Friday 31st January – Monday 3rd February 2020
Friday – This weekend saw us entertaining!
Two of our EBC/Mt Elbrus friends are joining us for the weekend from sunny Worthing in England. It was now our time to showcase some of our much loved and rugged Scotland.
We were taking them up North to the Cairngorms, firstly because it is so beautiful and secondly just with the time frame of things it was manageable.
The weather was looking pretty bleak but dressed for the occasion (they had been warned) all should be fine….its Scotland after all!
Firstly though and not that we needed any inspiration but Friday night saw us heading to Ben Fogle’s show ‘Tales From The Wilderness’. Ben Fogle could be described as a modern day explorer. He’s crossed Antartica, conquered Everest, ran deserts and rowed across the Atlantic Ocean to name but a few.
He shared many of his wilderness experiences with us which were both uplifting and exciting. He also gave an honest account of his many failings or what he classed as failings as a child/young person growing up and how he tried to overcome many of these…resilience as I would call it!
I enjoy Ben Fogle’s TV show ‘New Lives in the Wild’ whereby he meets people who have given up the rat race for a simple life, it always has my mind going into overload as I think “how can I create my own life in the wild” – tonight hearing him talk my mind is at it again!!
Saturday – We were up and away sharp as we wanted to reach Aviemore as early as possible to get straight out on the hills. On arriving in Aviemore we headed for the sugar bowl car park which sits on the road which takes you up to the Cairngorm Ski Resort. We parked the car, dressed ourselves appropriately in full waterproofs and off we went.
‘Guide Andy’ proceeded to inform us that we were doing a “pretty easy 2-3 hour walk today which would involve a slight incline but nothing too heavy, the heavy stuff could wait until tomorrow. So in my head I’m thinking, “nice, a relatively easy relaxing stroll”.
Three hours later I had climbed over a massive boulder field (Chalamain Gap) and we had summitted Lurchers Crag, a Munro at 1053m (3456ft)!
This had not been Andy’s original plan but his excuse was “since we’re here we may aswell”!!
It had been a nice hike in actually, we had undertaken it relatively fast, it was cold with snow but the air was fresh. We had followed a pretty nice well laid path most of the way to the gap. Once at the gap it was just a case of picking your way over and through the boulderfield.
I always enjoy this part as you are so focussed you actually forget your going uphill.
Once through the Chalamain Gap we got a split second of a view down the Lairig Ghru.
From here our options were “we can climb up there” (Andy pointing to a hill on our right) or “we can go a slightly longer walk” (Andy pointing leftish to another hill). As we had got here pretty quicky we all agreed a slightly longer walk would be nice…SLIGHTLY LONGER we had said I may add.
After going up, up and up I began to think “slightly longer, is he for real, this looks like we are heading up a full blown mountain”. We were soon on top of the full blown mountain, in a blizzard with no visibility with Andy congratualting us on completing our Munro (this one was a third time for me)!
Impressed I was not as I had not worn my appropriate boots for up here (I had wore my old faithful salomons, the ones with a hole in them !
It was freezing cold at the top, possibly -4/-6 so we headed straight off, well I say straight off but we actually had a ‘wee dram of whiskey’ from our hip flask to toast our accomplishments and warm up the soul!
The route down was straight forward.
Typically, just as we neared the bottom the sky began to open up suddenly and all around us we saw the beautiful mountains and stunning views, previous to this we had saw nothing!
Tonights dinner was Balmoral Chicken (chicken breast stuffed with haggis and wrapped in bacon) watered down with Irn Bru of course.
Sunday – Sunday’s mountain weather forecast was telling us that we were going to be hit with a huge dumping of snow, conditions at the top of the mountains would be poor visibility/whiteouts.
We decided that we would still go out walking of course but keep to lower grounds so we headed for the magical green fairy loch of Lochan Uaine.
This is a very beautiful walk amongst ancient Caledonian pines.
Once at the Loch, I told the story of the Glenmore fairies and how they washed their clothing in the water, causing the water to appear its wonderful greenish tinge.
Today we saw no fairies as the Loch was frozen over.
From here we visitied the Ryvoan bothy, retraced some of our footsteps and headed over the Ryvoan pass which is a gentle climb but provides good views of Loch Morlich and Cairngorm.
We then walked around Loch Morlich, a freshwater loch which boasts having the highest beach in the UK!
Loch Morlich enjoys one of the finest settings of any loch in the country.
It is surrounded by forests and fringed by beaches with the stunning backdrop of snow-clad peaks of the northern Cairngorms. Its beautiful.
Eventually it was time for a well deserved coffee so we headed to The Pine Martin a warm and welcoming lovely small alpine style bar and café.
Our weekend in The Highlands had came to an end but already more adventures had been planned!
Monday – As luck would have it we had surprisingly come across an advertisement which said Levison Wood was undertaking a talk in Perth.
Levison Wood a former British Army Officer but now turned Explorer is another inspiration of mine and I had been to see him in 2018.
He’s best known for his extended walking expeditions in Africa, Asia and Central America.
Lucky for us there were tickets left. So off we went on Monday evening to Perth Concert Hall to hear Levison Woods motivational stories of adventure.
It was also an unexpected pleasure to see Levison receive an Honorary Fellowship from The Royal Scottish Geographical Society.
Now that was one weekend I enjoyed!
6 Comments Add yours
Day 1 would’ve been a bit much for me Mary (being a southern softie!) think I could’ve managed day 2 though. Looked lovely (and flat) Hope your friends were impressed with the scenery and Andy’s guidance and your storytelling. Surely you didn’t camp this time?😮continue the good work🥾🥾 and keeping us all entertained. Xx😀
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Haaa I’m sure you could have managed both days….it’s all about layers…our friends are from Worthing so definitely more used to warmer conditions than here! So no we didn’t camp this time we decided to up our game since we had visitors and went for a caravan 🙈🤣!!! Yes they loved their stay and we’ve encouraged them to come back in the lighter evenings so we can go further into the mountains and wild camp! Thanks for reading 😘 lots of love to you guys x
So you’re off again Mary! Is that the couple from Brighton who got engaged at Everest base camp? Seem to remember fromxxyour z Russia blog that the weather wasn’t so marvelous there 😢😢Lovedo the beautiful mauve evening skies in your photos and was surprised to see how dry and colourful it was at Loch Uline and the Caledonian forest
I take it you didn’t do any “wild camping “? Elizabeth was a bit worried when she heard it was snowing in Scotland as they are going up to Durham to visit Samuel at mid term and the snow usually arrives about this time of year. Saw all the Birthday celebrations. Looked as if you were all having a great time
Looking forward to my next trip with you? Jane took me for a stroll up Blair Adam Forest and to what remains of the 100ft bridge. Love&z God Bless
Aunty Alice xc
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Hi there. Yes that couple are from Worthing (next stop from Brighton) and yes well done you that’s the couple that got engaged on Everest 2017 well actually on our 2am climb of Kala Patthar…and who’s wedding we went to in 2018…did Mt Elbrus 2019 with them and will then be undertaking Tour Du Mont Blanc 2020 with them. They had a really nice weekend and actually the snow made it better…I always love snow on mountains! This time we did not camp with our guests and decided to live it up a little 😲…we stayed in a caravan 🙈🤣…and it was great 😁 So tell Elizabeth not to worry about snow…on lower grounds there’s nothing…what she should be worrying about is the gale force winds were getting 🙈🤣!! Will she be coming our way on her travels? Hope all is well with you guys….lots of love….p.s.we love having you on our journeys😘 xxx
Ment to say we were watching Susan Calman’s Tour of Scotland and she was visiting the area where the Dinasaur footprints were found. I think it was Sky, is that where you saw them?Was amazed at the tiny baby footprint, it didn’t look real it was so tiny. Did you see that?
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Ah interesting! We were in Staffin when we saw the dinosaurs footprints actually on An Corran beach….yip we saw baby footprints also…photos didn’t do them justice they were actually more visible to the naked eye! I say that but it actually took us ages to find them, I was determined not to give up till I saw them!!I I wished someone would comission me to do a show….I’m so jealous off all these people that do this for a living!! Must check out Susan Calman! X