Old boots, new routes

The sales pitch:

Naturally you've all been paying rapt attention and will know I've taken on red pen duties for a couple of outdoor magazines. The first one is now free to read online. I'd be keen to know what you think. Those in the blogging fraternity will recognise Keith Foskett as a contributor.

One of the features is an account of a Mountaineering Council of Scotland scrambling course I attended earlier in the summer. I hold those who instructed us in high regard. As well as a dose of knuckle cuts and sore knees, learning the ropes (or at least making a start), perhaps the deepest lesson was an understanding of what hill culture means for these dedicated few. I'll leave the article to do the talking - pages 40-45 - but for now, here's a few shots that didn't make it into the magazine. Thanks to the MCofS, and Heather Morning and Sam Owens in particular for making it happen.

Old Hat, new hill

I managed a flying visit to Skye last week, where funny enough the weather was decidedly Scottish.

No pictures of the sheet rain that continued for 12 hours on the first day, but a few of a brief wander up Garbh Bheinn in fine spring weather before hometime the following.

Those who know a little about Scotland's hills will know that the tall ones are named after the compulsive list maker and red cross volunteer Sir Hugh Munro, wheras the slightly lesser ones with long drops between them are named after a diminutive TV comedian from the 1970's. Yep, the old ones are indeed the oldest.  I think we drew the short straw.

That's Marsco above left, and I've not even turned the contrast up. I've yet to visit that one, but from the shoulder of our corbett the long undulating line of red cuillin rise and fall, elegant and tempting, joining one coast to another.

Talking of old, here's Tony's hat. He told me proudly it had cost him £2.99 from C&A, and seen him through 26 years of hills on 6 continents. The kind of thing that cries out to be documented. Never mind Mallory's axe, what of all the other stories, the untold ones?  A few were shared this time out.

After last month's outdoor hiatus, my thighs were burning on the scree slope descent, but this is a fine wee mountain. At the shoulder the benign approach turns into something slightly more characteristic and demanding. The summit ridge is brief but pretty exciting.

It doesn't matter how many times I return, I still can't get over Skye. Now that I've started to get on top of one or two of the pointy bits here, I can't see the fascination going away. I'll return in the summer for a MCofS scrambling course with Heather Morning - bored of my own excuses, a bit more confidence with rope and crabs is overdue.