trips

Avon Calling

Third time lucky for Ben Avon and I, and a 2 day traverse from Toumintoul, with a bike in to the Linn of Avon. I also walked over to Ben a' Bhuird's north top, and then around to pay my respects at a crash site. I don't wear a poppy, but I'm not dumb to the cost of war. It was a deeply affecting place to spend some time. Otherwise, I was alone and saw no-one for the duration, so I spoke to myself and I spoke to the mountains, and once or twice I think they might have answered back. That's a good outing then, and always useful to get a reminder of winter's wildness just before it begins in earnest. I wanted for more warm clothes both moving and at camp. 

For those interested the long shots are taken with the new Sony FE100-400, which for my money (and that is a lot of my money) is a really wonderful lens. On the downside, the battery life on the Sony A7Rii (new to me) is appalling in the cold!

Time is short, so to the pictures... As always, if on a desktop, click to make big.

Reset Devices

Deep time on the Tundra. 34km, 1900 metres of upness, four Munros and 26 hours in the new backyard. Relieved I still have some mountain legs after a break from the big stuff, and nice to close on the final 2 4000 footers David Hine and I bailed on in 2015.

Click and swipe for the pictures

 

 

so much ground, so little time

Last Friday, 3 friends and I walked soggy switchbacks to the Bealach Duibh Leac, dropped our bags and headed south for a Corbett called Bhuide Bheinn; the yellow hill. It was the pre-amble for the South Glen Shiel ridge - about which more another time - but that afternoon was full of changing light, kindly voices and rough ground little frequented and loaded with a sense of itself. Cold winds blew as we strode out across the boundless knolls, heather, slimy terraces, bog and rock, snow showers swept across the lochans and that light went from cold to hot in only seconds. We caught up with each other, and discovered somewhere new. Now here, no where, nothing to it.

We're close to moving away from the city now, somewhere to call our own and look after each other, a lucky luxury of care and love that's easy to bait if you're born under punches, so everything rings with significance - a seabeaten brick on the tideline opposite the base threatening first strikes, shrill election mantras from the death cult authority. Time to go, it chimes in a voice from my twenties, this scene is washed up man. My other half found a hand written list when we were clearing out, a list made on a walking trip 15 years ago. Did you ever do that - make a wish list on holiday? On it, there's something a bit like what we hope we're moving to. I'd forgotten all about that list. Life takes time, and there's so much ground to cover, it's easy to lose sight. But for the land, which helps me remember.

Ben Lui under a snow moon

My window was a little marginal, but I couldn't pass up a camp under a clear sky and the snow moon. The East ridge of Ben Lui under winter conditions has been on the wish list for at least the last 3 seasons, and it didn't disappoint. Getting up it with a full pack in soft snow took all morning and also felt pretty marginal in a couple of places, that pack tipping me backwards on exposed boulders near the top. Next time, a bike and a day sack. Extremely high winds (too fierce to stand up, let alone mess around with the Windoo toy... but from experience I'm saying gusts of 50+mph on the top of Beinn a' Chleib) meant I bailed on a try for the four Munro group. There was simply no place sheltered enough to camp, and I wasn't convinced the snow was deep enough under Ben Oss to dig a snowhole. The walk out involved way too much tarmac, but gave me time to make my peace with the change of fortune.

I'll save the commercial shots for elsewhere, but here's a few I like for now.