15 January 2010

Nordic Scotland

I think I mentioned in the last post that I would be out and about on Sunday and then off to the Cairngorms on the Monday with University for some winter skills. Well some of that panned out, but other bits did not. I did nothing on the Sunday apart from some grade A vegetating, but I have just got back from Scotland and boy was that some trip.

On the flanks of Cairn Creag Ghiuthsachan.

We travelled up on Monday afternoon and then were up bright and early, Tuesday morning, so that we could make the most of the day. We didn't travel too far, because of the snow conditions, but it was still a productive day; we covered a great range of skills for safe winter walking and such like.

Practicing ice-axe arrests.

It was decided that walking wasn't really an option for the following day, because of the snow conditions, but the conditions were ideal for skiing and that's what we did. We headed up the road to Loch Morlich, hired some cross-country skis and headed off for a journey.

Again we made the most of the day and having started when the ski shop opened we arrived back to deposit our skis just as the light was starting to fade and the shop was closing. The journey was some 7 miles and headed off around Loch Morlich into the Rothiemurchus Forest.

Cross-country skiing through Rothiemurchus Forest.

Once in the forest we slaved on with a vague plan in mind until we had to leave the snowy forest roads and head off-piste in the hope of linking up with another trail besides Rothiemurchus Lodge. We accomplished this and then slid our way back downhill to Loch Morlich to finish off the circumnavigation of the frozen water.

Off-piste in search of Rothiemurchus Lodge.

The next day was our final day and this meant that we were to only have a short day out in the hills. A lot of the group were eager for ice and that is what we aimed to achieve; a spot of ice climbing. On the drive up on Monday we spotted a picture, in one of the Scottish papers, of a frozen waterfall in the rough vicinity of where we were heading and ever the optimist we hoped that it would still be frozen four days later.

That was just the case. The waterfall was still frozen so we set to on ice climbing. The day comprised of a spot of ice bouldering below the main event, before having a quick top-roped climb of the thirty meter cascade.

Ice bouldering at Creag Dubh, Newtonmore.

Top roped climbers on Oui Oui (II/III), Creag Dubh, Newtonmore.

It was then back in the minibus for the five hour drive back south to Cumbria and the start of lectures on Tuesday.

More pictures can be found here.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Wow, frozen waterfall climbing looks so cool! Fab:o)