Sunday, 25 May 2008

Walking in the lakes

Belted Galloway's graze on Holme fell with Coniston lake in the distance.

The long dry spring is continuing here in the lakes and in Scotland which is great for rock climbing and walking, but not so good for growing new lush grass in the higher fields. Local hill farmers are finding that some of their fields are not turning green quick enough to keep their new lambs and sheep there but its still a little cold to send them to the fell to mature before some of them (usually the males) head off to market. Grey squirrels are also becoming a pest driving out the red, but culling does go on in the area either with farmers lad using an air gun, or more naturally buzzards find them a hearty meal. One was even spotted by the local farmer at 350metres just below Wetherlam 762m; although a pest the poor little mite didn't survive as "Moss" the sheep dog caught and killed it then preceded to eat it whole! Sorry for the gory details but apparently when animals eat small creatures in this way it is supposed to be good for digestion as the victims fur cleans out the intestines of the animal. Isn't nature marvelous!

If you like walking and enjoy learning about your immediate surroundings, our Team Ascent International mountain leaders are always keen to share their knowledge of the areas visited. See our website for more details on treking and walking in the UK, Alps and Himalayas.

Corran and Lassie enjoy their morning walk.

A Herdwick "yew" with her lamb.

Please remember, it is still lambing time and dogs need to be kept under close control or on a lead when around sheep.


Sir Ranalph Finnes- hard luck, but its an amazing success

Well, on the web the news is out that Sir Ranalph Finnes did not quite reach the top of Mount Everest. It's sad news however Sir Ran is an amazing man and did give it a jolly good push and has still raised at least £2 million for Marie Curie -and possibly a million pounds more. Wow that's incredible, well done Kenton, Ran and sherpas! Take care and get home safe. That alone will makes it a good trip, the summit would have been an added bonus but what the hec. It's a tough mountain and if your body timing has been forced off target by circumstances, then it's brave wise men who turn back!
"the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time" T S Elliot

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Appa Sherpa

The fantastic news from Kathmandu is that Appa Sherpa has broken his own world record by climbing to the summit of Everest for the 18th time. He first climbed to the summit in 1990 and has been guiding it ever since- well done Appa!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Glenuig - Sound of Arisaig

One of the renovated old croft houses at Smirisary

With the amazing weather that we've been having in Scotland recently what better place to head but the west coast by the sea. Lindsay and Kathy took a short weekend break walking and sea kayaking at Glenuig on the Sound of Arisaig just south of Mallaig. The coastal walking could'nt be better with views out to Eigg, Rum, and the Isle of Skye. The walking is very tranquil with the cry of oyster catchers even a cukoo and the many other sea birds. There is plenty of interest along the way; on route we came across the 200 year old crofting community of "Smirisary" of which many of the buildings have been renovated, also beutiful sandy beaches and coves. If your lucky you may even get the chance to see a sea otter or recently spotted a minkey whale and you'll always be visited by an inquisitive seal if you keep your eyes open. Our bed for the night was the Glenuig Inn a great watering hole if your on route either by foot road or sea kayak. The Inn has recently been taken over by an inspiring new landlord Steve Macfarlane. The pub offers great food, entertainment (usually the locals) and accommodation. Steve is a very keen and experienced Sea Kayaker and has great local knowledge of the area. Lindsay and I were also lucky enough to be taken out in sea kayaks with Steve who gave us some tuition and inspired our confidence to enjoy our mini adventure round the coast, we'll be back for more....

Unspoilt sandy beaches.

Lindsay using her new found skills.

Sunset over the Isle of Eigg.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Summer in the Cairngorms

Summer is still with us here is the highlands, great for any number of outdoor activities including some fabulous mountain bike routes, this particular trail from Aviemore to Carrbridge is part of the Wades road. Great fun with just a few chickens and playful lambs for company along the way.

Tomorrow the weather forecast is for Northerly winds, so temperatures are to be much cooler than of late but its expected to be dry. So as the old saying goes, "don't cast a cloot till May is oot!" In other words take an extra fleece just incase.


Friday, 9 May 2008

Edinburgh International Climbing Arena

Today I was at Ratho where as well as having one of the most amazing climbing walls in the UK they also specialise in providing industrial rope access training courses for working at height. I had 5 candidates to assess all at IRATA level 1.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Sunny Days with dry rock

Yesterday I mentioned the dry, dry conditions on many of the crags up here in the Highlands. Many of the higher crags in Cairngorm are still damp as there is still snow, however the lower crags are in excellent condition. Here is a friend on Ardverikie Wall which gives about 550 foot of good climbing.It's a classic three star route on Binnein Shuas. I think the first ascent was in 1967 by G N Hunter and D F Lang.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Oops, the Orb Photo

I forgot to attach this one... The Orb is on the right!

Orbs at Newtonmore

We are curently moving house and office to Newtonmore where we have got a former police house complete with an old police staion! Eventually this will make a great home, office and adventure equipment storage area. Kathy keeps seeing orbs and there is one photographed with her as she does some fine wood sanding on the stairs. It's not trick photography, (as she is quite keen to work!!!) but hopefully you can see the small ball of light and it really is there!
So, the DIY is moving on and all will be ship shape soon enough and perhaps more Orbs will be caught on camera.
It's fatastic weather for repairing the flat roof and also for climbing. Some friends from the west climbed at Binnein Shuas yesterday and said that Ardverikie Wall was dry, dry, dry! We will be back climbing soon!

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Industrial Rope Access

Here we are at MB inspection in Falkirk, where they have an IRATA approved rope access training school. There were eight candidates , 5 doing their basic entry IRATA level 1 assessment and three doing their IRATA level 111. Everyone passed and all now will soon be working on and offshore carrying out inspection service using their rope access work at height skills!