Friday, 16 August 2013

Summer update, Centurion, the Ben and Great Glen...

As the period of warm and dry weather ran on I was really keen to get on the only real rock route on my summer ticklist- Centurion (HVS) on Carn Dearg Buttress on the Ben. Like a lot of these classic routes their reputation precedes them and in my head I'd prepared for a bit of a challenge!
Andy and I headed into a somewhat cloudy Ben which was a relief from the high temperatures.

However, the sun came out just as we arrived at the base of the route. A striking corner visible from some distance away, it looking absolutely awesome. Andy had climbed it before so kindly let me have the first crux pitch, P2. Andy breezed up P1 and it was my turn to be swallowed up in the huge corner. What followed was one of the best pitches of climbing I've been lucky enough to lead on- it was outsanding! Plenty of gear but the mini cruxes just kept on coming and the pitch was interesting right up to the belay.

 Andy lead on and joined P3,4 and some of 5 too. I followed and reached the belay before the second crux, P6. After only leading about 8m of P5 Andy offered me the lead on P6 which looked awesome. Pretty intimidating to look at but the holds were all there and before long we were one pitch from topping out.
Andy cruised the 4c pitch over a nice little bulge and we enjoyed a few minutes soaking up the views on the terrace. A great day's climbing, cheers Andy.

Following this, a busy period of work lay ahead. A very hot Saturday on the Ben working for Seren Ventures saw the group battling through 28C heat and blazing sunshine! I'd prefer -10C and a blizzard to be honest! Still, everyone did exceptionally well and we made it up and down with minimal sunburn!

Things cooled down a bit and I took Fritz and Willi from Germany to the summit on the Thursday. These young machines managed up and down in 4hrs 30mins! Great effort guys, well done!

I was away on a full 3 peaks with Maximum Adventure at the weekend. Pretty nice on the Ben, an absolute soaking on Scafell Pike and a bit breezy on Snowdon. Well done to everyone who took part!

After my purgatorial 8 hour bus ride from Manchester to Fort William, it was back out the next day with Indra and her family on the Mountain Track. Pretty murky and damp (as is more usual on the Ben) but a great day out.

Back out again the following day with Sabine and her friends, again from Germany. This was a warm up to them starting the East Highland Way. The cloud was down until right on the summit, when we got a quick glimpse towards Tower Ridge and Carn Mor Dearg, well worth it!

Davie also took Stuart and his daughter for a great day out on Buachaille Etive Mor in Glencoe.

An absolutely wild day on the Ben for Seren Ventures followed, with us managing to get 8 out of the 12 ladies to the summit in strong winds and driving rain. A sterling effort folks!

I headed off to work for Wilderness Scotland for 4 days with Myron and Joanne. On day one we headed for some gentle hiking in the Cairngorms National Park. As the weather was looking good we headed up to Coire an-t Sneachda in the morning to give the guys a great view into a Cairngrom coire. After a quick refuel at the Ski Centre we headed down to Glenmore for a walk up to Lochan Uaine and then a circuit back to Glenmore.

Next up was a trip northwards to start our tour down the Great Glen. We stopped at Clava Cairns just next to the Culloden battlefield. I hadn't been to these Bronze Age burial Cairns for a long time so it was nice to visit them when working!

 Myron and Joanne were keen to walk some of the Great Glen Way so from Invermoriston they headed towards Fort Augustus. I drove down and went for a wee run to meet them and accompany them the rest of the way. Both were keen environmentalists and we had some really interesting chats about the landscape, human impact and climate change.
Day 3 saw a similar hike from Fort Augustus down to Loch Oich. The afternoon we went for a walk to the Culachy Falls by Fort Augustus which, after battling through head height bracken, were well worth seeking out.

Finally, we finished on my home turf with a walk to Steall Falls in Glen Nevis.

 This stunning walk never fails to inspire, with a guaranteed 'wow' moment as you leave Nevis gorge and get the first views of the Steall Falls. A great end to a thoroughly enjoyable 4 days.

Back up the Ben last weekend there for Seren Ventures.Well done to Jessica, Ian, Graham and Sherry on a successful summit!

On Tuesday, Davie, Joe and myself headed to Kingussie Crag for a bit of climbing. We got on routes from VS 4c to E1 5b. Good efforts from Davie and a trainer clad Joe!