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High winds

High winds


Postby JohnJoe » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:51 pm

Date walked: 29/11/2011

Time taken: 2 hours

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My philosophy when it comes to walking in Scotland is that you shouldn't make too many plans based on the weather forecast. If you shy away every time there's a bad forecast you won't ever leave your house, and besides, it's often wrong because the weather is so unpredictable. In fact, I have usually not even bothered to find it out. After this weekend (my first solo camping / walking trip) I am coming round to the idea that this attitude is probably quite foolish.

After a terrifying arrival at Edinburgh airport in high winds (we had one aborted landing, followed by a second successful but very bumpy one with lots of screaming), it just didn't really occur to me that these same winds would continue to affect me all weekend. So the next day I drove off up to the Cairngorms fully expecting to march up Cairn Gorm and across the plateau to Ben Macdui on Saturday. I arrived at the Glenmore campsite and pitched my tent in the snow, and then retreated to the car to drink my favourite ale, Isle of Arran Blonde. I was asleep by about 9pm but wide awake again at 2.30 am, which was unfortunate because the campsite has a bizarre rule of locking you in at night so you cannot leave in your car until 8am.

Photo0212.jpg
The lone idiot



I arrived up at the rangers base for the start of the walk up Cairn Gorm at about 8.30. After about 20 minutes of walking I had been literally blown over, twice. 68 kilos of human just thrown to the ground (which was covered in snow and rocks). At this point I realised the utter stupidity of what I was trying to do and turned back. At the rangers base I looked at the weather forecast on the noticeboard: 100 mph gusts! I drove back down to lower ground and went for a nice, twee, boring little walk around a loch.

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Photo0220.jpg
Nice, boring walk around loch


Then I decided to go to Skye, in the misguided hope that the weather might be better. In fact it was worse because the gale force winds were accompanied by rain. I fully expected all the hotels and campsites to be open - i always assumed that there would be plently of other idiots wanting to walk in the winter. But most things were closed....until March! Whilst taking a room in the totally souless pub in Portree was slightly tempting, I felt that it would be cheating. So I drove back to the closed campsite at Sligachan and - not being able to put up my tent in gale force winds - slept in the car. But I couldn't lock it - the alarm went off because it was shaking so much in the wind.


This time I had a lie in until 4.20am, and then drove off down towards Elgol with the intention of going to the base of Bla Beinn and seeing if it wasn't quite so windy round there.......

Photo0227.jpg



So in the end, having failed to get up Cairn Gorm and Ben Macdui, and having not even attempted to do my plan B , I settled for plan C: The Storr - a walk I have already done twice.

Still, I've never experienced bright, early morning sunshine in a hailstorm before.

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Photo0247.jpg




Two of the three walk reports I have posted have been about how I failed to do what I planned to do. It is becoming embarrasing.
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Re: High winds

Postby Collaciotach » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:02 pm

Ach tha sin an Gaidhealtachd ruid eile :D ..... You have a wit with the words a 'charaid , although i m not making fun of your misfortune you have raised a smile on me tonight , i enjoyed your report :D

I live on the Sound of Mull and the weather has been what we call Mossach for near a week now :D
but im fortunate to be able to see far and travel short

Better luck next time a bhalaich :(
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Re: High winds

Postby iainwatson » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:05 pm

absolutely no shame or embarrassment in turning back,any sensible person would have done the same

on the plus side,you still got out :D ,

i really want to go to the Storr-looks amazing!
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Re: High winds

Postby jonny616 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:28 pm

Nothing wrong with turning back. I headed for the lawers range today & only made Callander
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Re: High winds

Postby Bod » Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:05 am

Good taste in Beer, like Arran Blonde myself and you must try Black Isle Blonde too! Enjoyed you report....great effort, and don't worry, you'll get your rewards with some magical clear days another time. No such thing as a failed attempt :D :D :lol:
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Re: High winds

Postby JohnJoe » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:44 pm

Thanks for the comments, especially the Gaelic ones :D

It was a bit disappointing not to do what i wanted to, but at the end of the day there are worse ways to spend a weekend than driving around the highlands and going for a couple of walks.

Will definitely try the Black Isle Blonde when i get the chance

cheers :D
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Re: High winds

Postby spiderwebb » Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:52 pm

As said no shame ! Was up Drumochter today with Tomsie and Hill Loving Lady (who now isn't), intending to do Geal Charn and 2 others (probably a bit ambitious but 2 at least), managed Geal and then headed down, due to our inability to stand up straight and walk in a straight line near the summit !!

And windchill !!!! :D :D
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Re: High winds

Postby Hill-loving lady » Wed Nov 30, 2011 11:53 pm

spiderwebb wrote:As said no shame ! Was up Drumochter today with Tomsie and Hill Loving Lady (who now isn't), intending to do Geal Charn and 2 others (probably a bit ambitious but 2 at least), managed Geal and then headed down, due to our inability to stand up straight and walk in a straight line near the summit !!

And windchill !!!! :D :D


Spider, If I e-v-e-r have to go anywhere n-e-a-r Drummochter again it will be too soon. My rear end is well and truly black and blue, my kidney area is already yellow, and my left elbow is double its normal size - as you rightly said on facebook, whilst I was standing still as well!!!

However, a positive can be made. Everything else is soooo sore my right knee pain has paled into the background. Had 4 hot baths when I got home (partly to ease the aches, and partly to encourage global warming after today!)

The moral of the story? Don't ever read the met office forecast, Enid Blyton is much more realistic...

Hill-loving Lady (as long as the winds are less than 80mph, the snow/hail isn't like a reflexology appointment and it is vaguely possible to stand upright without landing 4 feet away on your arse!!)
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Re: High winds

Postby jester » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:50 am

My outlook used to be the same as JohnJoe, but after a few completely wasted journeys travelling in the hope that it would be nice (bearable) on getting there. I've realised that it's better to look at the forecast and see where is offering the best weather, and to aim for that. I had three days off this week, Monday and Tuesday were a write off for starters with winds between 70 and 100mph forecast everywhere, Wednesday I was heading for the coast but was sidetracked onto Arthurs Seat, which was quite tricky even at such a low-ish level. In fact the walk along the road from Duddingston Loch saw me using the fence for support!
I usually check MWIS, YR.NO and BBC weather, then make a SWAG.
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Re: High winds

Postby Caberfeidh » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:05 pm

JohnJoe wrote:My philosophy when it comes to walking in Scotland is that you shouldn't make too many plans based on the weather forecast. If you shy away every time there's a bad forecast you won't ever leave your house, and besides, it's often wrong because the weather is so unpredictable. In fact, I have usually not even bothered to find it out. After this weekend (my first solo camping / walking trip) I am coming round to the idea that this attitude is probably quite foolish.


I used to be like that too, but I also learned the hard way ! After a few camping disasters and wrecked weekends, soaked to the skin and catching cold, with no chance of getting up hills, you start to realise the benefits of meteorological-related prudence! And also realise that low-level walks can be quite nice too.
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Re: High winds

Postby Frogwell » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:06 pm

JohnJoe wrote:After a terrifying arrival at Edinburgh airport in high winds (we had one aborted landing, followed by a second successful but very bumpy one with lots of screaming)

I hate it when the pilots do that! Screaming seems so unprofessional.
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Re: High winds

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:38 pm

Sometimes the best plans go to waste - but at least you got out and about!

I was up in Glen Affric in early October, and the wind put paid to my plans of canoeing along the loch for a wild camp, and walking some of the hills. I still managed some low level walks and sheltered paddles, but it wasn't quite what I hoped for.

I got caught out by the 8am campsite opening at neighbouring Rothiemurchus - having arranged with a friend to be in the Trossachs by 9.30, so hoping to leave at 7...and with no mobile reception to tell them I was going to be late.... :evil:
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Re: High winds

Postby spiderwebb » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:40 pm

Hill Loving Lady with all that variety of colour all over...where's the photos ?? :lol: :lol:
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