Monday, November 29, 2010

New Camera

Well, the camera hasn't turned up yet so had to bite the bullet and shell out for a new one.
It had to be a compact camera but this time I wasn't too bothered about it being waterproof, always mindful that the old waterproof one may still turn up at some point.

I decided on the Lumix TZ10.

Has a lovely lens and a decent array of features including the a GPS for on the spot geotagging.

I'm currently injured ( again ) with a torn cartilage so haven't ventured too far since the purchase. Here's some local pics.

I'm impressed with the results on the 'Intelligent Auto' setting.

These were taken with the aspect ratio set to 16:9 which records a  10.5M image, you can also set the aspect to 3:2 and for the full 12.1M image you use 4:3
Can't decide what ratio to use ? Then there's a multi aspect setting which which shoot all three with one press of the shutter.

The camera will also shoot 720p HD movies and can utilise the AVCHD lite compression format.
I haven't really had a decent play with this but will include a wee clip if I remember.

First impressions are good with the only niggle so far being the actual filing of the recorded images. They are all just piled into the same folder until theres 999, and then another folder is started. The old Pentax started a new folder every day and named the folder after the date. Oh, and my PC does not recognise the formatting of the SD card so using the USB cable is a must.

So set the below clip to 720p to see the HD movie capabilities of the camera. The clip was shot in the same lighting conditions as the first beach picture above.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lost My Camera

I know it's in the house somewhere, but where ?

Latest news:

Sol climbs his first Munro, Ben Wyvis.

 We were lucky with the weather and Sol really enjoyed it, as did Cooky.

Well done Sol, only a few more to go :)

The local Academy gets a traversing wall, paid for by Skretting and built by Scott Muir of Extreme Dream .
It's open to the local community so the kids and I checked it out.

Good fun and those big yellow ones can be tricky without shoes and chalk.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

We Went Further !

Yes ! At Last ! The weather picked up and we got our days climbing with Go Further Scotland. This trip was originally planned for 30th July but bad weather and other commitments postponed it until 14th Aug.

We met up with Paul Tattersall in Gairloch and drove a few miles along the road to Clown Slab.  This crag has been bolted for sport climbing, rather than having to place protection like in traditional climbing, you simply have to clip in your quickdraw and then put your rope through the quickdraw. Sport climbs are graded for their difficulty from 1 up to 9b+ the last time I looked the number is usually preceded with the letter F.

We climbed the routes graded F4 for starters I led them and then Paul met me at the top to go through threading the lower off. After that the kids could top rope the climbs.

When the troops went to get lunch from the car Paul and I practised another situation. I climbed up and then secured myself to the top anchor, then hanging from this I belayed Paul up to me.

After a quick bite and more anchor and gear placement practice Paul reckoned we would do an F5 route and Molly would lead it. She managed to get to the top clipping 'draws all the way up !

After that we had to move round to Kuhjo Crag and the kids were put straight onto an F6a+ route Called 'The River Gods'.

It was a huge ask of the kids and they managed to get about half way up clipping a couple of bolts, I tried it and couldn't get as far ! I also had a go leading an F6a but fell before clipping the penultimate bolt :(

I had a rest and then managed to climb to the top. Molly then came along and also climbed to the top after finding a great rest place !

Oh and we all abseiled off the crag, even Karen !

 I can thoroughly recommend a day out with Go Further Scotland and if you want to know more about the crags in the area then have a look at these great wee Topos. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Invergordon Tank Farm

Sol and I went on a cycle today. We went to do a 10 miler but then decided to go up the hill at Inchindown to find the 'secret bunkers' in the hillside.
It was a steep climb.
but the views were nice.

We soon found the first entrance.
and used the flash on the camera to see what was inside.
There was a great echo and a nasty smell of oil inside.

I must admit I'm not exactly sure what the purpose of these hillside bunkers was but it was something to do with the tanks in Invergordon. You can read an interesting account of one of them being bombed in WW2 here. The bombing of tank 13.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wild Wild West

First of all apologies for any grammatical or spelkling errors.. I have just had a lovely barbecue, a bottle of wine and a large Cointreu and Esprsesso. thanks to Mary and Roger.
Had a nice few days camping in Clachtoll and then a days climbing at Gruinard.
Clachtoll is lovely. We first visited in 2006 and the kids had a ball.

This time I had apirations of doing some climbing. Split rock was a real posasiblitty.

... but jeez, a really tricky ledge from the headland and then a tidal gap followed by a scaramble just to getto the climb. A wee bit too much for the kids. Saunders and I managed to get to the base of split rock on the reccy and then gave up.
The next day I went soloing severalother insifnificant but none the less quite interesting wee climbs all within walking distance of the campsite.
View from crags back down tocampsite and split rock.

Whilst the kids had a laff on the beach AGAIN !

Then we managed some climbing a few days later at Gruinard. Now never mind the Anthrax.

We did a coupleof climbs Flaky Wall 15m VD.

and Small But Perfectly Formed * 25m VD.

 Then we spent a wee while on the beacj before heasding home, ooch time for a wee dram then TDF high;lights and bed...

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Reiffer Madness

After many weeks almost going, when the weather has been very nice thank you very much, we were organised enough to head for Reiff for a bit of climbing.

We had picked a a few climbs suitable for me and the kids. The forecast wasn't too good, 25mph winds and  heavy rain showers, but we decided to chance it. I didn't bother checking the tide as the guidebook Scottish Rock Volume 2 North describes it as non tidal. We drove through a few showers on the way but they really weren't too bad. I thought the fresh wind would help to keep the cliffs dry. When we parked up the wee man saw huge breaker rising up against the cliffs across the field !

Not a great photo, tha camera is fairly basic but waterproof :) The waves were breaking as high as the cliff face as seen from our parking spot.
We crossed the fence and headed across the field, leaving the troops in the wee stone structure I went down to investigate.
The way around to the pinnacle from the north was being regularly swept with swell.

I checked around the other side.

It wasn't good, the Pinnacle and some of our bloody climbs was being soaked with spray.

The base of the slab with our other climbs was being lapped by the swell, it just wasn't safe for the kids to descend and stand about in close proximity to the angry sea.

The females in the party were not up to abseil in down "Descent route" we shrugged and made our way home.
Later... I checked the tides and found that high tide was 1211 BST, we were there at 1130, although it appears to have been a neap tide !
Maybe we'll get another day in the upcoming holidays although the wife isn't keen on the drive.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Forcan About In South Glen Shiel

First of all let me say how pissed of I am with all the manky skanks using the great Scottish outdoors. Sharp eyed blog readers may have noticed Molly holding a plastic drinks bottle in the photo with the dog. That had been left at the crag by a previous visitor along with cigarette butts and chocolate bar wrappers. It's the same story on the hills, on our last walk one we discovered more butts, tissues and cling-film.
Rant over, on with the recent activity.

First of all I climbed my first Severe route, the cheeky wee Left Bay Groove at Pinnacle Crag, where Sol and I were savaged by Midges. We really will have to try some other climbs at different venues now.

I went walking again. Two routes in South Glen Shiel.

Todd and I did The Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine which includes the Forcan Ridge. Mostly fag butts. A really good, enjoyable approach path which winds its way up from the road along Meallan Odhar.

Followed by some very interesting 'put those poles safely away now' scrambling.

We descended the Saddle just after the trig point

and then climbed Sgurr na Sgine where we looked back at our achievement.

We then headed back to the road along the knee breaking Faochag north ridge.

After nacking his knee, Todd was unable to join Saunders and I as we tackled the other seven Munroes on the South Glen Shiel Ridge. You really need to drop a car at the end of this one or chance thumbing it back up the hill, it's a fair distance to walk on a busy road.
Saunders had never climbed a Munro before, although he told me a story about a fairly hefty lassie he knew when he was in third year who was called Munro, I told him that this didn't count.

Another excellent if lengthy path led us right to the top of the first Munro in just under two hours ( need to check timings with Saunders who may have logged walk on GPS ).

His wife, not the Munro lassie, had promised him a new pair of strides if he completed all seven so we hastened on.

We took photos at the all the summits but you know how one can start to look like all the others so here's one with a nice view from Munro number 4 Maol Chinn-dearg down to the bridge and Loch Quoich.

By this time I was missing Basher and Norma's veggy wraps and Saunders had to give me one of his rolls.

For number 5 Sgurr an Doire Leathan you bear right for the summit so then have to double back to continue along the ridge. Beware, as in the mist it's very easy to follow a path onto Maoile an t-Searraich.

And so... After a brief detour in the thickening mist and a re checking of the map and our fitness we tackled what I thought was the best part. A very interesting walk and scramble through the mist up to Sgurr an Lochain with an equally impressive ridge walk and scramble up to Creag nan Damh, number seven on the day.

It wasn't quite over yet, heading for the bealach theres a cracking wee crag you climb over just to end the ridge with smile on your face.
A thoroughly enjoyable walk with a wee bit of everything, you have to do it. I guesstimated that we were back at the car in 8 1/2 hours. No cigar but Saunders gets a new pair of trousers.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Hills and Crags

Well we did the next Munro on the list, a fairly direct assault on Ben Klibreck. A lot of trudging through grass and heather following the route from the SMC guidebook.

Not trail until you gain the ridge where you get a bit of a breather and nice views.

Then come the boulders and the mad dutchman.

No views at the top where the cloud was refusing to blow off.

This week we had another nice evening at Pinnacle Crag where I led some V Diffs and Sol and Molly took turns seconding.

We also did the chimney which Sol really enjoyed especially when he found a good way of climbing it. Molly went for a different technique.

We then re-visited Tapered Groove and did a better job leading-seconding than we did top roping.

The sun just kept shining as Sol seconded.

And Molly found a wee friend.