Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Northern Champs Trophy

I had to return the Northern Champs M50 trophy last week. The next Northern Champs is at the end of the month in the Peak District. I’m not going; too far to travel for a not particularly inspiring area. Anyway the import thing is, I managed to get my name engraved on the same pot as Pete Livesey!

Pete’s obituary in the Independent.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Skiing The Cromdale Ridge

I’ve been waiting to ski the Cromdale Ridge for a few weeks now. Di Gilbert and friends did it between Christmas and New Year, it must have been very heavy going in deep snow; they did well to complete it. With a partial thaw, re-freeze and a light dusting, as well as a good forecast, it was clear that the day had come for me.

Wind blown fluting on the ridge

There’s nothing particularly spectacular about the ridge, but it is more or less continuous for 17KM and stands isolated by the river valleys of the Spey and Avon.

Hare tracks ending in suspicious looking claw scrapes and a pit. Raptor snack?

I like it. I like looking at the shape of the contours on the map and I like the fact that it is a bit boring. It’s not particularly isolated but I suspect you would rarely see anyone else up there. I certainly had it to myself today apart from more Arctic Hares than I’ve ever seen!

The opulent architecture of the Tormore Distillery

Talking of boring here are the technical details. Left the car near the junction of the Nethy Bridge/Tomintoul roads at 9am. Skied right into the back of the Tormore Distillery at 13.30pm. Got the bus back to Grantown followed by Taxi to retrieve the car.

I was using Nordic skis; Hagan X-Tace and Black Diamond Expedition poles. Drank 2 litres of High Five via a bladder and ate 2 cheese and chutney butties. The temperature started -5C rising to about -2C, (far to mush detail already).

View Skiing The Cromdale Ridge in a larger map

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lynwilg to Kincraig

I walked to the top of the Burma pass, planked up and continued south over Geal Charn and Geal Charn Beag. Got hopelessly lost in thick mist somewhere around Carn Leacan Steamhuinn and had a mild panic when I realised I'd been skiing 180' in the wrong direction for 15 mins. So much for years of orienteering training!

Ended up coming down to Leault Farm near Kincraig. The orginal plan was to get right through to Kingussie.

View Lynwilg to Kincraig in a larger map

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday Night Handicap

Should be called the Tuesday Night Race.

Manny Gorman instigated these regular Tuesday night sessions late last year. The training involves about a mile jog from Drumguish to a forest road junction where the start/finish is located. Runners are handicapped with the slowest off first. The loop is 3.2 miles. Some route finding may be required depending on conditions. Getting lost is not recommended, next stop Braemar 30 miles away.

Apart from the first run I attended all the others have been in varying depths of snow. No change tonight despite the partial thaw.

Great fun and reminiscent of winter nights long past training with Ambleside AC.

Post race warm down. Manny, Stewart, Stuart and Geoff

View Tuesday Night Handicap in a larger map

Monday, January 18, 2010


Climbing, running, cycling and darts is for losers. Telemark skiing is where its at!

Ah yes, effortless gliding down the slopes with poise and style. Gracefully carving perfect S turns in pristine powder....

In my dreams. At least I did manage to string a few turns together. I know it must have looked like telemarking because some youth in a daft outfit shouted from the lift:

"That's the first time I've ever seen someone trying to learn how to do that"


"Everyone else seems to be an expert at it; know wot a mean mate?..."

I most certainly do know what you mean. (mate)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tom an t-Suidhe Mhoir

Oh no, not another shot of up pointed skis in the middle of nowhere; at least I managed to get myself in shot this time.

The snow is still very deep but I managed to get up a minor hill between Nethy Bridge and Tomintoul from the Dorback Lodge road. It was great to be out in an area I wouldn't really consider visiting in the summer. I'm sure some people might describe the terrain as featureless and boring (which it is), but I really like these vast undulating ranges of low hills which form a wide fringe around the main Cairngorm mountains.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Cairngorm Chaos

I left the Lakes to get away from this sort of thing. It’s a familiar story; slap a National Park badge on a beautiful and wild area then push, push, push tourism and visitor number while the roads and infrastructure plays catch up. Oh, and build a line of monster pylons through the park as well.

I suppose I’m as guilty as everyone else by trying to access the facilities at Cairngorm Mountain on a Saturday morning. Here, a group of six cars queue jump the 3 mile tail back on the Glenmore road and inevitably meet traffic coming down the road. Chaos ensues as the emergency services turn up on route to a real emergency.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Ryvoan Bothy

I skied up to Ryvoan Bothy from Glenmore with a view to continuing up Meall a'Bhuachaille - No chance. There's so much snow in the Cairngorms now that its almost impossible to venture off the beaten track. Even the continuation track down into Abernethy looked untrodden. A period of consolidation is required.