Thursday, 13 June 2013

Tollaidh Crags, Lochnagar and the Big Bad Ben

I had thought that working freelance would give plenty of time, but that seems as much at a premium as ever! I'm not complaining though, it's been a great week of work. The weather helped, with summer having finally arrived in the Highlands. I swung by Loch Tollaidh Crags with Rick on my way from Lewis to Ballater. We only had an afternoon, and it was the first time Rick had climbed outdoors in a long while so we had a nice chilled afternoon exploring some of the lower grade classics of the crag. We climbed Raven's Edge (VDiff**), Assault Slab (VDiff***), After Eight (Severe) and Rough Slab (VS4c**).

 Assault Slab deserves its 3 stars we thought

Rough Slab giving a little more thought

Then it was on over to Ballater ready for some D of E supervision for Albyn School. They had 6 groups out on the hill so camping was pretty sociable with 4 teachers and myself and Louisa out to keep an eye on proceedings. On the second day we left tents so we could get up high and make the most of the great weather. My team did a circuit of the 5 Munros of the Broad Cairn - Lochnagar horseshoe walk, covering 27km or so. There were a few sore feet by the end of the day but they did amazingly well, making good decisions and with no complaints. 

 Looking up towards the Dubh Loch

 Almost there! The top of Lochnagar

On top of the final Munro of the day at 1700

Once we got back to the finish point at the Royal Lochnagar Distillery and the group disappeared back to Aberdeen, I headed west for a few hours of sleep before an early morning marshalling tip up Ben Nevis. Jagged Globe organise an annual Three Peaks charity event for Action Medical Research and this year there were well over 200 people taking part. With other events and independent walkers on the hill it was pretty busy even by 6am (by which time I'd been up top for an hour enjoying the sun). There were a couple of skiers in Tower Gully who had also made an early start. With so many groups out it was good to see lots of familiar faces on the hill from the local instructing community and further afield.

 Ben Nevis at 5am

Views across the Mamores in the sun

The last few days I've been working at the Scaladale Centre with groups from Carloway Primary and West Side. Carloway is closing at the end of term and the children going to bigger schools, so they had bought all the children (all 14 of them!) from P1 to P7 which was brilliant fun for Raft Building and Survival Skills. Back to Scaladale for the last day with West Side tomorrow before heading for some climbing adventures again...

No comments:

Post a Comment