Gulvain and Braigh nan Uamhachan

Posted in Hiking, Hills with tags , on June 16, 2017 by Jinja Coo

After making a first hill walking visit to the Glenfinnan area earlier in the year, two of us were keen to return in better weather to see more of the area, on a day with better views from the tops.

A late call had us back on an absolutely stunning day, perhaps the nicest of the year at the time. Friday night’s drive up itself had been a joy and promised much itself with lovely light on the hills and latterly a red-sky-shepherd’s-delight forecast.

After walking up Gulvain we dropped to the west at the bealach between its two summit tops and crossed over to Braigh nan Uamhachan. Traversing its southern ridge, we enjoyed views along the length of Loch Shiel and beyond, before dropping down to re-join the approach path in.

Despite encountering some rough ground on the the high crossing and descents from both hills, this proved to be a great route choice with great views all around, especially to Ben Nevis, south over Loch Shiel and out to the isles of Skye and Rum and into Knoydart too, though Loch Arkaig remained largely hidden from us. I can’t remember the last time so long was spent lingering at summits in warmth, taking in such a wide expanse of scenery.

To the west, Streap was a potential extra hill to link up with, but would have pushed a day, already tiring enough, into knackering territory and would have resulted in a bit of tarmac pounding at the end too. Something to look forward to in future anyway and a potential high camp with a fine set of views all around.

If only we could have stayed up high for sunset, which was surely to be a repeat of the previous night’s one, but with the recent spring-forward in the clocks, the days were already stretching and it would have required a four hour delay before our long drive home.

Advertisements

Glorious Winter

Posted in Hiking, Hills with tags on February 14, 2017 by Jinja Coo

A rare (of late), stunning winter’s walk with harsh whites and blues book-ended by warm browns and reds. Strong winds lifted waterspouts off the surface of Cruachan Reservoir and higher up spin-drift was occasionally driven into all nooks and crannies by gusts, leaving behind air heavy with glistening ice crystals.

Amazing views – close up the crags of the Cruachan horseshoe, further away the eye was drawn by the snowy peaks on Mull and Jura.

img_5586

img_5590

img_5599

img_5610

img_5618

img_5625

img_5628

img_5631

img_5640

img_5643

img_5644

img_5658

img_5665

img_5667

img_5670

img_5672

img_5675

Sgurr nan Coireachan and Sgurr Thuilm

Posted in Hiking, Hills with tags , , on February 3, 2017 by Jinja Coo

A big day in (and above) Glen Finnan, which started out bright, but with height gained, it turned grey. All along the tops and ridge, we were denied views unfortunately, from what must be a good vantage point for the Morar and Arkaig areas. Snow was poorly bonded to the ground, making the walking trickier – a bit bruising on tested ankles and knees – adding to the sense of a big day out.

img_5461

img_5468

img_5474

img_5475

img_5482

img_5485

img_5486

img_5489

img_5493

img_5497

img_5498

img_5502

img_5503

img_5507

img_5511

img_5514

img_5524

Arbroath to Auchmithie

Posted in Paddling, Sea Kayak on January 23, 2017 by Jinja Coo

A very leisurely start to this year’s paddling – just 13km along the stunning coastline between Arboroath and Auchmithie – with every cave cutting into the soft, red cliffs explored to some extent.

As we set off from Arbroath a coastguard helicopter and RNLI boats seemed to be training together and made for an impressive sight, with the helicopter hovering low above the sea at times, whipping the surface up into the air.

The cliffs are peppered with caves, mostly tall and narrow, but others are much wider and squarer, occasionally of the size of a large house. Looks can be deceiving, often the narrow entrances lead to a widening cavern behind and at times we could turn our 5m kayaks inside with room to spare, others had to be cautiously reversed. Some have more than one entrance, even leading to hidden beaches and some have stalactites – not something I can recall seeing on sea caves before. All have colourful walls (when you can see), partly a result of the colour in the rock itself, partly due to growth on the surface – lots of oranges, purples, golden hues and greens too.

Though the sea was relatively calm, on a couple of occasions we experienced unnerving amounts of swell and chop suddenly within the caves, which act as funnels for all the water entering them. As well as being on the scary side of things, it (and the lighting) makes it difficult to do the caves any justice with the camera – too much movement, too much contrast and too little light.

img_0028

img_9287

img_0033

img_0039

img_0040

img_0046

img_0054

img_0076

img_0081

img_0095

img_0114

img_0124

img_9300

img_9312

This is definitely a stretch of coastline to return to, there is more beyond Auchmithie for a start, but also to return to the same caves and try and capture the experience a bit better with the camera next time.

Meall Tairneachan and Farragon Hill

Posted in Hiking, Hills with tags , on January 17, 2017 by Jinja Coo

A day that started with a drive through dawn, cocooned in a warm car, heading towards hills increasingly coated in snow. The slopes turned orange and pink as the sun rose behind me and the moon descended behind the area we would be walking in.

After meeting up with two friends, we dropped a car at our end point and continued on to our starting point where it was out into the cold, a biting cold in the wind, which died down over the course of the day.

img_5371

img_5377

img_5382

img_5385

img_5388

Despite the snow, a track up to Meall Tairneachan gave us easy walking, gaining views of Schiehallion and other hills to the west as we went. Views to the south and east were blocked by the higher ground we were headed to, until finally, cresting the summit we had views of identifiable hills in all directions. The world around us was largely white, but layered and textured by distance and features.

img_5390

img_5394

img_5395

img_5400

img_5401

img_5404

img_5408

img_5421

Both summits were quite steep and gnarled, requiring focus to find a line down slopes with fresh snow on them, and occasional drifts of surprising depth along the way slowed us down slightly, resulting in us finishing just as darkness arrived.

img_5425

img_5432

img_5441

img_5443

img_5444