Mountains in good company…

I have just spent a lovely weekend on a ‘Mountain skills and navigation’ course. I decided it was time to refresh some of my long forgotten skills- which I have lazily discarded over the 20 years since I last did a similar course.

The course was very well led by Keith, who has a lovely relaxed way about him that I very much appreciated, and I very much enjoyed the company of the other course members. In fact, the conversations took over from the learning at times (sorry Keith!)

We spent two days in the Cowal hills- above Loch Striven (to Cruach nan Capull- 611m) on Saturday, and from Lock Eck up to Clach Bheinn (648m) descending down to Benmore via Creachan Beag (545m.) We managed to find a lovely airy ridge today too.

Anyone who has ever walked these hills will know that the slopes are steep and pathless, and the peaks hard won. But I have been reminded again that they are very much worth it. Our maximum height was less than 700m, but the rough terrain had its challenges. Enough to make us feel a sense of achievement anyway.

So here I am. Bathed. Well fed. Big blister burst.

Happy.

Some photies. (Click to enlarge.)

A walk in the snow…

It has been very cold here recently- like most of the UK, it has been colder than most people can remember over the last weeks.

Dunoon is usually insulated from the deep cold that other parts of Scotland experience, because of our closeness to the sea. But last night, it was minus 7 degrees C outside our house, and the temperature has not been above freezing for weeks.

Along the shore, the rock pools have frozen over, and between the tides, the seaweed collects white frost.

We have not had the heavy snowfalls here that have been common elsewhere. Glasgow and Paisley (but a few miles away) are deep white, but we have the remains of snow, turned to ice for the most part.

Apart from in the hills that is.

So I decided to go look for some.

I wanted to find virgin snow- the high up powdery stuff that does not ball under your crampons. It has been a while since I kicked my way into this stuff.

I set off into the familiar hills above Bishops Glen- the forestry tracks giving way to fire breaks in the plantations, then out onto the open hillside.

And I found snow.