Archive for September, 2009

Cashell Burn

Chris and myself took the bank holiday by storm with an adventure fit for kings.  Piling the car with wetsuites, ropes, helmets and swimming goggles amongst other things, we took off to explore a the Cashell Burn gorge on the North West side of Loch Lomond about 5km past Balmaha.  What started out as a gentle walk through the lower section got gradually steeper and steeper.  In a slightly insane move we took off to climb a waterfall running down the gorge wall.  Loose rock and moss a plenty, you’d have to think this would go down as a first ascent, although only because no one else has been stupid enough to try it before.   An abseil back down into the gorge got us back on the main drag where waterfall after waterfall kept us entertained for a good few hours.  The final surprise came as a 10m waterfall (not very good at estimating heights) .  By this time it was starting to get dark and it started to dawn on us that our lack of a map or headtorches was less than ideal.    We tried, unsuccessfully to climb a line just to the right of the waterfall before taking a different approach through the trees, moss and mud on the side of the gorge.   By this time, things were starting to look a little sketchy.  Without a path we’d be fighting our way down through thick forest or trying to walk down alongside the gorge, all in the dark with no headtorch or map.  We took our chances and headed directly away from the gorge across a heather slope, thinking  we’d seen a path running parallel to the gorge when we checked the map back at the car before we left.   Had our luck not be in we might have spent the night stumbling around in the forest wearing a wetsuites and an weird assortment of climbing/swimming gear – it was all starting to look like one of those lateral thinking jokes that go like ‘two men found dead in the middle of a forest wearing wetsuites and swimming , how did they die?’.  But today the gorge gods were on our side, we spotted a path just before dark and it was straight down to the car and glasgow-ward for a fish supper.

Misha + Chris

Stob Ghabhar – ‘Goats Peak’

We might not have seen any goats, but this is a classic hill in a classic place.  Up by Bridge of Orchy and about an hour out of Glasgow, an uninterrupted expanse of wilderness starts and runs all the way down Loch Awe and across to Glen Etive.  I’d never really noticed it before, maybe just being distracted by nearby Glencoe, but it feels as wild as wild and fantastic as the any of the highlands to the north.  We only stayed one night, although you could spend days walking through here.  We did try fishing one of the hill lochs at dusk, but didn’t pull out anything more than a tidler –  .  Hopefully the pictures do it justice.  Stob Ghabhar on Wiki

Misha/Greg/Ross/Carol-Anne/Chris

Who is this sexy beast?

robin-porn-king

Cairngorm Cluster – pt. 3

After the terminal attrition that was our trip to Cairngorms I was left with flash backs of stumbling over boulders, sinking in bogs and looking mournfully at the trail below dreaming of the hard but smooth floor of the bothy. After 12 hours of slog and in the dark your mind plays tricks on you, every pointy boulder seemed like a pitched roof and every glimmer of light a window. Below, is a sketch which expresses my view of the trip, in particular the dark, trudge to corrour bothy, when my mind began to unravel.

GormDillusion

Cairngorm cluster – pt. 2

Some of Tims pics from the gorms:

Bothy X

There’s nothing like finding a secret bothy from time to time.  I could tell you where it is but then I’d have to to then kill you!!

Cairngorm Cluster

Sometimes things go to plan, and sometimes they don’t.  After a couple of days of pushing bikes through the wind and rain in the Cairngorms I think it’s fair to say that this one didn’t go quite as planned!  The remote tracks in at the back of the Cairngorms didn’t make for easy mountain biking after several weeks of rain, but these are the sort of weekends that you learn the most, and the team pulls together to finish what was started, in whatever style (hopefully we’ll be able to post a video of kathryn nose planting into a bog).

Tim/ Kathryn / Spad / Somhairle / Robin / Misha

ROUTE:-

Friday:
Glasgow > Aviemore by Train (with bikes)
Aviemore > Ryvoan Bothy for sleep (night cycle with a stop off at glenmore lodge for a pint).

Saturday:
Ryvoan > fords of Avon (carrying bikes through Strath Nethy on all but short sections)
Fords of Avon > Derry Lodge (pushing bikes before descent through Glen Derry).
Derry Lodge > Corrour bothy for sleep (pushing bikes through night and arriving at 11pm).

Sunday:
Corrour bothy > White bridge
White Bridge to Braemar (planned route through Glen Tilt to Blair Athole train station changed because of time limitation).
Braemar > Pitochry by taxi!!
Pitlochry > Glasgow train  (back at 10 ish)

all looking like serious mo fo’s in those pics so if you’ve any to add (or video) give me a shout misha @ high-8.com

Torridon gorge walking

The river that flows down past the Torridon Inn might sometimes looks like a trickle from the road, but just round the corner it steepens up into a gorge section with a series of waterfalls.  We got a chance to head up through the gorge when we made an escape from the Shieldaig Fete for a few hours, hoping that a good dunk might sort out our hangovers from the ‘Shieldaig Sheep Shed Shuffle’ from the night before, and it did.  Hamish, who was dressed in usual walking gear, joined us for the first section hopping from rock to rock with no intention to follow us up through the gorge.  When he slipped and fell in, it seemed that he may as well clamber up through the  water with us.  It wasn’t until he was neck deep in a pool and unable to haul himself up the waterfall out of it – due to the ‘drag’ of the clothes he was wearing – that it dawned on him what was going on, and that it had gone several nothches past the ‘walk’ he’d set out on.  Tom accompanied him back down and a comunication mistake mean’t that we didn’t do the second part of the river.  Can wait for next time.

Robin/Hamish/Tom/Cathy/Misha

Photos/video to follow from robin.

Equpiment:
wetsuites
shoes/wetboots
missing: helmets and lifejackets

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.