Andy’s Alpine Trip (July 2012)

Summit of Weissmies (4017m):

Heading for Central Summit of Breithorn (4159m):

Traversing the knife-edge ridge of Castor (4228m)

Alpine Ibex:

Nice early morning start to Signalkuppe (4554m)

Group photo at Col de Lys, with Liskamm in background, en-route to Signalkuppe:

Full Trip Reports:
1) Ascent of Weissmies (4017m)
2) Ascent of Breithorn West summit (4164m) and Central summit (4159m)

3) Traverse of Castor (4228m)
4) Ascent of Signalkuppe (4554m)


Poland 2008

A few photographs which may bring back a few memories of Zakopane in the Polsh Tratras.

To see all photos, click on the Club Photos (Photobucket) link, then go into Poland 2008

Andy and Kevin ascend Stac Pollaidh (5 August 2011)

On Friday, I ascended Stac Pollaidh for the third time. On the first two occasions, I only proceeded as far as the false top located before the rock tower. Both of these times I was on my own and didn’t have a rope with me, so I erred on the side of caution.

However, on Friday I was accompanied by Kevin and I had a rope (that we didn’t actually need/use).
I was definitely going to the true summit this time .

We made our way up the “tourist” path and before long were making good progress up the hill.

Stac Pollaidh:

Unfortunately, the cloud was down to around 550m, which meant the top of Stac Pollaidh was in clag, as were the neighbouring Corbetts and Grahams .

Beinn an Eoin and Loch Lurgainn:

We passed a number of people during the ascent – the car park was full.

Ascending path towards Stac Pollaidh:

Ascending towards the col on the ridge of Stac Pollaidh:

It didn’t take long to reach the col. From there, we continued along the ridge towards the summit.

Stac Pollaidh ridge from col:


There are a number of possible routes along the ridge. We traversed the initial pinnacle on the left and then ascended a gully to reach the ridge.

Misty ridge:


About half-way along the ridge:

My biggest surprise was passing two children, one only four years-old, half-way along the ridge .
IMO, way too risky doing this unroped scramble with such little ones!!!

It was disappointing that all of the pinnacles were in clag. I assume the one below is “Punch and Judy”. I don’t think we saw “Andy Capp”.

Punch and Judy:

After carefully shimmying round a large boulder we reached the false summit.

Approaching the false summit with rock tower to the right:

At the false summit, we put on harnesses and I tied my rope round my back with a view to soloing the rock tower and then dropping the rope down for Kevin to tie-on. We could also use the rope to abseil off, if desired.

Looking down on the rock tower:

False summit:

The rock tower and summit beyond:

I took the direct route up the rock tower. I think I would grade the direct ascent Mod/Diff – albeit the crux is right at the bottom and after two or three moves it all becomes really easy.

Myself climbing the rock tower:

Myself at the top of the rock tower:

On reaching the top of the rock tower, I had a quick look around for potential anchors to bring up Kevin. However, before I even had a chance to take the rope off, Kevin was up at the top too .

Kevin ascended via the leaning slab, which he thought was fairly easy (Edit: “bearable”).

We then both made our way along to the summit. Disappointing to get no views but great to reach the top .

Kevin at the summit:

Looking back towards the false summit from the true summit:

Myself at the summit of Stac Pollaidh:

On the way back, we opted to descend via the slab. I found the descent, via the slab, much easier than expected – albeit I had to take the rope off my back to fit through the gap – definitely easier without a rucksack if going this way. The slab is probably about a grade 2 scramble.

Large pinnacle:

As we made our way back along the ridge, the clag began to lift .

A view along Loch Lurgainn:

Looking back along the ridge:

Returning along the ridge:

Loch Lurgainn:

Before descending, we quickly ascended the top to the East of the col.

View from top East of the col:

It didn’t take long to get back to the car. Again, we passed lots of tourists.

Looking back to Stac Pollaidh:

Beinn an Eoin, Sgurr an Fhidhleir and Ben More Coigach:

Stac Pollaidh:

Stac Pollaidh from A835:

Will definitely come back to do Stac Pollaidh again on a clag-free day .

Barrisdale without a boat (9 – 10 July 2010)

Not an Official Turriff Mountaineering & Hillwalking Club meet, however, four of the six attendees are members of Turriff Mountaineering Club.

Day One
Coireshubh to Barrisdale:
via Sgurr nan Eugallt (Corbett), Meall nan Eun (Graham), An Caisteal (HuMP) and Beinn Bhuidhe
Company: None
Time: 8Hrs 15Mins
Distance: c.12.5km
Ascent: c.1420m

After finishing work on Thursday I drove to Kinloch Hourn, where I spent the night at Kinloch Hourn farm B&B.

The MWIS forecast on Wednesday predicted a lovely sunny day for Friday.
The MWIS forecast on Thursday predicted showers in the morning.
On Friday, the reality was 7 hours of non-stop rain.

Jim kindly dropped me off at Coireshubh before catching “Billy the Boat” from Kinloch Hourn to Barrisdale. From Coireshubh, I followed the zig-zagging stalker’s path up the standard ascent of Sgurr nan Eugallt.

Ruin at Coireshubh:

Within about 30 minutes of walking, my boots were squelching – as I hadn’t bothered packing waterproof trousers.

Looking back to Coireshubh, from ascent of Sgurr nan Eugallt: 

The stalker’s path was useful for a quick ascent to around 600m.

Stalker’s path up Sgurr nan Eugallt:

Once onto the ridge, I followed the line of rusty fence posts as far as a steep section.

Ridge to Sgurr nan Eugallt:

Soon thereafter I reached the trig point.

Approaching trig point on Sgurr nan Eugallt:

Prior to doing this hill about five people reminded me, “remember the trig point is not the summit”. Good advice but I was traversing the ridge and therefore would be doing all the tops.

Cairn at summit of Sgurr nan Eugallt:

From the summit of Sgurr nan Eugallt I was in low cloud and continuous rain for the next 4 hours.

Meall nan Eun in mist from cairn on Sgurr Sgiath Airigh:

From Sgurr Sgiath Airigh onwards, I programmed the occasional way point into my GPS as I progressed along the ridge.

The descent from Sgurr nan Eugallt to the col before Meall nan Eun took longer than expected. The descent is mostly on grass, however, there are lots of little knolls to skirt around and a gully to avoid. I descended to the left of the gully.

From the col, the ascent to the 630m top of Meall nan Eun was straight-forward. I then made my way along to the 660m top marked Meall nan Eun before again using the GPS to get me to the actual summit at 666m.

Looking back to Sgurr nan Eugallt:

At the summit of Meall nan Eun, my GPS packed in – battery compartment full of water. From there on it would be back to good old reliable map and compass.

Summit cairn of Meall nan Eun:

It took me around 20 minutes to find a way off of Meall nan Eun towards An Caisteal. Visibility was around 20m at most. After finding a way down through the crags I made good progress towards An Caisteal.

Reaching the summit of An Caisteal was reasonably straight-forward in the mist. It is a very rocky hill.

From the top, I began my descent towards Beinn Bhuidhe. I couldn’t find a way off. Indeed An Caisteal is “a castle”.

Thankfully the low cloud started to lift and I could then see there was no easy way off An Caisteal. To descend from An Caisteal, towards Beinn Bhuidhe, I had to down-climb perhaps 20-30m of very wet rock at around Grade 2/3. If there was an easier way off, I didn’t find it.

Looking back at descent from An Caisteal:

It was nice to start getting some limited views having been in cloud for so long.

Looking back to Meall nan Eun and An Caisteal:

After reaching the top of Beinn Bhuidhe I opted not to carry on to Carn Mairi. The descent took quite some time as it was very steep.

Descent towards Ambraigh:

Loch Hourn and Barrisdale bothy:

On reaching the base I could see that it would have been easier to continue on to Carn Mairi or to descend from the col between Beinn Bhuidhe and Carn Mairi rather than directly from Beinn Bhuidhe.

Looking back at descent from Beinn Bhuidhe:

It was nice to reach the Whitehouse and take off my heavy pack.

Approaching the Whitehouse (Luinne Bheinn in background):

I think this would be a fantastic ridge walk in good weather – much much nicer than the low-level walk in from Kinloch Hourn.

Day Two
Barrisdale to Kinloch Hourn, via Sgurr a’ Choire Bheithe (Corbett)
Company: Dave and Dave, for ascent of Sgurr a’Choire Bheithe
Time: 9Hrs
Distance: c.20km
Overall Ascent: c.1490m

After spending a night at the Whitehouse, myself, Dave and Dave set off walking, at just after 7a.m., to make the most of the nice morning.

Sgurr a’Choire Bheithe from Ambraigh:

We followed the Gleann Unndalain track until passing the craggy knoll at the base of the ridge of Sgurr a’Choire Bheathe.
It was great to walk with a light pack and in sunshine.

Beinn Sgritheall, Beinn na h-Eaglaise and Druim Fada across Loch Hourn:

Once on the ridge we simply made our way up towards the summit. The ascent is pretty-much at a constant angle as far as the 820m top.

On the ridge of Sgurr a’Choire Bheithe:

Ladhar Bheinn:

Sgurr a’Choire Bheithe ridge:

Looking back to Loch Hourn:

From about half way up the ridge, I took a couple of photos of the ridge I undertook the day previous.

Stitched pano of Day One walk – An Caisteal, Meall nan Eun and Sgurr nan Eugallt:

Looking towards summit and 820m top of Sgurr a’Choire Bheithe:

I was quite surprised at how close Ben Aden was to Sgurr a’Choire Bheathe.

Ben Aden:

On reaching the summit we visited both cairns. We thought the smaller cairn was slightly higher.

Dave at large cairn at summit of Sgurr a’Choire Bheithe:

I was half-tempted to continue on to ascend Slat Bheinn. In the end I decided not to – a good excuse for a return visit.

Slat Bheinn:

The Druim Chosaidh ridge of Sgurr a’Choire Bheithe looked really nice too.

Druim Chosaidh ridge:

Myself, Dave and Dave at large summit cairn:

Ladhar Bheinn from summit of Sgurr a’Choire Bheithe:

We made our descent back the same way.

Barrisdale and Loch Hourn:

On walking back along the path towards Ambraigh, I spotted a couple of dragonflies.

Mating Golden-ringed Dragonflies:

The Whitehouse:

On reaching the Whitehouse, I decided to extend the day by walking out to Kinloch Hourn. I had the prospect of little supper owing to the can opener being bust, and, if I stayed on for another night it would have been too tempting to get the boat out with the others. I packed up everything and headed off again laden with heavy pack.

The walk round Barrisdale beach is really nice. Ladhar Bheinn looks quite incredible from the beach.

Barrisdale beach:

There were lots of different butterflies around Barrisdale. A vole also walked across the path about six feet in front of me but by the time I got the camera ready it was in the ferns.

High brown fritillary:

Ladhar Bheinn from Barrisdale beach:

Loch Hourn, and distant Skye hills:

I really enjoyed the views during the walk out but I really didn’t enjoy the path. The path from Barrisdale out to Kinloch Hourn is now seriously overgrown in places. Possibly too many people using “Billy the boat” instead of walking in/out. Will be a shame if this path becomes impassable.

Looking across to Caolasmor:

Looking back towards Barrisdale:

Still a long way to Kinloch Hourn:


Approaching Skiary:

There was more up and down than I had remembered on this route. Dave Smith had suggested it was a two-hour walk from Ambraigh to Kinloch Hourn. Aye right!

Looking back to distant Ladhar Bheinn:

It took me around 3.5 hours to walk out to Kinloch Hourn. Was great to reach the car.

Kinloch Hourn farm (and B&B):

This was only my second ever trip to Barrisdale. Hopefully it won’t be my last.

Climbing at Logiehead, Cullen (25 April 2010)

Four club members attended an unofficial, informal meet to Logiehead, near Cullen – Andy, Bob, Malcolm and Kasia.
Several climbs and abseils were undertaken.

A selection of photos below from the day out.

“Night fever, night fever. We know how to do it.”:

Bob climbing “Sea Link” (10m VDiff *):

Bob on the final section of “Sea Link”:

Bob preparing to be lowered off:

Bob being lowered off:

Bob, happy to be “Stayin’ alive”:

Kasia preparing to climb “Sea Link” (10m VDiff *):

Ready to climb:

Kasia on initial section of “Sea Link”:

Kasia at top of “Sea Link”:

Kasia being lowered off:

Malcolm ascending “Sea Link” (10m VDiff *):

Malcolm ascending “Sea Link” (10m VDiff *):

Malcolm being lowered off:

Bob re-ascending “Sea Link”:

Andy belaying and watching Bob:

Belaying from the ledge:

Bob ascending “Sea Link”:


Andy and Bob:

Kasia, a bit off-route climbing an eliminate to the left of “Bladder Wrack” (Looks tough perhaps Very Severe!!!!):

Kasia succeeds up the eliminate and gets back en-route to “Bladder Wrack” (10m Severe 4b):

Malcolm then climbed “Sea Urchin” (10m Hard Severe 4b) – unfortunately no photo.

Malcolm, Bob and Kasia then took turns to undertake an abseil (without a safety rope, but backed up with a prussic loop).

Bob commencing abseil:

Bob abseiling:

Kasia leaning back, about to abseil:

Kasia abseiling:

We were then lucky enough to see several dolphins. Unfortunately, by the time I got the camera out they were just about past.

Spot the Dolphin:

Dolphin (zoomed):

After lunch, Andy soloed “Mousehole” (5m Severe 4b).
Andy then demonstrated belaying as well as how to ascend a rope using two prussic loops, as ‘ascenders’.

Hopefully an enjoyable day out which was cut a wee bit short as it started raining.
Ice cream in Cullen was also very enjoyable. Thanks Kasia.

Sgurr na Diolaid (7 Feb 2010)

Myself, Malcolm and Bob were intending heading to Achnasheen today with the Cairngorm Club. This meet was however cancelled owing to minibus failure.

Not wanting to miss out on ascending a hill we agreed a Plan B – head to Glen Cannich by car and ascend Sgorr na Diollaid. We were in no way disappointed as Sgorr na Diollaid proved to be a lovely wee Corbett with an ‘interesting’ summit.

We parked just past Muchrachd and set off walking at 09:45.

Bob and Malcolm:


On reaching the house at Muchrachd, we started the ascent up grass and snow-flattened bracken.

Looking back to Muchrachd:

As we continued to gain height, we passed through a large area of burnt heather before reaching the snowline. Thankfully much of the snow was soft underfoot and not too deep. During the ascent we couldn’t clearly make out the higher tops owing to low cloud. Thankfully the cloud lifted as we progressed towards the 777m top.

Above the snowline:

The neighbouring Graham Carn Gorm looked quite appealing. We did consider heading out to this Graham but in the end opted to leave it for another day.

Looking across to Carn Gorm:

The ascent of the 777m top proved to be easier than it looked. Much of the rock could be avoided.

Looking towards ridge leading to 777m top:


En-route to 777m top:

Approaching 777m top:

On reaching the 777m top we stopped to take in the fantastic views across to the Strathfarrar hills. We also got our first glimpse of the twin peaked summit. I don’t know what Malcolm and Bob were thinking when they first saw the rocky tops. I was thinking **** .

View across to Strathfarrar from 777m top:

Twin summit peaks (zoomed):

Strathfarrar hills:

We were soon moving again en-route to the twin peaks.

Bob looking across to Strathfarrar:

On reaching the twin peaks we ascended easily to the col between them and then made our way to the top of the easier, lower peak.

The easier of the twin peaks:

From a distance the summit peaks looked difficult . From close-up, the main summit peak looked impossible!

The harder of the twin peaks (summit):

We hadn’t come this far not to summit, so Malcolm headed up very nimbly to the summit, without crampons. Success.

Malcolm at summit:

Next went Bob, with crampons. Bob at summit:

… and finally myself, also with crampons.

Myself scrambling to summit:

Myself at summit:

Getting down from the summit was even more ‘interesting’ than ascending it, however, we all scrambled back down safely. We then returned back to the car via the same route.

A fantastic day out.