Thursday, 22 August 2013

22nd August 2013 - Ledge route with outward bound

Had a cracking wee day today on ledge route with Martin and his group from outward bound. They are camping for two nights but I was only dropping in to support on the route. Peeled off back round from the top and down the screes by castle ridge. Glorious day!!

Monday, 5 August 2013

5th August 2013 - A huge catch up!

Things have been extremely busy here at Craig Dubh Mountaineering, which has prevented me really having any time to keep this blog up to date. In this post I will try to bring things bang up to the present, and will try harder to post things as they happen!

On the 27th June I was working for Abacus Mountain Guides, guiding a team from Travelodge up Ben Nevis with the intention of building a replica bedroom on the summit. There were 4 teams in all, Led by myself, Dave Anderson of Lochaber Guides, Will Rowland of Atlas Mountaineering and John O'Sullivan. It was a bit of a windy day, and on top it got cold very quickly. My team was up first so we had to wait a while for the others to arrive so that we could get the room built as quickly as possible. In the end the guys pulled it off, and raised a good amount of money for Macmillan Cancer Care, as well as performing a nifty bit of PR for themselves - well done team!

On the 28th June I was up to Aviemore for an induction day with Wilderness Scotland, who I hope to do some work for in the future. This was a great day for finding out more about the company and its aims for the future.

The 1st and 2nd of July saw me working at Outward Bound, doing a few gorge sesions, paddle sessions and a tree session known as Baby G. Both days were great fun as always.

The next few days were spent working on my marketing materials, namely my flyers and car art work which was getting done by Allround Signs of Fort William - highly recommended, they did a fantastic job! Now you might see my car dotted around the Fort, or further a field! Only down side is I have to now watch how I drive!!!

Look out for this vehicle!!!

The 6th of July heralded in a very special day, the wedding of Graham Boistelle and Anne McVey. It was a great wedding, great food and excellent company. I consumed rather more than I intended, and as Anna and I were driving down to the Lake District the next morning, this meant that Anna was doing all the driving :)

We spent a week in the Lakes, the first two days with Anna's family who were staying in the area. As the weather was scorching, we were only interested in finding good rivers to swim in and good pubs to drink in! Anna's brother Will, and I, went for an explore up a river near Langdale which ended up being a terrific little gorge walk, which culminated in a great little pool deep enough to jump into and swim about. This was really refreshing and great fun which everyone got involved in.

Once Annas family had headed for home, we went to Great Langdale and camped up for the rest of the week. We spent our time enjoying the sunshine, and had a great day on Jacks Rake with our old friend Pete and his girlfriend Olivia. It was great to catch up with Pete, who we sadly dont see very often! We had a lovely meal at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel before Pete and Olivia headed for home. Anna and I headd for Shepherds crag in Borrowdale the next day, and both led a few good routes before heading back to the campsite for a slap up BBQ!! It was far too busy at Raven crag, and far too hot at Scout crag the next day so we satisfied ourselves with a swim in the river instead, only being interupted by a school group doing a gorge walk!!

Anna admiring the view over to the Langdales
Disappointed with the portions at the Britannia!

A glorious summer sunset

The sun setting over the Langdales

A scene from the Walking Dead??

 Once we were home in Fort William it was straight back to the grind for us both, with a few days guiding on the Ben, and even around Cow Hill for me, followed by the Nevis River Race which I helped supervise with the Rescue Team. Luckily, no casualties - mostly due to the complete lack of water I'd imagine!! On the 22nd and 23rd July I was at Glenmore Lodge on my TCL Training, which was brilliant fun and very informative. Met some great guys there who I hope to get out biking with in the near future!

Not so much water for the race this year...

Anna Enjoying the warm sand on Morar Sands
 A few more days of building up my marketing and online presence was then followed by a 7 day Coast to Coast expedition for Wilderness Scotland. I was in the role of Support Driver for this trip, so had to travel ahead of the group, sort out meals and ensure accomodation was all sorted out before arrival. It was great experience but I would definately prefer to be guiding this trip in future - all the more reason to pursue the Mountain Bike Leader Award!!! The route goes from Aberdeen in the East to the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse in the West. Weatherwise we were very fortunate with only one day of consistent heavy rain and one day of showers. All 8 clients did extremely well and seemed to really enjoy the experience of biking in the wilds, and dining on some of Scotlands finest cuisine! I must have put on 2 stone last week!! Its a hard life, this guiding malark!!!

The end of the Coast to Coast - Ardnamurchan Lighthouse
A rainbow over Ardgour
A pleasant lunch spot near Loch Sheil
The finish - Ardnamurchan Lighthouse

No rest for the wicked, as they say...I got home on Friday afternoon, and was straight onto the wettest day I have experienced on the Ben yet, guiding a group of 12 ladies alongside Dave Anderson. I turned back at Corner 8 with 4 of the ladies, as they were struggling and/or getting very close to being hyperthermic! Dave cracked on with the other 8, and made a successful lightening attempt on the summit. The wind on the the Zig-zags and alongside the Half way Lochan was knocking people flat, so the girls did really well to persevere and get up and down safely - a hot shower and a few beers very well earned on their part as well as ours!!

Saturday night saw our friends Amanda and Dave come round to ours for dinner and a few farewell beers for Amanda, who is sadly moving to Glasgow tomorrow.

Yesterday saw me on the Ben again, this time with Andrew and Irene who had come up from Cardiff for the week and wanted to summit Ben Nevis. The weather stayed remarkably dry (I instantly regretted wearing my waterproofs all day) and the wind buffetted us from time to time but never caused us any great concern. We were up and back down in a good time of 7 hours, although I am sure a few muscles will ache tomorrow! Well done guys for sticking at it and not giving up, just a pity the cloud never cleared to give a view from the summit - next time though!!! Both days I was working for Seren Ventures.

The Ladies trooping up the first slopes

The Ladies team at the Red Burn - Half way!!

The cloud lifting above Glen Nevis

Andrew and Irene successfully on the summit of the Ben

And that brings us bang up to date today. I am sure I have missed some things out, but will endeavor to keep a more accurate account of what I am doing, and keep it current!!!