Summer 2014 I remember it well? Part 2

Home for a few days

Hi many thanks if you have come back for part two . I have to confess I am not a professional journalist and do not endorse any products related to my blog I am however open to SCARPA, MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT, SNICKERS. MARS BARS, LUXE, MLD, GOSSAMER, RAB, MONTANE. anyone one needing unbiased reviews for free gear? you know where I am! ūüėČ ūüėČ

Summer 2014 I remember it well? Part 2.

Ben Lawers

In my last post I told you of the three days spent on the Tarmachan ridge and the little event on the” Bad Step” below Meall Garbh.

Well it is now early June and I’m back In Perthshire on the Lawers range this time spending a few days on the summits of Meall Greigh, Meall Garbh thats the other one with the same name ¬†that rises above Lochan Nan Cat from there over An Stuc, and onto Ben Lawers.

Now that was the plan and you know what they say about the best laid plans! The initial approach was from the Ben Lawers hotel through an overgrown woodland path, now considering the temperature was in its sixties in old money and you could barely see the path from waist high ferns it made a rather trying start to the journey.

However once out of the dense woodland I had reached the boundary fence to the nature reserve and the upcoming ridge walk opened up in all its golden glory. Time now I thought to rehydrate as I did at the stile that would take me into the reserve. Having re hydrated and wiped my overheated brow I was once again on my way towards Meall Greigh.

In awe at the sun reflecting, what looked like signal mirrors bouncing of the surface of the Lawers Burn to my left and having to squint at nature’s trickery I suddenly realised that I had left my rather expensive sunglasses lying on the stile about two kilometres back down the path. “Bugger” excuse the French so there I was removing my pack and disgruntled trudged back down to retrieve those bloody glasses lessons learnt buy cheaper glasses for someone else to pick up.

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In the picture above you can just make out the woodland below where I had left those bloody glasses, although I did not walk back from this spot.

Summer 2014 I remember it well? Part 2.

With a little reluctance it was time to move onto my next summit of Meall Garbh ¬†which lies in the shadows of An Stuc, it was only a short wander with plenty of time on my hands so decided to collect water and take in some of the other sights along the way. That’s the great freedom you can enjoy time doesn’t matter when the sun is shining and you have your bedroom on your back.

Further along on a small top I came across two elderly gentlemen , whom I shall affectionately name Statler and Waldorf ¬†if you recall ¬†were characters in the Muppet’s.

They were sitting having lunch ¬†and as I passed I overheard them arguing over whether they were at the summit of Meall Garbh or sitting on a false summit, they subsequently asked me if I could settle their argument Statler was adamant they were on the summit of Meall Garbh whilst you could see that Waldorf was desperate for me to agree with him that they weren’t.

I could see that this relationship was of many years in the making as both were desperate for my accreditation  however being forever the diplomat, I decided to play the stupid one in this little scenario.

Knowing full well that they were on the wrong summit I then gathered them around my map and pointed at the summit of Meall Garbh ¬†stating that this summit which was only 500 metres away could well be part of the summit they were sitting on, in essence a dual summit “see where I am going with this yet” both looked up at me at the same time, with looks on there faces as if to say whats he on about, dual summits! he obviously hasn’t a clue.

This in turn had the effect of deflecting the argument towards my deficiencies where upon they both came to the amicable decision that the true summit was indeed 500 metres away. I had to giggle to myself when Waldorf then said “come on son you better follow us”.

 

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Having made my farewells to Statler and Waldorf I pitched up in the shadows of An Stuc and Ben Lawers then went for a quiet nap before dinner. The weather as you can see was excellent and my stomach was telling me its time to eat, which I did spaghetti bolognese followed by creamed rice.

 
I now had my domestic duties to fulfil by rearranging the vestibule area it was then when I heard a sudden loud rush of air and the shelter wall push in towards the inner quickly looking out I could  hardly believe my eyes, there in front of me was a glider about 30 metres away literally buzzing the Hex like some oversized wasp. By the time I tried to dig my camera out from the pile of gear in the porch he was up up and away.
 
As a little insight into the workings of the mind, well mine at least that night i had a dream that Statler and Waldorf were the pilots of the aircraft I had seen but the difference was it was fitted with machine guns mounted on both wings and they were out to get me!
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The following day I awoke completely refreshed and ready for the day ahead the sun was high in the sky and a small breeze rippled over the ridge  the distant call of a raptor could be heard echoing in the silence of the glen below, this was going to be an exceptionally hot day. My plan for the day was to explore some of the outcrops just below the summit of Meall Garbh and An Stuc and indulge in some minor scrambling

An hour later breakfast consumed, domestic duties attended to and I was on my way. This has all become a great part of my enjoyment in addition to wild camping to try and literally feel the mountain I am by no means a botanist nor geologist, however its diversity in all these aspects never cease to amaze me not just on good day such as this but those wild windswept days bring something different in textures and shapes of rock and fauna combined.

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 This is quite a rare plant which can be found near the summit of Ben Lawers. 

 

Summer 2014 I remember it well? Part 2.

 The common black slug was very prominent this year I lost count the amount of times I ejected these little critters from my shelter one in particular had a great attachment to me so much so he hitched a ride all the way home squashed to the bottom of my sock, and here was me thinking my boots leaking.

 

 
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This day in particular was very memorable for the wildlife weather and the hand to rock fun that was had. Around 5 o’clock my stomach ¬†was, to coin an old phrase thinking my throat was cut, I hate that ¬†turn of phrase however its written now and it stays. So time to head back the three or four kilometres to the shelter and partake of dinner which consisted of meatballs in a spicy sauce accompanied by pasta and garlic bread, yes ………….Garlic bread.
 After dinner which was thoroughly enjoyed it was time for a nap when you get to a certain age these little siestas are crucial although it was still pretty hot I did manage to doze for a short while.
 
Now the evening was wearing on and not to waste this beautiful evening sunshine my light camp shoes (hi Tech zoots) were donned and off I disappeared over a nearby ridge to sit and watch the sunset over the glen below.  
 

 The perfect spot was chosen between two rock, a soft moss covered slab and large boulder as a backrest made the ideal big chair, the light breeze that had cooled the fevered brow all day had now gone the silence was bliss overhead a large crow flew and broke the gentle silence with each beat of its wings, the distant occasional bleat of sheep calling their young was the other only sound in this golden hued glen, time for reflection and serenity, thoughts of long days of childhood and distant laughter lost an age past where this passion was formed  the ghosts of friends long shadows cast down the glen.

 

To spend an hour with my past childhood friends in such glorious surroundings the mind wanders and flits in and out of reality, time has stopped, this is all mine then movement, far down the glen a huge stag lifts his proud head to survey his herd, beyond him two more stand sentry my minds eye now starts to distinguish the shapes below grazing unaware of my presence stood over one hundred deer a sight to behold and one that I have not witnessed in such numbers.
 

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Time past in an instant and the golden glow of sunset through a blanket across the mountainside, slowly disappearing over a distant ridge the sun silhouetted two adult deer and their two young walking slowly up the ridge, a very rare sight how good this night has been a long day and a perfect end, coffee and a cosy sleeping bag await as the night mountain air becomes decidedly chilly.

 
 
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the end 
 
 
 
 
Summer 2014 I remember It well? Part 1.

Summer 2014 I remember It well? Part 1.

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Early spring on Culter Fell

It has  been a while, as you may see since I last posted a blog  my excuse work commitments and not being in writing mode or mood.

It had been quite an eventful winter in 2013 great snow conditions and some new kit to test.

As with the seasons we all have our favourites for different reasons winter is mine, however I do look forward to spring and summer for the longer daylight hours that allow me to spend longer days in the mountains on the move. Not one for keeping a diary or putting my thoughts to paper on a daily basis I am very grateful for the invention of the camera which helps to keep my memories fresh and is going to of be of some assistance in my dotage.

Well how is everyone? I sincerely hope all you outdoor aficionados had a whale of a time I personally thought the summer was kind to us this year didn’t get wet to often or suffer from hypothermia, as we know very well up on those big mountains in the UK half the time you don’t know what to expect.

I will try not to haver to much and get to the points of my summer in 2014 but please bear with me as my good lady would say in certain words “you do ******* haver!

Late March you would have caught me ascending one of my favourite places the Tarmachan Ridge  to spend three days wild camping near the summit of Meall Garbh, and exploring its nooks and crannies incidentally the name Tarmachan means ptarmigan in gaelic, but you probably new that already.

 

 

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The Bad Step on Meall Garbh

 
                                                            
 
 
 
I was fortunate on my first mornings camp to be greeted with brilliant sunshine and spent most of the day playing about its flanks taking pictures and scrambling on some outcrops, its amazing what you can get up to when know ones watching well within reason I drew the line at going back to my childhood and acting out a game of cowboys and Indians, well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
 
On a more serious note the following morning ¬†the weather had turned to a grey damp day and my plan was to walk to the far end of the ridge over the “bad step” which involves minor scrambling for the experienced walker. At the foot of the step I was taking a couple of minutes to adjust my pack and ¬† secure my walking poles before ascending. It was then that I heard a young girls voice coming from atop the step followed by a male voice whom I assumed was her dad, the young girl sounded hesitant as her dad persuaded her to take the first steps on descending.¬†
 
I began to make my way up and reaching half way came across the pair at this point the terror on the little girls face was evident she was around nine years of age and wearing inappropriate clothing and footwear flat treadles shoes on damp rock. Her dad wasn’t any better prepared and he to lacked confidence on the descent where he literally got stuck and couldn’t decide on the next move.¬†
 
Not wanting to embarrass the dad I made a light hearted comment that he had taken the most difficult route down especially in these wet conditions however I was seething underneath that a “responsible adult ” could put himself and more importantly, his daughter in such a perilous situation. As there were no phone boxes nearby I discreetly donned my red cape and went to there rescue slowly guiding the little girl down first then her dad whom by this time was rightly so embarrassed and ashamed of coming onto the hill so unprepared.
Having shown him a safe route down from the bealach  back to the track, I continued on my way but still angry at what I had witnessed.
 
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Me on the pointy bit of Meall Garbh

I’m sorry but I did warn you I do tend to haver on now lets get back to the mountains and the beauty and solitude they offer personally I now prefer to stop and spend time discovering the mountains for their diverse terrain and geology not taking into account weather patterns and cloud formations, clear unpolluted night skies all of these make for memorable experiences that last a lifetime.

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Sunset over Tinto

 

 

The photograph above was taken from Culter Fell I must have spent the best part of two hours sitting watching the different hues and cloud formations develop. This picture is as natural as you can get from a digital camera no photoshop has been introduced.

 
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Summit of Ben Vorlich

 

 
 

Taken in mid April you could be forgiven to think this was a winter picture ¬†the stuff lying at my feet doesn’t belong to me it is part of the gear from a student group I had the pleasure to meet on the ascent, four girls and a young man, they kindly asked me to join them on the final push to the summit to even up the gender imbalance which I gladly accepted damsels in distress and all that!

Summer 2014 I remember It well? Part 1.

Kicking back after 12 mile hike

 

 

How many times do you relish these moments you have twelve mountain miles under your belt found a perfect pitch made coffee and time out here doesn’t mean anything plus I have my new shoes on.

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Nightime selfie

 

 
 
 

Its one in the morning  there is a chill in the air the night is ear shatteringly still the sky is clear and studded with a spectacular display of heavenly bodies who in there bloody right mind gets up at that time in the middle of nowhere. ME

 
 
 
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My favourite water source

This beats going to a sink to draw water I honestly cannot remember where this waterfall is located but do remember pitching nearby on a through hike over multiple summits and wakening to the sound of running water which in turn turned out to be a desperate departure from my sleeping bag to pee!

 
 
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Is this bloody timer on!

 

 
 

Well folks that was just a wee snippet of my summer 2014 part1.  In part two I shall continue to bore you with my holiday snaps and mild adventures, take a look at my favourite kit, and a wee mention of  inspirational people I have met on social media and why and anything else I think may be of interest.

 The End