Copenhagen

Yes there are bikes – lots and lots of bikes – making you think what’s all the fuss about – it’s not that hard.

But this post isn’t about that, it’s about minimalism and warmth – and how they go together. Copenhagen is a very well lit city. little pools of warmth.

These are some of the photos that i took – mostly fabric and not all danish.

Copenhagen

Backpacking Beinn Dearg

Getting busy schedules to co-inside is hard, but Fiona and I put the date in the diary and made it stick. The plan was to spend a few days in the hills, tick a few Munros and generally get away from it all.

A good breakfast and a late start meant a pretty full car park at Inver Lael, and as we headed higher up we began to meet a few folk coming back down.  From the folk we chatted to it seems our late start paid off, we missed the early clag and rain,  and as we climbed higher the cloud began to break.

Approach

We first made for the top of Beinn Derag itself, high point of the trip, following the destitution wall to near the summit. then returning to the bealach for the climb to Cona’ Mheall. Views into rear corries from here were ace.

Corrie

The summits were now cloud free, and we had views across to Seana Bhraigh, The Fannichs, Fisherfeild and into the Glencalvie Forrest. We returned to the Bealach for the final time and finished off the evening with the ascent of Meall nan Ceapraichean.

SummitNo3

Meall nan Ceapraichean from the bealach

 

After crossing a steep, but mushy, snowfeild we descended North to a lochan strewn bealach below Eididh nan Clach Geala and made camp for the night.

Campsite

Camping

 

As the sun set we were treated to spectacular views into Fisherfeild. Beinn Dearag Mor holding the eye as the sun streamed through the darkening clouds.

IntodFisherfeil

Into Fisherfeild

 

The clouds must have continued to draw in overnight, as dawn saw us waking up inside the cloud. Despite this we headed easily up to summit Eididh nan Clach Geala before 9am. The days plan had been to continue round to Seana Bhraigh, and we set off nav’ing in that direction. But enthusiasm for another night on the hill had been dampened, and Seana Bhraigh had looked so nice the day before it seemed a shame not to see her in full glory. So instead we made for the exit path and returned to the car and a house with a warm shower.

Crossing

Heading home in cloud

 

We used day three to head to Glen Cannich and the corbett of Sgorr na Diollaid. We arrived to find company, a large group from Ayr setting off up the hill. The weather came and went, with baking sun, and cloud, but the rain mostly stayed away. Views down Loch Mulladoch ringed with massive hills whetted our appetite for future trips…

GlenCannich

The View into Glen Cannich

 

Morning Mountaineering

I have midweek days off – which most people don’t, including my winter partner.  But we’ve found a solution – just go out for the morning.

It totally feels like a gift getting up a hill or a route and being back at work in time for the afternoon shift at 2pm.  So far we’ve been to the Cairngorms and Sgorr Rudah. Admittedly this probably only works if you live in Inverness – but then why wouldn’t you?

 

Falling

Before, originally uploaded by lenoclimb.

I fell off. Just after this photo.

First time. Right of Passage.

First day of the Holiday.

Gear Held, but ended up just off the deck, hitting as few things on way down.  Not 100%, but think my foothold gave way.

Not to bad, but hand took the brunt. No climbing for a few days, then light duties only.

Orkney

At the end of October, with leave to use up, my flight reflex was kicking in. The one where I want to be far away, and probably alone. And well Orkney at the end of October seems like a place you’d find a bit of space.

Day One

On the ferry from Gills Bay to St. Margaret’s Hope I saw a Puffin. I mean that’s a life’s ambition right there. Puffins are cool!

Back on the Surly for the first time in a while, and loaded up. Its pretty heavy, but low gears keep you rolling. South to the Tomb of the Eagles.

Tomb of the Eagles

Tomb of the Eagles

During sightseeing the wind picked up. By the time I remounted I was set for one hell of a tailwind. North across the Churchill barriers, Kirkwall bound.

The Italian chapel is a bit of a mind fuck; slavery, religion, stewardship, and tourism. Reconcile that if you will.

The Italian Chaple

The Italian Chapel

By now the light was fading, and it was dark by the time I made Kirkwall. I found the SYHA closed for the winter (meh!), but also found the lovely peedie hotel, very open.

Day 2

The weather was wild so I decided to hole up in Kirkwall and read (Soil and Soul as highly recommended by Laura). I ventured out to explore Kirkwall. Which feels very much like the middle of somewhere. I liked it. Also bought another book; George Mackay- Brown -what else?

Day 3

A day of wet roads and tailwinds. Coast road north, finding  and following signs; first stop Rennibster earth house.  It’s in the middle of a working farmyard, and you have to climb down a ladder to get in.  There is a nice feeling from knowing that you are trusted to cycle up the road to the farm, and climb down the ladder to look around by yourself.

A typical ‘nowhere is open’ lunch:  A sausage roll, a slice of tiffin, and some good banter from the wee shop at Evie, eaten in the rain sat on the bench outside.

As I arrived at Skara Brea the sun began to poke through. After re-fueling in the cafe, (it’s hard to appreciate things on an empty stomach) I took a wander around. It’s hard not to be captivated by the sense of community the hamlet brings.  I spent a few hours picking stones and shells off the beach and enjoying the place.  There’s something about that wee place that will stay long after the shells have broken; you can see why you would live there.

Then on towards  Stomness, but just time to stop for a walk around the Ring of Brodgar before it got dark .

Ring of Brodgar

Ring of Brodgar

Day 4

Stomness is pretty easy to love. That town has heart, and soul. It also has a great map.

I spent the morning in the Stromness Museum, loving the Canadian exploration stuff, some of the native american beadwork was amazing.  I also fell totally in love with the oil painting “Linklater and Greig Entering Yesnaby Noust” by Stanley Cursiter.  The cliffs and waves reminded me of a summer’s climbing on sea cliffs.  I also stopped of at the Northlight Gallery, which wasn’t strictly speaking open, but I was allowed in to look at the tapestry exhibition.- I really want to go on one of the courses here.

In the afternoon I headed off on the bike again, to visit Meas Howe.  The tour guide was great – I liked her a lot – and after our tour she pointed me in the direction of a few other nearby sights, and gave me a wee map they had put together. So i stopped of at Barnshowe and the Stones of Steness (and the village of) on the way back.

I made it back to Stromess as the sun was setting – so I cycled out past the campsite and along the coastal path to watch the sun set over Hoy.

 

Sunset over Hoy

Sunset over Hoy

Day 5

The only ferries from Stromess are early, so my hopes of seeing the old man of hoy were dashed in pre-dawn darkness.  Once the ferry had docked in Scrabster I had a calm cycle 18miles along the coast to collect my car.