Margriet was descending some way behind us. It was hot. Thirst quenching spring water was most welcome. 

The final half hour along the main road back to the car was a little tedious but it was good to have walked a circuit rather than a 'there and back'.

24 km with 1100 metres ascent in 7.5 hours. A fine day out.

An excellent dinner, courtesy of Angus, preceded by drinks outside, watching bats, swallows and house martins harvest the midge free air. Then some folk went to a concert in the village hall.



Today's route:

 

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Beinn Resipol

Yesterday's pictures:
Penrith parkrun
Buachaille Etive Mor (3)
Borrodale House

An fine day on Beinn Resipol with Iain, Dave, Paul and Dawn, from the excellent Resipol campsite where we enjoyed morning coffee before our 15 km stroll with 900 metres ascent.

Cool and a bit showery on the top. Iain and I were down first after traversing to Beinn an Albannaich via an intermediary 'summit', whilst the others retraced their steps.

Paused on the ascent to admire common spotted orchids, bog asphodel, bog myrtle, eyebright, tormentil, ling, bell heather, wild thyme and several more flowers. An eagle floated past during our traverse; cows munched on the deep grass; not a deer in sight.

Drinks outside Borrodale House, which we have rented for the week, in the sunshine before dinner. With the assistance of an international team I managed to produce a meal for 15, which was followed by an infinite XXL Club slideshow.

Steak and Guinness Pie (Happy Days with the Naked Chef)

Chocolate Mousse (aka )

Perhaps I'll have more time to relax tomorrow.



Today's route:
 

Saturday, 30 July 2016

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

Well, 375 miles from home is a long way to come to share a room with a former KPMG tax manager, but the house is nice and the company good. Strange though that this walking club group seems to have rather a high proportion of crocked members.

Can anyone place the images? If not, I'll tell you where they are tomorrow.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Alison Philip

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It was with great sadness that we received the news last week that Alison had lost her seven year battle against cancer.

She will be remembered with fondness.

Alison and Bill have been friends for some years, following our encounters with the BP Hillwalking Club, now called the XXL Hillwalking Club, based in Aberdeen, in the late 1990s.

They provided welcome company and accommodation at their home in Drumoak during our 2012 TGO Challenge, and proved fantastic hosts in Cairo before Bill’s retirement. This trip in 2008 was memorable in many ways, in particular for the wonderful hospitality, and for the ‘Dakar Rally’ sort of desert trip we enjoyed with Bill and Alison and several of Bill’s colleagues, in their local transport and a Mitsubishi Pajero that they kindly lent us.

The above picture shows Alison instructing Bill on how to extract their Land Cruiser from the sand.

The sharks’ teeth we found in the desert are a daily window sill reminder of a great trip, and will now also remind us of Alison – always generous and caring, a lovely person who will be sadly missed.

Our condolences go to all Alison’s family and friends.

Monday, 24 February 2014

An XXL Club weekend in Newtonmore

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I had debated whether to join friends at the XXL Hillwalking Club’s weekend at Newtonmore, but the weather forecast didn’t warrant the trip.

I’m pleased with the decision, as one of the members who is renowned for going off on his own on tough days in his bid to climb all the Munro (3000 feet) summits during the winter months, came to grief.

Here’s the relevant entry on Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team’s Facebook page:

We had a 10 hour epic day yesterday with a shout for a climber who had fallen through a cornice on Beinn Eibhinn to the north of Corrour. Our guys fell through cornices at least 4 times themselves and were avalanched while trying to locate the climber. Conditions were atrocious with total white out conditions and very high winds and heavy snow. The guys were having to navigate around the edge of cliffs and gullies in visibility that was not even the length of your arm. Although we say it ourselves, "The Team" did an absolutely fantastic job putting both life and limb on the line to get to the guy who was recovered safe and well.
We would like to thank Philip and his staff at Corrour Estate for providing ATV's to transport guys and equipment part of the way up the mountain and for allowing use of the of the community centre and providing refreshments for the guys when they finally got off the mountain. As usual much appreciated as the helicopter had to be grounded due to a mechanical issue.
The conditions in the mountains this year are some of the most extreme we have ever experienced. Virtually every rescue has had a very high element of risk involved and this is not just in Lochaber but for all teams operating in the Highlands. We are quieter than normal with only 11 call outs so far this year but the conditions have been putting considerable demands on us and other teams across Scotland.
If you are heading to the mountains enjoy but stay safe. If you use the outdoors support mountain rescue in what ever way you can.

I don’t think anyone else on the weekend got up anything very much, and their Saturday evening may well have been spoilt as they waited for news of David, who ended up spending the night at the mountain rescue base.

I’ve always been impressed with the emphasis on safety shown by most members of this club, as you would expect from people who in the main earn their living from the North Sea oil industry. This event must come as quite a shock… but if it was going to happen to anyone… At least he was equipped to cope with around six hours of waiting high on a mountain in dire weather before he was reached by the Mountain Rescue Team.

‘A thought for all of us’ comments Chairman Bill.

As the header picture, featuring a wiser David who now winters in the sunshine, shows – winter walks in Scotland can be wonderful. For those who don’t recognise it, this is the iconic view from Sgurr Mhor on Beinn Alligin, taken on 19 March 2009.

I’m told that the snow that blankets the Highlands of Scotland is currently melting fast, with rivers in spate. I’m not minded to visit them for a week or two. Or more.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A Weekend in Tyndrum – 21/22 January 2012

On the breezy summit of Meall Odhar (656m)

Oops, I’ve got a week behind!  Sorry!

Annual trips to Canada and a variety of other factors have resulted in the winter bunkhouse weekends that I was in the habit of organising being missed for the last few years.  That’s a shame, as they were enjoyable affairs.  But this year our visit to Canada is later than usual, so I was delighted to be able to tag along on this XXL Hillwalkers Club weekend based at the By The Way Hostel in Tyndrum.

A leisurely journey up north in constant rain (perhaps the reason for the lack of traffic) on Friday afternoon was punctuated for me by afternoon tea and Shirley’s excellent carrot cake, with John in Kilmarnock.  Well worth the effort.  We were classmates at Guisborough Grammar School and hadn’t crossed paths for nearly 13 years.  John’s garage is a motor cycle museum – the WW1 bike he is currently working on looked magnificent.

Anyway, I was soon enjoying a giant burger and chips in the Real Food Cafe, in the excellent company of a number of XXLers.

By Saturday morning it was still raining and clearly blustery high up.  Twenty or so of us set off in different directions, mainly with modest objectives, all carefully letting others know where we were going.  I joined a small group whose plan was to venture to the summits of two nearby 2000 foot hills, Meall Odhar and Fiarach, having decided that my original aim to get to the loftier 3053 ft summit of Beinn Chabhair was perhaps a little optimistic.

Those who hadn't started in waterproofs soon rectified their omissions as our group of seven took the forest track towards Cononish, the site of a proposed gold mine, then up over easy rough ground to an obvious fire break. Meall Odhar lurked easy looking above.

Through the firebreak, we ascended for a distance of about 200 metres, keeping to the left of the stream, before taking a right and a left and rising to a long rake left onto an open hillside with fine views towards Beinn Dubhchraig, Ben Oss and Ben Lui.

"Grim up there!" muttered Alastair, who with Margriet not feeling too well, strained to keep the group together.

After a while, six of us reached Meall Odhar summit - 656 metres – pictured above.  Margriet assures us that she also made it to the top, a bit late, but she did join us later for lunch.

Meall Odhar summit - 656 metres - a trifle breezy

That's Beinn Ghuirn (880 metres) in the background - I think Jerry made it to that summit before the wind strengthened (it was merely breezy at this point).

We soon turned tail – looking ahead to our next objective, Fiarach, whose 652 metre summit presented itself as an easy looking little bobble on the near horizon.

Lunch was taken in a sheltered spot at the foot of the firebreak.

The convex slopes of Fiarach soon beckoned for all apart from Margriet - “I’ve already been up there” she announced “I’m going to have a relaxing afternoon”.  The rest of us safely negotiated a nail biting river crossing (see map below) before meandering up the easy convex slopes of Fiarach.

By now it was rather windy; we tried to stay in the lee of the wind, heading past a small waterfall towards a high point in the distance.

We reached that high point. The wind pinned us down. It was still about 500 metres across the plateau to the true summit, with very little more ascent.  Alastair and I waited for the others to arrive.  He crawled over to them.  I tried to stand – a mistake - and twisted my knee with the sickening tweak that indicates real damage, as I was blown across the hillside. Luckily, we had deliberately chosen this easy hill with no significant crags.

I watched as Simon retreated on hands and knees in search of less extreme conditions.  Meanwhile, Alison’s rucksack had been opened by the wind.  Its contents floated around the top of the hill for a while before mainly being recovered by a manically crawling rescue party.

It was a challenge to move anywhere - Alastair reckoned the wind was around 70 mph.

Crawling away from near the summit of Fiarach, where we got pinned down

Trying to escape from being pinned down, we mainly crawled/bumslid to a slightly calmer area before descending on easier ground.

I struggled with my sprained knee, and was glad to (eventually) reach the relative calm of the valley and the easy West Highland Way path, from which there were good views back to Meall Odhar and Beinn Ghuirn.

In 1306 the Battle of Dalrigh took place near here.  Clan MacDougall’s warriors defeated Robert the Bruce and in the process gained a royal jewel called the Brooch of Lorn.  Robert the Bruce had recently killed the Red Comyn, a rival to the Scottish Throne.  After losing the battle of Methven in June 1306 he fled into the Highlands, eventually making his way into MacDougall territory. Unfortunately for Robert the chief of the MacDougalls was a relative of Red Comyn. A simple stone bench beside the West Highland Way marks what is believed to be the site of the battle.

Nearby is the ‘Loch of the Legend of the Lost Sword'. It is said that Robert the Bruce ordered his men to fling their weapons into the loch to lighten their load. Amongst the weapons were his massive sword, which was reputed to have been between five and nine feet in length.

The Loch of the Legend of the Lost Sword

We soon passed a vegetation-free scar that marks the site of a lead crushing plant; minerals that leached into the ground have prevented vegetation from growing for many years in this area that is rich with minerals.  The proposed gold mine at Cononish is indeed just ‘up the road’.

It was something of a relief to return to the sanctity of the hostel by 4pm, leaving plenty of time to prepare for a most enjoyable ‘Burns Supper’.  We discovered that only those with modest aspirations for the day had succeeded in their objectives, and others had like us failed to reach summits that barely exceed 2000 feet.  Our aspirant Munroists had all been driven back at around 700 to 800 metres.

Here’s our route: 18km, approx 1000 metres ascent, 6hrs 45mins.

Our route: 18km, approx 1000 metres ascent, 6hrs 45mins

Stuart's Burns Night Speech made for a perfect grace, before we were tucking into an excellent Burns Supper and the camera took cover for the night.  This was the camera that was recently ‘drowned’ following its dunking in a sink for a few minutes after a mountain bike ride.  Total immersion in a bowl of rice seems to have revived it.  Today was too wet for me to risk a more pricey possession!

A Burns Night grace

Sunday 22 January – saw me leaving for home after breakfast.  The sprained knee needed rest, not exercise.

It also benefited from frequent stops, this one just about catching sunrise over the Crianlarich Hills.

Sunrise over the Crianlarich Hills

The David Stirling Memorial - unveiled in September 2011- celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the formation of the SAS (Special Air Services) Regiment, with new plaques in remembrance of the Regiment’s casualties.

The David Stirling Memorial

The Memorial enjoys a fine panoramic view to the west, which for a short period will grace the head of these pages.

Readers will be pleased to hear that my sprained knee is slowly improving.  I hope it recovers as well as the Ixus 105 camera that was used for Saturday’s photos.  There’s an album covering the whole weekend that can be viewed as a Picasa slideshow (39 images) here.

This will, I’m sure, be remembered for some time as a trip when numerous folk who had climbed all the Munros, many of them in winter conditions, failed to summit the small hillock known as Fiarach.  Few can boast of such a dramatic failure!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

XXL Hillwalking Club – Annual Dinner Meet, 2010

Ascending the Corbett - Creag nan Gabhar

This entry is by way of a reprise of the past few days’ activities.

A slideshow is here

Click on each Day heading for the posting for that day.

Day 1

320 miles from Timperley to Braemar in 7 hours, via Tebay (pictured below) and Stirling.  A very easy journey in lovely sunny weather, despite warnings of snow. 

The A93 road over the Devil’s Elbow to Glenshee had a bit of snow on it, and Braemar had a fair amount – the edge of the bad weather must be around here (for the time being).

I enjoyed an evening at the Fife Arms with 20-30 XXLers and also with TGO Challengers Doug Bruce and Richard Baker.

Friday 26 November - Tebay Services

Day 2

Given that driving anywhere from Braemar was inadvisable (if not impossible) after further snow, various easy walks from Braemar were planned.  Given the distance I’d travelled I chose the longest outing available, a trip up the Corbett, Creag nan Gabhar (834 metres) which I last went up on 4 January 2005.

Eight of us walked past the golf course, to a photo call on the A93 at Auchallater.

Setting off up Creag nan Gabhar from the closed A93 - Martin, Dave, Mark, Ian, Gus, Margriet and Jerry

Through deepening snow, we rose above Glen Callater before pausing for elevenses.

Elevenses

Paul (as planned) and later Gus (stressed by calls from someone called Jane) peeled off and left the rest of us to slog our way through a sunny snowstorm to the summit of Creag nan Gabhar.

Snow shoes, left in our spare bedroom in Timperley, would have been of benefit at this point, though to be fair the going could have been more difficult.

The summit cone of Creag nan Gabhar

Several false summits led eventually, four hours from Braemar, to the summit cairn.  A further cairn looked higher.  But it wasn’t.

We dallied there for luncheon.  At minus 7C, plus a little wind-chill, it was the coldest point of the day.

Lunch by the summit of Creag nan Gabhar

Mark’s hands got cold.  He lost all feeling in them!

We decided to return the same way, and just about managed to follow the upward footprints back to Glen Callater.  The snow storm had eased, and the sun was glimpsed.

There was a lovely sunset.

Sunset

Laden with fresh snow, the trees in Glen Callater looked beautiful in the fading light.

Trees in Glen Callater

We followed some cross country skiers across the golf course and arrived back at the Fife around 4.30pm.  We had been out for just 6.5 hours on this 18km walk with 650 metres ascent.

Here’s the route.

Our route - 18km, 650 metres ascent, 6.5 hours

The annual dinner was great fun.  The Mistress of Ceremonies (below) was in excellent form, as were several other speakers, who were followed by a slideshow from the ‘House of Scoular Production Team’, and a raffle in which, bizarrely, the first three tickets drawn were consecutive numbers!

XXL Hillwalking Club - Chairperson!

Day 3

A planned trip to Poolewe having been abandoned, I was to return home today.  But it had snowed again and there was no chance of the A93 to Blairgowrie being opened due to the snow ploughs efforts being concentrated into keeping the route to Aberdeen open.

Sunday morning - outside the Fife Arms

Having escaped from Braemar – thanks go to various people who helped with shoveling, it was much appreciated – the drive to Aberdeen in a snowstorm was slow but enjoyable.  Except when baulked by very slow vehicles – with worn front tyres, my vehicle needed momentum!

Snowstorm on the A93 to Aberdeen

The roads around Aberdeen were fine, but to the south the A90 became gradually more difficult.  Clearly lorries were faltering on the hard packed ice that lay below the top surface that had been slushified by the gritting lorries.

Later, the approach to Dundee (pictured below) became even slower, and the short journey from Dundee to Perth, littered with HGVs that had simply slid off the road, took from 4pm to 10pm.  So no chance of getting home, as I later discovered that all routes south of Perth had been shut since before 2pm.

Later, on the A90 approaching Dundee

Day 4

After a warm and cosy night in the car outside Morrisons car park in Perth, during which I was entertained from Brisbane by the English cricketers scoring 517 for 1 wicket, I headed back to a queue on the A93 to join the A9.  After three and a half hours our patience bore fruit.  The A9 reopened for a while, allowing vehicles to make their way slowly south towards Stirling.

We were still travelling slowly enough to take the following photos through the car windows, but after Stirling things speeded up and south of Glasgow there was only a sprinkling of snow.

The whole day’s journey was very scenic, and actually rather enjoyable.

Monday morning - on the road again - snow laden trees viewed from the car On the A9 near Auchterarder

South of Lancaster, there was no snow at all, and the 420 mile journey was finally completed after more than 30 comfortable hours in the car.  But as I write, there is now snow virtually everywhere in the UK, including Timperley.

I’ve been listening to complaints from people caught up in jams even worse than the ones that I encountered.  I have sympathy with their predicament, but not with their complaints.  It doesn’t take a genius to work out that roads clogged by skidding lorries on thick ice are going to be blocked for some time in this weather.  Comparison with situations in other countries that often encounter such conditions is also ‘false’, as drivers in such places almost certainly use winter tyres, which make a vast difference, as those members of the XXL Club who have them will no doubt confirm.  It’s not rocket science to suggest that packing provisions and clothing, etc (including a shovel), sufficient to spend at least one night in a vehicle, should be a prerequisite of virtually any journey in these conditions.

If you missed it above, a slideshow is here.  I enjoyed this trip, despite the disproportionate amount of time spent in the car.  The unpredictability of such a mini adventure is always rather exciting…

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