Archive for August, 2009

Suilven by Kayak

Some pictures from a trip earlier in the year to Suilven.  We kayaked out to the mountain from Elphin and camped near the summit.  Weather was spectacular but quite windy up high (suilven doesn’t get much shelter as it’s got no neighbours).  This has to be one of the classic Scottish trips.

More photos to follow hopefully (any other contibutions welcome – email them to misha@high-8.com)

here are robins: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/robin4c/SulivenJune09#

Gorge Walk – Kilannan Burn_Abriachan

Last weekend we got out to Kilannan Burn in Abriachan.  Chris, Sarah, Lorraine and myself wandered up the gorge in wetsuites.  The Burn itself was once the subject of book by Mollie Hunter, about the amorphous and mythical Highland creatures known as Kelpies.  As kids my brother and sister ocassionally went up the gorge – we once found a dead sheep in the gorge but I dont think we saw the kelpie, although it is difficult to tell when they can change from one animal to another.

The Gorge section is an excellent trip from the bridge which crosses the river about half way up the hill (GR568347).  You can also visit the waterfall which is beneath the bridge -wander down the path to the left of the river for a hundred yards or so and you should be able to get down into the gorge (watch the steeps sides though).  Once in the bottom of the gorge walk upstream  to get a little shower under the waterfall – excellent!

After the waterfall we wandered back up to the bridge to walk thorugh the main gorge section.  We did it without ropes, but a confidence rope probably wouldn’t go a miss, particularly if anyone’s just getting used to gorge walking.  It is of course level dependant – this river in spate would be a different proposition.  Most obstacles/waterfalls are avoidable but be careful of loose rocks and the slippy sides of the gorge which could be more dangerous than the waterfalls.  The end of the gorge section is easily obvious as it’s just after the biggest waterfall climb.  You can sometimes jump into the plunge pool form here although I dont think it’s that deep.

I did take a Hi-8 video cam in so should be able to get some footage up here soon.

Equipment:

wetsuites
dry shoes/trainers
helmets << should’ve had but didn’t
lifejackets << should’ve had but didn’t

About High-8

High-8 is a loose gathering of like minded adventurists who document first person, on the ground experiences with words, photos and film. The hope is to form a rough guide to outdoor adventure sports in Scotland and provide a warts and all, honest representation of what we find. No sport is excluded from mountaineering and mountain biking to gorge walking and kayak all are welcome and encouraged.

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Weather

We have compiled a list of usefull weather forecasts to help with planning trips. This list is designed to work on mobile phones, so it can be used when out in the wilds. Signal willing of course...

The Code

The Country Code, which most of us learned in school (and we probably haven't read since!), was updated in 2004 when it became the Countryside Code. Here's the updated version:
  • Be safe - plan ahead and follow any signs
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home
  • Keep dogs under close control
  • Consider other people
In Scotland, where there is a more general right of access, there also exists the Scottish Outdoor Access Code:
  • Take responsibility for your own actions
  • Respect people’s privacy and peace of mind
  • Help farmers, landowners and others to work safely and effectively
  • Care for the environment
  • Keep your dog under proper control
  • Take extra care if you are organising a group, an event or running a business.
There's obviously a lot to to be learned from these - it's amazing how many people get out to enjoy the countryside but are still happy to leave it in a mess. Even with the recent updates, the Countryside Codes seem slightly outdated when considering the wider issues involved when lots of people get out into the countryside. Some places just can't handle high volumes of people, no matter how they behave and publicity, no matter how interesting or well-done , has the potential to attract lots of people to an area. Blogs including video, pictures or words, form part the the wider media which could easily contribute to tipping the balance, and so we as bloggers have to consider the implications of what we decide to post. Can the place we're writing about take more people, and if not, it might be wiser to leave maps, place names or grid references out of posts. In Scotland, the Mountain Bothies Association has been careful to protect the location of some Bothies due to mis-treatment and, in some cases, even malicious vandalism. That is not to say they would not advocate people using them - in fact, a well used, maintained and loved network of bothies exist, and the MBA as an organisation is there to encourage this. Some bothies are busier than others but generally it is the less remote places which are more susceptible to abuse - something which might be worth considering when deciding whether to post information. It must be said, in most cases it's obvious what should or shouldn't be publisiced, but it's worth taking these considerations to mind.

Please note: The Code is constantly being revised and added to. If you like to add something login in to the discussion on the forum.