Picture of the Month - May 2013

The Caledonia Way
Slighe na h-Alba
A wonderful, traffic-free path, with a few sections on minor roads.  Much of the path is built along the former railway line which ran from Connel to the slate quarries near Ballachulish. 

The path has great views, hugging the coast for much of the way and has very few gradients. 


The Cavemen of Glen Loin - Arrochar

Standing on the shoulders of giants
Saturday 28th March

turn on your speakers for all the atmospheric sounds !

One of the famous Arrochar caves mentioned in Alastair Borthwick's book 'Always a Little Further' first published in 1939

These caves are also mentioned in 'Mountain Days & Bothy Nights' by Brown and Mitchell 1987.

Take care exploring the area as the rocks are very slippy and polished when wet, and be warned - June to September is extremely midgy!

Not too difficult to find - but it does take persistence as they are not obvious. Torches, helmets and not being scared of tight places pretty essential.....

Video shot by both Andy and Bill


Burns Weekend - Fearnan


1988 Burns Weekend

Journal 12

Fearnan Outdoor Centre
Oor ain Burns prose

click on the link below to find out

Background about Fearnan -
it is no longer an outdoor centre and was on the market during 2011

The estate agent marketing literature stated,

'The former school room was built as a Free Church School around the mid 1800s, with the Schoolhouse following in the early 1900s. Until fairly recently it was used as an Outdoor Centre. The building was originally two individual buildings of stone and slate roof construction. One building is of single storey, which has then been connected with an inner hall to the two storey building. The accommodation comprises of five individual rooms, kitchen, three bathroom/shower rooms and changing room. 
The property also requires major refurbishment...
Offers in Excess of £250,000
Can anyone remember how much it was for a weekend hire?


Picture of the Month - April 2013

Ben More
Saturday 6th April 
I said 'bend ze knees'

Roni demonstrating winter skills to Graham


Stonehaven to Montrose NCN1

The flat middle bit
Saturday 2nd June

Our journey south is an off-road cyclists treat.
The short section between Inverbervie and Gourdon follows the
line of the disused railway - flat and traffic free.

If you haven't been to Gourdon - imagine any village scene from the 1983 Bill Forsyth film 'Local Hero' - through half-closed eyes Ferness could really exist.....

We didn't have time to slow down and absorb the atmosphere 
(but did look greedily at Hornblowers chip shop by the harbour)

We left the village initially on a superb track
However the coastal path is rough in places
No complaints from us - fabulous to be off road and beside the sea
OK, we all agreed it's a bit bumpy in places......
Rape fields are so YELLOW - intensely so on a bright day
Roni checking out future accommodation for us Moray Clubbers
We entered Johnshaven,
a village in which fishing remains the focus of life.
The School of Lathallan sits on the village outskirts.
Suspect the headie would have a few choice nicknames in Glasgow!
At this point we headed uphill, out of Johnshaven, swinging away 
from the coast and taking to quiet rolling farmland roads again -
Anne 'yellow jersey' leading the way.
Our detour was suggested by Bill as he didn't fancy 
the A92 down to St  Cyrus....far too busy
More bright yellow field crops of rape seed.
To some the fields smell sensational - a sort of dense, honeyed, mustardy, oily, deeply musky scent. Others find it disgusting!
In the absence of a picnic site and table, 
Isabel found her own comfy spot for 2nd (or 3rd) lunch
Only another 16 miles to go.....


Picture of the Month - March 2013


Beinn Chìochan - Mountain of breasts

'perfect winter conditions'

Bill at the coo's tail


Stonehaven to Montrose NCN1

Saturday 2nd June

Our weekend explorers were Roni, Anne, Bill and Isabel   
Quite a cultured lot - aren't we?
Bloomfield Steading is a peaceful cottage set within the grounds of Bloomfield, the childhood home of 
James Leslie Mitchell better know 
as Lewis Grassic Gibbon
 Everyone chose cycling in preference to the hills,
Anne particularly so - as she almost lives in the saddle!

Bill's chosen cycle route was from Stonehaven to Montrose...but the Bervie Braes closure after landslip meant Dunotter was our start point
Isabel was glad as this would shorten our route to 'only'
30 miles....

We suggested to Anne that with her Hi-Vis vest she should charge £5 a time directing cars to a parking place...well she was asked a few times!
it's a stunning agricultural landscape you pass through

Catterline was particularly colourful
Isabel hadn't been out with the club for a few years
-did she know what a gentle cycle this would be?
Following narrow country roads we arrived at Kinneff.
If you are fascinated by Scottish history Kinneff Old Kirk is a must - its famous as the site where the Honours of Scotland were hidden after the Siege of Dunnottar Castle in 1651 until the Restoration in 1660
 The significance of the church in our history is... 
as is often the way in Scotland, rather understated.
Good information panels inside the church.
The Scottish Crown Jewels were hidden here after they had been rescued from Dunnottar Castle during Oliver Cromwell's siege in 1652.  The minister James Grainger and his wife Christian Fletcher devised the plan to smuggle them out of the castle right under the noses of the besieging forces,
aye, great stuff!
The Honous Three - our Scottish Crown Jewels
We had our pieces amongst the graves in the churchyard.
It's a very peaceful spot
....there is a rather steep hill back up to our route....
We were soon speeding downhill to 
10 miles done.....only 20 to go!


Picture of the Month - February 2013

Days you dream about.....

Beinn a'Ghlo
It really doesn't get any better than this....the view from Carn Liath
Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain was climbed over Carn Liath -
two parts of the classic traverse of Beinn a' Ghlo from Loch Moraig.
Our coldest day on the hill - ever



Meall Garbh - An Stuc - Ben Lawers

Craggantoul hills
Saturday 17th March

Our 'boys' bounded up the grassy slopes of Meall Garbh. 
 Blue skies and sun putting a spring in their steps.
Andy striding out purposefully
Despite the strong sunshine we needed warm clothes,
it was a chilly wind.
It was at this point the girls waved us on - 
they would do their own thing and see us back at the house.
a breather before the final slopes
We looked east to Meall Greigh - very different conditions today 
from our last visit to these hills.
easy high level walking - the eastern hills in this range are rounder and less craggy
 A feature of hill walking in recent years is the explosion of wind farms, 
and they are not exclusive to upland areas.
These turbines are above Aberfeldy - completed in early 2012, 
Griffin is located within a boundary area similar in size to the nearby city of Perth. 
Its 68 turbines are built on land which is a mixture of 
upland heather moorland, grassland and commercial forestry.
Griffin Forest wind farm above Aberfeldy
The summit path gave stunning views of the north ridge from An Stuc
'good winter walking'
An Stuc was, as always, intimidating!
...cant' avoid going over it...
It was at this point that we had a rather odd encounter.
Ron, forging a way up the steep southern side, 
appeared ahead of us at the dip on the ridge, 
he must have run up the slope.
Disbelieving David questioning Ron!
Grub stop on An Stac
....more Jelly babies please...
Ben Lawers had cleared of cloud
 and it looked like we would have the ridge to ourselves. 
Although we could see figures on the summit -
It's not a place for those seeking solitude.

'a light dusting of icing sugar'
Views south over the wee coire lochan to Loch Tay
our descent route was on the far side
of the snow covered slope
Looking back along our route - watching cloud 
being blown north east
'where is Ron-will he pop up in front of us again?'
We made fast progress off Lawers running down the hard sugary snow
our fast descent to Loch Tay
See what happens when you eat too much, you fall through holes!
a hidden stream
It was a deep one and we had a good laugh at
Andy struggling, of course he would ham it up..
Gonny gie's a haund?
A pretty good day out - now ready for dinner!


The Devils Pulpit

The easy section

Sunday August 24th

A speedy evening ascent and descent of Finnich Glen near Killearn
The water level was low, some care needed to avoid bashed shins!

'put your speakers on' - and be prepared for
something different.

video shot on a GoPro

music "Liberation" taken from Martyn Bennett's album "GRIT"