Sunday, 25 June 2017

TMB DAY 4, ITALY

Mont Blanc above Val Veny
Cloud clearing Monte Bianco 
Val Veny & Grandes Jorasses 
The team & Mont Blanc 
Alpine Buttercup 
We finally had a good old thunderstorm last night to clear the hot and humid air. This morning dawned overcast and cool, so welcome. The route from Les Chapieux over the Col de La Seigne into Italy is always a pleasure. An easy angled col to ascend and descend. The finest part of the day is the climb out of Val Veny in the afternoon and the high level traverse path toward Courmayeur. Stunning views over to Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) all the way along the 2 hour traverse. The clouds broke up and lovely views. The temperatures were just right with a slightly cooler SW breeze. One of the finest days on the TMB,  yet most folk tend to take the easy, far less  interesting Route in the valley. Top day and a fit team who who we're grinning all afternoon.
Classic Mont Blanc reflection

Friday, 23 June 2017

HOT AGAIN

Domes de Miage from Col de Truic
Aiguille de Bionnassay
Fragrant Orchid
Butterflies
Globe flower
Bellflower 
Break time
Day two of the TMB and another Scorcher, the heat a bit easier to cope with with some cloud cover at times. From Bellevue we headed over the Col de Tricot,  Miage and then down to Les Contimenes. This time of year is fabulous for the array of Alpine flowers in the meadows and up high. Again it was relitively quiet on the trail. Another good reason for booking a trip in June. The forecast of thunderstorms never meterialised again today, despite the big cumulous cloud growth in the afternoon. More heat and long sunny periods forecasted again tomorrow.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

ALPINE TREKKING SEASON BEGINS

Lunchtime pic-nic spot
Lesser Butterfly Orchid
Small patches of snow 
Ladders
Mountain Pansey
Last snowpatch,  The Brevent
My summer season in The Alps kicked off today. First trek of 2017 starting off with my 50 something Tour of Mont Blanc.  10 folk from the USA on their 10 day hike around Western Europes highest mountain.  Its been a lean, mildish winter in the Chamonix area and the temperatures have been very high for a long time. There is normally a lot more big patches of snow on the trails, not this season. We headed up to Le Brevent from Chamonix and descended to Les Houches for day 1 of the classic tour. It was shocking hot but a wee bit cooler high up. The hills were quiet today, not many folk out.  Good time of year for trekking. The flowers looking wonderful too at this time of early summer. This trip I am guiding for Mont Blanc Treks. Good to be back!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

SWIMMERS & DIVERS IN THE CAIRNGORMS

Red Throated Diver
Another diver, Karen enjoying the swimming


Glorious day in The Cairngorms


Northern Corries

Our first lochan

Two lochans, two swims
Tree Pippit gathering a meal

Red Throated Diver, beautiful markings
The temperatures have been gradually rising this week. Today it was hot and sunny but a nice stiff breeze so absolutely perfect. Karen and I biked to Glenmore and then up the Cairngorm Ski Road. The Cairngorms has a multitude of wee lochans scattered around the hill sides. We headed to a couple of seldom visited, low altitude stretches of water for Karen to have a swim. One in the morning and then a short walk to another in the afternoon. The water is warming up and a beautiful day for some open water swimming. I had the pleasure of photographing a wonderful Red Throated Diver for over an hour whilst Karen was in the loch. The diver was totally undisturbed. It was a wonderful downhill blast back down the road and tracks in the afternoon wit a fantastic breeze to cool down.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

MUNRO WEEK IN THE WEST







Mick & John have been out with Rich for 4 days of Munro bagging in the Ben Nevis and Glencoe area. Mick has been out with me on a winter skills a couple of years ago. Both guys are fit and strong, both just 70 years young. They didn't get much in the way of sun last week but this didn't seem to curtail their enthusiasm.  They topped off the week with a romp around the CMD arete onto Ben Nevis in 7.5 hrs. If I can get round in less than 8 hours along this classic route when I hit 70 I will be a very happy man! Well done Mick & John. Big thanks to Richard for looking after them and guiding for Tarmachan Mountaineering last week. All photos courtesy Rich.

Friday, 16 June 2017

MEALL A' BHUACHAILLE

Northern Corries from Meall a' Bhuachaille

Lochan Uaine

Marsh Orchid

Northern Cairngorms

Loch Morlich on the descent

Cloudberry
Final day with the Aberdeen School on their week long activity holiday in The Cairngorms. We had n easy day up on Meall a' Bhuachaille to round off an excellent, fun time with the guys. It was dry all day and good visibility, unlike the west this week where it has been a bit wet.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

BIKING DAY IN THE CAIRNGORMS

Loch Morlich

Bikes, beaches, fun

Climbing up

Heading toward the Lairig Ghru

Something more technical

Lunch at Loch Morlich

Costa del Morlich

Pines at Loch Morlich
Day 4 for the pupils from Aberdeen on their activity week in The Cairngorms. Today we were on the bikes for a rest from heavy packs and hillwalking. There are so many lovely, easy biking routes that start from Aviemore. We did a circuit of Loch an Eilean, Rothemurchis, Loch Morlich and some more technical, single tack routes above Badaguish. The sun shone at times with just the odd, light shower. Fun day out with enthusiastic young folk.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

GLENFESHIE BACKPACKING AND MUNRO BAGGING

Mullach Clach a' Bhlair

Backpacking into Glenfeshie

Lovely campsite in Glen Feshie

Some sun to start

Creag Meagaidh from Mullach Clach a' Bhlair

Yellow Saxifrage

Glenfeshie sunset


Sundew

Vole



Stonechat

Moine Mhor

River Feshie dusk

Summer in Feshie
The last 3 days I have been guiding with teachers and pupils from a school from Aberdeen. 12 kids and 2 teachers plus myself headed up into the beautiful Glen Feshie. We set up camp in the upper reaches of the glen, our home for two nights. On Tuesday we headed up to the Munro summit of Mullach Clach a' Bhlair. There are many different routes up onto this big grassy mountain, the way we took is seldom used and a real feeling of remoteness. We descended the eastern ridge back to our camp. This time of year can be quite bad for midges in the west but the Cairngorms and eastern hills of Scotland are no way near has bad. We were lucky on our first night with a lovely strong breeze and Tuesday evening wasn't at all a problem either. All the pupils did an excellent job, for some this was their first ever walk of any description never mind carrying a heavy rucksack, wild camping and climbing a Munro! Great effort! The bothy at Ruigh Aiteachain is now closed as there is some major refurbishment going on, it is looking like someones very nice cottage from the outside! AThere is also a lot of the newly laid footpath been washed away since I was last up the Feshie. The power of nature! Tomorrow we are on the bikes for some nice trails around the Loch Morlich and Loch an Eilean area.