Mountains and Glens

NB – This is an aide memoir of mountains, hills and memorable walks undertaken, mostly in Scotland, but elsewhere in the world too. It is not a ‘Munro Bagging‘ tick list (though that can be a useful way to see the country) – I have always been as happy to tackle the same mountain in different weather conditions, with new people and from a variety of angles. I think Lochnagar (as closest mountain to Aberdeen and probably my favourite Munro) has had well over 20 visits from me; been climbed in summer on various routes and via Blackspout 0n ice. Simply, when I find myself in a new place it would be wrong not to attempt mountains within my (limited) ability simply as a way of getting out into the country and enjoying the great outdoors. Since my knee operation in 2008, descending mountains has proved difficult, but I am getting there.

BORNEO (Malaysia) – these mountain walks were part of a 23 day trip to Borneo which included about six jungle treks in Malaysian Borneo.

Mount Kinabalu, Kinabalu National Park, Sabah (4095m)  –   with Alexia and the Intrepid group, 23 & 24 October 2012. A relentless steep trek through the jungle in torrential rain on day 1. A gloriously clear sky night trek to the summit starting 2.30am day 2. A sunrise above the clouds and sunshine all morning on the way back to the lodge. Then torrential rain for three hours back to the transport. And a fabulous all round experience!

The Pinnacles, Mulu National Park, Sarawak (1200 meter tough jungle ascent – nice!) – with Alexia and the Intrepid group, 17 October 2012 as part of four day jungle trek including the Headhunter’s Trail. This was a tough one – the killer was the heat of 35 c in 90-100% humidity. Got up in 3.5 hours and down in the same. Great jungle trekking and scrambling combination with ropes and ladders for the last 700m climb. NB ‘The Pinnacles Trek’ does NOT summit Gunung Api, but overlooks it from a lower peak next to it to get the best view of The Pinnacles.


Poas Volcano (2708 m and still active) – with Alexia and Pete, 24 September 2012. Clagged in, but several returns to the crater rim and we saw down to the Sulphur Lagoon. Most trekking was done in the cloud forest higher up.

Monteverde (1680 m) – with Alexia, 17 September 2012. Cracking 8 hours in the cloud forest biological reserve, taking in the majority of the trails, inc the  one up the ridge to the highest point.

Barva Volcano (2906 m)- with Alexia, 13 September 2012. Part of the Braulio National Park. Walked as high as allowed on the trails. Cloud forest.


Sveinstindur – with Alexia, Einar & Hrefna, 13 August 2007. Cracking hill, but very soon after loss of ACL, so slowly, slowly down! Fabulous mountain, stunning views, great company.

Landmannalaugar – with Alexia, Einar & Hrefna, and Big Einar, 28-29 May 2002. This was an absolute epic. All walking aborted after the vehicle stuck in a river. Spent six hours trying to dig out the truck with feet scalding in thermals at bottom of river, while bollocks froze in glacier melt. Over-nighted in a thermally heated hut with a bottle of Glenlivet I happened to have in my rucksack (Scout – “Be Prepared”) and eventually rescued by Iceland MR team (of whom Big Einar was a member). Hilarious and made the front pages of all the newspapers 🙂


Eremo di San Martino (Dolomites) – with Alexia & Euan (Fede really could not walk) – 2000. This was a cracker – Very steep pull up to the hermitage. At one point the path had washed out and we crossed a gap on (large) tree roots with a very, very long drop below! Concentrates the mind 🙂

Dodici Apostoli (Dolomites) – with Alexia, Euan & Fede – 2000. A huge day out. At the rifugio we had to opt to turn back to get the last gondola down or press on up the via ferrata to the chapel. By so doing we got an even more spectacular adventure, but many additional hours on the hoof back down Pinzolo. Fede’s blisters are legendary. Stunning day out with some fun scrambles.

Pietra Grande (Dolomites) – with Alexia, Euan & Fede – 2000. This was our first look at ‘via ferrata’. A nice warm up starting and finishing at Madonna di Campiglio.


Skeidsfjellet (Rosendal) – tourist top  1038m and true summit 1102m – then up the summit of Daurmålshaugen (1088m) and ‘shoe skiing’ down to Geitabundalensvatnet / Prestavatnet (bouldering around and hanging over the loch at Volarusta was BIG FUN – one slip and a 5m drop into a deep loch, but we made it), Bjorndalsetra then the path up and over the shoulder at Reppabekken – with Jim, 03 July 2008. A challenging route in glorious sunshine, sometimes on deep snow and ice.

Folgefonna Glacier (from Rosendal) overnighting at Fonnabu – with Alexia, Kathrin, Stuart, Alison, Jim & Lesley, 01-02 July 2008. Myself and Lesley fell through the ice, Leslie swept down under ice leading to an epic rescue by Jim and Norwegian guide, Bertin.

Malmangernuten (Rosendal) via Murabotn route – with Alexia, Kathrin, Stuart, Alison, Jim & Lesley, 30 June 2008 (in sun, hail & rain).

Mount Ulriken & Mount Fløyen (Bergen) – with Joe, Julie, Alexia, Ine & Jøstein, 17 March 2001 (Joe and I did this one in kilts, in the snow…..), Alexia and I have walked these hills several times since and taken in many of the tops you’d miss on the trail walk.

Kjerag (Stavanger) – 1988. Lovely trip up to watch the base jumping from the 1000m vertical drop 🙂

NORWAY (SVALBARD) – this was a 4 week trip to Prins Karls Forland on Aberdeen University’s Expedition Svalbard and was essentially a month of walking during which I shed 3 stone. These are the tops done/attempted

Salfjellet, Donald Humpane (had done this on 26 July), Persiskammen (Prins Karls Forland) – Solo, 2-3 August 1990. Failed to summit (DNS) Salfjellet after getting caught in skree fall and getting KO’d. The route over the other two hills was quicker than going round the montain back to camp and despite concussion, took in the Persiskammen Ridge on the way. An epic – 30 hours walking on ONE Mars Bar (don’t ask)! Returned to Donald Humpane and Persiskammen with Colin about a week later I think.

Murdochtoppen (Murdoch’s Point) via the Archibald-Geikiebreen Glacier (Grampian Mountains, Prins Karls Forland)  – DNS : whiteout and forced back – with Colin, 9 August 1990. Well it simply would have been rude not to try with a name like that 🙂

SCOTTISH MUNROS (mountains over 3000 feet/914.4 meters)

Ladhar Bheinn (Knoydart) – with Alexia, 13 July 2016. First Munro in THREE years on a lovely shorts and T-shirt day. 5am start from Fife, tent up at Inverie by 12.30 then an 11 hour epic. Classic mountain, but legs in bits on the steep descent. Midnight bonefire and moonlit wine to finish a classic day.

Ben Vorlich and Stuc A’Chroin (Loch Earn, Perthshire) – with Alexia, Adam & Cynthia, 20 June 2013. Another really lucky day with the weather for a nice pair of mountains. Clear, slightly overcast, but with great views north over mountains. Legs felt it on the downhill though.

Meall Ghaordaidh (Glen Lochay, Perthshire) – with Alexia & Adam, 5 October 2012. Another really clear sunny day, and a nicer walk than the Baggers make it out to be!.

Stuchd an Lochain & Meall Buidhe (Glen Lyon, Perthshire) – with Alexia, Adam & Cynthia, 31 July 2012. Simply a fabulous day of sun on the hill.

Conival (Assynt) – with Alexia, Joe & Julie, 6 November 2010

Meall Corranaich & Meall a’Choire Leith (Loch Tay, Perthshire) – with Alexia, 19 August 2010

Meall Greigh, Meall Garbh, An Stuc (Loch Tay, Perthshire)  – with Alexia, 18 August 2010

Ben Hope (Sutherland) – with Alexia, Kathrin, Stuart, Alison, Bosco, Caroline & Robert, 14 August 2010. Another cracking sunny day.

Beinn Dearg (Ross-shire) – with Alexia, Alison, Bosco, 12 August 2010. This one had an epic river crossing in spate on way down due to ‘severe’ rain 🙂

Beinn Dearg (Atholl, Perthshire) – with Alexia

Carn a’Chalmain (Cairngorms/Glen Tilt) – with Alexia

An Sgarsoch & Carn an Fhidhleir (Cairngorms) – with Alexia

Cairn Bannoch & Broad Cairn (Loch Muick, Cairngorms) – with Jim, 14 July 2008

Sgairneach Mhor & Beinn Udlamain (Drumochter Pass, Cairngorms) – with Alexia, 3 April 2008

Beinn Ghlas & Ben Lawers (Loch Tay, Perthshire) – with Alexia, 11 November 2007/18 August 2010

Geal-charn & A’Mharconaich (Drumochter Pass, Cairngorms) – with Alexia, 2 September 2007/3 April 2008

Ben Chonzie (Glen Turret, Perthshire) – with Alexia, 4 September 2005

A’Bhuidheanach Beag & Carn na Caim (Drumochter Pass, Cairngorms) – with Alexia and Euan, 5 August 2005

Meall Chuaich (Drumochter Pass, Cairngorms) – with Alexia, 5 November 2004

Meall nan Tarmachan (Loch Tay, Perthshire) – with Alexia, Ray & Tricia, 9 October 2004

Carn Ghluasaid (Kintail) – with Alexia, Tanya, Euan (Fede turned back), 24 April 2004

Braeriach (Cairngorms) – with Alexia, 20 August 2003

Ben Narnain & Beinn Ime (Arrochar Alps, Loch Lomond) – with Alexia, 6 May 2003

Ben Vorlich (Arrochar Alps, Loch Lomond) – with Alexia, 2003

Carn Mairg & Creag Mhor (Glen Lyon, Perthshire) – with Alexia, Tania & Johann, 3 May 2003

Carn Gorm & Meall Garbh (Glen Lyon, Perthshire) – with Alexia, 8 February 2003

Toll Creagach & Tom a’Choinich (Glen Affric) – with Alexia, Tanya & Joe, 13 April 2002/with Dean & Mark, 22 March 2003. Also with Alexia & Tanya (& Lex the Dog) Tom a’Choinich, Carn Eige & Mam Sodhail in 2002-2003, but when?

Ben Lomond via Ptarmigan (Loch Lomond) – with Joe, Jule & Alexia, 2002. Climbed through the clouds cutting steps into ice. Saw ‘HEILIGENSCHEIN’ (Halo silhoutte) on the clouds below as we neared the summit.

Mam Sodhail, Carn Eigh & Beinn Fhionnlaidh (Glen Affric)  – with Alexia, Joe, Julie & Tanya, 26 July 2001/ with Alexia 13 April 2002 (Have a note we also did An Socach that day, but not sure if it was an intention or achieved – dottled!).

Sgurr na Lapaich & Carn nan Gobhar (Glen Cannich) – Alexia, Euan, & Tanya, 2001

Dreish & Mayar (Glen Clova, Angus) – with Joe, Julie & Alexia, 2001 (?)/with Alexia (2003?)/with Jim 2010/with Adam & Cynthia, 4 March 2011/ with Jamie Eng 10 October 2016

Carn an Turc, Cairn of Claise, Tolmunt & Tom Buidhe (Cairngorms) – with Alexia & Julie, 2001

Carn an t-Sagairt Mor & Carn a Choire Boidheach (Cairngorms) – with Alexia & Julie, 2001

Beinn luatharn Mhor & Carn Bhac (Cairngorms) – with Alexia, 12 May 2001

An Socach (Cairngorms) – with Alexia, 2001

Ben Cruachan & Stob Daimh (Argyll) – with Alexia, Euan & Fede (c.2001?) – 1x winter & forced back, 1x summer, lovely circuit)

An Socach (Glen Affric) – with Alexia & Euan, 2000

Glas Tulaichean & Carn an Righ (Glenshee, Perthshire) -with Alexia, 2000 (my first ‘diabetic’ moment)

Glas Maol & Creag Leachach (Cairnwell Pass, Cairngorms) – with Alexia, Campbell & Kristina c.2000, and again with Alexia, 5 April 2002

Schiehallion (Perthshire) – with Alexia, Eaun & Fede, February 2000 (escorted two lost and soaked Swedes in jeans down off the hill) & summer 2001 with Alison, 15 April 2003

The Cairnwell, Carn Aosda, Carn a’Gheoidh (Cairnwell Pass, Cairngorms) – with Alexia, c.1998/with Alexia, Bill & Edda, 1999/with Alexia, Joe & Julie c.2001

Carn nan Gabhar, Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain & Carn Liath  (Perthshire, collectively called Beinn a’Ghlo) – with Euan, Fede & Alexia 1992 (two tops only), and with Alexia & Adam (all three), 4 September 2010

Mount Keen (Glen Esk, Angus) – 1980s from Glen Tanar with 1st Balmedie Scouts/with Alexia, Jeff, Joe & Julie, 2000 (yes, yes, I broke my ankle & was remved from the mountain slung ingloriously over the shoulder of Joe Engebretsen – strong cookie) from Glen Esk/with Alexia, Mick & Jackie, 1 May 2002/with Euan & Fede (deep snow), 7 December 2002

Cairn Gorm (Cairngorms) – 1980s/with Euan & Fedde, 2002/with Alexia, 20 August 2003/with Brett 15 July 2005 on way back from Ben Macdui from the north (Brett’s first Munros). Repeated the Macdui and home via Cairn Gorm with Chrissy Simons and Mhairi Rutherford, 1 June 2019.

Ben Avon (Cairngorms) – 1980s with Ronnie/with Alexia, 1999

Ben Macdui, Carn a’Mhaim & Derry Cairn Gorm (Cairngorms) – 1980s/with Alexia 2000s (where she got hypothermia in JUNE!) / with Alexia & Joe from the south, 23 April 2004 (a snowbound epic).

Beinn Bhreac & Beinn a’Chaorainn (Cairngorms) – 1980s

Beinn Mheadhoin (Cairngorms) – 1980s, with Ronnie

Mullach Clach a’Bhlair (Cairngorms)  – 1980s

Sgoir Gaoith  (Cairngorms) – 1980s

Bynack More (Cairngorms) – 1980s/with Emsley & Donald, 14 July 2005

Monadh Mor & Beinn Bhrotain (Cairngorms) – with Ronnie, 1980s

Lochnagar (Glen Muick, Cairngorms) – 1980s (numerous)  – First ice climb (Black Spout), 1988 with Ronnie/Alexia’s first Monro, May 1990/ with Colin 1990/ with Svetlana & Paul c.1998? Frequently since… with Campbell, Joe, Euan, Fede etc. Once had to ‘rescue’ Alexia when she went through deep a snow drift into a stream. Not as easy as it sounds. Have also forceably escorted two idiots off the hill who were wanting to start at 4pm in winter to summit in a whiteout “because they’d driven a long way to get there”. Twats.

Carn Toul & The Devil’s Point (Cairngorms) – 1979 with 1st Balmedie Scouts/1989 with Ian.

Beinn a’Bhuird  (Cairngorms) – 1978 FIRST MONRO with 1st Balmedie Scots (DNS first visit & snow-holed, then summited following week)with Ronnie 1988/with Ronnie 1989/with Alexia, Joe and Julie c.2001 & 2002

SCOTTISH CORBETTS  & other fine HILLS – there are plenty more, these have just come to mind

Nine Mile Burn to Scald Law and Flotterstone (Pentlands) – a fine stravaig with Alexia, Alison, Bosco, 6 March 2016

Loch Brandy (Glen Clova) – a bonnie day in snow and ice up and around the corrie with Alexia, 27 February 2016

Cademuir (Scottish Borders) – A wee walk from Peebles up Cademuir, round by Barn Tower and Neidpath Castle. Cracking day for it with Alexia, Alison, Bosco,  17 May 2013

Stac Pollaidh (Assynt) – with Alexia, Joe & Julie, 7 November 2010. Some nice scrambling onto the top!

The Lomonds (Falkland, Fife) – with Alexia, numerous times since 2005 in deep snow and glorious sunshine. Last time, February 2016 in snow.

Ben Vrackie (Pitlochry, Perthshire) – with Alexia, Ray & Patricia, 29 January 2005

Eildon Hills (Melrose, Borders) – with Alexia, 25 December 2002

An Cliseam (Harris, Western Isles) -with Alexia, Blanche, Joe & Julie 2001 (?)

Clachnaben (Glen Dye, Aberdeenshire) – numerous times with Scouts and 2-3 times with Alexia

Tap o Noth (Rhynie, Aberdeenshire) – a couple of times and once with Alexia

Bennachie (Aberdeenshire) – too many times to mention, but first 1977 with George Simpson & 1st Balmedie Scouts and pretty much 2-3 times a year thereafter…..

Other walks worth a mention (too many in Aberdeenshire/Cairngorms to list!)

Clachtoll & the Broch followed by  The Old Man of Stoer & the Point (Sutherland) – with Alexia, Alison, Bosco, Caroline & Robert, 13 August 2010. Another cracking sunny day.

The West Highland Way, Scotland – with Alexia, Alison, Caroline & Robert, 10-16 June 2009 (in glorious sunshine for the WHOLE week!!)

Flinders Ranges & Wilpena Pound, Australia – with Alexia, 27-30 July 2009

Uluru & Kata Tjuta National Park & Watarraka National Park, King’s Canyon, Australia – with Alexia, Campbell, Kim, Peter, Scott and Gemma, 15-18 July 2009

Hadrian’s Wall (West to East), England – with Emsley Nimmo, 19-23 June 2004

Glen Walk – Gairnshiel Lodge – Corndavon Bothy/ – Glen Gairn to Gleann an t-Slugain – with A.U. Celtic Society over 2 days 1993. One member got slightly injured so I had to run the last glen and hitch back to the car at Gairnshiel to return and drive it up the track at Alltdourie as far as possible to get her. Knackered. Repeated this walk in the late 1990s with the Dept of History.

Glen Walk – Post-Election ‘Disillusioned Stravaig’: Gairnshiel Lodge – Corndavon Bothy (9th)/ – Faindouran Bothy in Glen Avon via Glen Builg (10th) / Bob Scott’s at Derry Lodge via an epic crossing at Fords of Avon & Lairig Laoigh (11th)/ back to car (12th) – with Alexia, 9-12 April 1992

Glen Affric Hostel ‘Whiteout walk’ (NB the hostel was not this flash then!)- with Mark, December 1988. An absolute stotter of a walk. Got progressively more soaked the nearer we got to the hostel. Spent the night by an open fire, perhaps with a dram. The attempt at the Munros the next day aborted after a couple hours by a whiteout. When we arrived back at the carpark I think it was the coldest & wettest I have ever been on the hill. Perhaps early stage hypothermic resulting in a hillarious strip naked in the carpark for Me & Mark as we got dry clothes out. Ah the look on the faces of the other visitors….

Wilder Kaiser, trekking in Austria – with Campbell, Hazel, Peter, Tommy, Willie & Gabby, July 1978

Lairig Ghru – with 1st Balmedie Scouts 1978 and several times since  – with Iain, with Tosh


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