Category Archives: Climbing

Arrochar Alps

The last few days have been pretty intensely Eve-centric: of my few spare hours each evening it’s been a matter of going on fleets; preparing for the Newbie Drive; answering agents’ updates; repeatedly watching the new Eve advert; making my wife watch the new Eve advert and bathing in the reflected glory (“that’s nice, dear”); and doing corp stuff. On the last point, have you unrented all those empty, useless offices yet? I reckon I saved Bat Country 12 billion a year that way, last night.

Anyway, I’m excited because tomorrow I’m leaving after work for a few days on the West Coast, climbing in the Arrochar Alps. The hours of daylight are pretty limited this far north in late November: last year I was pretty ill but I managed to do a couple of crossings of Rannoch Moor.  Arrochar is a bit different: big hills and climbs that start when you get out of the car and just keep going.

This year has seen some of the best days of climbing I’ve had.  This was me in the southern Cairngorms in late April with my dog:

Glas Tulaichean
Seleighe and I on Glas Tulaichean


That was a glorious day.  This week will be very different: the forecast is good but I’m still betting on rain and mist and cloud as the dominant weather, and limited views.  But I’m 22 pounds lighter than I started the year, I’m not on painkillers, I’ve been in the gym multiple times a week and I’ve managed to climb 15 or 16 of the high tops since the last of my operations: the Arrochar Alps will be fine but I cannot wait for the first post-climb pint.

Portrait of the artist at 3500 feet

About a week ago, on a day off, I climbed Schiehallion in the central Scottish highlands.

Me and my dogs (can you spot the second?)
This is Seleighe, myself, and a bored, wandering-off Sunny on the summit of Schiehallion.

I do a lot of hillwalking, especially during the half of the year when there is no rugby to be played, and I think it’s a big part of why I’m still playing when all but one of my colleagues from the Lismore team of 1992 have long since retired.  I have, in fact, climbed Schiehallion twice before, although last time my uncle and I had to turn back in a furious blizzard: having set off in gorgeous sunshine we were cutting steps in the snow by the 2500 foot mark.

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