Scotland

Jan. 17th, 2011 08:55 am
belisarius_534: (Default)
[personal profile] belisarius_534
On Friday I drove up to Crianlarich on the edge of the highlands, stopping off at Glasgow Airport to collect Chris who had flown up to Stansted. We were attending a climbing club meet and the original plan had been for a combination of skiing (not for me though!) and winter climbing/mountain walking. Unfortunately the forecast heading up to the weekend wasn't promising but we packed all the gear in any case. The journey was uneventful right up to the point when Chris ran over a surprised looking deer on the Loch Lomond road. In her defence, she skilfully swerved to miss the first one, but then a second jumped out of the forest and into the path of the car. The damage seems to be limited to a small hole in the front bumper, nicely lined in bits of fur...

On arrival, the weather was, to use the scots expression 'pish'. Horizontal rain, high winds and quite warm. The only ice around was on the car park. In the morning there was much of the same leading to a lot of drinking tea and muttering out of the windows. We went for a walk down the banks of the river Orchy, a famous kayaking spot and went "ooh" at the crazy white water. For the afternoon we abandoned the inside and decamped to the Ice Factor, the country's best indoor ice wall. This place has a huge freezer with maybe 10 different ice routes to climb. The advantage is that since its a climbing wall, you can try vertical/overhanging routes that you wouldn't dream of attempting outside.

This knee-test (kicking crampons into ice) went pretty well and I seemed to get back into it quite well after nearly 2 years off. Interesting contrast between using my old, heavy axes (these suit my style of brute force and were dubbed 'The Hammer of Thor' by people watching :)) and borrowing Chris' much lighter, sharper ones which I didn't want to damage, so leading me to use actual technique..

In the evening we caught up with the rest of the club who had attempted to walk up Ben More, only to be turned back by gales threatening to blow them off their feet. A whisky filled evening followed, in which we were entertained by a singer/guitarist with a good line in banter and a passing resemblance to Billy Connolly. Amateur bodhran playing and singing provided a bit of comedy.

Sunday's forecast was for even more wind and horizontal rain so we called off any attempt to go climbing and did a 5 mile stroll along the West Highland Way, though nice sheltered forests before heading home.

Good times and good to know that good company and camaraderie can make up for pish weather.
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