Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Monday, 30 December 2013

Snow Bunting

One of a pair of snow buntings spotted in the Ochils yesterday.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Christmas here again

Happy Christmas everyone and enjoy your walks, climbs and backpacking trips in 2014.

I had my first day on the hill yesterday - exactly six weeks since surgery. Wonderful to have a cold winter wind in my face again.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A Pyrenean Adventure - by Martin Banfield

Just a bit of publicity for Martin Banfield's book, above, which tells the story of his trek this summer across the Pyrenees from France's Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean Sea. Many will have followed Martin (and Sue for part of the way) via his blog, but the physical record of his journey is well worth having .Click the link to find how to buy.

Nice one Martin!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


Knee surgery this morning at Spire Murrayfield Hospital having at last given up on the NHS. Superb attention all round. Little or no pain either standing or walking which, I hope, bodes good for an early return to the hills.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad Mini

Saturday, 14 September 2013

14 September - Dilemma

With the holiday nearly over (and it has been a really enjoyable one) I/we now face a decision: to go to the Lakes at the beginning of October for 12 days and then get my GP to set the ball rolling for knee surgery, or cancel the Lakes trip and just get things moving next week.

If I were advising someone else I'd probably tell them just to get on with the surgery asap and be fit for next year. I've never been good at taking my own advice, but I'll have to make my mind up soon.

Meantime an easy day with perhaps a coffee at Gordon's.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Friday, 13 September 2013

12 September - Loch Kinord

A short walk today to see the 1200 year old Celtic Cross by Loch Kinord on the Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve. It's a lovely walk through the birch, Scots pine and rowan trees. At one point an information board told us we standing on a 13000 year old esker (remember your physical geography)?

The cross, carved from granite was dug up around here in the 1820's and taken to Aboyne Castle, but returned in 1957.

Also to be seen are the remains of a crannog, built around 2500 years ago. It was built on oak stilts with sides probably woven of hazel wood.

There are several trails to enjoy so it's worth a visit on a day off from the hills or just for its own sake. Arrive early if you want to appreciate the peacefulness of the place.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Thursday, 12 September 2013

10 September - Creag nan Gabhar mystery and Burn O' Vat (9 September).

As noted on the post of 4 September we were unable to recall anything about our first ascent of this Corbett back in 1989, which we had assumed had been from Auchallater by Sron nan Gabhar.

Well, yesterday we went back to the summit by that very route and a most enjoyable tramp it was too. However, nothing triggered any memories so we concluded that either it was foul weather the first time or we had simply struck up through the heather from Glen Clunie.

Two other walkers were met but ours was the only vehicle in the car park on our return.

The previous day we drove up to Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve after a stop in Ballater, and visited The Burn O' Vat. The Vat is a deep bowl, formed by melting water at the end of the last Ice Age, which gradually filled with sand to a depth of about 7m - the floor of the Vat today. It's an impressive place about 18m wide with walls 13m high. It's well worth a visit if you are in this area and is only a short walk from the small Visitor Centre. Entry is through a narrow opening in the rocks though if you prefer, a viewing platform allows you to look down on it (take the main path, not the 'spur path'. Queen Victoria went right inside. I took some video which I'll try to post when home.
Sent from my BlackBerry®

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Berry heavy

The rowan tree just outside the 'van. Lovely.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad Mini

Location:Berry heavy

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

8 September - Glas Maol to Cairn of Claise and back again

We arrived at the cairn virtually simultaneously with a couple who'd come up from Glen Isla. After discussions about winter motorcaravanning, the benefits of snow-shoes (which I've never used), ski touring, how quiet it was for a Sunday etc, they departed for Creag Leacach, we for Cairn of Claise.

As we descended towards the Monega path, the mountain hares which populate these rolling, spacious, hills appeared and entertained us with their antics. A joy to behold!

Following the wall across the broad ridge between Garbh-choire and Caenlochan Glen, we spotted a large herd of deer - the first seen on this trip.

Given the wind direction, the small summit shelters were of little use so we didn't hang around. Thoughts of adding Carn an Tuirc were rejected with little more than a glance at each other; the reward for walking and climbing with someone for decades. Down to a warm world, but summer has deserted the high tops.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Sunday, 8 September 2013

7 September - Braemar Gathering

What an excellent day we've had for £10 each (stands £20 but fully booked). The Massed Pipe Band was superb, the individual bands equally so. The distant sound of the pipes was a constant throughout the day as the various sporting activities took place.

Perhaps I'll write more about this when home but today it's sunny and warm and hills beckon.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Friday, 6 September 2013

6 September - Morrone

Late afternoon and back in Braemar there is much activity and an air of excited expectation as the day of the Gathering draws near. The sun is shining, Range Rovers prowl the village street, the car park is full of motorvans, the Co-op is bustling with beer-buying locals and visitors; the staff are helpful and very pleasant. All in all a lovely atmosphere pervades the village.

We've been up Morrone via the golf course road and access track which although an ugly scar, makes for easy walking. Several others were there when we arrived all wrapped up against the cold. Down the way we came. Views variable. Some rain.

Not much else to say really.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Thursday, 5 September 2013

4 September - Creag nan Gabhar

From the bridge just north of Baddoch a path strikes east between the steep heather covered slopes of Carn nan Gabhar and Creag an t-Sean-ruigh, climbs to around 700m then drops north east to Glen Callater conveniently depositing you at Lochcallater Lodge if so desired.

After the initial grassy section we entered the narrow un-named glen and just as we emerged from its confines came across the flattened remains of a hare. It resembled an ancient cave painting we thought.

Crossing the burn and gaining a bit more height, Carn an Tuirc came into view as did the great bulk of Tuesday's hill, Carn an t-Sagairt Mor. What a magnificent, immense landscape this is; what a privilege to walk its glens and high plateaux.

By the path a large area of turf had been removed and used to camouflage shooting butts, a common enough sight in these parts unfortunately and a reminder of the loathsome slaughter that is about to commence on these hills.

From near this point Creag nan Gabhar, a Corbett which we had climbed from Auchallater back in April 1989, was easily accessible via a variety of tracks - tracks and paths are important to me at the moment - so we decided on a second visit. The bone-dry peat hag before the final pull was crossed easily, and the going good all the way to the stony top. Neither of us found the summit environs familiar - 1989 is a long time ago after all.

On these September holidays we always seem to be seeking some shelter from the wind so that lunch or whatever can be had in reasonable comfort. Today was no exception - I expect at or above 1000m wind strength would have been a major obstacle to progress. Anyway, down it was after the obligatory photographs of course. Did we take as many of them pre-digital?

Almost back at the 'van we spotted what we thought was a merlin, our smallest falcon.

Back at Braemar preparations were well underway for Saturday's 'Gathering' with B&B's filling up as well as the site. It'll be a busy place this weekend.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

3 September - Carn an t-Sagairt Mor

The Callater Burn was quiet today which was more than could be said for the track. Two-wheeled transport was popular choice and a sensible one it has to be said. We regularly used bikes when doing the remoter Munros such as Ben Alder, cycling down the estate road to Loch Pattack where we left them. The bikes were Raleigh Stowaways, as used occasionally by Hamish Brown on his continuous Munro trip. Today our mountain bikes remained firmly on the rack; Carn an t-Sagairt Mor can hardly be described as remote.

We seem to have an uncanny knack of arriving at summits in the worst weather of the day. Only the need for sustenance made us hang about, huddled as best we could by the cairn, unsuccessfully trying to obtain a bit of shelter to gulp down couple of mouthfuls of hot tea and some calories.

It was a rather different world as we lazed by the path just above the Lodge; smoke rose from both chimneys; a fellow stravaiger collected his bike, hidden in the heather, and set off down the track; judging by the cacophony, something had disturbed the sheep on the lower slopes of Creag nan Gabhar.

I've seen the heather in better shape at this time of year but a few bees were busy all the same. Time slipped by and all too soon we had to leave. We will, of course, be back.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

2 September - Glas Maol

If the wind strength at the car park was anything to go by, the Glas Maol plateau was going to be fun. The welcome sight of a mountain hare greeted us near the summit of Meall Odhar; less welcome was thick mist sweeping in from north and south.

No matter. This was to be a short day to assess the knee before venturing too far into remoter country. (I'm not going to mention it again unless its complete failure necessitates my extraction by the big yellow bird, although I think I'd rather hop and crawl back down than suffer that ignominious fate).

A few pics were taken at the cairn when the mist temporarily cleared, but it was no place for a bite to eat. Despite the poor visibility we noticed the grazing cages, first spotted in October 2011, were still in place. These cages were erected by Rene van der Wal and colleagues of Aberdeen University to "determine the influence of primary sheep grazing on summit vegetation on Glas Maol. We are particularly interested in the fate of fringe moss, or Racomitrium languginosum, which is perhaps best known as key habitat for dotterel to exist". (You can see a photo on a previous post from our October 2011 trip).

Back at Meal Odhar the sun appeared, the cold wind whistling through the ski-tow cables suddenly warmer. We had taken only an hour and five minutes to the top of Glas Maol (it has to amount to cheating to start at the car park), and would be back at the 'van at the absurdly early time of one o'clock at this rate. A long stop in sun was called for.

Coire Odhar is a fine place, or it would be if it were not for the ski-tows, fences and other detritus. And yet we'd both had some of the best fun days of our lives skiing here. I substituted that vision for the one that lay before us and felt all the better for it.

The drive down Glen Clunie and back to the site provided a pleasant conclusion to the day. What a simple uncluttered life this is!

A longer trip tomorrow.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Monday, 2 September 2013

1 September - Annual Braemar bash

We arrived in Braemar yesterday afternoon in what you might call breezy weather and after setting up on site, wandered down to the village. A pipe band was playing opposite the Fife Arms and pretty good they were too. The Braemar Gathering takes place next Saturday so, depending on weather, we might pop along if tickets are still available.

It's a lovely morning so it's a hill for us today.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Last two days of July holiday in the Lakes

Note: As with the previous post, some notes which were never uploaded to the blog. Re-reading, perhaps my initial decision was the right one!

I didn't really think my dodgy knee would allow me on the fells every day, but here I was near the end of the holiday having only missed one, and that from choice. A lazy day in the sun reading old Harry Griffin books and rock climbing guides, re-living some of my best early days on the crags. However much I enjoy walking, backpacking etc they don't compare with the intense experience of climbing.

No such experiences for us on this holiday. A leisurely day on Scar Crags, Causey Pike and a saunter up to view Dale Head Pillar finished off the holiday nicely - well except for Keswick market and a coffee in Grasmere on our very last day.

Edit: Tomorrow we are off to the Cairngorms and if the knee doesn't turn into what Conrad, on his excellent blog, calls 'GK', then October will see us back in the Lakes. After that I'll set the ball rolling for knee surgery, which can hopefully be arranged for the end of the year at the latest. That will probably mean missing much of the pleasure of the winter hills but I should be ready for spring. Whether our planned 'long walk from home' will be 'on' remains to be seen.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Sunday, 25 August 2013

9 July - Hindscarth and Robinson

[Note: a brief account written up while on holiday 'for the record' but never posted.]

Given that Scope End is our preferred start for an ascent of Hindscarth it's odd that it must be getting on for six years since the little path through the heather saw the soles of our boots, despite standing on the summit at least once during each one of those years.

As with every day on this holiday it was hot, but cloud did gather and disperse again before the day was out. 'For this relief...etc'. Apart from a chap from Glasgow who had retired to live amongst the northern fells, we didn't meet anyone until the top - a lone walker who was soon on his way to Dale Head.

We had wondered if the stultifying heat was keeping people off the fells, but no - they were all on Dale Head it seemed!

Eschewing the short cut via Little Dale, we took our usual route to Robinson and settled down at the cairn for lunch. Harry Griffin was apparently taken to task for claiming that in the view from Robinson "the top of Scafell Pike is exactly hidden by Great Gable". Somebody wrote to him saying that with 'field glasses' a thin segment of the top could be seen, and a mathemetician also apparently showed the Pike was just visible. Suitably rebuked, in future writings Griffin was careful to write 'almost exactly hidden"! A warning for us bloggers perhaps. However, Wainwright had no doubts: "the Pike is exactly covered by the top of Great Gable". Whatever the truth, it was immaterial today: the Scafell group was in cloud, the only part of the district so badly afflicted.

Our descent was a lingering one and the little rock steps, treacherous when wet, added a few moments of interest: it was lovely to be handling rock again no matter how simple.

We popped into Newlands School and Church. Walkers are welcome to shelter from the rain, said a notice.Various items were for sale: bookmarks, mugs, cards etc. We took a bookmark and left our £1 in box, built into the wall behind the main door, and exited out into the relentless heat. My ancient thermometer read 30C, although I can't vouch for its accuracy.

We have a friend who lives on the outskirts of Keswick who describes the Lakes as 'a paradise with rain' but, famed though the Lake District is for rain, in my forty three years of climbing and walking there in all seasons, my memories are mostly of fine weather. Same goes for Glen Coe and the Cuillin, likewise often cursed for their appalling weather.

As usual the (last) cold drinks from the motorvan's fridge were rapidy consumed, necessitating a visit to the excellent Booths in Keswick.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Newlands and Dale Head


I could walk thepath by Newlands Beck every day and never grow weary of it.
We gave the customary nod to the lone larch tree. To pass without doing so would be like failing to wave to the Rannoch Rowan.

Hundreds of years ago German miners were extracting copper ore from Dale Head Mine, below the fell's summit. The old track used by the miners is a fine way to the top says Wainwright and although I've often thought of following it, if for no other reason than to see Dale Head Pillar, I never have. Strange that. Next time.
The heat was intense so I filled the filter bottle from the beck shortly before reaching the tarn, replenished the platypus from it, then filled it again in a vain attempt to carry enough water to keep well hydrated.

Reaching Dale Head's large cairn we found an even larger party of primary school children who'd come up from Honister. How lucky to be introduced to this glorious landscape at so young an age.
Usually we continue to Hindscarth and Robinson from here but decided that as it was a number of years since we climbed the first of these by Scope End, we'd do that round later in the holiday and return via High Spy today.

On our way down from Maiden Moor we met three teenagers with huge packs. "Where have you come from"? asked Lynne. "Somewhere from over there", replied the one male in the party, pointing in the direction of Derwentwater.

"I'm knackered. Don't even know where I am", a girl chimed in.
Eventually we established that they'd come over Catbells.
"Where are you headed"? I asked.

"Eh, Seattle", girl says. "Don't think so", I laughed.

They were in good humour and much studying of the map by one of the girls revealed they were going to Seatoller (we'd guessed that!). They were all smiles as we told them that most of the hard work was over. Off they went - a delightful trio.

We were glad not to be carrying heavy packs in such temperatures. Very glad.
Resisting ice cream at Little Town we strolled back through the leafy lanes to our start point near Rigg Beck. Another great day out in the finest of scenery.
Sent from my BlackBerry®

Sunday, 7 July 2013

7 July - Easy day

After yesterday's very hot but easy day on Bleaberry Fell and High Seat, today we took it really easy sitting in the sun doing nothing a.m. then watching Andy Murray winning at Wimbledon p.m.

Fells from tomorrow until the end of the week.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

5 July - Hopegill Head, Whiteside and Grisedale Pike

Yesterday found us enjoying a tour of Dove Cottage and then spending a couple of hours in the Museum. It proved to be a worthwhile way to spend a very wet morning.

Coffee and scones at Grasmere Tea Garden went down a treat in the afternoon and after the ritual of purchasing some Sarah Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread, we headed back to the site. A quick nip up Walla Crag rounded off the day.

This morning's mist cleared quickly from most of the tops. It could have been 'the old days': not a soul did we see on our way up to Coledale Hause but we knew, of course, that others would be out to enjoy the promised fine weather.

In a sheltered spot high above Hobcarton Gill we stopped for tea. Three figures appeared on Ladyside Pike. Should we go there from Hopegill Head? Whiteside maybe?

Unlike the Munros and Corbetts we did not note the dates of ascent of the 'Wainwrights' as they are now known, but Whiteside must have been an early one - 1973 or thereabouts. Whenever it was, neither of us remembered this delightful, rocky, ridge walk to its summit. The view back to Hopegill Head, and to Grisedale Pike beyond, was grand and we had that very journey to look forward to after a bit of lunch.

This was taken sitting amongst the blaeberry bushes. I removed a tick - my first of the year - from the back of my hand. The return along the ridge had us smiling all the way and in no time at all we were skirting Hobcarton Crag and on our way to Grisedale Pike.

The cold wind had gone. It was hot. How often have those words passed your lips this year?

The top was busy and we moved on quickly to escape the uncommunicative gathering. All remaining liquid refreshments were quickly consumed on our descent but thankfully, cold ginger beers awaited us at the motorvan. The last time cold ginger beer came to our rescue was at the Old Forge in Inverie. Different worlds.

Keswick was going like a fair and we were glad to be passing through.

Harry Griffin wrote, in 1970, of the "growing menace of mass tourism" in the Lake District and that "in places some of the old flavour has already disappeared". What now, forty-three years on?

Martin and Sue. Good to see you are enjoying glorious weather too.
Sent from my BlackBerry®

Thursday, 4 July 2013

3 July - Lake District

We are looking out over the North Western fells, our favourite part of the Lake District. It's always good to be back.

Tomorrow is to be wet, at least in the morning, and since Lynne would like at some point to indulge her love of all things Wordsworth it seems the perfect day to visit Dove Cottage. After that it looks like warm weather almost for the rest of the holiday and fells all the way.

Summer is about to arrive.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Friday, 28 June 2013

Wedding anniversary

Wedding anniversary celebrations then a quick turnaround and off to the Lake District.

Unfortunately, the MRI scan of my knee showed a small tear in the posterior horn of the medial meniscus so it looks like the knife later in the year. I had hoped I wouldn't need surgery but the cartilage injury is causing hamstring tendon issues so no such luck. Hopefully I'll manage to enjoy the forthcoming holiday and then September in the Braemar area before I get fixed.

Blogging has taken a back seat of late - to be honest I've lost the habit with all this knee trouble.

Do hope you are all enjoying the 'summer'.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Oh Joy!!

'Sleat Lady', a Beneteau Oceanis 393 belonging to Isle of Skye Yachts has just moored in Loch Dunvegan. What a sight. Gorgeous. I look forward to seeing her every year.

You can't see her in this miserable photo, but she is out there!
Sent from my BlackBerry®

Monday, 17 June 2013

Sunday 16 June - Red Cuillin

An atmospheric morning. Clouds breaking over the hills, the smell of the western sea. Midges out in full force.

We parked at Sligachan, Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Basteir and The Tooth peeping at us through the mist. Memories of days on the Cuillin. Incomparable days; gabbro-worn finger tips; worrying times in mist trying to ensure our descent was not of the airborne variety; a storm on the In Pinn with non-climbing friends on their second round of the Munros and one of them filming it; balmy days just watching the world go by; camps at Glenbrittle imagining the scene in the days of Steeple, Barlow and other early pioneers. We will be back. But I digress, as the say.

Today we were heading for the granite of the Red Cuillin. Specifically for Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach, one of three tops forming the two and a half mile ridge of Beinn Dearg Mhor.
'Hang on', shouted Lynne. Not for the first time, I'd missed the path and was heading down Glen Sligachan. Path junctions are my nemesis.

Across the myrtle-scented moor we went, avoiding the boggy bits, losing the path and finding another, into some boggy bits, back onto the path. Cuckoos were about somewhere.

The ascent to Druim na Ruaige is steep, but a steady rhythm brought us to the cairn quite quickly it seemed. Little or no wind meant midges began to feast when we stopped for tea and cake so the halt was brief.

The dark clouds engulfing the Cuillin and Marsco began to lift but it was not to last and, by the time we had crossed the pleasant, grassy, Druim na Ruaige and started up the final slopes, light mist was skimming even our lowly hill. A few feet away a ptarmigan and chicks hurried away over the granite scree.

Having previously traversed the ridge in fine weather we opted for a descent to 'break out the food and the drink' as a friend said after the epic on the In Pinn mentioned earlier.
Then back to Sligachan.

Alan S - yes Gleann an Fhiodh was pretty dry. The area had ten days of great weather just before our arrival! I imagine you had it at its worst. Trying to get connected to Highland Wi-Fi here on Skye is hopeless which is ironic since the guy who founded it is local! If you substitute the words 'Highland Wi-Fi' in your review of the Rab pull-on, you'll get an accurate description of my opinion of it.
Take care.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Friday 14 June - Gleann an Fhiodh

The weather this morning was a bit iffy so we listened to Conrad Anker on Desert Island Discs (and very interesting he was too) before making up our minds what to do. We have no specific hill objectives in mind which makes for a relaxing feel to the holiday but I do need some longish days out to get hill toughness back. Fitness, on the other hand, seems little affected by the enforced layoff. Fortunately I see no reason why 'the knee' can't be challenged after success on Am Bodach on Thursday.

Anyway,eventually we decided to walk from the site to Ballachulish and take the ROW up Gleann an Fhiodh although we'd left it too late to seriously consider climbing Sgorr a' Choise, the steep Marilyn which towers above the glen. It would have been climbed today (Saturday) had we not decided to come further north, and tonight we are on a site only three miles from the Skye Bridge so I suspect we'll be on the Island tomorrow.

The site has Highland Wi-Fi but it's £3 an hour, £6 a day, £20 a week. This appears to be the price everywhere for Highland Wi-Fi but once logged in you can use it anywhere there is a HWF hotspot. That said I could buy two hours Wi-Fi at Invercoe for £2.

Now, what will we do tomorrow on Skye?

Thanks to D+D for looking after the house.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Am Bodach

We are now at the cairn on Am Bodach and the Mamores are deserted. It only remains to be seen if my dodgy knee (which has been fine on the way up) will get me down again!

Lynne beside me and a summit cairn. What more could I ask?

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Tuesday 11 June - Loch Eilde Mor

I hardly noticed the steep ascent from the small car park in Kinlochleven such was my focus on where I was putting my feet. My nine month old knee injury has made me hyper-vigilant! However, the beauty of the woodland scene didn't escape
me: bird song, the scent and colour of wild hyacinths, honeysuckle and rhododendron, the freshness of new birch leaves, the sound of running water.

As we left the woods it started to rain, heavily enough to need waterpoofs, but not even a Scottish blizzard could have suppressed my delight at being back among the hills. Tea and cake in the rain never tasted so good.

The path skirts Meall an Doire Dharaich while to the north Na Gruagaichain's steep slopes fall to meet the LRT from Mamore Lodge. At the cairn where our path and the LRT meet, a large group had gathered.

They were a Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award party on their way back from a three day backpacking trip in the Loch Treig area. They'd been lucky with the weather and the midges had not been too bad apparently. Most looked happy and each gave us a cheery greeting as they filed past.

We continued to the boat house at the loch which, I felt, might be far enough to test the knee so, after a brief stop, we returned by our outward route.

The knee survived the admittedly short walk over easy ground so now it needs a real day out on a big hill. Hope the weather improves!

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Away at last

After an abortive attempt to book in at the CCC site in Glencoe (fully booked the Site Manager said in an unfriendly manner). She was standing at the barrier when we arrived but waited until Lynne went into the office before telling us. A letter to the Club I think.

Anyway we are now at Invercoe and, with the motorcaravan facing down lovely Loch Leven, we have a wonderful view of Garbh Bheinn (photo). We were last on this site in 1991 when we left the caravan here and went off backpacking into Knoydart with our young Border Collie, Mist.. Another life.

What we'll do on this holiday will depend on how my knee holds up, but I won't bore you with the details.

Sent from my BlackBerry®

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Sallachy Windfarm

I've just received this communication.

Please ask for: Ken McCorquodale
Direct Dial: 01463 702256
Our Ref: 11/04718/S36
Your Ref:
Date: 25 April 2013

Dear Sir / Madam


I write in connection with the submission that you have made in respect of the above development as made within an application under Section 36 of the Electricity Act.

This letter principally seeks to advise you that the Council will be undertaking a site visit to the area and provide you with some additional information which may be of interest.

The Council, before the determination of its response to the Scottish Government on this application, has decided that members of the North Planning Applications Committee will undertake a site visit to the area. The site visit will be conducted on Monday 13 May 2013. Members attending the site visit will then make their decision on the application during the Planning Committee meeting schedule for 21 May 2013, which will meet at Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road Inverness, commencing at 10.30. An agenda for this committee will be published on the Council Web-site at least 3 days before the Committee meeting. The proceedings will be web cast live via the Highland Council website.

With regard to the site visit, this will be undertaken in a small bus, with Members of the committee being advised by the Planning Officer of key features pertaining to the development site. The day for Members will start from the Council Buildings, Drummuie Golspie at 10.00am and then travel to Lairg Community Hall for 10.30 when the site visit to Glencassley will formally commence. The bus will travel to Glencassley Estate and then some of the surrounding area, before returning to Lairg for lunch and then a second site visit to Sallachy Estate where a second wind farm development will be examined. This is expected to commence at 1.30 from Lairg.

The agreed stopping points will be determined on the day and will have to take account of weather and road conditions. The applicant and representatives of objectors to the application will be offered two seats (each) on the bus to accompany Members throughout the site visit – (from Lairg and returning to Lairg). Parties can also attend, using their own vehicle, or await the committee at various specific stopping points which the Committee will make during the site visit.

Please note neither the applicant nor objectors will be able to enter into discussion with Members on the merits of the case whilst on site. At the invitation of the Chairman of the Committee parties in attendance at each stopping point will be invited to point out features in the locality which are important for members to note. This invitation will follow on from a shorting briefing of Members by the planning case officer.

A route plan- with approximate times of arrival will be made available with the committee papers. These papers will be available on the Council’s web site sometime on Thursday 9 May 2013.

Yours faithfully

Ken McCorquodale
Principal Planner (Development Management)

Unless related to the business of the Highland Council, the views or opinions expressed within this e-mail are those of the sender and do not necessarily reflect those of The Highland Council, or associated bodies, nor does this e-mail form part of any contract unless so stated.
Mura h-eil na beachdan a tha air an cur an cèill sa phost-d seo a' buntainn ri gnothachas Chomhairle na Gàidhealtachd, 's ann leis an neach fhèin a chuir air falbh e a tha iad, is chan eil iad an-còmhnaidh a' riochdachadh beachdan na Comhairle, no buidhnean buntainneach, agus chan eil am post-d seo na phàirt de chunnradh sam bith mura h-eil sin air innse.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad Mini

Sunday, 7 April 2013


Well, I now have an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon in little over a week's time and, hopefully, will get a proper diagnosis of my knee problem and appropriate treatment as quickly as possible. In a rare bout of optimism during February, I entertained the belief that whatever the injury had been, it was now well on the way to recovery.  Alas, after a day in the snow last Tuesday things quickly deteriorated. Pessimism. Normal service resumed.

Wether Hill top came and went and a descent to West Mains farm brought us some attention from the local sheep. We too enjoyed some lunch.

They kept approaching us as if expecting we had brought some SUPAlyx

Sheep sticks its tongue out at another.... 'I got the last of that tub of SUPAlyx, so there!'

Some interesting snow formations were encountered, but the photography doesn't do them justice

I doubt I'll have much to post about in the coming weeks/months given the knee situation but I hope you, dear readers, do.

Monday, 1 April 2013

31 March - a British Summer Time walk

British Summer Time, but wintry conditions still prevail even on these relatively low hills.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Ice walls on Innerdownie Hill

Tuesday 12 March

There was no reason to suppose the blue would disappear, but it did, and it felt Arctic on the tops.

The brittle ice formations on the wall had us snapping away.

There are more of these photographs here if anyone is interested.  Us? Out into snowy hills again - with the promise with sun all day long.