Sunday, 28 August 2016

Torridon slideshow

Here is the slideshow of my trip to Kinlochewe and  Torridon.

The weather was overcast a lot of the time so some of the photos are not so good. I am having some doubts about this Panasonic TZ60 but to get anything better would probably cost at least twice as much, and I haven't had it very long, and as I use my camera for backpacking I don't really want to go for anything physically larger.

Click on the Dropbox link, then click on the first thumbnail photo to get the slideshow, then click on "Full Screen" at the bottom to get the proper slideshow with black background. It seems each photo needs a couple of seconds to fully load.

CLICK FOR SLIDESHO

Friday, 26 August 2016

Torridon 8 And 9

Thursday and Friday, 25th/26rh August

Yesterday it would have been foolish to walk unnecessarily with the bash snd cut on my shin from Wednesday's trip so I rested up and caught up with my reading. A walk across the road to the shop and a chat with the lady there informed me of a medical centre at Torridon so that was target number one for today.

I was concerned about the cut getting infected so I was off down the road early arriving about 8:30 but they didn't open until 9:00 but I saw the receptionist and she gave me an appointment for 11:45. I sat and read my book for a while then drove off down to the café in Torrridon village. I met a guy called Tony from Lymington where he owns a static caravan site; he was touring round Scotland and walking using his newly acquired motor home and we chatted for ages until I set off back to see the doctor. I got talking to Tony because when he walked into the café he was carrying the SMC Guide to the Munros, a good ice-breaker. The lady doctor was very welcoming and helpful supplying me with some proper dressings and good advice and reassurance, so thumbs up for the NHS. I spent the rest of the day on a pleasant drive to Poolewe with a nostalgic visit to Inverewe Gardens. I last visited with my late wife Ann around 1971 shortly after being married and before the children came along. The story of Osgood Mackenzie of Gairloch (what a wonderful name) and his creation of this magnificent garden is one of great endeavour and vision including the initial planting of Scots pines and other species over an area of a hundred acres to provide a basic windbreak, and waiting for years for them to mature enabling the planting of a huge collection of plants, shrubs and trees from around the world. Osgood dates from 1842 to 1922 - after mixed history the gardens are now run by National Trust for Scotland

I've just got back to the caravan and intend to have a meal at the Kinlochewe Hotel for my last night, then off back home tomorrow, hopefully watching Bank Holiday traffic going in the opposite direction.



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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Torridon 6

Wednesday 24th August

Ruadh-stac Beag NG 972 613 - about 9 miles - 9hrs!

I could see from the Scottish Mountaineering Club (SMC) Corbetts guide that this could be a tough one. If the SMC even hint at any difficulty beware! I have met severe ridges and paths on Munros that don't get a mention, but in the Lake District would have reputations on a par with Striding Edge and the like. So I was off at 8.20 from the Pony Track at NH 022 628. It was a long hot walk, fortunately with some breeze to within a few hundred metres of its finish. I branched off keeping to the higher but pathless rough ground until eventually reaching some way up the river on the south-east of my hill. There was then a path which was narrow which often climbed quite high above the tumbling river with some quite exposed moments. The route then swings round to ascend by the south ridge. This is very steep composed entirely of boulders ranging from tennis ball to refrigerator and bigger sizes providing a really dicey and strenuous 200m ascent. On reaching the rim the summit is still half a kilometre away across an undulating boulder field, again hard going.

I lunched on the summit and views were superb but I was apprehensive about descending that steep jumble of boulders. I met a guy from Derby heading for the summit as I walked back across the boulder field.

I found the only way I could descend with any confidence was by reverse climbing, i.e. facing the rock and using boulders as hand and footholds. There was a sort of intermittent scree path but for me it seemed too steep for safety. At one point I managed to bash my shin on a rock which with my history is the last thing I can afford to do. The Derby guy then caught me up and he seemed to be able to descend fairly quickly on the loose scree stuff. Obviously he was younger than me and I now accept that I can no longer handle this kind of terrain competently. It took me a long long time to make that descent.

Rather than follow the tricky path just above the river I crossed the river and followed the higher ground all the way back to the Pony Track - the best part of three kilometres of concentrated boulder field with a number of ups and downs crossing ravines and streams. Halfway across this lunar landscape I managed to break one of my walking poles ( I do have a spare in the car).

Even then it took me another two hours to get back to the car. This has been one of the toughest mountain days I can remember - I know there have been many others, but the memory dims. From a stamina aspect I felt fine and fit, but on a route with such technical attributes I am not travelling quickly enough, or safely enough and I reckon in future I will avoid that kind of hill combined with that kind of distance. Any readers who are not familiar with mountain walking may think that nine miles is reasonably modest, but over that kind of terrain it becomes more serious.

I am writing this up in the caravan after downing a beef curry and tomorrow I may go on a nostalgic visit to the gardens at Poolewe - last time was with my late wife Ann not long after we were married and before our children arrived.

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TV here is provided by a booster aerial lead and is restricted to BBC1, BBC2 intermittently, ITV, and Sky News. Unfortunately for me many of the BBC1 programmes are in Gaelic, so I'm getting a bit of reading done; currently I've nearly finished The Places in Between, by Rory Stewart whose epic walk across Afghanistan in 2002 makes me feel like a real wimp, and shows us all how to write with continuous interest about such experiences, but more of that later when I have finished reading it.

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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Torridon 5

Tuesday 23rd - August

Meall Lochan Chleirich NG 872 716 - 403m. - 4 hours there and back.

For Gimmer - I think this one is in Wester Ross.

A slightly unpleasant start this morning. One look through the caravan window revealed a density of midges. All preparations were made so that I could exit quickly with all my gear in one go and jump into the car. That included finally donning my midge shirt. On the spur of the moment I decided to blow my nose - my handkerchief was accessible from trouser's pocket, but my nose, unrealised by me, wasn't, and I blew into midge shirt rather than handkerchief which of course was outside the shirt, ugh!

A twelve mile drive north got me to the track at NG 856 721 which I followed for a bit less than a kilometre then set off across rough ground north-east, then up steep slopes where I picked up a meagre path. That eventually lead very steeply right to the base of the summit crags and a twenty foot rock pitch of perhaps "moderate" grade, but hairy enough for me. That was followed by a steep alternately grassy and rocky open gully and over more bare rock and grass to the summit - a real mountaineering feel to this little Marilyn; I certainly had no intention of returning the same way.

There were splendid views of Loch Maree with her islands and then out to the sea. I spent half an hour there. Looking the the map there were crags barring the route north-west direct back to my start so I headed for the road just over a kilometre to the east of my start. That was ok but there was the inevitable deer fence about two hundred metres before the road. I scaled that - it wasn't pretty. The two hundred metres to the road was over felled forest terrain, by far the worst stuff you can ever encounter; it took me about half an hour to get across.

I am now the only person in the Loch Maree Hotel having a pot of tea. It is surprisingly quiet up here in north-west Scotland, the Caravan Club site is only about half full.

I'm off back to the caravan now for a shower and to hunker down from the midges.

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Monday, 22 August 2016

Torridon 4

Monday 22nd August

Raining - walked to toilet block in shorts - back in the caravan my legs felt as though they are being pricked all over by a million needles, but head.and face ok - the little blighters must be lurking in dense battalions at ground level.

Yesterday pm and all evening my strong 3/4 bar EE signal disappeared - "no service". This morning it is inexplicably back and I even found I could open my blog and reply to comments with only three bars and no 3G! Here's hoping I can publish this comment, otherwise it will be a walk, through the "insectation" to the Kinlochewe Hotel for morning coffee. It is only about four hundred yards... I could drive?

I mentioned my love hate relationship with tech in a comment reply. My hopeless determination to press on with this relationship is impaired by a mind more inclined to the arts than science, hence my desire to overcome the problems of tech in order to strive for a better standard in my writing.

Examples of my woeful grasp of science are many, and often at a basic level - here this one sums it up.

Recently my camera ingested dirt on the sensor. Talking to Gimmer, my friend from schooldays who has a chemistry degree from Oxford I suggested that the dirt had been ingested as the telephoto lens retracted. Gimmer pointed out that it would be the other way round, the lens would suck in as it was extended, and blow out as it retracted. I'm not likely to get a job at NASA.

Rain still persists so it looks like book reading today - I have plenty to catch up on.




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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Torridon 3

Sunday 21st August

Just got back to Kinlochewe Hotel to pick up wifi after climbing:

Meal Ghiuthais NG 976 634

6 hours - hard going. Partial clearances, no rain.

It took me half an hour to get on wifi with BT Hotspot ( can't get on with the hotel wifi). Everything is so slow, and now every time I do anything Google wants me to enter email and password. I have had a good day, but this has really cheesed me off. Thanks for comments, I have tried to reply, but the problems have caused me to say much less than I wanted, and I have now run out of patience. Sorry folks, but I desperately need a shower and a lie down.


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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Torridon 2

Saturday 20th August

Two- thirty and I've just landed in the Kinlochewe Hotel for tea and wifi after a five and a half hour up and down of another Marilyn:

Bidein Clann Rainaild NH 053 591

The start was straight from the caravan site. A rough rocky path lead up the edge of a forest onto open ground. There is a path marked on the map but it was intermittent and difficult to follow, and then had to be forsaken to strike for my summit over heather, bog and tussock. Good weather turned into hot sunshine and I am sitting here in the hotel bar with my shirt wringing wet. I asked the girl about their wifi. on 9 to 6 and 9 to 11 - she said almost apologetically, "we don't have it on for dinner, people must talk", so there you go.

I'm having to take my chances when I can to get wifi, and I don't have time to work ages over a more interesting report, but will keep trying; off for a shower now.

By the way I mentioned the new verb, to medal - for ages I have been using the verb, to summit.






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