28/07/2014

Hiking Stùc a' Chroin for Dad's Birthday


Looking left towards Beinn Each- the peak to the west of Stùc a' Chroin.
The same view, further upwards.


On Sunday my dad and I climbed Stùc a' Chroin in the southern Scottish Highlands. My dad is exactly the kind of outdoors lover for whom a hike sounds IDEAL on his birthday. He'd never done this Munro, so we went to bag him another. I'm also counting this as my first adult conscious Munro too. We climbed the longer ascent route from below Arivurichardich.


And looking East towards Ben Vorlich

Stùc a' Chroin was for us a relatively easy hike- lots of it is just gorgeous but relentless upwards movement. You start at a car park in the middle of nowhere, go along the valley then up into the col between the two, then across the ridge onto Stùc a' Chroin proper. The rest us upward hills, then nearer the top it has a rocky, scramble on the summit hump.


Rolling green hills on the banks of Beinn Each
Looking down towards the Keltie water.
Dad, having a smiley moment. 
Selfie!

At the summit we were engulfed in cloud and unfortunately unable to see anything at all. But we did see many mysterious bearded figures in the mist. Turned out to be mountain goats. Sadly we couldn't get close enough for a decent shot. We also saw a few deer cavorting on the hills below us.

Stùc a' Chroin also has two summit cairns- if you climb it, the one nearest the route from Arivurichardich (and therefore furthest from the route from Ben Vorlich) is the correct one, its officially one whole metre higher up!

Here we also stopped for some lunch and took a cheeky wee selfie and a few other shots.

Looking back towards the Stùc a' Chroin summit mound on the way back down.

That view from further away. Cloud now cleared. Damn.

We would have done Ben Vorlich also if we had realised we wouldn't take as long as anticipated on this hike- from the summit its possible to cut across the other ridge and onto Ben Vorlich, but it would have been a longgg valley walk back to our car! So if/when we do Ben Vorlich we will likely approach from the other side.

The hike as a whole is approximately 10.5 miles, and took us 4.5 hours. The peak is 975m/3198 ft total. Its a really nice one, and had us thinking of doing it in winter when its snow bound. One word of warning- there's a river crossing on the path from Arivurichardich, from which there is now no bridge. Its pretty hard to cross currently, despite the river being very low. So I can't imagine how difficult it may be at high water/potentially impossible. If you go climb this peak, prepare to have wet feet.

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Are you into hill walking/hiking? What is your favourite summit?

Have you bagged any Munros?

24/07/2014

Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay and Opening Ceremony

So, the Commonwealth Games has finally started, and to be honest the atmosphere in Glasgow feels great- lots of stewards in the park and excited tourists looking around. I have tickets for the athletics on Friday evening (next week, 1st), whilst my S.O. has quite a few sessions to see.

When I was at my parents over the weekend I caught the baton relay coming through their village:

Village baton relay- Photo from my IG.

I wish there was more announcement on the individual carriers- it was cool to see but I had no idea who they were, and its oddly anticlimactic when you wait and wait just to have someone jog past with what looks like a fancy punnet of chips.

Our running club president, Des Gilmore, also got to carry the baton past the University, and our coach carried it in Queen's Park:

Des at the University- Photo belongs to C. Gunn
And then of course the opening ceremony last night, where they hilariously couldn't get the lid off of the baton to get the Queen's speech. Hey, at least we can laugh at ourselves. Also jeez Louise some of the national costumes (ours included) are horrendous. I also found the dancers a little awkward, although I did really appreciate the charity aspect.
I'll be off to the Commonwealth Games on Friday 1st, where we get to see (among others): the men's 3K steeplechase and men's 10K finals; the women's 800m and 100m hurdles finals; and several 4x400m and 1500m heats. 
There are also a wealth (har de har de har, I'm hilarious) of other activities ongoing in Glasgow. For example on Saturday morning I plan on going to the Run 4 It 4 mile run (at 8.30am from the Commonwealth mascot at Kelvingrove Art Gallery), then there are the arts and culture events associated with the Commonwealth festival, and some 'come and try' sports sessions- Glasgow is going to be busy! 
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Are you coming to the games at all? What to see?

Did you see the baton?

What did you think of the opening ceremony?

Any other events you know of that I should check out? 

PS: LOVED the Scottie dogs!