Saturday, 28 January 2012

Ski Touring in The Lake District


It’s finally happened! 

The Lakes has come up with the goods and winter is here!  We had an amazing day ski touring on the Dodds, a range of hill East of Hellvelyn.  Blue skies, cold and the sun was out.  And the Eden Valley stayed in the mist all day, so you could see a stunning cloud inversion from the Hills.

Here’s a selection of photos from the day.


Cross Country Skiers (Janice at the Back!)Ali striding outSouth side of Great DoddIt really is the lakesCan you see our tracksLooking across to HellvelynP1280006Starting up Great DoddSunset after the best day everThis is what all the hard work was for!Up and up we wentWatsons Dodd

There is stacks of snow and if you know where to look, deep powder!

We have the hugest grins and the biggest appetites and are of to see

Dave Mc Leod’s talk, what a day.


Hope you all had a great one, keep checking the Blog for more on the conditions to be had, I’m out there again tomorrow.


Mark and Ali

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Ski Touring in the Drumochter Hills


Just got back from another Scottish Winter Trip.  This time the Drumochter Hills, either side of the high point of the A9 between Perth and Aviemore were the centre of attention.

These are some great munros to go and explore.  Not as craggy and Alpine as Glencoe, but equally not as crazily remote and unreachable as Derry Cairngorm or that area,  the Drumochter hills offer a surprising feeling of isolation once you leave the road behind and if the conditions are right, they are perfect for ski touring.

Balsporran Cottages

Friday night blessed us with about 10-15cm of fresh light snow, so we were able to ski from the car park at Balsporran Cottages (no one home to check with, but worth asking if there is) all the way to the top of Geal Charn 917m.

Half way up Geal Charn

We saw absolutely tonnes of wild life on the hills.  Grouse, Ptarmigan, Deer and about 12 Arctic Hare, which really didn’t seem too bothered about us!

Arctic Hare

The original plan was to head around across to the next Munro, A’ Mharconaich, 975m and then ski back down that, but the snow had been so good on the way up, we followed our tracks back to the valley floor through lovely safe windslab and foot deep powder.

Powder Tracks!

Not content with one Munro for the day, we then headed up A’ Mharconaich by it’s E ridge and were rewarded with steeper, powder slopes at its top.

Walking across the wind scoured top of Geal Charn

An absolutely amazing day, in a stunning place! 

And what about the next day?  114mph winds, rain and a huge melt of the snow below 600m!  SO glad we made the most of the first day.  That’s Scotland for you.

Mark and Ali

Monday, 16 January 2012

Scottish Munro Bagging


The winter season continues and we are cracking on with what must be the sure sign of old age and senility in outdoor folk…we are ticking Munro’s! 


Ben Lawers

For those of you not aware of this Scottish phenomenon; it essential involves visiting all of the Scottish Peaks that stand alone and are above 300ft/914m. 

There are 283 munros listed at present, but because of the complex listing criteria this does change. It’s all to do with peaks having a prominence of more than 500 feet (152 m) from their neighbour. And as maps get more and more accurate, some Munros have gone and new ones have appeared.


Stob Coire Nan Lochain - amazing but not a Munro! It’s neighbour Bidean nam Bien is higher and too close…poor Stob :0(

Crazily some people have done a ‘continuous round’ ie: all of them in one go, non stop!  Some have even used a bike or kayak between munro’s, so no motor transport! Mental! The first person to complete a winter round (all the Munros in one winter season) was Martin Moran in 1984/85. His journey lasted between December 21, 1984 and March 13, 1985 (83 days), he walked 1,028 miles (1,654 km) with 412,000 ft (126,000 m) of ascent. He used motor transport, a campervan, to link his walk.

So we have joined the ranks of the mental!  The plan is to do them mostly in winter by foot for the steep more mountaineering ones, and ski touring (conditions allowing) for the moorland ones.


And with days like this one on Friday in Glen Coe…I can think of worse things to be doing!


Happy Adventures!


Mark and Ali

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Winter Conditions in the Lakes

More snow required!

We had fun today, searching for the snow. We headed up into brown cove & found some snow at the top of the gullies to play in.


There is a bit of a lack of the old white stuff though! & we could do with a bit more. Fingers crossed for some more this week. We should be heading up to Scotland sometime this week, so we’ll keep you posted on conditions there.

Ali & Mark

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Weather in the Lakes


Well the wind did huff and puff and blow loads of stuff down last night.  Our power went out, so a night was spent on the sofa bed in front of the wood burning stove (any excuse really!)

021 (3)

And now it has cleared up and looks like this!

Hmmm!?  I wish!

There is still bits of snow about, but the forecast is getting warm and really it’s all going in the Lakes.


Glenshee and most of Scotland has had a lot more and there’s even pisted sking to be had.



We’re back up to Scotland soon and will keep you abreast of what’s to be had.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Winter skills training in the Lakes

Just before Xmas we spent a great on Hellvelyn with a couple of a great guys from Surrey looking at the basics of winter skills for hill walking in the Lakes in Winter.
We were blessed with plenty of snow and ice, big winds and cold!
We managed to walk from Glenridding up to the start of Striding Edge, up to Red Tarn and then up Swirral Edge. From there we ascended Catstye Cam in a lot of wind and headed back for the valley.
Not far you say? But during that time we managed to practice crampon use, ice axe braking, navigation, step cutting, avalanche awareness....phew!
It was a brilliant day and we were as tired as the lads by the end.
Since then the snow has gone and come back, half gone and kinda come back and the forecast is for it to go and come back!
So we aren't running any pre programmed dates yet. But if you are looking for a last minute course and want to get in touch, we can make a decision a couple of days in advance and help you make the most of the amazing playground the Lakes provides us in winter.