I started off the year as I intend to carry on by packing up the van and heading up to Scotland at 8.00 am on new years day, hangover and all!
Myself and a couple of pals headed back up to Knoydart to once again enjoy its quiet beauty and to experience some winter hardships. After a 7 hour drive, the last two hours on the knoydart back road, we arrived at Loch Hourn ready for our 9 miles hike under full darkness. Its a long 9 miles and it never gets any easier but we eventually arrived at the Barrisdale bothy, to find it empty and blissfully simple as usual. The next day, an early start sent us up the valley and into the snow line on a munro bagging quest.
With very few paths and tracks its kind of a make your own way trek in the Barrisdale area and we found ourselves heading for the most pointy peak on the horizon which was glowing pink in the sky as if it were calling us over.
After quite a few hours of hard slogging in waste deep powder and sinking our kit into frozen turf we reached the peak for a most spectacular sunset. The pictures don’t really do it justice, in my eyes it is the most beautiful place in the UK and it’s so remote that on a day like that, you feel like its all yours and your the only people that know about it.
With darkness dawning it was starting to get cold on the peak so we took our shots and headed towards a hard packed snow gully I had spotted on the way up. I showed the guys the way down, sat on my bag and slid off at warp speed. The guys soon chased me down and we met at the bottom giggling like school girls…our own big playground.
After a few hours we were back at the bothy ready for some tea and a good nights sleep, we had had a good ten hour day and needed to get our heads down.
The next day we packed our kit and made our way out of there as more snow had come down and we were worried we wouldn’t get the van out of Knoydart. Luckily it wasn’t too bad but the road had frozen solid, so we had to crawl out with the help of my dodgy snow chains that kept breaking, but eventually we made our way back to Fort William and headed home.
Since then I have been back up to Scotland twice, both times to Aviemore for some snow boarding and XC skiing which was fantastic. Iv also been playing in some Yorkshire snow doing some mixed climbing, boarding and sledging. You would not believe how fast an air bed can go with five guys laid on it. My chin still hurts from face planting over a jump.
I’m off to the Alps snowboarding in Morzine next week for my final trip before the work starts, fingers crossed the conditions are going to be good, iv heard there’s a big dump in the next three days! Can’t wait!